Chopin at Wawel

Cracow, 7-11 July 2021

  Andrzej Pikul (Poland) - Chairman of Jury

ANDRZEJ PIKUL - gradutated from the piano class of Prof. Tadeusz Żmudziński at the Academy of Music in Kraków (1980). He continued his studies I the master class of Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna (1981–1983). He also participated in many other master courses taught by eminent pianists (including A. Jenner, V. Perlemuter, G. Agosti, T. Vasary). He is a laureate of the Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk (1981), the International Competition Foundation Cziffrra in Senlis (1983), the European Broadcasting Competion in Bratislava (1985). He began his international artistic career with a successful performance at the festival Szene der Jugend in Salzburg (1982). Since that time, he gave many performances in prestigious concert-halls (such as the Brahms-Saal and the Beethoven-Saal in Vienna, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Norsk Opera in Oslo, the Izumi Hall in Osaka, the National Theater in Brasilia). He has already appeared in almost all European countries, Japan, Brazil, China, Chile, Columbia and the USA.

He has participated in numerous festivals, including the Polish Piano Festival, Vratislavia Cantans, Bydgoszcz Music Festival, Music in Old Kraków, International Days of Kraków Composers, Encuentro de Musica International de La Serena (Chile) Festival of Music in Bucamaranga (Columbia), Leipziger Chopin Tage, Kosicka Hudobna Jar (Slovakia), Sofia Music Weeks (Bulgaria), Sollertinski Festival in Vitebsk (Belarus) and the International Music Festival in Kiev.

He has made numerous recordings for Polish Radio and Television, Osterreichische Rundfunk und Fernsehen, Radio Suisse Romande, and several CD albums (including Dux 0320: K. Szymanowski: Symphonie concertante op. 60, A. Tansman: suite for 2 pianos and orchestra and Dux 0552/3 A. Ginastera The complete music for piano, Dux 0929 F. Liszt Italy and Dux 0927/0928 F. Chopin Polonaises). He has also performed premieres of the 20th and 21th century pieces. He has been the dedicatee of music by many contemporary composers (including Krystyna Muszumańska-Nazar’s Apigram). He has taught master courses for pianists in Chile, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, and Spain, and sat on juries of Polish and international music competitions (among others in Andorra, Barcelona, Hongkong and Osaka).

He was a visiting professor in Kobe College Japan (2002/2003) and at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (2011/2012). He is Professor of Piano and head of the Piano Department at the Academy of Music Kraków.

  Gajusz Kęska (Poland) - Director of the Competition

GAJUSZ KĘSKA - His study in Academy of Music in Cracow in piano class of Professor Andrzej Pikul he finished in 2002 with distinction. In the same year he started post graduated study in master piano class of Professor Willem Brons in Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam, which he finished in 2005. In March 2010 he got his PhD in music in Academy of Music in Cracow where nowadays he is leading his own piano class in piano department. In 2017 he got his habilitation title. His students are prizewinners of national and international piano competitions. He is a prize winner of national and international piano competition: National Polish Piano Competition EPTA in Cracow, International Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Gaillard in France, Polish Music Festival “Week of Talent” in Tarnów, Piano Competition “Tadeusz Żmudziński im Memoriam” in Cracow, Special Prize for the best performance of romantic music in International Piano Masterclass in Tel-Hai in Israel, International Pacific Piano Competition in Vancouver in Canada and International Piano Competition “Ciutat de Mallorca” in Palma de Mallorca. He was a scholarship holder of Polish Minister of Culture and Art, Jűtting Foundation in Stendal, Maestro Hans Vonk, Schumann-Schimmel van Outeren Foundation in Holland.

