Sarah Christian - violin (Germany)
Sarah Christianwas born in Augsburg in 1990 and has been studying at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Antje Weithaas since October 2013 with whom she is also working as teaching assistant. She completed her bachelor studies at the age of 20 with the highest distinction under Igor Ozim at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.
Her musical education has been further enriched in master classes with Thomas Brandis, Donald Weilerstein, Rainer Schmid, Maxim Vengerov and Miriam Fried at the Ravinia Festival Chicago.
Sarah Christian is a prizewinner of the 4th Louis Spohr Competition for young violinists, as well as winner of the international violin competition Kocian in Usti nad Orlici, the Czech Republic. In 2005 she received prizes at the Henri Marteau Violin Competition, among them a special prize for the best interpretation of a work of W.A. Mozart, and at the Hohenlohe Cultural Foundation Competition in Kloster Schöntal. Here she additionally received a special award for her virtuoso interpretation. She was the 1st-prize recipient at the Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria in August 2008. In the same year she was honored as ‘Best string player of the year’ and received the Yehudi Menuhin Medal of the Mozarteum University Salzburg. She won the 11th violin competition Szymon Goldberg in Meissen and received the Szymon Goldberg Medal as overall winner. The Mozarteum Foundation honored her at the 10th W.A. Mozart Competition in Salzburg with the sponsorship prize as youngest finalist. Early in 2012 Sarah Christian won the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy award and the prize of the Friends of Young Musicians at the Mendelssohn competition in Berlin. In June 2013 she received the 2nd prize at the international violin competition Michael Hill in Auckland, New Zealand, in addition to the chamber music prize.
Sarah Christian devotes particular attention to her education and development in the area of chamber music. In 2010 the young musician reached the finals at the German Music Competition in Bonn in the area violin/piano duos, and was accepted as scholarship student in the Bundesagentur Konzerte junger Künstler (federal agency for young artists’ concerts). Within the scope of this scholarship Sarah Christian performed around Germany, for example, at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival. The artist also frequently serves as concert master for the German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen.
Sarah Christian has a busy concert schedule which has already taken her around Europe, as well as to China, Japan, South America and the US. She performed as soloist with the Via Nova Choir of Munich, the Hermannstadt Philharmonic and the Timisoara Philharmonic, Romania, the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic, The University Orchestra of the Mozarteum Salzburg, the Camerata Salzburg, the Auckland Philharmonic, and the Klagenfurt Symphony Orchestra, among many others. The violinist is furthermore a popular guest at international festivals, such as in her repeat appearance at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago with such sought-after artists as Kim Kashkashian.
In 2014 Sarah Christian was invited by pianist Lars Vogt to attend his Chamber Music Festival ‘Spannungen’ in Heimbach where she performed with musicians such as Antje Weithaas, Tanja Tetzlaff, Paul Rivinius, Tatjana Masurenko and Lars Vogt.
Sarah Christian currently plays a Camillus Camili of Mantua violin (1742), on loan from the German Foundation Musikleben.
Daniel Nodel – violin (Germany)
Daniel Nodel was born in 1968 in Minsk. He received his first violin instruction at the special music school in his hometown. After the emigration to Germany with his family in 1980 he was taught by Irina Goldstein and studied with Jens Ellermann in Hannover, his father, Roman Nodel, and Josef Gingold at the Indiana Unioversity in Bloomington, USA. He was a prizewinner at several youth competitions "Jugend musiziert" as well as the Premio Rodolfo Lipizer in Gorozia, Italy. Nodel had scholarships from the DAAD and the prestigios Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.
Further musical impulses came from Dorotha DeLay, Ruggiero Ricci, Felix Andrievsky and Walter Trampler (viola). Daniel Nodel was a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1993-1998, then moved on to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Nodel appeared as soloist and chamber musician in many countries Europes and in the USA, for example with the Minsk Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. He is activ as tutor at the Bavarian Youth Orchestra for orchestral and chamber music projects and was primarius in the Wanderer-Quartet with Albena Danailova, Mario Korunic and Yves Savary.
Since 2013 Daniel Nodel is the artistic director of the Samos Young Artist Festival in Greece.
Wen Xiao Zheng - violin (China)
Wen Xiao Zheng was born in Shanghai, China, in 1981. At the age of four, he began playing the violin and was received at a promotion programme for highly skilled young musicians at the Shanghai Conservatory at the age of 10. The change to viola came at the age of 14. He completed his studies with a Bachelor of Arts with „outstanding awards“.
