Kenji Nakagi was born in 1982 in Hokkaido, Japan and began his musical training at age 3 in a Suzuki Method class. After studying at Tokyo University of the Arts, he entered the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris in 2003 and studied with Philippe Muller, receiving a diploma with honors in ’cello performance in 2007 and then undertaking postgraduate studies (Cycle de Perfectionnement) at the same Conservatory. In 2007, he also began studies with Antonio Meneses in a soloist diploma course at Hochschule der Künste Bern, from which he then graduated with honors. Nakagi won 1st Prize at the 5th Witold Lutoslawski International ’Cello Competition (Warsaw, 2005) and the 16th FLAME International Music Competition (Paris, 2005). In 2008, he received the Grand Prix and a special prize for his performance of Debussy's Sonata and Pierre Boulez’ Messagesquisse at the 1st Note et Bien International Music Competition, dedicated to French music. From 2003 to 2009, he participated in the Academia Chigiana, where he received a diploma and the special prize of the Banca Monte dei Paschi. The artist is regularly invited to music festivals, and gives recitals, solo performances with orchestra and chamber music concerts in France, Switzerland, Holland, Italy, Brazil and Japan. He has released two albums (Beau Soir and J. S. Bach: 6 Suites for Solo ’Cello) for King Records. Kenji Nakagi is currently an Associate Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts.
Marcin Zdunik – a cellist whose repertoire ranges from the renaissance to new music, he also improvises, arranges and composes. A regular guest of ‘Chopin and his Europe’, he has also participated in such prestigious festivals as the BBC Proms and Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano. He has performed as a soloist in many renowned concert halls, including the Carnegie Hall in London and Rudolfinum in Prague, and he has played with such ensembles as the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Sinfonia Varsovia, under such conductors as Andrzej Boreyko, Antoni Wit and Andres Mustonen. He is also a highly regarded chamber musician, and has worked with such artists as Nelson Goerner, Gérard Caussé, Krzysztof Jabłoński and Krzysztof Jakowicz. As part of the festival Chamber Music Connects the World, he has performed with Gidon Kremer and Yyuri Bashmet. He has received many prizes in international competitions and festivals. In 2007, he won first prize, the grand prix and nine other prizes in the 6th International Witold Lutosławski Cello Competition in Warsaw. He won the International Young Performers Forum in Bratislava, organized by the European Broadcasting Union, earning the title of New Talent 2008. In 2009, he won ‘Gwarancja Kultury’ prize awarded by TVP Kultura. That same year, he also released his first disc, performing with the Wratislavia Chamber Orchestra and Jan Stanienda (including interpretations of two cello concertos by Joseph Haydn), which won a ‘Fryderyk’ 2010 award from the Polish record industry. He has also recorded Robert Schumann’s complete works for cello and piano with the pianist Aleksandra Świgut for the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (2014), Mieczysław Weinberg’s Fantasy for cello and orchestra with Sinfonia Varsovia and Andres Mustonen (Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, 2015) and many chamber works. He has trained with Andrzej Bauer and Julius Berger, and also studied at Warsaw University’s Institute of Musicology. He now teaches cello at the Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdańsk. He plays an instrument made by Wojciech Topa.
David Geringas belongs to the musical elite of today. He has premièred many works of the Russian and Lithuanian avant-garde in the West. The artist has won the highest awards of his homeland. He was awarded the Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse of Germany for his achievements as musician and cultural ambassador for the country on the international musical scene. He is honorary professor at the Moscow Conservatory, Rimski-Korsakov Conservatory St. Petersburg and Central Conservatory in Beijing, as well as having received an honorary doctorate from the Lithuanian Music and Theater Academy. Geringas’ intellectual rigor, stylistic versatility, melodic feeling, and sensuousness of tone have brought him praise the world over. He has received the Echo Klassik Award twice – in 2013, for best 20th/21st-century chamber music recording; and in 2014, for best 19th-century chamber music recording. The ’cellist has performed worldwide with the leading orchestras and conductors of our time. A prominent place in his artistic career is occupied by regular releases of outstanding CDs. His discography, which now approaches 100 CDs, includes many that have been honored with important prizes. Well-known contemporary composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Ned Rorem, Pēteris Vasks and Erkki-Sven Tür have dedicated ’cello concerti to him. In 2002, he gave the world première of Anatolijus Šenderovas’ Concerto in DO, which was dedicated to him and won the European Composers Award in Berlin. In 2012, David Geringas performed three world premières, Arvydas Malcys’ Concerto ‘In Memoriam’ in Kaunas, Silvia Colasanti’s Concerto for ’cello and orchestra in Milan, and Alexander Raskatov’s ’Cello Concerto in Amsterdam.
