The Honens juries include concert pianists and other individuals from the music world who play a meaningful role in a concert artist’s career. These include artist managers, collaborative musicians, conductors, and concert and festival presenters.
All jurors have extensive knowledge of piano literature and represent and/or are aware of the qualities an artist must possess in order to build and sustain a career today.
* indicates nationality / country of residence
Canada / Canada*
Eric Friesen is a broadcaster, writer, speaker, and consultant on music, broadcasting, culture, and faith. He has spent much of his life as a network classical music and culture host, producer, and executive for CBC Radio, where he hosted such programs as Studio Sparks, and created the celebrated documentary series The Concerto According to Manny (Ax), among many others, and was also an executive and cultural host for Minnesota Public Radio (NPR). He was the Founding Program Director of Winnipeg’s classical and jazz station, Classic 107, and has consulted for New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation’s Concert Network based in Wellington. Friesen is a regular contributor to the National Arts Centre, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Angela Hewitt’s Trasimeno International Music Festival (Umbria, Italy),the Ottawa ChamberFest, the Montreal International Chamber Music Festival, and Vancouver’s Music in the Morning series, among others. Friesen teaches in the Jewison Stream at Victoria College, University of Toronto. He writes regularly for Queen’s Quarterly and NUVO magazine.
In addition to his leadership role as Past Chair of Honens, Friesen is an Honorary Governor of Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Past Chairman of the Kingston WritersFest, Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the English Department of the University of Waterloo, and regularly leads a book club for inmates at Collins Bay Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario. He and his wife Susan make their home on Amherst Island, near Kingston, Ontario.
Canada / United States
Director of the School of Music at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), Dr. Michael Kim maintains a distinguished, multi-faceted career as an academic administrator, professor, and concert artist. Dr. Kim has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Boston and Cincinnati Pops, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra London, the Florida Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Toronto, Vancouver, CBC Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Oklahoma City. An avid chamber musician and recitalist, he collaborates regularly with wife pianist Dr. Kyung Kim, the Bakken trio, James Ehnes, Edgar Meyer, the Fine Arts and Ceclia String Quartets, members of the Canadian Brass, and for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performing with legendary clarinetist Martin Frost. He has also toured extensively with the Music as Theatre productions The Schumann Letters and Nadia. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School, and was silver medalist in the 1992 Scottish International Competition in Glasgow, a prizewinner in the Leeds and Ivo Pogorelich International Piano Competitions, and grand prizewinner of the Canadian Music and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation National Radio Competitions. He formerly served as Dean of Music and Vice-‐President External at Brandon University, Canada, where he led BU’s advancement programs (overseeing its integrated offices of fundraising, alumni relations, marketing, communications, and web design), and as Chair of the Keyboard Department and Faculty Associate to the President at Lawrence University (Appleton, WI).
Japan / United Kingdom
Noriko Ogawa has achieved renown throughout the world since her success at the 1987 Leeds International Piano Competition. Her “ravishingly poetic playing” (The Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries and acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records confirms her as a fine Debussy specialist. Ogawa appears with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras. Her notable chamber projects include a tour of Japan with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Ensemble and the leader of the Vienna Philharmonic, Rainer Honeck. She has also collaborated with Steven Isserlis, Isabelle van Keulen, Martin Roscoe, Michael Collins and Peter Donohoe. In 2012, Ogawa was Artist in Residence at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, where she was Artistic Director for the Reflections on Debussy festival hosted by BBC Philharmonic. Her particular affinities also range from the works of Takemitsu, through the larger Romantic composers such as Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, to contemporary concertos commissioned from Graham Fitkin and Dai Fujikura. In Japan, Ogawa acts as artistic advisor to the MUZA Kawasaki Symphony Hall in her hometown. In 1999, the Japanese Ministry of Education awarded her its Art Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the cultural profile of Japan throughout the world. She has also been awarded the Okura Prize for her outstanding contribution to music in Japan. She is sought-after for presenting, both on the radio and on television, recently appearing on BBC Worldwide on Visionaries as an advocate for Takemitsu and in programs for NHK and Nippon Television.
