Nabil Shehata, Double bass and Conductor
Grand Prize

Nabil Shehata was born in Kuwait in 1980 to parents of German and Egyptian descent. At the age of four the family returned to Germany. After receiving piano lessons from his mother at the age of six he took his first double bass lessons three years later with Thomas Zscherpe in Achim close to Bremen.

Nabil Shehata was born in Kuwait in 1980 to parents of German and Egyptian descent. At the age of four the family returned to Germany. After receiving piano lessons from his mother at the age of six he took his first double bass lessons three years later with Thomas Zscherpe in Achim close to Bremen. 

Following his high school graduation in 1999, Shehata began studies with Professor Michinori Bunya in Würzburg and later transferred to the class of Professor Esko Laine at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" in Berlin. During his studies he received scholarships from the German National Academic Foundation and the Foundation "Podium junger Musiker". 

Nabil Shehata won several international competitions including the Julio Cardona Competition in Portugal and the Valentino Bucchi Competition in Rome. At the ARD competition Shehata not only received the first prize but also the coveted audience award as well. In the fall of 2006 the double bass player was awarded the "Praetorius Prize" of the German State of Lower Saxony. 

In 2003 Daniel Barenboim brought Shehata to the Staatsoper Berlin as the first double bass soloist. One year later Nabil Shehata began his tenure with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the same position.
As a soloist he is a frequent guest of prestigious orchestras, such as the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Gulbenkian Orchestra Lissabon, the Bremer Philharmoniker and the Münchener Kammerorchester. In 2008 he gave his debut as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim and in the following year he performed as a soloist in the Musikverein in Vienna. 
Shehata has a special affinity to chamber music repertoire. Together with colleagues of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Tatjana Vassiljewa he founded the Philharmonic String Quintet, which after its first great success was invited to return to Japan for the 2009/2010 season. Thomas Quasthoff, Nikolaj Znaider and Daniel Barenboim are among his regular chamber music partners. Shehata has performed at numerous renowned festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, the Oxford Chamber Music Festival and the Salzburg Easter Festival.

Supporting young artists is particularly valuable to Nabil Shehata. He is strongly committed to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, of which he has been a member for many years in spite of his many other professional obligations. As a pedagogue he has been active in giving regular master classes throughout Europe and in Israel and Japan. His teaching positions included the Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and since fall 2007, a professorship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. 

In 2006 Nabil Shehata has increasingly turned toward conducting, receiving encouragement and instruction from Daniel Barenboim, Rolf Reuter, Lawrence Foster, Asher Fisch and Christian Thielemann. After first gaining experience working with various youth orchestras and chamber orchestras, he gave his critically acclaimed conducting debut in Cottbus in 2007.
In May 2008 Shehata was invited by Gustavo Dudamel to conduct the Simón-Bolívar- Youth-Orchestra in Caracas with such great success, that he has been engaged once more for the next season. Recently, he has conducted the Dohnányi Orchestra Budapest, the Rundfunkorchester in Ljublijana, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of the Konzerthausorchester, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra.

After the successful production of Mozarts "Der Diener zweier Herren" with the Munich Chamber Opera in 2011 he was appointed by the orchestra with immediate effect to their principal conductor. Since that time he is leading all the productions and special concerts, for example Gustav Mahlers "Song of Earth" with Waltraud Meier and Robert Gambill in december 2012. 

Just recently he gave his debut as a conductor and soloist with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker. In the following year Nabil Shehata will be also conducting in Berlin, Washington and Tokyo.

Michael Mizrahi, Piano

Pianist Michael Mizrahi has won acclaim for his compelling performances of a wide-ranging repertoire and his ability to connect with audiences of all ages and cultures. He has appeared as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and teaching artist across the United States and abroad.

Pianist Michael Mizrahi has won acclaim for his compelling performances of a wide-ranging repertoire and his ability to connect with audiences of all ages and cultures. He has appeared as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and teaching artist across the United States and abroad.

Mr. Mizrahi has performed in the world’s leading concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Toyko’s Suntory Hall, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Jordan Hall and the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Chicago Cultural Center and Houston’s Jones Hall. He has performed as soloist with major orchestras including the Houston Symphony, National Symphony, Haddonfield Symphony, Sioux City Symphony, and Prince Georges Philharmonic. He has given solo recitals at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and has made repeated appearances on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago. His chamber music festival appearances include Music@Menlo, Verbier, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival. Mr. Mizrahi won First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Ima Hogg International Competition, as well as first prizes in the International Bartók-Kabalevsky Competition and the Iowa International Piano Competition. He won third prize in the San Antonio International Piano Competition in 2006. Mr. Mizrahi appeared for many years on the active roster of Astral Artists.