Gajusz Kęska performs wide repertoire as a soloist and chamber music player and regularly plays in prestigious halls during festivals and concerts in most of the countries of Europe and China, Canada, Japan, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Equador and Israel. The most important of them are: International Chopin Festival „Chopin Tage” in Leipzig, Festival „Polish days” in Prague, Polish Composers Festival in Atma, „International Woche Festival” in Stefaniensall in Graz, Jutting Foundation Festival in Stendal, Gala Concert in Bosendorfersall in Vienna promotion Poland as a member of European Union, Recanti Auditorium in Tel-Aviv, Polish Embassy in Tokyo, Polish Master Pianist Festival in Słupsk, Gateway Theater in Vancouver, Holland Music Session in Holland, Auditorio Forteza in Palma de Mallorca, Vriendenkrans Music Festival in Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Festival of Prizewinners of Music Competitions in Philharmonic Hall in Katowice, Chopin Recitals in the house of F. Chopin in Żelazowa Wola, Teatro Oriente and Centrum Culturale de Providencia in Santiago de Chile, St. Giles Cathedra in Edinburgh, Rainbow Theatre in Inverness, Teatro del Lago – during “Semanas Musicales” Festival in Frutillar (Chile), Auditorium Ricardo Palma in Lima and in Teatro Sucre in Quito, National Philharmony of Belarus in Minsk, “Iguazu en Concierto Music Festival” in Iguazu (Argentina).

In 2013 his debut CD with Piano Sonatas of K. Szymanowski for nominated for ICMA 2013, for Fryderyk Prize 2013 and got Prize from Spanish music magazine “Scherzo”.

From 2015 he is creator and director of International Competition for Young Pianist “Chopin at Wawel” in Krakow, Poland. Since the same year Gajusz Kęska is coorganizer and artistic director of international masterclasses Academy of Talent in Łącko, Poland.


  Mikhail Alexandrov (Russia)

MIKHAIL ALEXANDROV - received his musical education at the Rostov-Don Art College and the Saratov State Conservatory. In 1975 he finished the post-graduate course at the same conservatory. Since 1969, he taught at the Kalmyk College of Music, then - at the Rostov College of Arts, at the Rostov Conservatory named after S. Rachmaninoff, at the Central Music School attached to the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1989, Mikhail Alexandrov founded the All-Union Center for the Arts charity "Young Talents", which was the first Soviet organization to support children's music professional creativity. Mikhail Alexandrov is the organizer of many major musical event in Russia - festivals and international competitions, including Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov international competitions. Since 1991, he is a permanent director and artistic director of the International Frederick Chopin Society in Moscow, one of its major projects is the Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists. Mikhail Alexandrov's concerts as a soloist and chamber musician. In recent years, his performances took place in Germany, Scotland, Republic of Korea, Japan, China, Turkey, Belarus, the Russian cities. M. Alexandrov is Guest-Professor at Conservatoire of Beijing, Tianjin, University of Tokyo, Seoul and Daegu. He regularly holds master-classes in Korea, Japan, China, Germany and elsewhere. He served as a jury member at international competitions in France, Spain, Poland, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, China and Korea for example: A. Safonov Piano Competition (Piatigorsk, Russia), M. Balakirev International Piano Competition (Krasnodar, Russia), F. Chopin International Competition for Young Pianists (Moscow, Russia), F. Chopin International Piano Competition (Guangzhou, China). Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, Honored Artisan of the Republic of Poland, Honored Artist of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, the title "Person of the Year 2006". Awarded a number of government awards.

He is an artistic director and juror of Chopin International Competition for Young Pianists in Foshan.

  Achille Gallo (Italy)

ACHILLE GALLO - „… A pianist full of passioni and exciting technically capable of reaching the top of expressiveness beyond any possible expectation” (American Record Guide). 

„…A poet of the Piano between the Chopin Waltzes (Bernardino Zappa - “L’Eco di Bergamo”- Italy). 