Pieter Wispelwey is equally at ease on the modern or period ’cello. Born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, he studied with Dicky Boeke and Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam, and later with Paul Katz in the United States and William Pleeth in the United Kingdom. His acute stylistic awareness, combined with truly original interpretation and phenomenal technical mastery, has won the hearts of critics and public alike in repertoire ranging from J. S. Bach to Schnittke, Elliott Carter and works composed for him. The artist has appeared as a soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, NHK Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon, Tokyo Philharmonic, Sapporo Symphony, Sydney Symphony, London Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, Danish National Radio Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg. Conductor collaborations include Iván Fischer, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jeffrey Tate, Kent Nagano, Sir Neville Marriner, Philippe Herreweghe, Vassily Sinaisky, Vladimir Jurowski, Louis Langrée, Marc Minkowski, Ton Koopman and Sir Roger Norrington. Pieter Wispelwey’s impressive discography of over 20 albums, available on Channel Classic, Onyx and Evil Penguin Classics, has attracted major international awards. He plays a Giovanni Battista Guadagnini ’cello from 1760 and a Rombouts Baroque ’cello from 1710.
Louise Hopkins studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Raphael Wallfisch and Steven Isserlis. From a very early age, she attended the International Musicians’ Seminars at Prussia Cove, studying intensively with András Schiff for duo class and György Kurtág for Chamber Music, alongside ’cello masterclasses with Isserlis and Kirshbaum. Hopkins made her debut at the Barbican Hall playing Witold Lutosławski’s ’Cello Concerto, conducted by the composer, and has continued to perform as a soloist and chamber musician developing an international career which has taken her all over Europe, the United States, Australia, Asia and New Zealand. She has broadcast frequently on the BBC, Radio Suisse Romande, ABC, New Zealand Radio and Radio France. Recent engagements include an invitation to perform Kurtág’s double concerto for ’cello, piano and orchestra with pianist Tamara Stefanovich at Kurtág’s 90th birthday concert, with the composer present. As a chamber musician, the artist has performed in venues from Wigmore Hall to the Sydney Opera House. She has made guest appearances on several occasions with the Takács Quartet, as well as with Thomas Adès, with whom she has recorded his piano quartet Catch for EMI. She has performed regularly and recorded with pianist Aleksandar Madžar. Louise Hopkins is currently a ’cello professor and Head of Strings at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Ivan Monighetti is a professor of ’cello at the City of Basel Music Academy in Switzerland. He is also a visiting professor at Moscow Conservatory and at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia in Madrid. He has won top prizes at many international competitions, including the 1974 Tchaikovsky Competition, and since then he has enjoyed a career which has taken him all over Europe, as well as to the Americas and Japan. He has participated in many important music festivals, such as the Ravinia festival, Berliner Festwochen, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Argerich Festival and Holland Music Session. As a soloist, he has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras and conductors, including the Berlin Philharmonic under Krzysztof Penderecki, Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig under Kurt Masur, Gulbenkian Orchestra under Muhai Tang, and Moscow Philharmonic under Mstislav Rostropovich. Monighetti‘s sensational appearances at numerous contemporary music festivals have brought him a wide reputation as one of the leading figures in the field of modern music. His CD entitled 20th Century Works for Unaccompanied Violoncello was nominated for the Diapason d’Or in the category of Best Recording of the Year. He is constantly expanding his musical range as a result of his work with such contemporary composers as Penderecki, Xenakis, Dutilleux, Knaifel, Schnittke, Tan Dun, Gubaidulina, Silvestrov and Ali-Zadeh. Many works written especially for him are now part of the established ’cello repertoire. Ivan Monighetti has served as a jury member at prestigious competitions, such as the J. S.Bach Competition in Leipzig, and has given masterclasses all over the world.
Antonio Meneses began his ’cello studies at age 10. Six years later, he met famous Italian ’cellist Antonio Janigro and was invited to join Janigro’s studio in Düsseldorf and later in Stuttgart. He won 1st Prize at the 1977 ARD International Music Competition in Munich and was awarded the 1st Prize and Gold Medal at the 1982 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Appearing in the music capitals of Europe, the Americas and Asia, the artist performs with most of the world’s leading orchestras in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Paris, Prague, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Munich, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Tokyo. Among the conductors with whom he has collaborated are Claudio Abbado, Gerd Albrecht, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Daniele Gatti, Neeme Järvi, Mariss Jansons, Herbert von Karajan, Riccardo Muti and Mstislav Rostropovitch. Meneses has made two recordings for Deutsche Grammophon with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Brahms’ Double Concerto with Anne-Sophie Mutter and Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote). He has also released the complete works for ’cello of Villa-Lobos (Auvidis France and Bis), David Popper and C. P. E Bach (Pan Records). For AVIE, his recordings include J. S. Bach’s Six Cello Suites; the complete works for ’cello and piano of Schubert and Schumann with Gérard Wyss; a Beethoven CD with Menahem Pressler; Haydn’s Cello Concerti and Clovis Pereira’s Concertino with the Royal Northern Sinfonia; and a CD entitled Elgar and Gál: Cello Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Claudio Cruz, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. Recent highlights include performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Maxim Vengerov at the Barbican Centre, appearances at Aldeburgh and at the Edinburgh International Festivals, and recitals at Wigmore Hall. In addition to his busy concert schedule, Antonio Meneses regularly gives masterclasses in Europe.
