National Piano & Violin Competition 2023: Adjudicators
Discover the six judges on the panel for this year's National Piano & Violin Competition
Piano: Christopher Park
"Christopher Park is a pianist who captivates with his fascinating technical mastery, astounding musical maturity, and a particularly intense performance style” – this was the explanation given by the jury upon awarding Christopher Park the renowned Leonard Bernstein Award 2014. He thereby joined the ranks of noteworthy musicians such as Lang Lang, Lisa Batiashvili and Martin Grubinger, who all started their careers with this internationally sought-after award.
Numerous important ensembles have engaged Park, a Bamberg-born musician, including the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, Spanish National Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, China NCPA Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Chambre Orchestra of Lausanne, English Chamber Orchestra, Munich Symphony Orchestra and Bamberg Symphony. In November 2014, Christopher Park stood in for Emanuel Ax to great success with the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, only a few months after his widely celebrated début in Hamburg.
So far he has worked with conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Paavo Jarvi, Sebastian Weigle, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, James Gaffigan, Ion Marin, Zsolt Hamar, Roman Kofman, Nicholas Milton, Kimbo Ishii, Paul Daniel and Dimitri Kitaenko. He has given concerts in Europe, Asia, America and New Zealand and played at events including the Ravinia Festival, the Lucerne Festival, the Klavierfestival Ruhr, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Quincena Musical de San Sebastián.
Christopher Park has been chosen as "Rising Star“ by the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation). Therefore he debuted in Europe’s renowned concert halls in Barbican Centre London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Musikverein & Konzerthaus Vienna, Konserthus Stockholm, Opera Oslo, Müpa Budapest, Gulbenkian Lisboa, Philharmonie Berlin, Seoul Arts Center, Kennedy Center Washington D.C., and others.
Alongside his engagements as a soloist, for which he has gained recognition in the form of various scholarships and awards, he is passionately involved in chamber music. He made his début in the Brahms Saal of the Vienna Musikverein at the end of 2014 with the Küchl Quartet, which comprises members of the Vienna Philharmonic. After that the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra nominated him as their candidate for the Credit-Suisse Award. He has also played with Avi Avital, Pablo Ferrandez, Marc Bouchkov, Richard O’Neill, Leticia Moreno, Adolfo Gutiérrez Arenas, the Pavel-Haas Quartet and accompanied singers including Sumi Jo. He has collaborated with John Neumeier on various projects such as Stravinsky’s Petrushka Variations, Schumann’s Kinderszenen and suites by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Next to his solo albums with Deutsche Grammophon, his CD with works by Schumann, Stravinsky and Neuwirth is celebrated in European magazines as "brilliant recording" and "reference version". It is released with Oehms Classics.
Christopher Park was influenced by two major musical traditions during his studies: the Russian school going back to Lev Oborin with Lev Natochenny as well as the German school of Wilhelm Kempff with Joachim Volkmann.
Park taught in Frankfurt/Germany at both, the Conservatory and the University of Music and Performing Arts. Since 2021 he holds a professorship at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.
Piano: Marianna Shirinyan
Armenian-born Marianna Shirinyan is one of the most creative and in sought after pianists in Europe today. Her vibrant and virtuosic musicianship puts her in demand, both as soloist and as chamber musician. Shirinyan plays with great sensitivity, understanding, technical brilliance and beauty of tone, which allows her to offer a wide range of repertoire. Her love for the music and her joy in sharing it with a larger audience are apparent in her performances.
She has received Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s prestigious P2 award for her contribution to Danish music life and the critics prize of the association of Danish critics. She is a frequent guest at a string of international music festivals, among them the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Bodensee Festival, the Schwetzinger Festspiele, MDR Summer Music Festival, Festspillene in Bergen.
Marianna has garnered a reputation as a leading pianist of her generation through solo appearances with orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Oslo, Helsinki and Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestras, Potsdammer Kammerakademie, Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, among others. She enjoyed collaborations with conductors such as Lawrence Foster, Zoltan Kocsis, Antonello Manacorda, Jun Märkl, Daniel Raiskin, Lan Shui, Thomas Søndergård, Krysztof Urbanski and Joshua Weilerstein.