Eclectic musician, imaginative, passionate, unconventional, far from academic formalisms he sinks the roots of his music training in the tradition of the great piano schools (Vincenzo Scaramuzza and Carlo Zecchi traditions) under the leadership of the great Argentinian pianist and pedagogue Fausto Zadra at the prestigious „Ecole Internationale de Piano” in Switzerland. He is considered one of the Italian leading pianists of his generation. Finalist and awarded in national and international competitions in 1994 he has been Solo-Finalist at the „International Piano Competition Eduard Flipse” in Rotterdam (Netherlands), only Italian in history of the competition. Achille Gallo is concertizing extensively as solo pianist,chamber music performers and with orchestra in international Piano Festivals (Rotterdam, Venice, Valencia, Brussels, Istanbul, Moscow, Vancouver, Rome, Lausanne) and prestigious Concert Halls. His discography boasts 6 CDs for prestigious record labels such as Neos Music GmbH, Velut Luna, Phoenix Classics,, Xclassics Records which inlcude the complete chamber music of Frank Bridge and Frederic Chopin receiving flattering appreciation from international press (Diapason Revue, Classical CD, Gramophone Magazine, Notes, net, American Record Guide, Music Web International Review, Classic Voice, Skug Journal of Music, Colonnesonore.net, Dissonance). National President of the WPTA-World Piano Teachers Association for ITALY (WPTA ITALY) and Founder-Artistic Director of the International Piano Competition „FAUSTO ZADRA” (member of the AAF Alink Argerich Foundation). He serves often as Jury member in prestigious international piano competitions. Piano Professor at the European Piano Open Academy in the Advanced Yearly Master Courses for Professional Performers in Italy. He leads regularly international master classes in Italy, Spain, Russia, Serbia, etc. The USA website „Classical Pianist of the future” has included Achille Gallo in the „Top 155 Pianist of the future” as „a Master of the piano considered an influential and prominent figure in the world music industry”.


  Joanna Li (Hong Kong)

JOANNA LI - Artistic Director, Maestro Performances Hong Kong, Hong Kong Leading Pianist, Doctor of Piano Performing, Moscow Conservatory, Visiting Professor, Music Institute in Moscow Piano Instructor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

a gifted pianist… such a talented musician will bring great benefits to her motherland” wrote world famous pianist, Professor V. Merzhanov.                                    „…marvelous technique...touching sound…" wrote renowned German pianist - Professor Lvov 

Joanna Li was born into a family of musicians in China. Her parents are both vocal performers. Joanna started to play piano at four years old and gave her first performance on stage at the age of five. She won many prizes in piano competitions since her childhood. She studied piano in Russia for ten years, studied directly under Professor Merzhanov, one of the four piano schools in Moscow Conservatory (Merzhanov, Gornostayeva, Voskresensky and Dorensky), and was granted the title 'Solo Performer' by the Russian Government, which is only issued to the most outstanding students in the country. She has finished Master Degree as Solo Performance, Master Degree as Chamber Music, Master Degree as Piano Accompanist and Master Degree as Teacher. Joanna was awarded her Degree of Doctor from one of the most prestigious Conservatories in the world - the Moscow Conservatory with full marks. 

Joanna Li has been the winners of two international piano competitions - International Piano Competition in the memory of 250 Anniversary of Mozart’s birth in Russia and International Slavonic Piano Competition in Russia.

She was invited to give solo performances, ensemble and performances in International Music Festivals and to serve as a judge for the international piano competitions in Russia. Professor Li has been invited to perform in Hong Kong, mainland China, USA, Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Mexico and Argentina...etc. She has been awarded the Professor title in Russia in 2011. She is the writer of the piano exam book 'Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music – Lecture on Piano Exams'. She also gives master classes and organizes students' concerts regularly. Her students has already won more than 100 national and international piano competitions since 2008. Teacher’s awards issued by Asia Piano Competition, Toyama Asian Youth Music Competition and Grieg and Bartok Piano Competition…etc. has recognized Professor Li’s contribution to Hong Kong Piano Education.