Switzerland-United States / United States
Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is an artist of uncommon breadth with a repertory that ranges from J. S. Bach’s Art of the Fugue to the complete works of Xenakis. He is Laureate of the 2009 Honens Piano Competition, recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the Naumburg and Geneva Competitions. Most recently he received the 2016 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, recognizing a pianist under 40 who has significant influence on the world of chamber music. Deeply committed to the chamber music repertoire, Vonsattel has been an artist member of New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2012, and is a former member of Chamber Music Society Two. In solo and chamber music performances, Vonsattel has appeared at the Tonhalle Zürich, Wigmore Hall in London and Munich’s Gasteig, and at international festivals including the Gilmore, Caramoor and la Roque d’Anthéron. He has appeared with esteemed orchestras including the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, San Francisco Symphony, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic and l’Orchestre de Chambre de Genève. Vonsattel is committed to the performance of contemporary works, having given premieres on both sides of the Atlantic. He has worked closely with composers including George Benjamin, Heinz Holliger and Jörg Widmann. His first recording on the Honens label was named one of the year’s best classical albums in Time Out New York in 2011. His most recent album, titled Shadowlines and released by Honens in 2015, was called a “mesmerizing disc” by The New York Times. Vonsattel received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Columbia University and a master’s degree in Music Performance from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal. He is an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
* indicates nationality / country of residence
The First Jury is:
Canada / United States
Winston Choi is Head of the Piano Program at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. His professional career was launched when he was named Laureate of the 2003 Honens Piano Competition and winner of France’s Concours International de Piano 20e siècle d’Orléans in 2002. His solo, collaborative, chamber, and concerto appearances have taken him across four continents. Known for his colorful approach to programming and insightful commentary from the stage, Choi has recently appeared in recital at the National Arts Centre of Canada, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Kravis Center, Library of Congress, and Merkin Recital Hall. Choi performs extensively in France, including at Salle Cortot, Li lle’s Rencontres Internationales de Piano Robert Casadesus, Festival Messiaen, Strasbourg Music Festival, and IRCAM. His debut recording of the complete piano works of Elliott Carter (l’Empreinte Digitale in France) was given five stars by BBC Music Magazine: “sheer élan and pianistic devilment”. He can also be heard on the Albany, BIS, la Buisonne, Crystal, Honens, Intrada, Naxos, and QuadroFrame labels.
Canada / Canada
With a solid background in Quebec’s cultural sector as administrator, musician and teacher, Isolde Lagacé is the General and Artistic Director of the Arte Musica Foundation, in residence at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. During the 2016-2017 season, the Arte Musica Foundation hosted 209 musical events at the Museum, including concerts, lectures, films, workshops, and school visits, attended by almost 51,000 people. Previously, Lagacé served as director of the Montreal Conservatory of Music from 2000 to 2007, and from 1992 to 2000, as director of the Office of Concerts and Publicity for the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, where she ran the Pollack and Redpath Concert Halls. A graduate of the University of Montreal’s music and education programmes, as well as of the HEC Montréal in management, she has taught courses in arts management at the University of Montreal and the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières. For over 20 years, she has devoted part of her summers to teaching music at the Académie du Domaine Forget and the CAMMAC Music Centre. Committed to the musical milieu, Lagacé served as president of the Conseil québécois de la musique in 1997-1998, and has been a member of several committees and boards of directors for various musical organizations. She is regularly invited by the arts councils to sit on their juries.
Brazil / Brazil
Brazilian pianist Eduardo Monteiro gained international recognition after winning first prize and special jury award for best performance of Beethoven at the 1989 Cologne International Piano Competition in Germany. He was also a prizewinner at the 1991 Dublin International Piano Competition in 1991 and at the 1992 Santander International Piano Competition. Monteiro has performed as soloist with the major orchestras of Brazil and around the world including appearances with St Petersburg Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Bremen Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Novosibirsk Symphony and Spanish Radio and Television Orchestra, with leading conductors including Yuri Temirkanov, Mariss Jansons, Dimitri Kitayenko, Philippe Entremont and Arnold Katz. One of the main characteristics of Eduardo Monteiro’s extensive repertory is the refinement he brings to his choice of program. He has a special interest in Brazilian music and his interpretation of which is considered a benchmark of excellence by many music critics. His 2007 release on the British label Meridian Records Piano Music of Brazil, was released at a recital at Wigmore Hall in London to enthusiastic reviews. Monteiro is currently Vice-Director of the School of Arts & Communications at the University of Sao Paulo, where he is Professor of Piano in the Music Department. He is also Director of the Symphonic Orchestra of the University of São Paulo.
