Peep Lassmann is one of the most outstanding pianists in the history of Estonian music. He began his study of music when he attended the Children’s Music School in Tallinn, and continued it in the Tallinn Secondary Music School in the class of Prof. Heljo Sepp. Under her guidance he studied until his graduation from the Tallinn Conservatoire (1962-1971). Peep Lassmann had the good fortune to follow up his studies in the Moscow Conservatoire under the instruction of world-class pianist Emil Gilels (1971-1973). As a student, he was honored the Second Prize in the All-Union Pianist Competition.
After his studies Peep Lassmann began work at the Tallinn Conservatoire, and has been connected to it since then; first as a lecturer, since 1987 as a Head of the Piano Department, and from 1992 to 2017 as a rector of the Estonian Music Academy.
In spite of his intensive workload at the Estonian Music Academy, Peep Lassmann continues to give concerts. His solo concerts are significant and anticipated events in the Estonian music world. Concert tours have taken him to the furthermost points of the former Soviet Union as well as to North America and Asia. He has been a member of several juries of international piano competitions, and has given master-classes in many countries all over Europe.
Julia Kociuban is considered as one of the leading polish pianists of her generation. Despite her young age, she has already been a very successful performing artist.
She has performed at venues in Europe (the Herkulessall in Munich, Wiener Konzerthaus, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Laeiszhalle Hamburg among others), North America and Asia. She was invited to play in the most known international music festivals, such as the The International Piano Festival La Rouge d’Antheron, The Young Euro Classic Piano Festival, The Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, The International Chopin Festival or Kissinger Sommer.
In March 2015 she released her debut solo album “Schumann, Chopin, Bacewicz”, which was praised by critics as one of the most interesting Polish piano debut of the past years. In 2016 she recorded the album “Karnaval der Tiere” with Lahav Shani and Wiener Symphoniker.
Julia performs as a soloist, chamber musician and with various orchestras (lately Klassische Philharmonie Bonn, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Wiener Symphoniker). She has collaborated with such conductors as Hans Graf, Nemme Järvi, Kristjan Järvi, Lahav Shani, Ken-David Masur, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Marcin Nałęcz – Niesiołowski, Łukasz Borowicz and Marek Pijarowski among others.
Her recordings are often used by Polish National Radio and Television, german BR-Klassik, austrian ORF and French Radio “France musique”. Julia is a holder of prestigious Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize.
Born in Kraków, started her piano education at the age of 5. She graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg where she studied with prof. Pavel Gililov.
Alongside her solo career Julia is teaching at Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland.
Julia Kociuban is a Bösendorfer Artist.
Victor Portnoi – professor, an Honoured Musician of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Karelia, Chair of the Department of Special Piano at Petrozavodsk State Glazunov Conservatoire, a PhD in History of Arts.
He was born in Saint Petersburg, graduated St. Petersburg’s Conservatoire and completed post-graduate studies, and was a student of professors N.N. Poznyakovskaya and T.P. Kravchenko. Upon graduation from the Conservatoire, Victor worked in Far-Eastern State Institute of Arts, and since 1971 has been teaching at Petrozavodsk State Glazunov Conservatoire.
He has performed in solo concerts and with ensemble both in Russia and abroad. Victor Portnoi has taken part in a number of international music festivals, conferences, and held master-classes in USA, Norway, China, Finland, Croatia, Slovenia, Korea and other countries. He is a member of the European Piano Teachers Association.
Mr. Portnoi is a frequent jury member at All-Russian and international piano competitions. Several competitions in the Russian Federation are held under his management, such as International Governor’s competition in Vologda, International Vavilov Open Competition of Pianists of the Barents Region in Kostomuksha, and International Chopin Young Pianists Competition in Petrozavodsk. Many of Victor Portnoi’s graduates have become laureates and award-winners of music competitions at the national and international levels.