  Natalia Ricci (Australia)

NATALIA RICCI - Australian born pianist Natalia Ricci enjoys a successful career as chamber musician, soloist and teacher, having performed and recorded internationally over the past 40 years in the USA, Canada, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe. Natalia has made many recordings for the BBC, ABC, Canadian, Italian, Norwegian and New Zealand national radios and has also appeared in live concert telecasts in Italy, Norway, Spain and Australia. She has performed in international music festivals including the Banff Summer Chamber Music Festival, Canada, the International Bartok Festival, Hungary, the Gradus International Music Festival, Spain, the London Objective Music Festival, UK, the Deia International Festival, Mallorca, the Sydney Symphony Contemporary Music Festival and the International Festival of Spanish Music and Dance, Encuentros Españoles in Sydney.

Natalia has been especially recognized for her work with string players and has been associate artist to renowned musicians such as Ruggiero Ricci, Leonid Gorokhov, Kolja Blacher and Adelina Oprean. Natalia received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Cincinnati, USA and her Masters of Music from RNCM in the UK. Her teachers have been the Hungarian pianists/pedagogues Bela Siki and Gyorgy Sebok, the Czech pianist Jiri Hlinka, and the Russian pianists Sulamita Aronovsky and Tatiana Nikolayeva.

Natalia joined the permanent staff of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1999 where she has taught in both the Piano and Ensemble departments. In 2009 she was invited to teach as Profesor in Piano at the University of Auckland, NZ. Since her return to the Sydney Conservatorium, Natalia has been a permanent member of the Piano Unit and Coordinator for the Chamber Music program. As well as her tertiary teaching load, Natalia also has a large class of students in the pre-tertiary SCM Rising Stars program, for highly gifted young students, and in addition, teaches piano students at the Conservatorium High School. Natalia leads the Piano Division of the Open Academy at the SCM, which covers both the Rising Stars program and Conservatorium High School.

In recent years, Natalia’s special research interests have turned to Spanish piano music for which she has long had an abiding passion. She lived in Spain in the 90’s during which time she organized and directed an international summer music festival in Tarragona, Gradus incorporating string masterclasses. concerts and a violin competition. In 2013, she founded Encuentros Españoles, a groundbreaking International Festival and Symposium of Spanish Music and Dance, inaugurated with great success at the SCM, featuring concerts, lectures, masterclasses and workshops offered by internationally acclaimed artists and leading scholars in the field of Spanish music and dance, As part of this initiative and subsequently, Natalia has organized and participated in cross-arts performance collaborations with Los Carmonas Flamenco Dance Academy, the Sydney Flamenco Studio and various Tango Schools, in concerts combining flamenco dance and tango in non-traditional settings with Spanish western art music.

Natalia has also mentored and supervised international post-graduate students specializing in the Spanish piano literature who have graduated with first class honors and awards. She is frequently invited to lecture in Conservatoriums and Universities abroad, interstate and in regional NSW. Natalia is a dedicated teacher whose students continue to enjoy many successes in competitions at local, national and international level. In 2017/18 her students were major prize-winners in such competitions as: the International Piano Competition, Steps to Mastery in St Petersburg, Russia, (2nd prize) the Pearl River Kayserburg International Youth Piano Competition in China (3rd prize), the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in Brisbane (multiple prizes including First prize for Concerto in Finals ), the Val de Travers International Competition for Young Performers in Switzerland (3rd prize) as well as many prize-winners in the Sydney, Ryde and St George Eisteddfods, the Ku-ring-gai Concerto Competition, and various other Australian scholarship Awards. 

She is frequently invited to adjudicate in local and international piano competitions such as the Sydney Eisteddfod and Southern Highland International Piano Competition, the ABC Young Performers Awards and was on the pre-selection panel for the 2017 Vlassenko Competition, auditioning competitors throughout Australia and Auckland.


  Yuo Xi (China)

YOU XI - a Steinway Artist, and a professor and graduate advisor of the Piano Department of the Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing). She is a graduate of the Central Conservatory of Music, Hochschule Musik und Theater (Zurich) and the Manhattan School of Music. She has studied with many internationally renowned pianists and educators, including Ye Junsong, Chen Bigang, Li Qifang, Homero Francesch, Solomon Mikowsky, Nina Svetlanova, and Robert McDonald. Additionally, she has had the privilege of being the only Chinese student of world famous pianist, Alexis Weissenberg.

