Chairman of the jury
Eugène Traey
Belgium, °1915 - 2006
Count Eugène Traey (1915-2006) was born in Amsterdam of Belgian parents and studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Antwerp, where his piano teacher was Emmanuel Durlet. He went on to study in Paris under Robert Casadesus and in Germany under Karl Leimer and Walter Gieseking. After this international training as a pianist, Eugène Traey pursued a career both as a concert performer and a teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, of which he was the director until 1980. He gave recitals, performed with orchestras and took part in chamber music recitals with Arthur Grumiaux and Jean Laurent, as well as performing piano duos with Frédéric Gevers. He was the founder of the deSingel concert hall in Antwerp and was a regular member of juries at international competitions (Moscow, Warsaw, Munich and Tokyo, among others). From 1982 until 1995 Eugène Traey presided over the jury of the Queen Elisabeth Competition.
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Paul Badura-Skoda
- 2019
Paul Badura-Skoda is one of the most important pianists of our time. A legendary artist who has been heard in all the world´s greatest concert halls, and for years was the pianist who had the largest number of records available in the market. His musical personality is characterized by complete immersion in music, a passionate search for the essential, and a sense of artistic responsibility. It soon becomes evident to any listener that he loves music with every part of his being.

In 1945, Paul Badura-Skoda entered the Vienna Conservatory. Two years later he won first prize in the Austrian Music Competition and a scholarship which allowed him to study with Edwin Fischer. In 1949, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan became aware of Badura-Skoda´s outstanding talent and invited him to play concerts. Practically overnight the young viennese became a world-famous artist.

Since then, Badura-Skoda has been a regular and celebrated guest at the most important music festivals and a soloist with the world´s most prestigious orchestras. In addition to Furtwängler and von Karajan, he has collaborated with such renowned conducters as George Szell, Karl Böhm, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Georg Solti, Kent Nagano and John Eliot Gardiner.

Paul Badura-Skoda has recorded a vast repertoire - more than 200 LPs and dozens of compact discs including the complete cycles of the piano sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.

Badura-Skoda performs with equal authority on both period and modern instruments. He was a pioneer in proposing the use of period pianos in perfomance. His profound knowledge of instruments from Bach´s and Mozart time up to the present has given him the capacity to extract from modern instruments a quality of sound which never fails to amaze audiences and critics alike.
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Lazar Berman
Russian Federation, °1930 - 2005
A child prodigy from the age of four, Lazar Berman (1930-2005) was a student at the Moscow Conservatory and a prizewinner at the Queen Elisabeth and Franz Liszt Competitions in 1956, but was not authorized to perform outside the Soviet Union for more than twenty years. It was not until 1976 that he was 're-discovered' when he performed a memorable concert at the United Nations Organization with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Antal Dorati. Since that time Lazar Berman pursued an international career, performing with the very greatest orchestras under conductors such as Abbado, Karajan, Bernstein, Leinsdorf, ... and with whom he made more than a hundred recordings. In 1990 he moved to Italy. As a professor at Imola, he was regularly invited to sit on juries at international competitions and presided over the jury of the 1995 Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris.
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Daniel Blumenthal
United States of America, °1952
Born in Landstuhl (Germany), Daniel Blumenthal is of American origin. He began his musical studies shortly after his fifth birthday and is a graduate of the University of Michigan (Bachelor of Music) and the Juilliard School in New York (Master of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts). He has won several international competitions : Sydney and Leeds in 1981, Geneva and Busoni in 1982, and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1983. He enjoys an international reputation as a soloist, concert musician, and chamber musician. Daniel Blumenthal is professor op piano performance at the Brussels Conservatory and the Thy Chamber Music Festival in Denmark. In 1995 he served on the jury of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition. He has recorded over 80 CDs. Daniel Blumenthal is honorary member of Icons of Europe and musical advisor to this not-for-profit cultural association.
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John Browning
United States of America, °1933 - 2003
In the tradition of the great Romantic pianists, John Browning (1933-2003) earned a distinguished reputation for his exceptional interpretive gifts, technical mastery of keyboard color and sonority, and deep commitment to music. He was considered one of the most important and extraordinarily compelling virtuoso performers of his time. He was an American luminary of musical greatness, impressing audiences and critics with his passion, integrity, and probing musical imagination in an extensive repertoire that ranges from Bach and Scarlatti to 20th-century composers.
His highly acclaimed recordings, which garnered three Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards, along with a number of significant compositions that were written for and expressly dedicated to him by renowned composers, further illustrate the superlative breath of his artistic scope.

Since his triumphant debut in 1956 with the New York Philharmonic, John Browning appeared in virtually every music capital of the world, amassing accolades for his solo recitals, concerto appearances and recordings. He performed and recorded a broad spectrum of works spanning three centuries from Mozart to the grand virtuoso masterpieces of Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Tchaikovsky -- including 43 concertos. In addition to championing the works of Samuel Barber, with whom he had long been associated, he premiered and recorded works by the contemporary American composer, Richard Cumming.