Marianna Shirinyan has a bright discography. One of her later releases, the Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra by Louis Glass which she recorded together with the Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz under the baton of Maestro Daniel Raiskin was awarded the P2 prize of the Danish radio. Marianna’s latest release Rachmaninov Suites for two pianos together with her former student Dominik Wizjan, released on Orchid classics has been highly praised by the reviewers and listeners alike.
Marianna is a professor of piano at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and guest professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, in addition to curating several chamber music festivals across Europe.
Piano: Noriko Ogawa
Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world since her success at Leeds International Piano Competition. Noriko’s “ravishingly poetic playing” (Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries and acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records, confirms her as a fine Debussy specialist.
As an exclusive recording artist for BIS Records, Noriko’s latest recording is of solo music by Eric Satie. Ranging from Mozart, Rachmaninov and Debussy to contemporary composers including Alexander Tcherepnin, Vagn Holmboe, and Yoshihiro Kanno, Noriko boasts a prolific catalogue of over 30 albums.
Noriko appears with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
She is a renowned recitalist and chamber musician, performing with artists such as Evelyn Glennie. In 2001 Noriko established a piano duo with Kathryn Stott, performing Malcolm Arnold’s Concerto for Two Pianos at the 2013 BBC Proms.
Noriko was appointed as the Chairperson of the Jury for Japan’s prestigious 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2018 and elected to the board of the World Federation of International Music Competitions the same year. Noriko is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, as well as guest educator at the Royal College of Music, Yamaha Masterclass from Tokyo to Seoul, Chetham’s International Piano Summer School and at the Hamamatsu International Piano Academy.
In addition to her busy performing and teaching, Noriko regularly judges at international competitions such as the BBC Young Musician, Munich International Piano Competition, Honens International Piano Competition and the Scottish International Piano Competition.
Violin: Erik Heide
Swedish-born violinist Erik Heide graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen in 1998 after studies with Milan Vitek. He furthered his studies at the Musikhochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet and in Helsinki with Ralf Gothóni.
Erik is one of Scandinavia’s most acclaimed chamber musician and has together with his award-winning piano trio, Trio Ondine, won the Haydn Competition Vienna, the Parkhouse Award London, Audience Prize in both the ARD competition Munchen and the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competiton. The piano trio has performed in concert halls such as: Wigmore Hall, Concerthaus Wien, Pablo Casals Festival. They have also been New Generation Artists for the BBC.
Erik has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and recorded several violin concertos for the Danish label Dacapo. His latest performance together with Lars Anders Tomter and Norrköping Symphony Orchestra was nominated for an American Grammy and was Editor’s Choice in the Gramophone.
Erik was first concertmaster in Copenhagen Phil between 2004-2018 and in the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra between 2017-2020. He continues to be first concertmaster of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and performs regularly as a guest leader with orchestras across Europe. He has been invited to guest lead Orchestras such as the Madrid National Symphony Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra Lisbon, Hamburg Staatsoper, Oslo Opera, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic amongst others.
Erik is a very dedicated teacher and has in recent years established himself as an exciting, innovative and energetic teacher in Scandinavia. He is a professor and Head of Strings in the University of Stavanger (Norway) and Academy of Music in Malmö (Sweden). In the coming years, Erik will work together with YOMA (Young Musicians Academy in Sweden) where he will teach the talented violinists in Sweden and around Europe between the ages of thirteen and eighteen.
Erik plays a Joseph Guarnerius violin and loves windsurfing.
Violin: Kevin Lin
Originally from New York, violinist Kevin Lin has received international recognition for his musicianship and “soulful” playing (The Arts Desk). Lin currently serves as Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Lin is a highly sought after Concertmaster, previously holding the position of Co-Leader in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. His Guest Concertmaster appearances have included the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Lin has performed as a soloist and recitalist across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and South Korea. In recent years, Lin has received prizes from the Irving M. Klein International Competition (Fourth Prize) and the Schmidbauer International Competition (First Prize), as well as competed in the George Enescu International Violin Competition and Menuhin International Violin Competition.
