Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli Marimo’, Chairwoman

Dr. Stefano Albertini, Director of NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo'

Dr. Salvatore Moltisanti, President IBLA Foundation


The IBLA GRAND PRIZE International Competition Winners

at New York University Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo'

24 West 12th Street in Manhattan

on May 12, 13 & 16, 2014 at 6.00 pm

featuring World Class Performers from Europe, Russia, Asia and the U.S.

"The IBLA Grand Prize International Music Competition, celebrating this

year its 23rd anniversary, has become one of the world’s cultural treasures.

Held each year in early Summer in the magnificent southeastern corner of

Sicily, in the quietly beautiful and charming Baroque city of Ragusa-Ibla,

this competition has proven to be a consistent and world-class showcase for

musical talent of the highest order. The competition’s founder,

Dr. Salvatore Moltisanti, himself a pianist, has created an atmosphere

that encourages openness to any and all forms of music, allowing presentations

of all musical styles as well as instruments (this has included several types

of jazz ensembles, domra virtuosos, accordionists, folk singers and many

others from outside the classical mainstream, as well as instrumental and

vocal performers of standard and contemporary repertoire), and creating a

place where the ideas of wonderfully talented people can be nurtured in

a spirit of international respect.

Baroness Maria Zerilli Marimo, Chairwoman of the IBLA Foundation, offers

every year the opportunity to experience the extraordinary talent of these

musicians at Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo in events preceding and following

the annual Gala concert that this year will take place on May 14 at

Carnegie Weill Recital Hall.

This event, has we have come to expect, will surely be the best possible

evidence of this success, presenting musicianship of the highest order.

IBLA is the name of the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE ancient Baroque

quarters of Ragusa - Ibla, the southernmost province of Italy in

Sicily. Ragusa and Ibla are two sister cities built on two 300 m.

hills. Ibla is the ancient city and Ragusa is the more modern one. The

Monti Iblei that surround the area take the name from the ancient

Ibla. The Mediterrenean coast line is only 18 minutes away. It overlooks

the island of Malta"

by Jeffrey James, Editor, International Composer



Anujin Altangerel, Piano / MONGOLIA

Vito Amato - Percussion / ITALY

Vladimir Anisimov, Saxaphone / RUSSIA

Natalia Anisimova, Piano / RUSSIA

Kris Becker, Piano / USA

Sergio Cali, Percussion / ITALY

Cong Cong Chai, Piano / HONG KONG

Christophe Croise, Cello / SWITZERLAND

 Antonino Errera, Percussion / ITALY  

Michal Gajda, Accordion / POLAND  

Anzel Gerber, Cello / SOUTH AFRICA    

Robert Guzik, Guitar / POLAND  

Kai Han, Piano / USA

Claire Iselin, Harp / FRANCE  

Matei Ioachimescu, Flute / ROMANIA

Ariunzaya Jargalsaikhan, Piano / MONGOLIA  

Ian Miller, Piano / USA

Alexander Panfilov, Piano / RUSSIA

Alessandro Russo, Piano / USA

 Ben Schoeman, Piano / SOUTH AFRICA  

Gabriella Sultana, Piano / MALTA  

Raika Tetsu, Violin / JAPAN

Ana Topalovic, Cello / SERBIA

Adam Woch, Guitar / POLAND  








IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Anujin Altangeredi began studying at State College of Music and Dance of Mongolia since 2002 with professor Ganchimeg. She participated in piano competitions named after F. Chopin in Mongolia 2011 and received an honorable mention at the International Piano Competition in Portugal 2011 as well as the International Piano competition in San Jose  - USA 2012. She recived a second prize in the IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competition in Ragusa Italy, 2013.



IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Vladimir Anisimov was born in 1998 on 22nd of august. The first award was received in 6 years at the International contest in Nizhny Novgorod, where he played the block-flute pieces by Vivaldi,Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich. When he was 9 years old, he received a special jury prize in Prague, Czech Republic. When he was 9 years old, in the city of St. Petersburg he received the ovation award and the title of Laureate of the 1st prize at the international competition of jazz Parnas. Then there were the award and laureate designated 2012 - Germany,2012.- Bulgaria,2013.-Italy, Russia. In 2014 October Kazan - laureate of the 1st prize,2014. November Sochi - the Laureate of the 1st prize twice, in the classics and jazz. Successfully goes on tour on cities of Russia, from Ural state Philharmonic with a classical program. Also a soloist with the jazz ensemble Open Sound. In 2012 were joint tour with the famous jazz pianist Daniel Kramer.


IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Natalia Anisimova graduated from the Ural State Conservatory on a class of a piano. In 2000 she graduated school at the Ural State Conservatory - soloist of the chamber orchestra. Since 1990 she works as concertmaster in the class players(oboe), in the class vocalists. Today she is the concertmaster of Tchaikovskys music school in the class of choral conducting Department. She has awards of the international competitions, personal diplomas to the best accompanist.


KRIS BECKER, composer and pianist

IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient composer Kris Becker’s artistic vision has earned Kris major recent recognition: winner of the 2012 National Federation of Music Clubs Beyer Composition Award for his Piano Sonata No.1, Texas Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composer 2013, National Association of Composers USA Young Composers Competition 2013 honoree, and ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards finalist.

Revered authority on piano music Maurice Hinson, who calls Mr. Becker’s sonorities “spellbinding”, offers that “Becker is a musician who has something important to say and knows how to say it.” In Kris’ creativity and communication, technical craft is matched by a vibe that has far-reaching audience appeal, classically structured yet flowing with the undercurrents of classical, jazz, and rock. This talent has been further recognized in the International Songwriting Competition and the ASCAP Lotte Lehmann Art Song Composition Competition, while Kris has performed his original works in venues and cities including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and on Houston’s Impulse Artist Series. Igniting enthusiasm in both musicians and music listeners, Kris’ solo and ensemble music for piano, voice, and other instruments is being played and recorded by professionals and students across the USA while he is commissioned regularly to create yet more. His new work for saxophone, commissioned and performed by Scott Sandberg, was premiered at the 2012 World Saxophone Congress and his new music for 2 Pianos 8 Hands, commissioned by the Stella Royce Piano Camp, was premiered in summer 2012.

A powerful pianist and performer, he has amassed many honors including winner Lee Biennial Int’l, Int’l Chopin of Texas, Artist Presentation Society, Shepherd School of Music Concerto, and Yamaha Young Performing Artist competitions; semi-finalist in the Young Concert Artists Int’l Auditions and finalist Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition New York. Concerto credits include orchestras worldwide. A formidable rock musician, the cross-genre Becker creates the music for and fronts the fusion rock band Kris Becker & The Frozen Heat while he has worked with David Bowie’s pianist Mike Garson and appeared with members of The Temptations.

Rooted in tradition and innovating all at once, the self-described “nu-classical” music of Kris Becker is winning instantaneous fans everywhere it’s heard. Scorching kinetic energy, unrelenting passion, blazing virtuosity, and a powerfully expressive beauty–this is the Kris Becker experience.

BIOGROOVE DUO, percussionists

IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipients Antonino Errera and Vito Amato perform their American Debut. “Una formazione sorprendente il Biogroove, due ragazzi siciliani che con marimba e vibrafono fanno magie”...“La musica che suonano è sorprendente e trans-genere, spazia dal contemporaneo colto alle contaminazioni etniche e jazz. Ma colpiscono, è il caso di dirlo, anche per la speciale “grazia”con cui trattano strumenti dall\'apparenza così muscolare e gestuale.” Gian Mario Benzing, sul Corriere della Sera. “Biogroove vuol dire ritmo vivente, simboleggia il nostro modo di fare musica, rendere vivo ciò ke suoniamo. Che sia puro ritmo o melodia.” Il duo è formato da Antonino Errera e Vito Amato, musicisti che hanno fuso le esperienze della musica classica, del jazz, della musica contemporanea e dell\'improvvisazione, in un unica sfera musicale. Da sempre si dedicano alla ricerca del suono cercando di valorizzare ed esaltare tutte le sfumature che offre il mondo degli strumenti a percussione. La formazione ha vinto il primo premio al concorso “Premio Nazionale delle Arti, il Premio “Vivi Milano” al concorso Gioventù musicale italiana, il primo premio assoluto al concorso nazionale“Eliodoro Sollima”, il primo premio assoluto al concorso di musica da camera “Città di Caccamo”. Si sono esibiti per: il Konzerthaus di Berlino, i festival “Suona Italiano” e “Suona Francese” a Parigi, Radio Rai Tre , il “World Arts Performing Festival” di Lahore in Pakistan, Roccella Jazz Festival, le stagioni ”Contemporanea” dell\'Auditorium Parco della Musica di Roma, il Teatro dal Verme di Milano, la rassegna per i più promettenti giovani del panorama musicale italiano “Antichi cortili, giovani talenti” a Genova, la Rassegna Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea \"Il suono dei Soli\" a Palermo, il Convegno internazionale “Strategie Retoriche Nel Linguaggio Musicale” a Trapani, gli “Amici della Musica” di Alcamo e di Palermo. Hanno all\'attivo collaborazioni con i registi Nanni Moretti e Walter Manfrè, con i compositori Nicola Piovani, Franco Piersanti e Sergio Lanza.