John Browning concertized regularly in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, South America, New Zealand, and Australia, and toured the Soviet Union on four occasions. In North America, he appeared regularly with the symphonies of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Performances abroad with European orchestras included the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, London Philharmonic, London and Scottish National Symphony Orchestras, and most recently, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic with Andrew Davis.

He collaborated with Leonard Slatkin at both the Wolf Trap and Blossom Music Festivals, Pinchas Zukerman at the Ravinia Festival, the Tokyo String Quartet at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, and Robert Spano and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. He was also a favorite at other American music festivals and was frequently heard at the Hollywood Bowl, Caramoor International, Grant Park, Saratoga, Newport, Rockport, Seattle International, St. Charles Art & Music, Minnesota Orchestra Summerfest, and the Peninsula Music Festival.

Born in Denver, Colorado, in 1933 to a violinist father and a pianist mother, John Browning began piano studies at age five and gave his first public appearance as soloist with the Denver Symphony at age ten. He subsequently moved to New York City to pursue his musical studies on scholarship with Rosina Lhevinne at The Juilliard School. He rapidly gained prominence by winning the Steinway Centennial Award in 1954, the Leventritt Competition in 1955, and placing second the following year in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Widespread attention continued when he made his professional orchestral debut in 1956 in a critically acclaimed performance with the New York Philharmonic and Dimitri Mitropoulos, which not only launched his career internationally, but also inspired Samuel Barber to write a piano concerto for him.

Six years later, in 1962, John Browning was chosen to give the world-premiere of Samuel Barber's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony at the inaugural celebration of New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Written especially for John Browning, the piece was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and has since become the most frequently performed American piano concerto in the past half-century -- no other has been so firmly ensconced in the literature. He first recorded the work in 1964 with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra for the CBS Masterworks label. A new recording with Leonard Slatkin conducting the St. Louis Symphony was released in 1991 by BMG Classics/RCA Victor Red Seal. This earned him his first Grammy Award for "Best Instrumental Soloist With Orchestra" and a Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Album."

John Browning also recorded for MusicMasters, and a disc of the complete Barber solo piano repertoire, released in 1993, earned him a second Grammy Award for "Best Classical Instrumental Soloist Without Orchestra." Additional releases for that label included an all-Scarlatti disc in 1994, followed by a recording of two Mozart Concerti with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Julius Rudel the next year, and a recording of the Brahms Piano Quintet and Horn Trio with John Browning and members of the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble.

In 1994, Deutsche Grammophone released John Browning's recording of the complete Barber songs with soprano Cheryl Studer and baritone Thomas Hampson. A highly acclaimed recording of the Beethoven "Triple" Concerto with violinist Pinchas Zukerman, cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, and Christoph Eschenbach conducting the London Symphony Orchestra was released in 1998 by BMG Classics/RCA Victor Red Seal. Additional listings in John Browning's discography include three recordings on the Delos label devoted to the music of Liszt, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninoff. He can also be heard on the Capital, RCA, Phoenix and Seraphim labels, which include the complete Chopin Etudes, all five of the Prokofiev piano concerti, and the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Recordings of Richard Cumming's Twenty-Four Preludes and Silhouettes, written for and dedicated to John Browning, were released on the CRI label.
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Bella Davidovich
At the age of 18, Bella Davidovich entered the Moscow Conservatory to study with Konstantin Igumnov and Jacob Flier. In 1949 she became the youngest pianist to have won First Prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Since her soldout Carnegie Hall debut in the United States (1979), she has worked with renowned orchestras such as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Concertgebouw Orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, with, amongst others, Rostropovich, Masur, Temirkanov, and Muti. Her substantial discography includes recordings for Philips, Orfeo, Novalis, and Delos. In 1988, together with her son, she became the first Soviet emigre musician to be officially invited to perform in her native country. While in Russia, Bella Davidovich taught at the Moscow Conservatory for 16 years and has been a Professor at the Juilliard School in New York for over 20 years. She regularly serves on the jury of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the Clara Haskil Piano Competition in Switzerland, and the Ferruccio Busoni Competition in Italy.
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André De Groote
Belgium, °1940
A prize-winner in a number of important contests, the eminent Belgian pianist André De Groote was awarded the Harriet Cohen Medal in London and was a laureate of the Tchaikovsky (Moscow), Queen Elisabeth and ARD (Munich) competitions, all of which gave him access to the world´s major musical venues.

