International Jury Members
One of the most outstanding Polish pianists and professors, laureate of five international piano competitions. He completed piano studies at the Frederick Chopin Music University in Warsaw in the class of prof. Jan Ekier.
The opportunity of having artistic contact with Arthur Rubin-stein and Witold Lutoslawski also had a huge impact on the final development of his artistic personality.
His success achieved at the 8th Frederick Chopin International Piano Competition opened to Piotr Paleczny the doors of many prestigious world concert halls. Receiving, in company of Garrick Ohlsson and Mitsuko Uchida - the Third Prize, the Special Prize for the best performance of a Polonaise and the Witold Małcużyński Prize his career, which the artist has enjoyed constantly until now performing concerts on all continents.
He performed as a soloist with such prominent orchestras as the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouw, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, RAI, Santa Cecilia, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Argentina and Orquesta Nacional de España....
He gave concerts in prestigious concert halls including the Carnegie Hall, the Alice Tully Hall and the UN General Assembly Hall in New York, the Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Berliner Philharmonie, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Festival Hall in London and Festspielhaus in Salzburg.
He has held master classes in New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Fort Worth, Bordeaux, Paris, Seoul, Beijing, Brescia, Madrid, Amsterdam, Hamamatsu, Montevideo, Mexico City...
He has gained a great recognition as a juror at the prestigious international piano competitions such as those organized in Warsaw (seven last editions of the Chopin Competition), Leeds, Montreal, Moscow (Tchaikovsky - in 2002 and in June, 2019), Paris, Tel Aviv, London, Cleveland, Geneve, Hamamatsu, Toronto, Tokyo, Takamatsu, Seoul, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Santander, Sendai, Taipei, Weimar, Manchester, Shezhen, Los Angeles, Hilton Head...
In July 2007, he led the Jury works at the prestigious piano competition in Cleveland, thus he was the first and only Pole invited to fulfill a function of Jury chairman at the USA international piano competitions.
On 5 November 2001, Piotr Paleczny was invited to be a soloist of the extraordinary Gala Concert to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1993 he has been Artistic Director of the world's oldest existing piano festival – the Duszniki International Chopin Piano Festival and since 2004 he also is the Artistic Director of the International Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz.
In 2015 the National F.Chopin Institute has released highly awaited CD recorded by Piotr Paleczny - all Chopin recital which became a huge success among critics and the audience. Piotr Paleczny conducts the piano class at the Frederick Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. His students have won dozens of awards at the international and national piano competitions.
Currently he is also Professor at the Talent Music Academy in Brescia, Italy. In March 2017, Piotr Paleczny was awarded with prestigious Diploma and Title of Honorary Professor of the F.Chopin University of Music.
In April 2017, the Board of the Polish Phonographic Academy, in recognition of his artistic achievements, awarded him with the most prestigious 'Golden Fryderyk' Award.
In September 2018, Piotr Paleczny received an extraordinary and unique prize - The C.K. Norwid Award "Work of Life" The artist is honored with many superior and prestigious Polish and foreign states decorations, such as the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Mexican Order of the Aguila Azteca.
In September 2005, Piotr Paleczny was awarded the highest Polish artistic distinction - „Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis”.
In 2019 - the Government of Japan awarded Piotr Paleczny one of the highest japanese honors - Order of the Rising Sun, Golden Rays with Ribbon.
Congyu Wang (Artistic Director)
Hailed as a “complete musician – a sensitive artist and an extremely talented young pianist”, Congyu Wang is an internationally renowned soloist who has garnered acclaim as a recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician.
Born in Singapore, Congyu Wang started playing the piano at the age of 3. He was selected for a scholarship that enabled him to attend the prestigious Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, where he studied with renowned French pianists Jean-Marc Luisada and Odile Catelin-Delangle. He later enrolled in the Schola Cantorum (Paris) to continue his studies with Gabriel Tacchino (who had been Francis Poulenc’s only student). Ever since youth, Congyu Wang has enjoyed phenomenal success in international piano competitions, ultimately winning the Grand Prize in Berlin and Bordeaux. His other prizes include Vulaines-sur-Seine, Lagny-sur-Marne, Merignac, Paris, Jakarta, Tallinn and Cle d’Or Reunion. He was featured in the national news journal ‘Zao Bao’ as Singapore’s most promising young artist of the year in 2016.
At the Chopin International Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Slovenia, Congyu was awarded 6th Prize. One of the jury members, François Weigel, believed he should have won, and resigned thereupon in protest. Congyu Wang has since made appearances in over 800 recitals in France, England, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Mauritius, South Africa, Reunion Island, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries.
Highlights of some of his performances include festival appearances at Château de la Verrerie (France), Ernen Music Festival (Switzerland), the Geza Anda Piano Festival Masterclasses (Berlin), the International Isang Yun Academy (Paris), International Hammer Klavier Piano Series (Barcelona), International Piano Festival (Amarante), Festival Langtang (Reunion Island) and Chopin Fest (Belgrade). Congyu Wang has performed for many important guests internationally – Celebrities, Bankers, Diplomats and Ambassadors including the Prince of Brunei, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Ambassadors and Consular of France, Singapore, China and Norway.
