Chairman of the jury
Arie Van Lysebeth
Belgium, °1938
Arie Van Lysebeth was the President of the Jury of the Queen Elisabeth Competition from 1996 to 2018. He took up the violin at the age of four. He completed his higher education at the Brussels Conservatory in music theory, bassoon, chamber music, and orchestral conducting. Following a competition, he was appointed bassoon soloist of the Belgian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. Two years later, he came joint first in the Prague International Bassoon Contest. He also studied conducting under Bruno Maderna in Salzburg and under Pierre Boulez in Switzerland. Starting in 1970, he conducted the Flemish Chamber Orchestra, both in Belgium and abroad. As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the major Belgian orchestras as well as with symphony orchestras in the United States of America, Argentina, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany. He has performed with many famous soloists, including Igor Oistrakh, José Van Dam, Murray Perahia, and Augustin Dumay. From 1995 to 2004 he was the regular conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Brussels Conservatory, where he taught chamber music for many years (1970-1994) and served as director (1994-2003). From 2004 to 2014, he was the artistic director of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel.
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Luigi Alva
Born in Lima, the Peruvian tenor Luigi Alva made his operatic debut in I Pagliacci (Arlecchino) in that city in 1951. In 1953 he left his native country for Italy, where he perfected his art with Emilio Ghirardini and then with Ettore Campogalliani. His appearance at the Voci Nuove competition won him a place among the Cadetti della Scala.
In 1955 he inaugurated the Piccola Scala and in 1956 began his long association with La Scala in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with, among others, Maria Callas. Luigi Alva became a great specialist of this opera, singing it in six different recordings and in two films. He has appeared on the leading stages: at the Vienna Opera, Covent Garden, the Bolshoi, the Zarzuela and the Metropolitan, as well as in other opera houses throughout the world and at the festivals of Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, among others.
Luigi Alva is founder and director of the Prolirica Association in Peru and has received that country's highest honorary distinction for cultural achievement. He was also awarded the Viotti d’oro in Italy and teaches now at the Academy for opera singers at the Scala of Milan.
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Nancy Argenta
With a repertoire spanning three centuries, Nancy Argenta has been hailed as the supreme Handel soprano of our age and praised for her performances of works by composers as diverse as Mahler, Mozart, Schubert and Schoenberg. Her ability to adapt from large scale orchestral works to chamber music and recitals has earned her great recognition and praise.

She has collaborated with conductors such as Ozawa, Gardiner, Davis, Blomstedt, Pinnock, Hogwood and Norrington and with orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Singapore Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Toronto, Montreal, Sydney and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. In opera, concert and recital she has appeared at many leading festivals including Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Mostly Mozart and the BBC Proms.

Her discography of over 50 recordings includes Bach's St John Passion, B Minor Mass, Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio with Gardiner, Purcell's King Arthur and Haydn Masses with Pinnock and Hickox, Mozart's Requiem, Magic Flute and Don Giovanni with Norrington. As an EMI/Virgin Solo Artist she has recorded Schubert Lieder, Scarlatti Cantatas and two discs of Bach Solo Cantatas as well as two of Purcell songs, the first of which, O Solitude, was honoured with a Classic CD Award. Recent CD releases include Handel's Saul with Paul McCreesh (Archiv), Handel's Resurrezione with the Combattimento Consort and Lost is my quiet a collection of English Music from Purcell’s time.

As a devotee of the song repertoire of all periods, Nancy Argenta tours widely as a recitalist, presenting songs with their "original" keyboard accompaniment of harpsichord, fortepiano or modern piano. Recent recital locations with Maggie Cole have included The Netherlands, Hungary, Israel, Canada and Spain.