SERGIO CALI, percussionist

Diplomatosi con 110, lode e menzione al Conservatorio di Palermo sotto la guida della prof. ssa Fulvia Ricevuto, si è esibito nell'ambito di festival e stagioni concertistiche ad Astoria (NY, USA), Wolfsburg (Germania), Bauru (Sao Paulo, Brasile), oltre che in Italia, con la compagnia ED, con l'orchestra del conservatorio "V.Bellini" di Palermo, l’orchestra del conservatorio “A. Scontrino” di Trapani. Le più recenti manifestazioni lo hanno visto coinvolto per le rassegne: "Angelica", "Suona Francese", "Suona Italiano" presso la famosa sala dell’Aubette al centro di Strasburgo (FR), con La PCME all'Auditorium Parco della musica a Roma. Nel 2012 ottiene una menzione speciale al “Premio Nazionale Delle Arti – sezione Strumenti a percussione-Solisti” per "la spiccata sensibilità musicale" e nello stesso anno viene ammesso al Progetto Specialistico per artisti di particolare talento GMC - Giovani Musicisti del Conservatorio. Sempre nel 2012 Vince il Premio “Maria Elisa Di Fatta”nella Sezione Giovani Talenti per "perizia tecnica, tocco e valore musicale”e nel 2013 "Most Distinguished Percussionist" al concorso internazionale IBLA GRAND PRIZE.


IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Congcong Chai is the Grand Prize winner of Metropolitan International Piano Competition (New York 2014), the 1st prize winner of Symphony in the Valley Young Artists Concerto Competition (Grand Junction 2013), the 1st prize winner of DCS International Piano Competition (Dallas, 2013), He is also the prize winner of the 53rd Sorantin International Competition for Piano and Strings, the Philharmonia Collegiate Concerto Competition and HSO Young Artist Competition.
He has performed in New York, Vienna, Kansas City, Dallas, Hong Kong, Macau, Shang Hai and Shenzhen. His performances have included varied repertoire for solo piano, chamber, and piano concertos. He enjoys an association with the conductors Richard McKay, Robert Ward, Benjamin Cline and Yondani Butt, performed as a soloist with Dallas Chamber Symphony, Vienna International Orchestra, Hays Symphony Orchestra, Guang Dian Symphony Orchestra and Colorado Symphony in the Valley. The festivals he attended including PianoTexas International Academy & Festival(2012), Concerto Fest Vienna(2012) and International Keyboard Institute & Festival(2013). Born in Xian, China, Chai started learning piano with his mother at a young age. After graduating from Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, study with Prof. Eleanor Wong, he is currently in his third year of the DMA program at University of Kansas with Dr. Jack Winerock. 



Christoph Croisé born 1993 started cello lessons at the age of seven with cellist Katharina Kühne. Since 2007, he has been taught by Alexander Neustroev, principal cellist in the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. 2006-2009 he has been awarded several first prizes at the Swiss Music Competition for Youth in the categories solo, duo and piano trio.In May 2009, he won first prize at the 14th International Competition Petar Konjovic in Belgrad. In 2010, Christoph Croisé was first prize winner at the international music competition Ibla Grand Prize in Sicily and was granted both the Tchaikovsky Award and the Costanza Arezzo Giampiccolo di Donnafugata Award. In June 2010 the European Union of Music Competitions for Youth invited him to the Stars of Tomorrow Tour 2010 where he participated in 6 chamber music concerts in Germany and Austria. In 2011 he played 15 concerts on a tour through the United States of America, including his debut at Carnegie Weill Hall in New York. In March 2012 he gave his debut at the Carnegie Hall in New York with the Variations on a Rococo Theme by P. I. Tchaikovsky, accompanied by the Musical Olympus Festival Orchestra under the baton of S. Kirov. In January 2013 he was the soloist in 8 concerts given by the Young Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In March 2013 he performed the cello concerto by R. Schumann with the Munich Radio Orchestra in Munich, Germany. The live recording has been broadcasted on the Bavarian classic radio. As a soloist, Christoph Croisé has already performed with the Skyline Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, the Camerata Zürich, the Southwest German Philharmonic Orchestra of Constance, the St. Petersburg State Academic Cappella Symphony Orchestra, the Budejovice Philharmonic Orchestra and the State Symphony Orchestra of Baku, Azerbaijan. He has worked with renowned conductors, among them A. Ardal, D. Botinis, G. Bria, L. Gendre, A. Guliyev, G. Mattes and M. Sanderling. He participated at festivals such as the Musical Olympus Festival in St. Petersburg, New York and Baku, the Festival of Russian Culture in Switzerland 2011, the Menuhin Festival Gstaad 2012, the Schwarzwald Musikfestival 2012 and the Musiksommer am Zürichsee 2012.