United States / United States
Hailed by critics as a “thinking” musician with engaging stage presence and a gratifying combination of virtuosity and eloquence, pianist Pedja Muzijevic has defined his career with creative programming, unusual combinations of new and old music and lasting collaborations with other artists and ensembles. The Financial Times (London) eloquently sums him up as “a virtuoso with formidable fingers and a musician with fiercely original ideas about the music he plays.” Muzijevic’s symphonic engagements include performances with the Atlanta Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica in Montevideo, Residentie Orkest in The Hague, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Shinsei Nihon Orchestra in Tokyo and Zagreb Philharmonic. He has played solo recitals at Alice Tully Hall and The Frick Collection (New York), Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival (Michigan), Casals Hall and Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo), Teatro Municipal (Santiago de Chile), Da Camera of Houston, National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), Lincoln Center’s What Makes It Great Series in New York, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music in Tucson, Lane Series at University of Vermont, Aldeburgh Festival (United Kingdom) and many others. Muzijevic studied at the Academy of Music (Zagreb), Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia), and at The Juilliard School (New York). Teachers who have had the greatest influence on his artistic development include pianists Joseph Kalichstein and Vladimir Krpan, violinist Robert Mann, and harpsichordist Albert Fuller. He is Director of Music Programming at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.
* indicates nationality / country of residence
The Second Jury is:
Italy / United States
Combining exceptional lyricism and insight with consummate technique, Alessio Bax is without a doubt “among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone). He catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions and is now a familiar face on four continents, as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Dallas and Cincinnati Symphonies, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the City of Birmingham Symphony.
This season, Bax makes his Boston Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony debuts with Sir Andrew Davis. A spring tour of Australia and New Zealand also sees the pianist lead Mozart’s B-flat Major concerto (K.595) from the keyboard with the Sydney Symphony. Other engagements include a tour with the Tokyo Symphony, concerts in Israel, and numerous US concerto collaborations. Festival appearances include France’s International Chamber Music Festival of Salon-de-Provence and Tuscany’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival, where he serves as Artistic Director. Bax’s acclaimed discography includes Beethoven’s Emperor concerto (Southbank Sinfonia); the same composer’s Hammerklavier and Moonlight sonatas; a solo album of Mussorgsky and Scriabin; Bax & Chung (Stravinsky, Brahms, and Piazzolla); Alessio Bax plays Mozart (concertos K. 491 and K. 595); Alessio Bax plays Brahms; Bach Transcribed; and Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies.
A Steinway artist, Bax lives in New York City with pianist Lucille Chung and their daughter, Mila.
Argentina-Italy / Italy
Ingrid Fliter sprang to international attention when she was awarded the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, one of only a handful of pianists to have received this honour. The Gilmore Artist Award is presented to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses profound musicianship and charisma and who sustains a career as a major international concert artist. Born in Buenos Aires, Fliter began her piano studies in Argentina with Elizabeth Westerkamp. In 1992 she moved to Europe where she continued studies at the Freiburg Musikhochschüle with Vitaly Margulis, then in Rome with Carlo Bruno and Franco Scala, and Boris Petrushansky at the Academy ‘Incontri col Maestro’ in Imola. She was a Laureate of the Ferruccio Busoni Competition in Italy and was awarded the silver medal at the 2000 Frédéric Chopin Competition in Warsaw. She was also selected as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist from 2007 to 2009, working with several of the BBC orchestras under the auspices of this program. Today Fliter divides her time between Europe and North America, where she performs with prominent orchestras and on the stages of the most prestigious concert halls. She has established a reputation as one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Chopin; her two all-Chopin discs on EMI Classics is a testament to this: “Ingrid Fliter sets a new benchmark for the complete waltzes. From beginning to end, this is among the finest Chopin recordings of recent years” (Gramophone).