He moved to Spain and Germany to study with Gérard Caussé at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia Madrid and with Prof. Diemut Poppen at the Hochschule für Musik, Detmold, and finally to Munich to Prof.Hariolf Schlichtig at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, meanwhile attending international masterclasses with Yuri Bashmet und Paul Newbauer. 2009 he finished his studies with an additional degree in chamber music.
Zhengs studies led to national and international competitions. He won first prizes at the National China Viola competition, the Spanish competition Ciudad de Xativa, a special award, given by the president of the jury (Yuri Bashmet) at the Lionel Tertis Viola Competition in the UK, a prize at the Llanes Viola Competition (Spain) and a special award at the Yuri Bahmet Viola Competition in Moskau. Zheng is the second prize-winner at the 2008 ARD International Music Competition in Munich, Germany; a first prize was not awarded).
The Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben awarded him 2009 a viola build by P.A.Testore, 2010 a viola by international renowned violin maker Haiko Seifert from Plauen, Germany.
Wen Xiao Zheng has performed as a soloist with a couple of major orchestras, like the Bavarian State Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
In a special project he was involved at a recording with the famous Korean soprano Sumi Jo.
Zheng is an activ chamber musician: Among his partners are Eduard Brunner, Sonja Korkeala, Erik Schumann, Nicolas Atstaedt, Ingolf Turban, Guido Schiefen and Lilian Akopova.
In 2010 Zheng became the principal violist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. In February 2014 2 he started to work at the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich in the same position.
Maximilian Hornung - violincello (Germany)
”…Hornung seems to come from another planet. [He] is a man who has reached maturity early, and who combines the cool confidence of a veteran performer with the youthful abandon of a rookie” (Die ZEIT)
With his striking musicality, instinctive stylistic certainty and musical maturity, the young cellist Maximilian Hornung, whose career began when he won the German Music Council’s Competition in 2005, is taking the international music scene by storm. He received an ECHO Klassik prize as best newcomer of the year for his first Sony CD in 2011, followed by an ECHO Klassik prize for the best cello concerto recording of the year for his recording of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Bamberg Symphony under Sebastian Tewinkel in October 2012.
Maximilian Hornung regularly performs as a soloist with such renowned orchestras as the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Bamberg Symphony under conductors such as Daniel Harding, Jiří Bělohlávek, Heinrich Schiff, Yakov Kreizberg, Krzysztof Urbánski, Robin Ticciati, Bernard Haitink and Manfred Honeck. His chamber music partners include Anne-Sophie Mutter, Hélène Grimaud, Christian Tetzlaff, Lisa Batiashvili, Francois Leleux, Igor Levit, Yefim Bronfman, Jörg Widmann and Tabea Zimmermann. He has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheingau, Lucerne, Verbier, Ravinia and Hong Kong festivals, and concerts have taken him to the philharmonic halls in Berlin, Cologne and Essen, as well as the Konzerthaus Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam and London’s Wigmore Hall.
The 2014/2015 season started with his highly acclaimed debut at the Salzburg Festival with Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote which also marked the cellist’s first collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen. His new CD, also in celebration of Richard Strauss' 150th birthday, features the composer's most important works for cello: Don Quixote in a live recording with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Haitink and the early Cello Sonata, Op. 6, accompanied by pianist Paul Rivinius.
Further highlights of the 2014/15 season include his debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg under Nikolaj Znaider (with Dvořák’s cello concerto) and with the Camerata Salzburg under Yuri Bashmet (with Tchaikovsky’s Rokoko-Variations). He will also perform the variations with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada in his Spanish orchestral debut and with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, and the Dvořák with Het Gelders Orkest and the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. In early 2015, Maximilian Hornung will be performing Joseph Haydn’s cello concertos – his recording of which will appear on Sony – with the Kammerakademie Potsdam and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. His chamber music partners in the 2014/15 season will include Anne-Sophie Mutter, Antje Weithaas, Lars Vogt, Dénes Várjon, Jörg Widmann, Igor Levit and the Armida Quartet.
There is also a lot in store beyond the present season. Following his successful recital tour there last season, Maximilian Hornung will again visit Japan to make his solo debut and will perform with the Kioi Sinfonietta and the conductor Semyon Bychkov, among others. He will then proceed to give his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin and return to the Musikverein Vienna where he will perform with the Tonkünstler Orchestra Niederösterreich under Hugh Wolff. He will play sonata concerts at Wigmore Hall and the Vancouver Recital Society, where he will open the Society’s 2015/16 season.