Lin spent his early years studying with Patinka Kopec in New York, and later with Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree. He continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia as a recipient of the Mark E. Rubenstein Fellowship, under the pedagogy of Aaron Rosand.
Kevin performs on the 1683 Ex-Gingold Stradivari on loan to him from the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.
Violin: Yu-Chien (Benny) Tseng
Yu-Chien (Benny) Tseng is rapidly building an international reputation as an emerging young soloist of enormous promise praised for his “grace, poise, and blistering virtuosity.”
Following his win at the XV International Tchaikovsky Violin Competition in 2015, he has made a series of major debuts, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
A student of eminent pedagogues Aaron Rosand and Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute of Music, Tseng previously won first prizes at the Singapore International Violin Competition, Sarasate Violin Competition in Pamplona, Spain and the Isang Yun Violin Competition in Korea.
Yu-Chien has appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky theatre Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Belgium, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan Philharmonic, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Sinfonia Varsovia and many others. He has worked with Maestros such as Valery Gergiev, Jiří Bělohlávek, Esa- Pekka Salonen, Osmo Vänskä, Jacek Kaspszyk, Lü Jia and most recently with Mikhail Pletnev.
At the Tchaikovsky Competition, his winning performances in the final round featured two of the most iconic concertos in the violin repertoire, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius, attracting the attention of Maestro Valery Gergiev, who invited him to perform at the maestro’s festival in Mikkeli, Finland, as well as the White Night Festival in St. Petersburg and the Far East Festival in Vladivostok. He also performed both the Tchaikovsky and Brahms concertos with Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic on their tour to Taiwan in November 2015 and the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major at the M360 Festival, in Munich. Tseng has frequently performed in recital in Europe, America and Asia.
In 2018/19 season, which was his last full season before his military service and the Covid outbreak, highlights included Penderecki’s Violin Concerto No. 1 under the baton of Maestro Lawrence Foster as part of the composer’s 85th birthday celebrations in Warsaw. He also performed with the Tokyo Philharmonic for a five-concert engagement with Maestro Mikhail Pletnev.
In 2020, due to the restrictions of the pandemic, Benny was only able to give recitals and concertos in Taiwan, with orchestras such as the Taiwan Philharmonic Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra. He participated in the Taipei Music Academy & Festival and performed with violinist Cho-Liang Lin. In addition, he has received invitations from Vienna, Austria; Brandenburg, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Singapore, Hong Kong and other regions and countries.
He has released two excellent recordings on DG, a recital disc “Reverie” in 2017, a Tchaikovsky album with the Russian National Orchestra and Mikhail Pletnev in 2018.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Yu-Chien (Benny) pursued his studies in the Curtis Institute of Music from the age of 13. He plays the "ex Jules Massenet" 1735 Nicolò Gagliano on generous loan from a private collector.
Pre-Competition Screening Panel
PIANO PANEL MEMBERS
CHNG KAI JIN is a pianist and passionate music lover. His portfolios include being at the helm of Symphony 924, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Recording Industry Association Singapore.
MARGARET CHEN is organist and educator. She continues to be a regional consultant for major organ projects and celebrates 40 years of teaching at the Singapore Bible College School of Church Music.
SHANE THIO is a prolific pianist and accompanist. He was the inaugural recipient of the Young Artist Award, Singapore (1992) and has been a répétiteur with Singapore Dance Theatre, TheatreWorks and Singapore Lyric Opera.
VIOLIN PANEL MEMBERS
JOSHUA TAN is a conductor, at home with symphonic, operatic and ballet works. A graduate of The Juilliard School and the Eastman School of Music, he is an awardee of numerous scholarships and awards including the Young Artist Award, Singapore (2011).
LYNNETTE SEAH was the acting Leader at the inception of the SSO in January 1979, and was its Co-Concertmaster until 2019. She was awarded with the Cultural Medallion in 2006 and honoured with the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame Award in 2014.
MATTHIEU ARAMA is an internationally-acclaimed violinist who was a top laureate of the Montreal International Violin Competition in 2003. He is a Professor at Pôle d'Enseignement Supérieur de Musique et de Bordeaux-Aquitaine.