Recent concerts include a programme celebrating 100 years of English Music with the NDR Radiophilharmonic Orchestra in Hannover, performances of the St Matthew Passion with the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival in Ohio, Bach B minor Mass with the Manchester Camerata and the EuropaChorAkademie, a baroque programme with Vancouver Chamber Choir, Messiah with Tafelmusik, Bach and Mozart with the Vancouver Symphony and Handel’s Messiah with the Calgary Philharmonic.
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Martina Arroyo
United States of America
From the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses - New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera, London’s Covent Garden, Milan’s La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, and the Buenos Aires Teatro Colón - to the concert halls of Salzburg, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and New York - the name of Martina Arroyo (New York) has become synonymous with music-making of the highest order. Famous for her interpretations of Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, and Mozart, she is equally at ease with contemporary music. She has made more than 50 recordings, including major operas and orchestral performances with internationally renowned conductors. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita of the faculty of Indiana University, a Trustee of Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was a member of the National Endowment for the Arts for six years, and was a recipient of the first American Council for the Arts awards. Martina Arroyo is founder and artistic director of the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Inc., which sponsors two programmes for young singers, a ‘Role Development Class’ and ‘Prelude to Performance’, which is a six week summer residence programme. Martina Arroyo has been awarded the Kennedy Center Honor, as well as honorary doctorates from several universities and institutions, including the Juilliard School, Hunter College, the New England School of Music, and Rutgers University.
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Renée Auphan
France
Born in Marseilles, Renée Auphan began her career there as an assistant director at the city’s opera house. Employed later by the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, she took on its entire management for five years. At the same time, she also studied singing and music; she made her operatic debut at the Opéra Comique and appeared soon after in the Monte Carlo and Marseilles opera houses. She went on to perform as a soloist at the Opéra de Paris, including during the period when Rolf Liebermann was its director. After retiring from her singing career in 1983, she was appointed to head what was known at the time as the Festival de Lausanne, which she transformed into a season of opera and ballet. This led to the establishment of the Opéra de Lausanne, of which she was director from 1984 to 1995. In 1993, she was awarded French-speaking Switzerland’s Prix des Belles-Lettres for her book Mezza voce. Between 1995 and 2001, Renée Auphan ran the Grand Théâtre in Geneva, before being appointed in 2009 to head the Opéra de Marseille, where she has directed a number of productions, including Massenet’s Manon, Sauguet’s La Chartreuse de Parme, Jean-Michel Damase’s L’Héritière, and Tomasi’s Sampiero Corso, as well as reviving Lausanne and Tours production of Honegger and Ibert’s L’Aiglon; this year, she will also revive La Traviata. She is an Officier de la Légion d’Honneur and an Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite.
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Edith Bers
Chair of the voice department at the Juilliard School, Edith Bers also serves on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Bard College Conservatory Graduate Program in Voice, of which Dawn Upshaw is Director. She has had a performance career in both opera and concert, singing the U.S. premier of Schumann’s Der Sängers Fluch. Edith Bers has judged and given master classes for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Korean Broadcasting System, the Hong Kong/Juilliard Master Classes (Hong Kong), and Concert Artists Guild and has taught at various summer festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, and Bel Canto Institute (Florence). Her students perform with major opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, and the operahouses in New York, Santa Fe, Philadelphia, Glyndebourne, Hamburg, Bordeaux and Frankfurt.
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Grace Bumbry
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, the American soprano Grace Bumbry studied at the University of Boston, at Northwestern University, and at the Music Academy of the West under Lotte Lehman, who encouraged her love of German lieder. Grace Bumbry made her debut in Aida at the Paris Opera and has been a guest in the world’s greatest opera houses and festivals (Bayreuth, Covent Garden, La Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Colón, Salzburg, Verona, Orange, etc.). She has sung under prestigious conductors such as H. von Karajan, C. Abbado, G. Solti, S. Ozawa, W. Sawallisch, G. Prêtre, G. Patanè, L. Bernstein, and J. Levine. Her roles have included Amneris, Aida, Carmen, Dalila, Eboli, Tosca, Gioconda, Venus, Turandot, Salome, and many others. She took part in the production of Les Troyens at the opening of the Opéra de la Bastille.
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Lella Cuberli
Born in Texas, Lella Cuberli first revealed her talents to bel canto lovers at international competitions in Italy; she decided to settle in the country in order to study its language and culture, while developing her operatic repertoire. She made her debut in 1978 at La Scala in Milan in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She later sang in New York (Carnegie Hall), Berlin, and Salzburg under such renowned conductors as von Karajan, Barenboim, Abbado, Muti, and Levine. Lella Cuberli has performed on the world’s leading opera stages (the Metropolitan, Covent Garden, and the Opéra Bastille, among others) in Tancredi, I Capuleti ed i Montecchi, La Donna del Lago, Semiramide, Così fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Lucia di Lammermoor, Otello, La Traviata, La Bohême, The Rake’s Progress, and other works. She has also given a great many concerts and recitals the world over. In 1986 she received the Grand Prix du Disque for best female performance in the recording of Il Viaggio a Reims. In France she has also been awarded the Rossini Prize and the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
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Ernst Haefliger
- 2007
Ernst Haefliger (1919-2007), the Swiss tenor whose worldwide reputation rests on his supreme interpretation of German Lieder, opera and oratorio, was a regular guest on stages throughout Europe, the United States and Japan. He was known for his interpretations of Bach and his legendary recitals and master classes.