MICHAL GAJDA, accordionist

IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Michal Gajda graduated summa cum laude from Poznan Academy of Music in 2012 where he studied accordion under supervision of Jerzy Kaszuba. He participated in numerous master classes working with W. L. Puchnowski, K. Baran, B. Dowlasz, Y. Shishkin, A. Dmitriev, V. Dmitriev, P. Fenyuk, M. Varynen. He has taken part in a lot of competitions and festivals, winning many prizes and distinctions, including: 1st prize and Grand Prix in the 2nd International Competition in Memory of J. Haydn in Vienna (2012); 1st prize and a title of the Best Accordionist of the 2012 also Grand Prix as a member of ensemble “Trio New Harmony” in All-Polish Accordion Competition in Solec-Zdrój (2012),  1st prize in solo category and 1st prize in ensemble category with “Trio New Harmony” in the 17th International Accordion Competition in Sanok (2012), 2nd prize in the International Accordion Competition Vilnius (2011), 3rd prize in the International Accordion Competition Vamo in Vienna (2011), 3rd prize in the 47th International Accordion Competition in Klingenthal (2010), 1st prize in the 16th International Accordion Competition in Sanok (2010), 2nd prize in the 19th International Accordion Competition in Przemyl (2010), 1st prize and Grand Prix in the Accordion Competition “Harmonia Viva” in Warsaw (2009), 3rd prize in the International Accordion Competition in Poprad (2007), 3rd prize in the International Accordion Competition in Castelfidardo (2002), 2nd prize in the International Accordion Competition in Bratislava (2002), 2nd prize in the 5th International Accordion Competition in Dresden (2000). His musical activity extends from solo accordion works as well as organ music, trough Astor Piazzolla tango nuevo to contemporary musi works. He is taking part in a many various ensembles performing classical and popular music. He is giving concerts as a soloist with symphonic orchesters.  He has given recitals as soloist and chamber musician (Trio New Harmony, New Poznan Accordion Duo, Duo ClassZmer) in Poland, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Slovakia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, Sicilia. In 2011 he won a scholarship of Provincial Marshal of Łódź. He is also a triple holder of a scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Legacy (2002, 2005, 2011) and winner of Scholarship Program of Minister of Culture and National Legacy “Młoda Polska”/ “Young Poland” (2012).  In 2012 Michał Gajda represented Poznan Academy of Music in a “Festiwal Sztuki Młodych”/ “Students Art Festival”. He is currently working with Poznan New Theatre as music manager. Since October 2013 he is studying PhD programme at Poznan Academy of Music.



IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Anzel Gerber is praised by various critics for her ability to capture the audience through her mature artistic approach, extraordinary musicality and technique, Anzél Gerber is increasingly performing on internationally renowned stages. Anzél Gerber’s art as cellist has been shaped by Russia’s most prominent teachers and soloists, starting with three years under Alexander Fedortchenko in Spain, followed by two years’ tuition with Alexander Kniazev at the Moscow State Conservatory. Later, as part of her PhD in Music Performance at the University of London, she pursued her studies under Russia’s legendary cello teacher, Natalia Shakhovskaya. As cellist today, she is a dedicated exponent of the Russian school and is deeply rooted in its discipline, as established by Mstislav Rostropovich and perpetuated through Dr Gerber’s teachers – all of which have been either associates or students of this great master musician.She received her first lessons at the age of four, in Pretoria, South Africa. Her first teacher was Glenda Piek, later followed by Marian Lewin. Under Lewin’s tutelage she won several music competitions and scholarships, which enabled her to further her studies abroad.In the course of her training as musician, Dr Gerber received guidance from David Geringas, Karine Georgian, Ralph Kirshbaum and Maxim Vengerov. She also attended master classes by Mstislav Rostropovich, Natalia Gutman, Heinrich Schiff, Bernard Greenhouse, Gary Hoffman, Maria Kliegel, Young-Chang Cho, Philippe Muller and Julius Berger.As soloist she has collaborated with numerous conductors, including Gérard Korsten, Guido Ajmone-Marsan, David Tidboald, Leslie B Dunner, Christopher Dowdeswell, Robert Maxym, Gordon Hunt, Richard Cock and Hector Hevia.She regularly performs with the renowned pianist Ben Schoeman. The duo received the “Baronessa Constanza Arezzo Giampiccolo di Donnafugata IBLA Award” as overall winners of the IBLA Grand Prize International Music Competition in Italy in 2012. In addition, they received a special “Debussy award” for their rendering of the Debussy sonata for cello and piano. They have been invited to perform in Carnegie Hall, New York, on the 14th 2014. Apart from her performance career, Dr Gerber is a dedicated lecturer and researcher. She received her PhD in Music (Performance) from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2008. Her doctoral research entitled Critical success factors in cello training is a comparative study on cello training in Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Her keen interest in the field of gifted music education, served as inspiration for her postdoctoral research entitled Gifted music education: an international perspective, at Temple University, Philadelphia in the United States of America from 2009 to 2010. She gave master classes at the Music Conservatory in Beijing and is passionate about teaching. She served on the faculty and was a member of the jury for the International Music Academy and Competition in Cremona, Italy during July 2013. She is lecturing cello performance and methodology at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