His art has thus been widely heard, not only in the main European centers, but also in the Americas, Africa, the Middle and Far East. He has appeared with such distinguished conductors as Dean Dixon, Neëme Jarvi, Michael Gielen, Christoph Eschenbach, Igor Markevitch... His chamber music activities include close association with the Chilingirian and Via Nova string quartets, the violinists Yayoi Toda and Augustin Dumay, while his duo with the cellist Viviane Spanoghe has become a landmark in Belgian musical life. Together they have recorded works by Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Enesco, Jongen, Shostakovitch, Tournemire and Vierne.

André De Groote's wide-ranged repertoire includes some 50 concertos, Brahms´ entire output for solo piano (all of which has been recorded), Beethoven´s 32 piano sonatas that he performed three times in Brussels, at the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, in Zaragoza (Spain), and in Hiroshima (Japan); the recording of these sonatas has been released by Naxos. Other recordings include the three piano sonatas by Erich Korngold, Charles Camilleri´s three piano concertos, Arthur de Greef´s two, and works for piano and ensemble by Poulenc and Françaix. A new recording of Brahms´ two sonatas for piano and clarinet (with Wolfgang Meyer) and viola (with Pierre-Henri Xuereb) has been released.

An honorary professor at the Brussels Royal Consevatoire, he has given many master classes in France, Germany, Spain and Japan. In 1986 he was a visiting Professor at Arizona State University and in 2007-2008 at Indiana University, Bloomington.
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Abdel Rahman El Bacha
Lebanon, France, °1958
Born in Beirut in 1958, Abdel Rahman El Bacha lives in France. At the age of 16 he pursued his piano studies under Pierre Sancan at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris, where he obtained four first prizes (for piano, chamber music, harmony, and counterpoint). Since his talent was discovered at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1978, he has performed in the most prestigious concert halls around the world. He has played with a variety of orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Orchestre de Paris, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, and the English Chamber Orchestra. His first disc, devoted to the works of Prokofiev, received the Grand Prize of the Charles Cros Academy. Since then he has recorded many works (including Bach, Ravel, Schubert, and Schumann) with Forlane, as well as Prokofiev’s five concertos with Fuga Libera. His complete Beethoven sonatas and complete works for solo piano by Chopin have been a great success, both in concert and on CD. Abdel Rahman El Bacha is also a composer and is master in residence for the piano at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel.
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Brigitte Engerer
France, °1952 - 2012
Brigitte Engerer was a versatile French pianist often praised for her interpretations of romantic and French repertory and for her collaborations in duo-piano and piano four-hand fare with Boris Berezovsky. Her repertory was broad in all areas, however, taking in works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Saint-Saëns, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Gershwin, Poulenc, Schnittke, and many more. She also regularly collaborated with an array of other instrumentalists, including violinists Régis Pasquier and Olivier Charlier, cellist Henri Demarquette, and pianist Oleg Maisenberg. Engerer appeared as a soloist with the major orchestras of Berlin, Paris, London, Montreal, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and with such conductors as Karajan, Barenboim, Mehta, Ozawa, and Rostropovich. She made numerous recordings for several major labels, including Decca, Philips, Naïve, and Harmonia Mundi.

Brigitte Engerer was born in Tunis, Tunisia, on October 27, 1952. She studied piano from age four and gave her first public concert at six. At 11 she began studies at the Paris Conservatory under Lucette Descaves, winning first prize in piano performance there at 15. In 1969 she began studies at the Moscow Conservatory, where her most important teacher was Stanislas Neuhaus. Meanwhile, she turned her sights on several of the most prestigious piano competitions: that same year she became a prize winner at the Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris; in 1974, the year she finished her Moscow studies, she tied for sixth prize at the Tchaikovsky International Competition; and in 1978 she captured third prize at the Queen Elisabeth.

While she had a reasonably successful career in France during the 1970s, Brigitte Engerer's international breakthrough came in 1980 when Karajan invited her to play with the Berlin Philharmonic. She was a critical success and returned two years later for the orchestra's centenary celebrations. Further prestigious concert engagements followed across Europe, the UK, Canada, US, and Japan. Among her earliest acclaimed recordings were her 1982 Philips LP of Tchaikovsky's The Seasons and her Schumann Carnaval and Carnival of Vienna for the same label, which would go on to win the Grand Prix du Disque.

Engerer debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1983, and while her solo career was now thriving, she also managed to mix in a fair number of chamber music concerts. She made regular tours throughout the 1980s and 1990s and, beginning in the late '80s, she turned out a number of successful recordings for Harmonia Mundi, including her 1988 Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition and 1993 two-disc traversal of the Chopin Nocturnes (reissued July 2010).