Congyu Wang has earned a reputation for delivering stunning performances of extremely demanding repertoire. His vast repertoire includes 30 piano concertos, along with the complete solo piano oeuvre of Chopin and Poulenc. Congyu Wang has shared the stage with many well-known musicians, such as Roman Leuleu, Agnes Kallay, Giancarlo de Lorenzo, Elena Xanthoudakis, Grigor Palikarov, quatour arsis etc.
In 2015 Congyu Wang published his first album ‘Charme’ on KNS classical featuring the works of Francis Poulenc to international acclaim. Recently he released his second album ‘Reflets’ dedicated to Claude Debussy commemorating the 100th death anniversary of the French Composer. His recordings are frequently broadcasted on radios internationally – France Musique, BBC radio 3 (UK), Radio Vie (Reunion), Radio Antena 2 (Portugal), Classic 1027 (South Africa), Symphony 92.4 (Singapore) etc. In 2019 Congyu Wang was featured on the movie ‘Une Barque sur l’Ocean’ directed by French director Arnold de Parscau.
Congyu Wang is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Piano Island Festival and the Piano Concerto festival and the International Chopin Competition in South Africa. He is ambassador to several charitable foundations - Association des Jeunes Musiciens (Young musicians), Association Koinonia (International Refugees), Grace International Foundation Liverpool (Youth Development). Congyu Wang is a Young Steinway Artist.
The South African pianist and Steinway Artist Ben Schoeman won several awards, including the first grand prize in the 11th UNISA International Piano Competition, Pretoria (2008), the gold medal in the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition, London (2009), the Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2011), the contemporary music prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition, USA (2013), and the Huberte Rupert Prize from the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences (2016).
He has given solo, chamber music and concerto performances in such prestigious concert halls as the Wigmore, Barbican, Cadogan, LSO St Luke’s and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Gulbenkian Auditorium in Lisbon, Teatro Vittoria in Turin, the Fondazione Cariplo Auditorium in Milan, the Durban and Cape Town City Halls and the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. He has performed at many international festivals such as City of London, Edinburgh Fringe, Chester, Enescu Bucharest, Grahamstown and Ottawa. As a concerto soloist he has collaborated with several conductors, including Wolfram Christ, Nicholas Cleobury, Carlos Izcaray, James Judd, Gérard Korsten, Theodore Kuchar, Diego Masson, En Shao, Yasuo Shinozaki, Arjan Tien and Conrad van Alphen.
Schoeman studied at the University of Pretoria, the Accademia Pianistica ‘Incontri col Maestro’ in Imola, the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole in Florence and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with renowned professors such as Joseph Stanford, Louis Lortie, Michel Dalberto, Boris Petrushansky, Ronan O’Hora and Eliso Virsaladze. He obtained a doctorate in music from City, University of London and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with a thesis on the piano works of the eminent South African composer Stefans Grové.
His solo album, featuring works of Franz Liszt, is available under the TwoPianists label and he has recorded music of Rubinstein and Rachmaninoff with cellist Anzél Gerber. His performance in London with pianist Tessa Uys of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, arranged for piano duet by Xaver Scharwenka, was recorded for broadcast on national television.
Ben Schoeman is a senior lecturer in piano and musicology at the University of Pretoria, where he received the Laureate Award.
After winning the First Prize at the Birmingham International Piano Competition and being the grand final winner of the year 2015 of all the music colleges in London – Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance, Guildhall School of Music, Gen has performed at many of the world's finest venues including Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Purcell Room in London, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Grand Hall of Casa da Música in Portugal, Fazioli Concert Hall in Italy, receiving high praise from both public and critics alike. BBC radio 3 presenter Sean Rafferty described him as 'the pianist with golden fingers', after listening.
After winning third Prize at the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition In 2018, he performed piano concertos with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jac van Steen, in BBC Live Broadcast.
He is now a jury member of many international piano competitions under Alink-Argerich foundation. He has been invited to give masterclasses and concerts at the China Conservatory of Music (Beijing), Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance, Wuhan Conservatory of Music etc. He performed piano concertos with Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, Portuguese Philharmonic Orchestra, Roma State Symphony Orchestra, London Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, Barnet Symphony Orchestra, Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra etc.
His other competition top-three prizes include Roma International Piano Competition, Malta International Piano Competition, Piano FVG Competition in Sacile (Same Prize as Dmitry Shishkin), Eastbourne Soloists' Competition, Santa Cecilia Piano Competition in Porto.
He studied at the Royal College of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he received his BMus, MMus, Artist Diploma and Fellowship of Trinity College London. His teachers include Deniz Gelenbe, Ian Jones, Nigel Clayton and Dmitri Alexeev.
Gen gratefully acknowledges his generous sponsors and supports Fairlight Art Trust, S. W. Mitchell Capital, Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award, KNS Classical Recording, Joseph Clover Award, Nina Polani Award, Delina musician Award, Alfred Kitchin Award, and NOSWAD Charity Award.