ROBERT GUZIK, guitarist

IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Robert Guzik began to play the guitar at the age of six under the supervision of Jan Kowalczyk at the Z. Noskowski \'s Music School in Gdynia (Poland), from which he graduated in 2008. He is a student of the F. Chopin \'s University of Music in Warsaw under Prof. Marcin Zalewski. During his musical education he has had an opportunity to attend to masterclasses with many remarkable artists such as: Odair Assad, Marcin Dylla, Aniello Desiderio, Zoran Dukic, Thomas Muller – Pering, Giampaolo Bandini and many others. Robert has performed in solo recitals as well as some chamber music in Poland. He has won many prizes at national and international guitar competitions, such as: I prize at National Guitar Competition in Gdansk (Poland), II prize at the International Czesaw Drodziewicz Guitar Competition in Krynica Zdrój (Poland).



IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARDrecipient Ariunzaya Jargalsaikhan was born in 1997 in Ulaanbaatar , Mongolia. She began studying at the Music and Dance college of Mongolia in 2003. Her hobbies include reading books, baking , tennis, and cinema. while studying at The Music and dance college, she recieved many awards from international pian competitions such as: Second place of Milosz Magin international competition  which was held in Paris,France in 2007, First place of Chuluun competition which was held in Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia in 2008 & 2010, Third place of Nikolaevna Grigorieva Bandi competition which was held in Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia in 2009,Second place of D.Kabalevsky competition which was held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 2009. First place(solo) & Second place(duet)of Donastia Hiria Ciudad de San sebastian international competition in San sebastian,Spain in 2009, First place of Chopin and Mongolia in 21st century international competition in Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia in 2011. First place of Technical competition in Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia in 201, First place of Milosz Magin international competition which was held in Paris,France in 201, First place of Piano duet competition in Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia in 2012, First place(trio) of Chamber music competition in Ulaanbaatar in 2013 Second place of Technical competition in Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia in 2013,Second place of Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev competition which were held in Ragusa,Italy in 2013 and First place of  B.Smetan competition which was held in Ulaanbaatar,Mongolia. Her favourite pianists include Daniil Trifinov, Yun di, Lang Lang and Richter.



IBLA guest artist, flutist Matei Ioachimescu is one of the finest musicians of his generation. His brilliant sound, astonishing technique and musical passion were already praised in concert halls around Europe and Asia. He was born in Bucharest - Romania in a musical family and he started playing the piano at the age of five. Later he studied the flute in Vienna with prof. Barbara Gisler-Haase at the University of Music and Performing Arts, where he graduated with honours. Matei was also influenced and supported by outstanding teachers likePierre-Yves Artaud, Ion Bogdan Stefanescu, Renate Armin Greiss and Heidi Peter Indermuhle. He holds “Magister Artium” - Soloist Diploma of the Music University in Vienna and is prize winner of several awards and grants worldwide. One of them is Yehudi Menuhin Foundation(Vienna). Since 2003, Matei is co-principal flutist of the "George Enescu" - Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra. Besides his active solo and chamber music career, he is also performing as a freelance solo flutist with orchestras like Metropolitan Kammerorchester Wien and Vienna Donauphilharmonie. He is member of several chamber music ensembles like Metropolitans Ensemble, Trio Spirit of Vienna, Ensemble Wien-Helsinki and DOT.Duo. .Matei recorded for Romanian Radio and Broadcastingand in 2014 - a debut CD with music by Debussy, Ibert, Jolivet, Saint Saens and Poulenc is planned to be released. Matei Ioachimescu is guest professor at Up-Bow Summer Academy in Vienna as well as at  Summer Academy in Bistrita, Romania which takes place every July. He plays on a 9 K Gold Muramatsu flute.


IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Claire Iselin, born in Mulhouse, France, started learning the harp at age 6 with her mother, along with studies for 11 years on violin, flute and timpani. In 2005, Claire moved to London (UK) to study with Professor Gabriella Dall’Olio at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.  She graduated with a BMus (hons) in 2010 and a MMus in Performance in 2012. While a student at Trinity Laban, she participated in masterclasses with renowned world harpists such as: Letizia Belmondo, Marie-Pierre Langlamet, Andrew Lawrence King, Xavier de Maistre, Marielle Nordmann, Fabrice Pierre and mentored by Suzy Kawalec of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She made her debut at London’s landmark church, St Martin's in the Field, in 2009. Highly acclaimed by both public and critics, she has performed solo recitals, chamber concerts, as well as performing as soloist with orchestras in Europe, China, Canada and other locations. In the UK, she has performed with the Kantanti Chamber Orchestra, Sidcup Symphony Orchestra and the Billroth Ensemble with music by Debussy, Ravel and Ginastera Harp Concerto.  In July 2011, she was invited and performed, The Crown of Ariadne for harp with percussions by R. Murray Schafer at the 11th World Harp Congress in Vancouver, Canada.  She has also performed along with the Mercury Quartet in Kings Place of London. Claire has won several awards and prizes such as: IBLA Grand Prize International Music Competition 2013 Outstanding Musician with Marson special mention & Grace M. Susino Award, The City Music Foundation Winner Award 2013, Isabel Bond Gold Medal Competition 2013, for Excellence in Performance and Director's Prize for Achievement.  She was awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians 2012 Silver Medal, winner of the Repertoire Orchestra Concerto Competition. Guest principal harpist to several projects in 2011 for the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO).  First joint prize in the North London Competition 2009 and the John Marson Prize for an Outstanding and Creative Young Musician in 2008. She has recently recorded with the Caravaggio Quartet of Basel for the main Classical Swiss Radio, SFR2 Kultur.  Currently Claire works as a freelance orchestral player, serving as the principal harpist of The World Orchestra, performing as well with BBCCO, Manning Camerata, South Bank Symphonia, amongst many others.



IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD receipient Alexander Panfilov was born in Moscow in 1989 and started taking piano lessons at the age of 6. Alexander studied at the Gnessin Musical School in Moscow with Professor Elena Ivanova (1998­2006) and at the Moscow State Conservatory with Professor Andrei Diev (2006­2011). In 2012 he commended his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music under Professor Graham Scott on the two year Master of Music course. His studies have been made possible by an award from the Garner­Howard Bequest bursary and Liberty Living. Alexander is greatful for this invaluable support. Alexander is the winner of numerous international piano competitions, among which are: Marina Yudina in St.Petersburg, Russia (II prize); Petar Conjovic in Beograd, Serbia (I prize); IBLA Grand Prize 2010 in Ragusa, Sicily (Top Winner); Minsk­2010 in Minsk, White Russia (II prize, I prize not awarded); Mauro Monopoli (2012) in Barletta, Italy (II prize, I prize not awarded). In 2012 he won third prize reprezenting RNCM in the UK Intercollegiate Beethoven Sonata Competition, for his rendition of Apassionata, Op 57. In 2013 he was awarded fitst prize in RNCM Piano Recital Competition and later first prize in the Arcangelo Speranza International Piano Competition in Taranto, Italy. In 2013 Brant International Piano Competition in Birmingham he was also the first prize winner. The same year in Autumn Alexander was awarded the third prize in the Gian Battista Viotti International Piano Competition. Alexander has given numerous performances in some of the most prestigious halls, such as all the Moscow Conservatory Halls and Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Hall, Minsk Philharmonic Great Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York and Radford University Hall in USA, and others. He also performed in festivals, such as Neuhaus festival in Moscow, Shwarzwald Music festival in Germany, and in Mozarteum in Austria. He also has an ongoing duo partnership with the Swiss Cellist Christoph Croise with whom he made the USA concert tour and played recitals in Aarau Town Hall in Switzerland and in St.Blasien Festsaal im Kolleg in Germany.  Alexander has taken part in master classes with such artists as Robert Levin, Nelson Goerner, Stefan Bojsten, Gabriel Kwok and others. Alexander’s broad repertoire encompasses music from J.S.Bach and D.Scarlatti to the 21st century pieces.



IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD receipient Ben Schoeman is one of South Africa’s foremost pianists. He won First Grand Prize in the 11th UNISA International Piano Competition, Pretoria (2008), First Prize and the Gold Medal in the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition, London (2009), the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music (2011), and the Contemporary Music Prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition, USA (2013). He has performed at the Wigmore, Barbican, Cadogan, and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Gulbenkian Auditorium in Lisbon, Teatro del Giglio in Lucca, the Cape Town City Hall and the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. He has appeared at the City of London, Edinburgh, Chester, King’s Lynn, Moritzburg, Grahamstown, Ottawa and George Enescu Festivals. Recently, he performed Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto no. 1 with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall. He has collaborated with several conductors including Yasuo Shinozaki, En Shao, James Judd, Diego Masson, Nicholas Cleobury, Gérard Korsten, and Conrad van Alphen. Mr. Schoeman studied at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), the Accademia Pianistica ‘Incontri col Maestro’ in Imola (Italy), the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (United Kingdom) and the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole (Italy). His teachers include Joseph Stanford, Michel Dalberto, Louis Lortie, Boris Petrushansky, Ronan O’Hora and Eliso Virsaladze. He is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the piano music of South African composer Stefans Grové at City University London. His solo album, featuring works of Franz Liszt, is available under the TwoPianists label. Mr. Schoeman is a Steinway Artist.


IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Gabi Sultana who hails from the island of Malta, has graduated from a Post-Masters’ Degree in Contemporary Music with the highest distinction, from the Royal Conservatory in Ghent, Belgium, where she also obtained her Masters’ Degree with the highest distinction, both under the guidance of Daan Vandewalle. She obtained her Bachelor's Degree in June 2008 from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Holland, under the guidance of Marcel Baudet. During her studies in Malta she obtained Diplomas from Trinity College (ATCL),London School of Music (LLCM) and the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music,London (LRSM), under the guidance of Fransina Abela Brincat, with whom she studied for 12 years, before proceeding to Holland to further her studies in 2001. She won several local piano competitions and was invited by EPTA (UK) to represent Malta in a concert at the Guildhall School of Music in London in 1999, and at the Festival of Winners Concert at the EPTA Conference 2000 held at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. As the prizewinner of the Bice Mizzi Vassallo Competition,she attended the Lake District Summer Music International Festival in 2001. Gabi was also awarded the first Giorgio Federico Ghedini Bursary in Malta in 2009 and between 2010 – 2012 she was the recipient of a Malta Arts Scholarship. Gabi was also nominated as a finalist for De Linkprijs 2012 in Tilburg, Holland, which is a prize for interpreters of Contemporary music. She attended masterclasses with several renowned professors, including John Clegg (UK), Ruth Gerald (UK), Philip Martin (UK), Nina Kazimirova (Ukraine), Alberto Portugheis (UK), Marina Evseeva (Moscow), Balasz Szokolay (Hungary), Renna Kellaway (UK), Barry Snyder (USA) and Carole Presland (UK). During her studies for her Bachelor's she attended several workshops at theRoyal Conservatory of The Hague, including a two-week workshop with Steve Reich, and has taken part in several concerts, both as a soloist and as a member of the "Ensemble Royaal" and "Modelo 62", with whom she toured Holland twice. Gabi is very involved in chamber music. She has played in various formations of chamber ensembles and has premiered several compositions by fellow students as soloist and in ensemble, including a concerto for two pianos and choir. She also played in Mark Anthony Turnage's opera “Greek” in the “Dag in de Branding Festival 2007” in Holland. In Belgium, she is a founder member of 5° Ensemble together with Daniel Pastene (clarinet) and Kristof Lauwers (electronics). In 2013 she had the honour to work with Spectra Ensemble on a prizewinning chamber-opera by Frank Nuyts – Middle East. She has given several solo recitals in various European countries and was also invited by H.E. The President of Malta to play at the Presidential Palace in March 2011. Her solo programs focus on music composed after 1950 and new works by up-and-coming composers. Apart from performing, Gabi has been teaching piano in Malta, Holland and Belgium for over 10 years. She also conducts workshops for children and adults on Appreciation of Contemporary Music.

Presently, she is based in Ghent, Belgium.

RAIKA TETSU, violinist

IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient young violinist  Raika Tetsu was born in JAPAN 2005. He began studing violin at 2 years old. In 2011 when he was 5 years old, Raika  appeared in concert at Kaisersaal Hall and Beethoven Gedenkstatte Floridsdorf in Vienna, AUSTRIA. He won a prize in Junior Design K International Musical Competition 2012 as well as awarded in Shizuoka Prefecture Music competition 2012. 1st prize in All -JAPAN Art  Association Competition 2012 and the Top Award at the 23rd Japan Classical Music Competition 2013. Raika also won Grand Premio; the Top Award at Concorso Musica  Arte Associazione ITALO-GIAPPONESE 2014. Raika recently performed as soloist with the Toyko Orchestra in Japan, April 2014.



IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Ana Topalovic is an active member of the musical scene, performing as a soloist, chamber and crossover musician.
Besides standard cello repertoire Ana’s concert programs also include less known works which she is very fond of promoting as well as her own compositions and arrangements for solo cello and other formations. Her piece "Two Serbian Melodies" was premiered in Bucharest and recorded for Romanian National Radio. A very important part of her artistic work is the engagement with the contemporary music. Many composers dedicated their pieces to Ana which she premiered and included in her repertoire. She has worked and collaborated with many renowned composers, including Friedrich Cerha, Johana Doderer, Thomas Larcher, Rene Clemencic, Horst Ebenhöh, Calin Ioachimescu and many others. In 2013, Ana premiered "Violoncello Solo", a piece by Johanna Doderer dedicated to her. Ana is winner of many international music competitions, she was awarded for solo and chamber music performances. In 2011 Ana was selected a top winner of the XX IBLA Grand Prize international music competition and also won a special mention for P. Vasks’ “The Book”. She was invited to give a concert tour throughout USA and perform her debut in Carnegie Hall in May 2012. This concert was described in The Sound Word Sight Magazine, NY as "...exceptional and...beautiful". In 2012 Ana won 2. prize at TIM competition in Paris.. Ana also won at "Mamriev International Music Competition" in Braunschweig, Germany with "Vienna String Duo" ensemble.
She had an opportunity to collaborate with great cellists like: Natalia Gutman, Frans Helmerson, Martin Loehr (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra), Christoph Stradner (soloist Vienna Symphony Orchestra), Robert Nagy (soloist Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), Csaba Onczay, Young Chang Cho and Stefan Popov; as well as to play with famous artists like Daniel Barenboim, Maxim Vengerov, Julian Rachlin, Peter Keuschnig, Mihaela Ursuleasa, Christoph Staude, Erwin Schrott, Paul Rosner and Yakov Kreizberg.
She is invited to be part of international jury in several competitions such as IBLA Grand Prize Competition on Sicily. Since her first solo recital at the age of nine, Ana has regularly appeared in some prestigious venues such as the Wiener Konzerthaus, Wiener Musikverein, Salzburger Festspiele, InnerSound Festival, Tokyo Opera City Hall to name a few. Ana performed throughout Europe, Americas and Asia as a soloist and with various ensembles (Oltenia Filharmonic Orchestra, Vienna String Duo, Janoska Ensemble, Trio Incognito, Ensemble Hombroich, Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Wien, a. o.). She recorded and broadcasted solo works, chamber music and musicals for RBB, ZDF, ORF, RTS, TVR and TV Metropolis.
Ana was born in Belgrade, Serbia, beginning her piano studies there at the age of 6 and chose cello as her instrument three years later. Ana graduated with honors both cello and music pedagogy from Vienna Conservatory studying with Jontscho Bayrov, Lilia Schulz-Bayrova and Martin Hornstein (Altenberg Trio) after which her musical interests took her to Hochschule für Musik Köln and renowned cellist Maria Kliegel. In 2010 Ana graduated in Master of Arts at Vienna Conservatory. Ana Topalovic plays on cello made by R. and A. Gagliano in 1815

ADAM WOCH, guitarist

IBLA GRAND PRIZE AWARD recipient Adam Woch began to play the guitar at the age of seven under the supervision of Zbigniew Dubiella at the Team State School of Music (Zespól Państwowych Szkól Muzycznych im. Grażyny Bacewicz) in Koszalin (Poland) , from which he graduated in 2010. Simultaneously, from 2007 he has been improving his skills under guidance of Prof. Ryszard Balauszko from the University of Music in Warsaw, where he has continued his studies since 2010. Adam was an Erasmus student attending Prof. Carlo Marchione’s class at the Maastricht Conservatorium in 2011/2012 academic year. During his studies, he has also had the chance to improve his artistic abilities attending master classes by many great artists, like: Rolf Lislevand, Ricardo Gallen, Alvaro Pierri, Roberto Aussel, Zoran Dukic, Marcin Dylla, Lukasz Kuropaczewski and many others. Adam has performed in solo recitals, with orchestras and in chamber groups in many cities in Poland as well as in Italy, Austria and Spain. He has won numerous prizes at national and international competitions, such as: laureate at the Polish Guitar Competition of the Polish Radio BIS “Segovia Junior” in Warsaw (Poland, 2003); first prize at the Internationales Gitarrenfestival Des Kunstinstitut BAJA in Templin (Germany, 2005); first prize at the International Guitar Competition in memoriam of Czeslaw Droździewicz in Krynica Zdrój (Poland, 2006); first prize at the IX International Guitar Competition Forum Gitarre in Vienna (Austria, 2006); laureate at the XXV Tarnowski Tydzień Talentów in Tornów-Kśna Dolna (Poland, 2007); first prize at the “Jose Tomas” International Guitar Classical Guitar Competition in Almeria (Spain, 2009); first prize at the VI International Guitar Competition in Olsztyn (Poland, 2009) and finalist in the competition “Young Musician of the Year 2009” in Warsaw (Poland). Adam received scholarships from the “Narodowy Fundusz na rzecz Dzieci”, the Ministry of Culture, and “Mloda Polska”. In 2010, he was given the special award “Young Artist of the Year 2009” by the Mayor of Koszalin.