is one of the finest ’cellists in the world. After beginning his musical education in Gdańsk with Roman Suchecki, he continued his studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with Sergei Shirinsky and then at Yale University School of Music in the United States with Aldo Parisot. For many years, he has taught ’cello at the conservatory in San Sebastián. Jabłoński has taken part in many competitions, such as the Chamber Music Competition in Gdańsk in 1970 (1st Prize), ARD in Munich in 1968 (Förderungspreis), 7th International Festival of Young Soloists in Bordeaux in 1974 (silver medal) and G. B. Dealey Memorial Award in Dallas in 1972 (1st Prize). He has had many successful appearances at major concert halls in Poland, as well as abroad. He has appeared as a soloist with the best orchestras in the world, such as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI Roma, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Scottish National Orchestra, all of the BBC orchestras and many others. The artist has taken part in important musical festivals, in such places as Edinburgh, Toronto, Rome, Helsinki, Lisbon and Warsaw. He has made records for many radio stations and record companies, with a discography numbering over 20 CDs. He has performed many contemporary composers’ works dedicated to him. Parallel to his performance career, Roman Jabłoński teaches at many prestigious music schools and gives numerous masterclasses. He plays a Giovanni Grancino ’cello from 1692.
Andrzej Bauer has won the ARD International Competition in Munich and a prize in the ‘Prague Spring’ International Competition, as well as awards from the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. He completed studies with Kazimierz Michalik and honed his skills on numerous masterclasses courses with André Navarra, Miloš Sádlo and Daniel Szafran, among others. He studied for two years in London with Willoam Pleeth, on a Witold Lutosławski scholarship. In recent years, he has given recitals in such cities as Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich, and he has also performed with orchestras, including the Münchner Philharmoniker, RAI Naples Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. He has performed as a soloist with most Polish symphony and chamber orchestras and toured Europe with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Sinfonia Varsovia. He has recorded for Polish and foreign radio and television stations. His discs have won numerous prizes, including the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and a ‘Fryderyk’ from the Polish record industry (2000). His repertoire features a great deal of new music, including numerous works composed specially for him. In 2002, at the 44th ‘Warsaw Autumn’ International Festival, he gave a recital of first performances of works inspired by him for solo cello and electronic media. The Cellotronicum project initiated at that time has been continued by Bauer, resulting in prizes and in first performances at important European centres for contemporary music. Another edition of Cellotronicum, presented at the ‘Warsaw Autumn’ in 2006, received an Orpheus Award. He teaches at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and Bydgoszcz Academy of Music. He has been devoting an increasing amount of time to composing and improvising. For the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, he has recorded all Chopin’s works with cello (‘Real Chopin’ series). He is a regular guest of ‘Chopin and his Europe’ Festival.
Kazimierz Michalik, born 1933 in Cracow, studied cello at the MusicAcademy in Katowice with professor Józef Drohomirecki, and at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Prague with Karel P. SaÅLdlo and Miloš SaÅLdlo, and was awarded a Diploma with honors. Later encounters with Mstislav Rostropovich and AndreÅL Navarra had a great influence on his artistic development. He started his professional career in 1951 with the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio in Katowice. From 1965 he played with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw. In both orchestras he was the principal cellist. He also played chamber music with the Silesian Trio and later in the Soloists of theWarsaw Philharmonic ensemble, which went on many tours and made a number of recordings. As a soloist Kazimierz Michalik performed with many orchestras and conductors, among others Jan Krenz, Zygmunt Latoszewski, Bogusław Madey, Vaclav Neumann, and Marek Pijarowski. Kazimierz Michalik began teaching in 1974. He was a professor of cello at the Frederic Chopin MusicAcademy inWarsaw. He was alsoVice President of the Academy, responsible for artistic productions, and held the post of the Chair of String Department. He is often invited to teach abroad as a visiting professor. He has taught at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki from 1989 to 1991 and at Keimyung University in Daegu in 1995 and from 2000 till 2002. He taught many master classes in Poland, Finland, Germany, Yugoslavia, Spain, and Korea. For the last twenty years he teaches also at the SummerAcademy in Żagań of which he is a cofounder. Kazimierz Michalik, co-founder and Juror of the Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition in Warsaw is also often invited to the juries of national and international competitions. Apart from numerous Polish competitions he has been a Jury member for the Bach Competition in Leipzig, the Prague Spring Festival Competition, the Competition in Markneukirchen, the Gaspar Cassado International Violoncello Competition in Tokyo, Beijing International Music Competition and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Many of his past and present students won prizes in national and international competitions, and many of them play now important roles in the music life in Poland and abroad, among them Andrzej Bauer,Tomasz Strahl, Piotr Janosik and Bartosz Koziak.