Born in Davos, Switzerland, Ernst Haefliger studied at the Wettingen Seminary and at the Zurich Conservatory. He has trained with Julius Patzak in Munich for German Opera and Oratorio and with Fernando Carpi in Milan where he acquired his stunning bel canto technique.
He devoted himself to Lieder and choral work and soon established a reputation for impeccable style and musicianship. Ernest Haefliger entered the operatic field at the suggestion of the late Ferenc Fricsay, and later came to international attention as Tiresias in the world premiere of Orff’s Antigone in Salzburg.

He eventually became a member of the Berlin Opera where he was the first lyric tenor for many years. He excelled in the Chicago Lyric Opera, at the Vancouver Festival and also with the Houston and Pittsburgh Symphonies. Many of his recordings have been released by Angel, Columbia, Deutsche Grammophon, Vanguard, Philips and Claves.

Ernst Haefliger, who has written the book Die Kunst des Singens (Schott Verlag, Mainz), has taught at the Munich College of Music and conducted yearly master classes in Zurich, Japan and the United States (Marlboro and Ravinia).
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Tom Krause
In a career spanning more than five decades, Tom Krause has appeared with the greatest singers and conductors of his generation and has sung in the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls. Because of his enormous experience in all fields of classical music (opera, oratorio, lied, etc.) and his interest in passing on his legacy of great singing, he is in great demand for master classes around the world and is frequently invited to serve as a juror at major international competitions. Since 2002 he has held the Chair of singing at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid. The many awards he has received in recognition of his contribution to music include the Order of the Finnish Lion, the highest award for cultural achievement in Finland. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by Helsinki University and holds the title of Kammersänger in Hamburg. Tom Krause has appeared in many films, television shows, and documentaries and has made over 100 recordings, for which he has won many prizes.
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Yvonne Minton
Australia
Yvonne Minton was one of the great mezzo-sopranos of the late sixties and seventies. Having begun her singing studies in Australia, she came to London in 1961 for further study. In 1964 she joined the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as a soloist where her many successes included the roles of Octavian, Sesto, Didon, Orfeo, Fiordiligi, Kundry, Brangane, Frika and Marina. She was soon sought after by the main opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic, appearing at all the major European and American Opera Houses including Bayreuth and the Salzburg Festival. She was a regular guest at the Opera Houses of Cologne and Paris where she took part in the first production of Lulu conducted by Pierre Boulez and recorded by Deutsche Grammophon. Alongside her operatic career, Yvonne Minton has also been an active concert singer. Her back catalogue is impressive and embraces both her opera and concert work. She focuses her activities now on teaching young singers, taking part in an advanced voice training programme in Marseilles and conducting master classes.
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Evgeny Nesterenko
Winning the 1970 Tchaikovsky Competition launched the lightning career of Moscow-born Evgeny Nesterenko. After the Bolshoi, the great venues of the world beckoned, as did distinguished conductors such as Abbado, Muti, Kleiber, Pretre, Sawallich and many more. His beautiful bass voice has charmed audiences of opera, oratorio and Lieder. In the latter genre, he has premiered works by Shostakovich and Georgi Swiridow. His performance in the production of Don Carlo, which he sang at the bi-centennial celebrations of La Scala, has brought him particular renown. Evgeny Nesterenko has recorded with the Russian Melodia as well as with EMI, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon and other labels, and has also made videos. Awarded many distinctions in Russia and abroad, Evgeny Nesterenko has also teached singing in Vienna. Audiences in Belgium have had the pleasure of hearing him in recital in Brussels in 1989, in Attila in 1993 and in Don Carlo in 1995 at the Flanders Opera, as well as in Ghent’s Bijloke in February 2000.
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Antonio Pappano
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Hermann Christian Polster
Germany
Born in Leipzig, the bass Hermann Christian Polster is highly regarded in the field of oratorio. He started his musical training with the Dresden Kreuzchor. He continued his musical studies with his father - Fritz Polster - and went on to study musicology at the University of Leipzig. His international career led him to perform in both concerts and oratorios, for example with the Kreuzchor in Dresden and the Thomanerchor, the Bachsolisten, and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. He has performed throughout the world with many leading conductors, and has appeared on radio and television and recorded for several record labels. Hermann Christian Polster taught at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Hochschule in Leipzig. He gives frequent international master classes and often sits on juries at singing competitions.
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Joan Sutherland