An enthusiastic arts advocate and educator, Mizrahi is a member of Decoda, a newly formed organization dedicated to forging an integrated role for classical music in communities around the world. As a member of Carnegie Hall’s prestigious Academy program and Teaching Artists Collaborative, Mr. Mizrahi spent several hours a week as a teaching artist in New York City public schools. Mizrahi is also the co-author of several interactive concert scripts that bring classical music to young children. These concerts were presented in Carnegie Hall, and in translation at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and in Merida, Mexico. Mizrahi has also presented lecture-recitals and master classes at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Dedicated to the music of our time, Mr. Mizrahi has commissioned and given world premieres of several new works for piano and frequently collaborates with composers and instrumentalists in the performance of 21st-century music. He is a founding member of NOW Ensemble, a chamber group devoted to the commissioning and performing of new music by emerging composers. NOW Ensemble released its second album, Awake, to critical acclaim in 2011. Mr. Mizrahi released The Bright Motion, an album of newly commissioned works for solo piano, on the New Amsterdam Records label in May 2012. His music video, also called The Bright Motion, was lauded by National Public Radio and New Yorker music critic Alex Ross.

Mr. Mizrahi was a founding member of the Moët Trio, which performed in major venues across the United States and Canada, and established itself as one of today’s most exciting young piano trios. The Moët Trio recently completed a two-year residency, the only one of its kind for piano trios, at the New England Conservatory. 

Michael Mizrahi received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, where his concentrations were in music, religion and physics. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Claude Frank. After his Philadelphia debut recital, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that “…the performance had transparency, revealing a forward-moving logic and chord voices you didn’t previously realize were there…textures were sumptuous.”

He is currently Assistant Professor of Piano at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit michaelmizrahipiano.com.

Tamás Krizsa, Dancer and Choreographer

Tamás Krizsa, of Hungary, graduated from the Hungarian Dance Academy with honors in 2002. During his school years, he received numerous scholarships: International Summer Course in Budapest, Elmhurst School for Dance and Performing Arts in England, North Carolina School of the Arts Summer program, Miami City Ballet School Summer Dance Program and American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive.

Tamás Krizsa, of Hungary, graduated from the Hungarian Dance Academy with honors in 2002. During his school years, he received numerous scholarships: International Summer Course in Budapest, Elmhurst School for Dance and Performing Arts in England, North Carolina School of the Arts Summer program, Miami City Ballet School Summer Dance Program and American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive. During this time, he also performed in Japan, Germany, the United States, Latvia and Hungary. After finishing school, Mr. Krizsa danced with Columbia Classical Ballet, Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre, Budapest Ballet and Ballet Theater Hagen in leading roles, including Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prince in Cinderella, Albrecht in Giselle, Escamillo in Carmen, among others. In 2000 he received an award from the Hungarian Dance Academy and in 2001 received the Hungarian Dance Academy’s Maria Keresztes Memorial Prize. In 2006 and 2007 Mr. Krizsa was awarded Best Young Dancer in the Northwest Region of Germany. In 2014 he received a gold medal in duets as well as a silver medal in the choreography category at the VKIBC!

Erzhan Kulibaev, Violin

Erzhan Kulibaev started to play violin at the age of six. Graduated from The Central Special Music School of Moscow State Conservatory P. I. Tchaikovsky. Since 2004 studies in the class of the professor Zakhar Bron at The Queen Sofia High School of Music in Madrid.

Erzhan Kulibaev started to play violin at the age of six. Graduated from The Central Special Music School of Moscow State Conservatory P. I. Tchaikovsky. Since 2004 studies in the class of the professor Zakhar Bron at The Queen Sofia High School of Music in Madrid.

He is a winner of five first prizes in the International violin competitions: Demidovski International violin competition (2003, First Prize and two Special prizes), International violin competition in Lisbon (2006, First Prize and Special prize for the best interpretation of a work by L. Graça), International violin competition in Novosibirsk (2007, First Prize and special prize of Paloma O’Shea), Paul Hindemith International violin competition in Berlin (2010, First Prize, Gold medal and Special prize for the best interpretation of a work by Robert Schumann.), First Prize and Premio Tango for best interpretation of an argentine tango at the Buenos Aires International Violin Competition (2012).

