Solo performance, chamber music and collaboration with orchestra are all essential for a 21st century concert pianist. These elements are therefore integral to Honens’ search for the Complete Artist.
For 2018, Honens intensifies its collaborative performance requirements. Semifinalists collaborate with a violinist and with a singer in a selection of art song/lieder. Finalists perform once with a wind quintet and once with orchestra. The choice of collaborating musicians allows for both a meaningful musical partnership and a mentorship opportunity for all Competition pianists.
Described as ‘the current front-runner in the new generation of Lieder singers’ (Gramophone), Benjamin Appl is celebrated by audiences and critics in recital, concerts and opera. He is a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme from 2014 through 2016, was an ECHO Rising Star artist and was named a Wigmore Hall Emerging Artist, both for the 2015–16 season. During these seasons he appeared in recital at major European venues including the Barbican Centre London, Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Konzerthaus, Philharmonie Paris and Cologne and Laeiszhalle Hamburg. He had the fortune to be mentored by one of the greatest singers, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. An established recitalist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Ravinia, Rheingau and Oxford Lieder festivals, deSingel Antwerp, Heidelberger Frühling, and with Graham Johnson at KlavierFestival Ruhr. He performs regularly at Wigmore Hall and at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. He works closely together with pianists including Graham Johnson, Malcolm Martineau, Helmut Deutsch, James Baillieu and Martin Stadtfeld. Appl’s discography includes Mendelssohn and Schumann duets with Ann Murray (DBE), accompanied by Malcolm Martineau; his debut solo disc Stunden, Tage, Ewigkeiten accompanied by James Baillieu, which was released in April 2016 on Champs Hill records; and a live recording of Schubert lieder with Graham Johnson for Wigmore Hall Live label. Appl became an exclusive SONY Classical recording artist in May 2016.
A native of Prince George, British Columbia, Jonathan Crow joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster in 2011. Previously he was Concertmaster of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and notably during this tenure, was the youngest concertmaster of a major North American orchestra. An avid chamber musician, Crow has performed at chamber music festivals throughout North America, South America and Europe. He is a founding member of the New Orford String Quartet, a project-based new ensemble dedicated to the promotion of standard and Canadian string quartet repertoire throughout North America. As a soloist, Jonathan Crow has performed with many Canadian orchestras, with conductors including Charles Dutoit, Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Kent Nagano. An advocate of contemporary music, he has premiered works by Canadian composers Michael Conway Baker, Eldon Rathburn, Barrie Cabena, Ana Sokolovic, Marjan Mozetich, Christos Hatzis, Ernest MacMillan and Healey Willan, and includes in his repertory major concerti by such modern composers as Ligeti, Schnittke, Bernstein, Brian Cherney, Rodney Sharman and Cameron Wilson. He has recorded for the ATMA, Bridge, CBC, Oxingale, Skylark and XXI-21 labels. In 2005 Jonathan Crow joined the Schulich School of Music at McGill University as Assistant Professor of Violin and was appointed Associate Professor of Violin in 2010. He is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Toronto and Artistic Director of Toronto Summer Music.
The Azahar Ensemble is a woodwind quintet founded in the National Youth Orchestra of Spain in 2010. The Quintet was granted a scholarship from the Fundación JONDE/BBVA, which enabled the young musicians to study chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik Basel (Switzerland) with Sergio Azzolini. The Azahar Ensemble has won prizes at numerous international competitions, including Second Prize, Audience Prize and the Special ifp Musikpreis at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. Since then, the Quintet has performed in Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland. After a debuting at the Berlin Philharmonie, concerts will take the ensemble now to Vienna, Barcelona, Cologne and Baden-Baden.
Each member of the Quintet collaborates regularly with renowned orchestras. Frederic Sánchez Muñoz (flute) and Antonio Lagares Abeal (horn) work as freelance musicians. María Alba Carmona Tobella (oboe) is a member of the Philharmonia Zurich (Zurich Opera Orchestra). María José García Zamora is solo bassoon player at the Komische Oper in Berlin and Gonzalo Esteban Francisco is a solo clarinetist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Azahar, derived from the Arabic az-zahr, is the name of the white, aromatic and fragrant blossoms of orange trees.
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) was formed in 1955 through the amalgamation of the Calgary Symphony and the Alberta Philharmonic. Today the CPO is one of Canada’s finest and most versatile orchestras presenting world leading artists and a wonderful range of genres. The CPO’s innovative style excites, entertains and inspires music lovers of all ages.
Winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Karina Canellakis is internationally acclaimed for her emotionally charged performances, technical command, and interpretive depth. She made her European conducting debut in 2015 with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Graz, Austria, replacing the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt, returning the following June to conduct Concentus Musicus Wien in four symphonies of a Beethoven Cycle. She first made headlines in 2014 filling in at the last-minute for Jaap van Zweden in Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where she held the position of Assistant Conductor for two seasons. Already known to many in the classical music world for her virtuoso violin playing, Canellakis was initially encouraged to pursue conducting by Sir Simon Rattle while she was playing regularly in the Berlin Philharmonic for two years as a member of their Orchester-Akademie. In addition to appearing frequently as soloist with various North American orchestras, she subsequently played regularly in the Chicago Symphony for over three years, and appeared on several occasions as guest concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway. She also spent many summers performing at the Marlboro Music Festival. Canellakis is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. Her other major mentors have been Alan Gilbert and Fabio Luisi. She was born and raised in New York City and speaks French, German, and Italian.