- 2010
After her triumph in Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden in 1959, Joan Sutherland established herself as one of the foremost sopranos of our time. She was instrumental in reviving Handel’s operas as well as being a great exponent of the operas of Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Gounod, Thomas, Massenet, and Verdi. She has sung in most of the world’s major opera houses and had a prolific recording career, with her recordings receiving many awards. Joan Sutherland has received honorary degrees from universities and music schools in Australia, Europe, and America. She was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was later awarded the Order of Merit by her Majesty the Queen. She also received the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the French government for her services to music. Since retiring, she has been invited to sit on many international juries and spent much of her time writing her autobiography, ‘A Prima Donna’s Progress’, which has now been published in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the USA. She passed away in 2010.
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Eric Tappy
Swiss tenor, born in Lausanne, Eric Tappy has been prominent on the international scène for nearly 30 years, as much for oratorios as for opera where he is thought to be the perfect performer of baroque pieces and of Monteverdi, in particular. In 1968, he received the Prix Edison du Disque for his interpration of Orfeo. Until 1981, the date when he announced his retirement from the musical scene, he was one of the leading interpreters of Mozart, performing on the world's leading stages. He sang at numerous international festivals, including Salzburg, notably in the production of Ponnelle-Levine.
His repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary music, including the works of Stravinsky and his preferred roles such as Pelléas, Alwa (Lulu) and Lensky. He has sung under the direction of leading conductors such as Ansermet, Kleiberth, Kubelik, Karajan, Sawallisch, Levine and Harnoncourt, and has made many recordings, films and premieres.
As of 1981 he instigated and directed the Atelier d'Interprétation vocale et dramatique of the Lyon Opera House and was later, until 1999, Professor at the Conservatoire de Genève. In 1994 he was appointed to the rank of Officer des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. His combined teaching of vocal techniques, performance and direction has led him to be invited to give master classes in Salzburg, Brussels, Copenhagen, Oslo, Gothenberg and Villecroze in the Var.
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José Van Dam
Belgium
The Brussels-born bass baritone José Van Dam is one of today’s greatest singers. Since his debut in Paris in Les Troyens, he has been a regular guest at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals (including the Paris Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro Colón, and the festivals of Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, and Orange). His roles have included Falstaff, Simon Boccanegra, Philippe II (in Don Carlos), Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, Amfortas (in Parsifal), the Flying Dutchman, and Wozzeck, to name but a few. His performance in the title role of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise was warmly received in Paris and Salzburg, at its premiere in 1983 and again in 1992. His operatic career has not prevented him from branching into oratorio and lieder, in which his repertoire is equally extensive ; he has sung under Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Georg Solti, and Seiji Ozawa, among others. In addition to boasting an impressive, award-winning discography, he has also appeared in films, most notably in the famous Le Maître de Musique. José Van Dam has received the titles of Kammersänger of the city of Berlin and of Chevalier in the order of the Légion d’Honneur. In August 1998, he was ennobled by King Albert II.
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Zeger Vandersteene
Belgium
Born in Ghent, Zeger Vandersteene received soprano voice training at the Schola Cantorum of the Sint-Baafs Cathedral. His four-year training in Gregorian Chants has exerted a strong influence throughout his career. He continued his studies with great masters in Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and France. He prepared for his debut performances with S. Cape, R. Clemencic and N. Harnoncourt (music of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque).

He subsequently perfected his tenor voice and interpreted many lyric tenor roles : Steuerman (Der Fliegende Holländer), Aegist (Elektra), Jaquino (Fidelio), Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Les Pécheurs de Perles and Lakmé. He premiered five contemporary operas, notably in Munich, Berlin and Venice. He has sung in many countries with renown conductors such as Sir J. Pritchard, M. Janovski, R. Frühbeck de Burgos, E. Inbal, M. Soustrot, H. Vonk and Sir C. Mackerras, and has made serveral recordings for a variety of labels: Harmonia Mundi, Erato, Teldec, RGIP, among others.

In addition to his many master classes in Mexico, Japan and Germany, Zeger Vandersteene has taught at the Ghent Conservatory, where he now is an honorary professor.
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Piano 2020 postponed to May 2021
How the competition unfolds
H.M. Queen Mathilde
Piano Competitions' Juries
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