Maximilian Hornung began taking cello lessons at the age of eight. The teachers with whom he has studied most intensely are Eldar Issakadze, Thomas Grossenbacher and David Geringas. As cellist of the Tecchler Trio, in which he played until 2011, he won the First Prize of the ARD Music Competition in 2007. Since 2010, Maximilian Hornung has held an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical. He also recorded for Genuin, Bridge Records, CC ClassicClips and CPO. Maximilian Hornung is supported and sponsored by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Circle of Friends Foundation and Borletti-Buitoni Trust London.
Silke Avenhaus - piano (Germany)
Emotionality paired with sense of form, sensitivity, creativity and curiosity - these are the qualities attributed by music critics to the pianist Silke Avenaus for her international concert appearances and for her more than 20 CD productions.
Her solo concerts and her much-in-demand appearances in chamber music ensembles have taken Silke Avenhaus thoughout Europe, the USA and South East Asia. She has appeared in concert halls such as the Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, in the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Brahms-Saal of the Wiener Musikverein, in the Philharmonie in Cologne, Munich and Berlin as well as in the Carnegie Recital Hall, New York.
She has accepted invitations to the Marlboro Music Festival, to the Chamber Musuc Festivals in Prussia Cove and Moritzburg, to the Berliner Festwochen and to the Rheingau Music Festival, to the Salzburg Festspielen, the Lucerne Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Klavier-Festival Ruhr and to the Beethovenfest in Bonn. Silke Avenhaus has made guest appearances with the NDR Sinfony Orchestra Hamburg, the Berlin Radio Sinfony Orchestra, the German Radiophilharmonie and with the Munich Chamber Orchstra.
Born in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany, Silke won a number of competitions at an early age, studied with Bianca Bodalia and Klaus Schilde (University of Music and Performing Arts Munich), György Sebök (Indiana University, Bloomington) and with Sandor Végh and Andras Schiff.
Silke Avenhaus performs together with artists such as Tabea Zimmermann, Thomas Zehetmair, Benjamin Schmid, Christoph Poppen, Isabelle Faust, Marie-Luise Neunecker, Jörg Widmann, Clemens Hagen and with Sabine Meyer in the Ensemble Collage. An especially close musical affinitybrought her together with Quirine Viersen and Antje Weithaas, with both of whom she has produced several CDs.
Various composers have written works for which she has given first perfomances, for example Wilfried Hiller, Jörg Widmann, Magnar Aam, Akikazu Nakamura, Helmut Eder and Detlef Glanert.
In only a few years Silke Avenhaus recorded more than 20 CDs with solo works, chamber music and orchestral pieces, among others for EMI, ECM, Koch, Tudor, cpo, Berlin Classics, CAvi and harmona mundi. Included in these are works for Violin and Piano by Szymanowski (with Thomas Zehetmair), Beethoven Cello sonatas (with Quirine Viersen), Schumann Violin sonatas (with Isabelle Faust), the "Quartett vom Ende der Zeit" (with the Munch-Trio and Charles Neidich), Mozart's concert aria "Ch' io mi scordi di te" (with Juliane Banse and the Munich Chamber Orchestra under Christoph Poppen), the "Concertino von Triebensee" (with the German Kammerphilharmonie), piano trios by Beethoven, Hiller and Mendelssohn (with the Munch-Trio).
The CD "leggiero, pesante", recorded together with the Rosamunde Quartett and Anja Lechner and with chamber music by Silvestrow, was nominated for the Grammy Award
200. She recorded the Brahms Piano Quintett with the Arcanto Quartett.
Most recently, various CDs have appeared with solo works: First recordings of Alexander von Zemlinsky (Naxos), the "Buch der Sterne" by Wilfried Hiller as well as piano pieces by Robert Schumann and Peter Tschaikowsky.
The CD-Edition consisting of Anthologies from Brahms, Schubert, Mendelssohn and French composers , produced together with Antje Weithaas on the CAvi label, is being continued.
Silke Avenhaus teaches at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich and as a regular lecturer at the Villa Musica.
For Silke Avenhaus, bringing "classical music" to children and young people is of special importantance, whether it be with audio books for children, via workshops or taking part in the "Rhapsody in School" project initiated by Lars Vogt.