Taiwan-United States / United States
Named Musical America’s Musician of the Year in 2012, pianist Wu Han ranks among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. Leading an unusually multifaceted artistic career, she has risen to international prominence as a concert performer, recording artist, educator, arts administrator, and cultural entrepreneur. Wu Han appears regularly at many of the world’s most prestigious concert series and venues, as both soloist and chamber musician: she tours extensively with cellist David Finckel, and in piano trios with Philip Setzer. She serves as Co-Artistic Director of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS), founding Artistic Director of Music@Menlo in the Silicon Valley and is Artistic Director of Chamber Music Today, an annual festival in Seoul, South Korea. Wu Han’s wide-ranging musical activities also include the launch of classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, whose 18-album catalogue has won widespread acclaim. Passionately committed to education, she taught alongside the late Isaac Stern at Carnegie Hall and Jerusalem Music Center for many years. She established the Finckel-Wu Han Chamber Music Studio at Aspen Music Festival and School and recently launched the new CMS Chamber Music Encounters program.
Germany / Germany
Since 2013, Annette Josef has been Managing Director of the Munich Symphony Orchestra. She studied music, majoring in the bassoon, at Mannheim and Munich, attaining an arts degree and a teaching diploma at the College of Music in Munich. She received scholarships from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and from the Villa Musica Foundation of the Land of the Rhineland Palatinate. She has performed with various German orchestras, including the Bavarian State Orchestra and the orchestra of the National Theatre in Mannheim. In addition to her music career, Josef studied music journalism, graduating from the College of Music in Karlsruhe with distinction. During that time, she worked as a journalist for various ARD state-run regional public broadcasters in Germany and for the Research Centre in Karlsruhe, now the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT). From 2002 to 2006 she was in charge of press and public relations of the International Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in the Lübeck main office. In 2006 Josef joined Munich Symphony Orchestra and in 2009 was appointed Orchestra Director and deputy to the Managing Director. In that role she made a major contribution to the Munich Symphony’s public profile.
Canada / Canada
Over the last decade, Canadian pianist André Laplante has firmly established himself as one of the great romantic virtuosos. He garnered international attention after winning prizes at the Geneva and Sydney International Piano Competitions and capturing the silver medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 2005, Laplante was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. In that same year, he was awarded Québec’s Prix Opus for Best Performer of the Year and in 2010, he received another Prix Opus for Best Concert of the Year. Laplante has appeared as soloist with the Montréal and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, Minnesota Orchestra conducted by the late Sir Neville Mariner. He has also toured Europe with Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis and toured North America with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Laplante’s releases on the Analekta label include several Liszt albums, works by Ravel and Rachmaninov, as well as an award-winning Brahms album. He has also recorded for CBC and Melodia. His recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor Op. 23 with Joav Talmi and l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec was nominated for the 2001 Felix Award and his recording of Jacques Hétu’s Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 64 for CBC Records won Canada’s 2004 Juno Award for orchestral recordings.
United States / United States
Asadour Santourian is Vice President for Artistic Administration and Artistic Advisor at Aspen Music Festival and School where he has worked with preeminent musicians on seasonal programming and long range planning for 11 years. He is also Artistic Advisor to Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra. Having earned seven consecutive American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Awards for creative programming of contemporary music, Santourian is known for his command of the orchestral, operatic, chamber and solo repertory. He previously served as Artistic Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam. Santourian is a regular lecturer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and he has conceived and edited several Dutch-language program books on the music of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Valery Gergiev.
Korea-United States / Korea
Minsoo Sohn’s poetic vision and musical intelligence continue to garner praise from critics and audiences alike for his masterful virtuosity and deep musicianship. The New York Times called his Honens-label CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations a “beautifully articulated, radiant interpretation” and named it one of the top classical recordings of 2011. Sohn was born in Korea and moved to Boston in his teens to study with Russell Sherman and Wha Kyung Byun at the New England Conservatory where his studies extended from his freshman year to the Conservatory’s most prestigious degree, Artist Diploma, in 2004. Ten years ago, Sohn was named Prize Laureate of the 2006 Honens Piano Competition. He was also a top prizewinner at the Rubinstein, Cleveland, and Busoni international piano competitions. After teaching at Michigan State University for five years, Sohn returned to Korea to join the faculty of Korean National University of Arts in 2015 where he instantly became a much sought after performer as well as an educator. For the commemoration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary on the year of 2020, Sohn has started to perform and record the complete cycle of the Beethoven piano sonatas.