Ruta Riktere graduated from the Lithuanian State Conservatoire (since 2004 - Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre). She is a winner at the International M.K.Čiurlionis Piano competition in Vilnius 1982 and the International V. Bucchi piano duo competition in Rome 1991.
For her wide performing activity she has been granted the National Award of Culture and Art in 1997.
In 1989, R. Riktere started working at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, she is a professor of the Piano Department, Head of Doctoral Committee.
Since 1989, she has been promoting the genre of piano duo (with Zbignevas Ibelhauptas) and representing Lithuanian music culture in festivals and concerts abroad.
Piano Duo has performed in international festivals Ljubljana Summer Festival, Music Niagara, Warsaw Autumn, Musikhost in Denmark, the Silesian Days of Contemporary music, Usedomer Music Festival, also in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and elsewhere.
They have played with the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Belarus State Chamber Orchestra and major Lithuanian orchestras, collaborating with such conductors as Arturo Tamayo, Jose Serebrier, David Geringas, Olivier Grangean, Saulius Sondeckis, Juozas Domarkas and others.
R. Riktere and Z. Ibelhauptas presented recitals in Japan, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Poland and others. Their concerts have been broadcast by Lithuanian National TV and Lithuanian and European radio stations, it has also recorded a great deal of radio and television recordings as well as CDs.
Piano Duo repertoire includes music for two pianos and piano four hands, from Baroque to contemporary music. The duo constantly draw their attention to the 20th century classics (Béla Bartók, Benjamin Britten, Olivier Messiaen, György Ligeti) and to the latest works of contemporary composers (Georg Crumb, David Lang, John Adams, Per Norgard and others).They cooperate with Lithuanian composers, initiating new pieces and becoming their first performers.
R. Riktere is a member of the jury of piano and piano duo competitions, she is teaching in masterclasses in Lithuania and abroad, her students have won many prizes in various international competitions.
Juhani Lagerspetz began studying the piano at age six at the Turku Conservatory. He continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy and the Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) Conservatory in Russia. Lagerspetz made his debut as soloist at the age of thirteen, playing Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Juhani Lagerspetz has won competitions in Finland (the Ilmari Hannikainen Piano Competition in 1975 and the Maj Lind Competition in 1976) and placed well in international competitions too, his most significant achievement being special prize of the jury at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1982. His success has led him to perform in Scandinavia, Europe, Japan, Russia, the USA, South Korea, Chile and Brazil. He is also active as a chamber musician, he has taken part in numerous chamber music festivals (Vienna, Flanders, Mondsee, Kreuth, St. Nazaire, Kitakyushu, Delft, Stavanger, Esbjerg etc.). In Finland he appears regularly at the Kuhmo and Naantali music festivals. In spring 1993, Lagerspetz received glowing reviews for his recital at the Wigmore Hall in London.
Juhani Lagerspetz has collaborated with many conductors, such as Arvid Jansons, Sixten Ehrling, Rudolf Barshai, Paavo Berglund, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leif Segerstam among others. He has performed with the instrumentalists Barry Tuckwell, Ida Haendel, Arto Noras and Truls Mørk, and with the singers Elisabeth Söderström, Stephen Genz, Monica Groop and Camilla Nylund, to mention a few.
Juhani Lagerspetz has twice received the five-year artist's grant from the Finnish Government
(1989 and 1996). He has performed dozens of piano concertos and extensive series of concert programs such as the four Rachmaninov piano concertos on two consecutive evenings or works by Beethoven, Brahms and Ravel. Lagerspetz has premiered the piano concertos by Erik Bergman, Jouni Kaipainen, Jukka Tiensuu and Paavo Heininen (Piano Concerto No. 4). He has made numerous recordings for radio and for record companies. In 1994, Lagerspetz was awarded the Alfred Kordelin Foundation Prize for his merits as a performing artist. Lagerspetz is also a tenured teacher in piano at the Sibelius Academy. In 2009 he was appointed as a piano professor of the Sibelius Academy for the five-year term 2009-2014.