In 2011 he was awarded with the Honorary Distinction and the right to use the title of Laureat of the 14th Henryk Wieniawski competition in Poznan (2011, prize of the youth jury donate by Volkswagen, special prize: a italian violin made by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini).

Played as a soloist with the orchestras: Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Iuventus Warsaw, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, The Symphony Orchestra of Castilla y Leon, Rzeszów Philharmonic Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of the Philharmonic Society of Moscow, St Petersburg State Capella Chamber Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of Yucatan, The"Astana-Opera" Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of the State Conservatory of Novosibirsk, The Symphony Orchestra of The Queen Sofia High School of Musik, The Alicante University Filarmonic Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia Orchestra, Philharmonia Pomorska Symphony Orchestra, Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra, Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, working with such renowned conductors as Ashkenazy, Dutsmal, Kiradjiev, Kosek, Mukhitdinov, Ignat, Payare, Posada, Pijarowski, Rajski, Salwarowski, Strugała, Vengerov, Wojciechowski.

Erzhan Kulibaev performed concerts in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Mexico, Мorocco, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, USA, France, Switzerland and Japan.

Since 2006 performs concerts in the Auditorio Nacional, participated in a series of concerts “Zakhar Bron and His School”. In 2010 performed in Berlin Konzerthaus as a winner of P. Hindemith competition.
In 2005-2006 participated in The International Festival of Music in the city of Santander (Spain), Estío Musical Burgalés, Otoño Musical Soriano, Classical Music Festival in Riga, Festival de Música Clásica en Kasama (Japan). Played recitals in Juan march Foundation. In 2006, 2010 and 2011 he was rewarded with an Honorary Diploma by the Queen of Spain and performed in the Royal Palace of Pardo.

Among the highlights of his career in the past few seasons have been tours with the The Symphony Orchestra of the Queen Sofia High School of Music, conducted by the Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazi, performed a series of concerts in the main concert halls of Spain, among them the Madrid National Auditorium, Congress and Music Hall Euscalduna in Bilbao. The concert in the Madrid National Auditorium is repeatedly broadcasted on the National Spanish Television. Tours with Alejandro Posada with The Symphony Orchestra of Castilla y Leon in Spain. Tours with The Alicante University Filarmonic Orchestra and Mihnea Ignat in Spain.
In 2013 performed at 17th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, Henryk Wieniawski Festival, LongLake Festival in Lugano and in Crans-Montana Classics festival with Itamar Golan.

In September and October 2013, toured in Argentina's main cities: Buenos-Aires, Tandil, Parana, Mar del Plata, Salta, San Juan, San Carlos de Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes, Villa La Angostura. Recitals with Paula Peluso, concerts with Salta Symphony Orchestra y Jorge Lhez, Mar del Plata Symphony Orchestra y Emir Saul, San Juan Chamber Orchestra y Gustavo Plis Sterenberg, "Estacion Buenos-Aires" Chamber Orchestra y Rafael Gintoli.

In August 2014 played on festival "Chopin and his Europe" in Warsaw.

Huanhuan Ma, Soprano

Huanhuan Ma, soprano, is from Chongqing, China. She earned her Bachelor Degree at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, and completed her Master of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma programs at Peabody Conservatory with a full scholarship where she studied with Phyllis Bryn-Julson. Ms. Ma is currently a resident artist at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Mr. Bill Schuman.

Huanhuan Ma, soprano, is from Chongqing, China. She earned her Bachelor Degree at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, and completed her Master of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma programs at Peabody Conservatory with a full scholarship where she studied with Phyllis Bryn-Julson. Ms. Ma is currently a resident artist at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Mr. Bill Schuman.

Ms. Ma has performed in Switzerland, Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia, Japan and the United States. She has sung the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Madame Lidoine in the Dialogues des Carmelites at the Lyric Opera of Baltimore. She also performed the role of Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Bel Cantanti Opera in Washington DC. Ms. Ma has performed as a soloist at the Annapolis Opera’s 40th anniversary gala “Singable Feast”, as well as with the Opera International at the Kennedy Center in Washington. She is schedule to return in March of 2015 to perform in a concert at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

Ms. Ma was a second prize winner at the Madama Butterfly International Competition in Nagasaki, Japan, 2011. She is also the First Prize and Director’s Grand Prize winner of the 26th Annual Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition in 2014.