She is unique in her experience and mastery of both Eastern and Western music traditions, and through her playing exhibits an authentic continuation of the German-Austrian School and the Russian School. You Xi has performed piano works in numerous countries including the US, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Luxembourgthe United Arab Emirates and South Korea. She has performed in many well known theatres, such as Carnegie Recital Hall, the Merkin Concert Hall, the Art Institute of Chicago, Zurich City Hall, Turin Music Hall, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (China), Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Hong Kong City Hall, Tianjin Grand Theatre, Wuhan Qintai Grand Theatre and Xinghai Concert Hall. She has attended many prestigious international and domestic music festivals, including the International Piano Festival of Alexis Weissenberg in Switzerland, the International Music Festival in Vianden, Luxembourg, the Maccagno International Piano Festival in Italy, the Beijing Contemporary Music Festival,  the Xiamen International Piano Festival and the Cadenza International Chamber Music Festival. Xi has also devoted herself to performing contemporary music from around the world and promoting the new works of Chinese composers. She recorded and produced the album entitled “The Sound, Poetry and Paintings of Chamber Music---You Xi and Her Friends”, a selection of performance works at the Chamber Music Festival of CCOM and her personal album themed “Voice of You Xi--Les Affinites”. She also edited a collection of piano music entitled “Best Collection of Piano Works of South America”.

Since beginning her tenure at CCOM in 2006, her students have won various prizes in famous national and international piano competitions. She has won the “Excellent Teacher Award” and “Best Teacher Award” more than 30 times in important competitions held in China; including the "Small Golden Bell" competition, the "Pearl River- Kayserburg" competition, the “Xinghai Competition, and the "Golden Sunflower Cup" competition. She was invited to be the deputy director of the 11th Chopin Youth International Piano Competition (Fuoshan) in 2018.

You Xi is also frequently interviewed by many TV and radio stations and publications such as Beijing Youth Daily, Young Musician, Poland Radio, CCTV News Channel, CCTV Music Channel, New York Chinese Radio, Cap 360 Web TV (France), Young Performer, Piano Journal, Music Space and People's Music. She was awarded the "Henry Fok National Excellent Teachers Award" by the Ministry of Culture of China and "The Talent of New Century" by the Ministry of Education, and she also won the Second Prize of Haidian District in “Beijing Culture Creativity Competition”; In 2015, she was honored the Outstanding Award for "Four Groups of Arts" for her special contribution in publicity and culture circles of Beijing. CCTV invited her to attend "Glorious Bloom"- a concert for China's Top Ten Young Pianists. As the founder of the International Chamber Music Festival of the CCOM, she has been serving as its Artistic Director since its inception in 2008.


  Ming Yang (China)

MING YANG is the Professor of Piano at the Central Conservatory of Music in China. Prof. Yang is currently the Dean of the Central Conservatory Piano Academy at Gulangyu, the Dean of the Central Conservatory Continuous Education Institution, Vice Chairman of the Federation, Music Association Chairman in Xiamen, and editorial advisory board member for the journal “PIANO ARTS” , the most celebrated and authoritative journal in China. Prior to his position in Xiamen, Prof. Yang was Piano Department Head at the Central Conservatory. He published “High-level Piano Conservatory Course”, which has been widely adopted at many music colleges in China. He has given more than one hundred piano lectures on China Central Television; He drafted and implemented the official piano standard test in China under the National Ministry of Labor and National Ministry of Culture; He has been jury member at many national and international piano competitions, such as the Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, Eastman Piano Competition, Cologne International Piano Competition, etc. He is the Artistic Director and Jury President of the Heizmann National Competition, as well as President of the China-French Multi Piano competition. Since his arrival, the Central Conservatory Piano Academy at Gulangyu has grown to be one of the best national Schools of music in China and a globally celebrated school.


  Sławomir Zubrzycki (Poland)

SŁAWOMIR ZUBRZYCKI – pianist, claviolinist, composer, and constructor of musical instruments, born and living in Cracow. 