Early in the new century Brigitte Engerer remained active on all fronts, making especially high-profile appearances with pianist Boris Berezovsky. Their 2010 tour of France, Spain, and Russia included an acclaimed appearance at the White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia. Among her more popular recordings with Berezovsky is the 2011 CD of Brahms' Hungarian Dances and Liebeslieder Waltzes, for piano four hands, issued on the Mirare label. Brigitte Engerer died of cancer in Paris on June 23, 2012; she was 59 years old.
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Andrzej Jasinski
Poland, °1936
Andrzej Jasinski studied under W. Markiewiecz and M. Tagliaferro. He was a prizewinner at the Maria Canals Competition of 1960 and had already embarked on a promising international career when he deliberately chose to devote his energy to teaching the piano. His teaching method is famous and highly respected in Poland and abroad. His studens, one of whom was Kristian Zimmerman, go on to win international prizes and to make successful careers. From 1979 to 1982 he was visiting professor at the Hochschule in Stuttgart and he has been invited to give master classes in Japan, Salzburg and Imola. A honoris causa doctor from the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy and the University of Music in Katowice, Andrzej Jasinski has appeared on juries at major international competitions and was the jury president of the Fryderyk Chopin Competition's 2000, 2005 and 2010 editions.
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Hans Leygraf
Sweden, °1920 - 2011
Professor Hans Leygraf (1920-2011) was born in Stockholm as the son of German-Austrian parents. He studied the piano in Stockholm with Schnabel-student Gottfrid Boon, and with Anna Hirzel-Langenhan in Switzerland. In addition, he studied composition and conducting at the Universities of Munich and Stockholm.

At the age of 9 he made his debut as a soloist with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, at the age of 12 he gave his first piano recital. After the war he performed throughout Europe, including the Soviet Union, USA, and Far East. He had appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, in London, Hamburg and Munich, with the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Orchestra under conductors like Blomstedt, Celebidache, Dohnanyi, Dorati, Ehrling, Fricsay, Gielen, Kempe, Sawallisch, Solti, and Szell.

Not least because of his many appearances in television, as well as through his LP-productions and radio broadcasts, Hans Leygraf is well-known to a broad audience, so with his recording of the complete Mozart piano sonatas.

Leygraf taught in Innsbruck, Darmstadt, Stockholm, Hannover and Berlin. From 1972-1990 he was a full professor at the Musikhochschule Mozarteum, Salzburg, where up to September 2007 he had an international class for highly gifted students.
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Menahem Pressler
The career of Menahem Pressler has spanned more than five decades. Born in Magdeburg, he studied the piano in Israel and won the Debussy Competition in San Francisco in 1946. Since then, he has performed as a soloist, notably with the symphony orchestras of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and London, and in chamber music with the Trio Pasquier and the Juilliard, Emerson, Guarneri, and Cleveland quartets. In 1955 he founded the Beaux-Arts Trio, which was awarded the Concertgebouw Prize in 2006. For over 50 years he taught at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was given the title of distinguished professor. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. His artistic talents have also been recognised by a number of awards, including Chamber Music America’s Distinguished Service Award (1994), the Gramophone magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1998), and the ‘Ehrenurkunde’ awarded by German critics, as well as by his nomination to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009 he was made a citizen of honour of his native city. In addition to his many CDs with the Beaux-Arts Trio, his discography includes some thirty solo recordings of works ranging from Bach to Ben-Haim.
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Takahiro Sonoda
- 2004
Takahiro Sonoda (1928-2004) was born in Tokyo, where he initiated his studies under Leo Sirota. Later, he furthered his studies in Paris under the tutelage of Marguerite Long, and in Berlin under Helmut Roloff. Following his debut as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonie in 1958, he has travelled extensively worldwide for his concert tours. He has appeared with a number of leading orchestras under such renowned conductors as Sergiu Celibidache, André Cluytens, Wolfgang Sawallish and many others. He was a member of the Japanese Academy of Arts and had an active life as a leading concert pianist and recording artist in Japan. He has also been an active member of juries at major international competitions, to name a few, the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the Tchaikovsky and the Van Cliburn Competitions.
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Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden
Belgium, °1947
Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden was only 16 years of age when he was proclaimed a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1964. That sought-after distinction launched a brilliant career that has taken him to the world’s leading concert halls and the most prestigious festivals, including the Korsholm (Finland), Umea (Sweden), Prades, la Chaise-Dieu, and Giverny (France), Delft (the Netherlands), Seoul (Korea), and Stavelot and Seneffe (Belgium) festivals. In chamber music, he has played with outstanding Belgian and international partners such as Véronique Bogaerts, Marie Hallynck, Augustin Dumay, Silvia Marcovici, Mihaela Martin, Miriam Fried, Gérard Caussé, Frans Helmerson, José Van Dam, Walter Boeykens, the Enesco Quartet, the Melos Quartet, the Quatuor Ysaÿe, and the Ensemble César Franck. His formidably extensive repertoire includes almost all the great concertos, a wide array of chamber music pieces, and the complete works for solo piano of Maurice Ravel. Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden was knighted by King Philippe in 2018.
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