Preselection Jury

Magdalena Hirsz, a Polish pianist of Asian descent has been impressing audiences, critics and fellow performers alike with her vibrant pianism and sensitive musicality. She is prized for   command of a rich and vivid tonal palette, and a virtuosity that is allied to intuitive and thoughtful interpretation.
Among highlights of recent seasons have been recital engagements in Switzerland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Cuba. She has appeared at choice festivals including Septembre Musical and Lourmarin with different interactive projects as the G. Mancini ballet or with the contemporary painters and photographers.

 Magdalena Hirsz began her musical studies in Poland at the Music School and at the age of 14 she gave her first public concert performing Chopin and her own improvisations. On her 18th birthday she became a student in Geneva Music Conservatory in Switzerland. She nevertheless continued to study, musicology at the University of Geneva, then at the the Academy of Music in Łódź, Warsaw and Viena. Magdalena Hirsz’s repertoire is an eclectic mix of music from the Classical period to contemporary music. She has recorded 2 CDs. Besides, she has been developing a parallel career as a pedagogue: she was in charge of the piano class and chamber music at the Institut International de Lancy in Geneva, at Rene Gościnny French High School in Warsaw, the F. Chopin Music State School in Warsaw, St. George's International school in Montreux.

Magdalena is also a creator and artistic director of three Winter Piano Festivals in Warsaw and the President of F. Chopin Institute in Switzerland.

Joanna Brzezinska was born in Torun (Poland) where she started to play the piano at the age of four.  She studied music in Wroclaw and in Warsaw at the Frédéric Chopin Academy. Here she gained her diploma with distinction (l988) in the piano class of professor Bronislawa Kawalla and the chamber music class of Barbara Halska.

Whilst still a student, Joanna was awarded 3rd prize in the Wroclaw Contemporary Music competition (1984), 2nd prize for the best interpretation of “des études de Chopin” in Warsaw (1985) and  1st prize at the “Pianistyki Polskiej Festival” (1988) in Slupsk.  As a result of this she obtained a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and Arts and the opportunity to make a recording of works of Liszt and Villa Lobos.  Her interpretation of a major part of the works of Villa-Lobos was also recorded for the archives of the Polish radio.

She also participated in the International Competitions of Majorca (1988), Belgrade (1989), Göttingen (1989), Utrecht (1992) and Parma (1992).  In all these competitions she won several awards and distinctions and broadened her repertoire between Bach and contemporary music.

Joanna took part in Master Classes given by W. Mierzanov, T. Chebanova, J.C. Vanden-Eynden, E. Mogilewski in Poland and also of E.Y. Yellin at the “Heinrich Neuhaus Stiftung” Zürich.

Having completed her studies Joanna divided her time between two activities:  as a concert pianist and piano teacher.  The latter enabled her to finish her doctorate under the tuition of Professor Andrzej Jasinski, who was Krystian Zimerman’s professor.

From 1994 – 1997 she performed recitals for two pianos with her former teacher Barbara Halska, and gave several concerts with the cellist K. Drzewiecka.

In 1995, 1996 and 1997 she gave Master classes in Nowy Sacz in Poland.

In 1999 she became a piano teacher at the “Conservatoire Populaire de Musique” in Geneva.  Since 2003 she has been busy organising cultural exchanges of students between music schools in Poland and the CPM DT in Geneva.

Alexander Reitenbach - “Unbelievable sensitivity” and “noble and deep interpretation” distinguish this diverse artist, according to newspaper critics. With German-Armenian roots; born in Tiflis and growing up in Stuttgart, Alexander Reitenbach absorbed influences from various musical traditions and pianistic styles which harmoniously combine in his playing and musicality.
He began studying at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart at sixteen years old; firstly in the tradition of the “Russian school” with Oleg Maisenberg and Alexander Garber – both graduates of the Moscow conservatory – and later with the German pianist of the Menuhin Piano Festival Quartet, Friedemann Rieger.
After graduating with distinction, Reitenbach received important impulses and inspiration from Günter Reinhold – one of the last students of the great French musicians Alfred Cortot and Olivier Messiaen.
Since many years Reitenbach has been working with eminent representative of Belcanto traditions in the art of piano playing and the „Golden Age“ of piano art, Prof. Peter Feuchtwanger.
Reitenbach’s repertoire encompasses Baroque, which he also masters on the organ, through contemporary music. In 2002 he performed a retrospective of the 20th century at the Dresden Institute for contemporary music which included music by eighteen composers. Following this, he often performed and worked with colleagues in Germany.
One of Reitenbach’s main focus points is chamber music. Amongst his partners are many soloists from the leading orchestras of Southern Germany.
Reitenbach is a guest at many festivals and concert series across Europe and in Asia: at the FinArt Piano Series in St. Martin-in-the- Fields in London, Oberstdorfer Musiksommer, Klavierfestival Feuchtwangen, Peter de Grote Festival in the Netherlands, Winter Piano Festival in Warsaw, Pianistenfestival Tübingen, amongst others. In 2007 he guested with the violinist Michael Jelden in the Arab Emirates and in China where they performed in various venues including the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Peking and the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai.
During the 2011-2013 seasons Reitenbach was guest soloist to perform the 2nd and 3rd piano Concertos by S. Rachmaninow, 2nd Concerto by J. Brahms and Fr. Chopin.
In 2014 he is invited to play Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini by Rachmaninow in Bangkok with Thailand Phylharmonic Orchestra.

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