In 2009 Zubrzycki came across the traces of a real rarity – the keyboard-bowed instrument designed by Leonardo da Vinci, but which had almost been unknown and forgotten. Fascinated by the facts from the past, in the years 2009 – 2012 Zubrzycki created his own version of Leonardo da Vinci’s design, drawing also on other instruments from 1575 – 1625. He brought to life an instrument with a unique sound and ready to concert. The premiere recitals of viola organista (on 18 October 2013 in Cracow, during the International Royal Cracow Piano Festival, and on 21 October at Conrad Festival) were a spectacular artistic success and received a lot of publicity in the media. The video report from the viola’s first concert has been watched by more than 3 million people on YouTube. The news about the construction of viola organista was presented by the most popular media all over the world, including BBC, The Telegraph, France 24, Deutsche Radio Kultur, Corriere della Sera, MSN, Oman Daily Observer, Hindustan Times, Taipei Times.

His European tours in 2014-2017 (over 50 recitals in 17 countries) included recitals at Stockholm Early Music Festival, Mänttä Music Festival, Wratislavia Cantans, Ghent Festival of Flanders, Kotor Art Festival, Polish Music Days in Turkey, Ohrid Summer Festival, Milano Classica, Gaudete! Festival Internazionale di Musica Antica in Vercelli, Bucharest Early Music Festival, Summer Festival of Early Music in Prague, Kristupo Festivali in Vilnius, Copernicus Festival and  Polish Music Festival in Cracow, European Renaissance Music Festival Clos Luce in  Amboise, Les Nuits de Septembre in Liege, Early Music Days in Bratislava, Kromer Biecz Festival and others. In 2015 first album of viola organista were released. “Viola organista – The da Vinci sound” is unique in many ways. It is not only the first-ever recording of “da Vinci’s instrument” recital, but also the first Polish music project funded by music lovers from all over the world by a global crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. The album contains eight Baroque works (including the only work composed for the keyboard-bow instrument, Sonata for Bogenklavier by C. Ph. E. Bach) and, as a bonus, the music by the Leonardo da Vinci – who placed his music work on the painting “Portrait of a musician”. The CD got nomination in Fryderyk Award 2016, and nomination of International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2017 – Baroque Instrumental. 

In 1988 Sławomir Zubrzycki graduated from the Academy of Music in Cracow, where he studied piano in Professor Tadeusz Żmudziński’s class, and modern music in Professor Adam Kaczyński’s class. Having received a grant from The Fulbright Program, he continued to study piano at The Boston Conservatory of Music under the supervision of Janice Weber in 1990-91. The pianist also developed his artistic skills by participating in master classes taught by: Victor Merzhanov, Michael Lewin, Jerome Lowenthal, Włodzimierz Obidowicz, Johann Sonnleitner (harpsichord).

In 1987, he won a Prize at the Polish Piano Art Festival in Słupsk. Sławomir Zubrzycki has been giving concerts both as a soloist – performing with Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra, Capella Cracoviensis, Toruń Chamber Orchestra, Imperial College London Sinfonietta – and as a chamber musician with Olga Szwajgier’s Quartet (as one of its members), Gwendolyn Bradley, Jadwiga Gadulanka, Andrzej Hiolski, in Poland, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Ukraine and USA. He has made several recordings for Polskie Nagrania (Polish recording company), Polish Radio and Television. As a presenter, composer and musical director he has collaborated with Polish Televison on production of educational programs, such as Wszystko gra (It’s All Music To My Ears – a series of lectures on musical instruments for TVP 1 and TVP Polonia) and Sesame Street (Polish version for TVP 2).  He was a lecturer at Summer Academy of Contemporary Music – Avantgarde Tirol in Austria (2005, 2007). He is a head of keyboard instruments section  and teaches his own piano class at the Frederic Chopin State Secondary Music School in Cracow.

Międzynarodowy Konkurs Młodych Pianistów "Chopin pod Wawelem" © 2017