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2024 Jury

Vanessa Latarche FRCM, HonARAM, FTCL, LRAM, ARCM

Jury President – United Kingdom

Royal College of Music: Head of Keyboard & Associate Director for Partnerships in China

Artistic Director for HIPCC and jury chair for this year’s competition once more, Professor Vanessa Latarche is a renowned piano pedagogue, with many international competition prize-winners amongst her students. She has extensive experience as a juror and jury chair for numerous international competitions in China, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Italy, New Zealand, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, and BBC Young Musician.

Vanessa has been Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music since 2005. Awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music in 2010 for outstanding services to music, an honour conferred on her by HRH Prince of Wales, in 2011 she was granted a Personal Chair at the RCM, which gave her the title of Chair of International Keyboard Studies. She is also Associate Director for Partnerships in Asia, which involves managing the RCM’s collaborative work in China and the RCM’s degree programmes at Nangyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore. Vanessa was previously a professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was made an Honorary Associate in 1997.

As an advisor to Lang Lang Music World in Shenzhen, China, from its inception, Vanessa has always demonstrated a passion for supporting young musicians worldwide. She now holds the honour of being Artistic Advisor to the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. As a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, in January 2023 she was elected to the WCoM Court as a Court Assistant. She is a member of the editorial board of Classical Music Magazine, and Director of the Eileen Rowe Musical Trust. She has contributed to the RCM’s publication, Inside the Conservatoire, to be published in 2023.

After studying at the Royal College of Music and completing her training in the USA and Paris, Vanessa was awarded many scholarships and prizes from international piano competitions. Her concert career has taken her all over the world, and her interest in Bach led to a performance of the complete 48 Preludes and Fugues at the Lichfield International Festival in 1992, the performances being given over four consecutive evenings. She has performed as a soloist with international orchestras and those in the UK, working with leading conductors. She is a Steinway Artist and has broadcast for over 30 years for BBC Radio 3, the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4.

Eleanor Wong – Hong Kong

Paul Hughes – United Kingdom

Professor Eleanor Wong studied at the Royal Academy of Music, on an Associated Board Scholarship. Besides winning numerous prizes, Eleanor was one the few students to graduate with both the Graduate Diploma (G.R.S.M) and the Recital Diploma as well as top honours: the Walter Macfarren Gold medal and Majorie Whyte Memorial Award. As a Boise Scholar, Eleanor studied in Paris with Vlado Perlemuter and later at the Manhattan School of Music in New York with Artur Balsam.

Winner of the silver medal at the Viotti International Competition Italy, Professor Wong broadcasts on RTHK Radio 4 (Hong Kong), WNYC (New York), BBC (UK), and overseas services. She has also given recitals extensively in the United Kingdom (including at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London), China, and the United States. Professor Wong is recognised as one of the foremost piano pedagogues with many of her pupils winning top prizes in international and local piano competitions. She frequently hosts lectures and workshops on Piano Pedagogy and has given masterclasses in China, England, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea Thailand, Uruguay, South Africa and the USA. She is also a frequent juror for many international piano competitions and festivals.

Eleanor is currently Professor of piano at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, a visiting professor at the Shenzhen School of Arts and Wuhan Music Conservatory and honorary professor of the Tianjin Music Conservatory. She is Chairperson of the Piano Teachers’ Association in Hong Kong, a Steinway Artist, Steinway Honorary Professor and Co-Director of Hong Kong Summer Music.

In 2008, Professor Wong was elected one of the ‘Outstanding Leaders’ of 2007 by Singtao Daily in Hong Kong for her contributions to the musical world. In 2013 she was awarded ‘Hong Kong Women of Excellence in the Six Arts’ for her work in music by the Hong Kong Federation of Women. In 2014, she was honoured by the Hong Kong government with the Medal of Honour for her dedication and work in music. In 2018 she received a Life Time Achievement Award in music education by the 5th Hong Kong International Music Festival.

Paul Hughes joined the BBC in 1999 and for 23 years was Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and the BBC Singers. A graduate of Trinity College of Music, he came to the BBC following senior management roles with The Academy of Ancient Music, IMG Artists, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra.

Under his directorship, the BBC ensembles toured the world, recorded extensively, expanded audiences live, on air and on social media, undertook a wide range of innovative education and audience development projects and championed new music, new composers and new artists.

In recent years, Paul Hughes played a lead role on the design and delivery of a new studio complex for the BBC ensembles, currently under construction on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and due to open in 2026.

A Governor of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for nine years, Paul has a passion for discovering and nurturing the next generation of musicians, composers and conductors. Since leaving the BBC in 2022, he has devised and is delivering a professional skills programme for the conducting faculty of the Royal College of Music, and is in demand as a programming and strategic planning consultant, a mentor and visiting lecturer, and a regular competition juror.

Beyond the UK, Paul is Programming and Mentoring Director for the Lead Foundation in Finland, visiting lecturer to Norway’s Dirigentløftet conducting programme and Music Norway’s composer programme. He is a visiting mentor to the Rotterdam International Conducting Competition; a consultant to the National Concert Hall, Dublin. In addition, Paul Hughes is regularly invited as a juror for international competitions.

He is the recipient of honorary membership from Trinity College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Royal College of Music and has recently been honoured by the Finnish government with the award of Knight First Class of the Order of the Lion, for services to Finnish music and musicians.

Fran Cruz PlazaSpain

Piotr PalecznyPoland

Professor Cruz Plaza studied piano with Dimitri Bashkirov, Noretta Conci, Bella Davidovich, Frederyk Gevers and Charles Rosen, and conducting with Norman del Mar and Claudio Abbado. As a pianist, he is especially noted for his performances of Bach, Schubert and Schumann, with a repertoire ranging from the early Baroque to the latest compositions, including works by Ligeti under the supervision of the composer. He won the J.S. Bach Award in Berlin.

As a visiting professor and lecturer, Francisco visits the Universities of Columbia, Harvard, Yale, California, Mexico, Toronto, Tokyo, Berlin, Oslo, Michigan, Bordeaux, Paderewsky Piano Academy, Astana University and the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium.

In the early 1990’s Francisco limited his professional activities, preferring to study Philosophy, Mathematics and expanding his repertoire into the complete works of Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Beethoven and Brahms. Since returning to the concert platform, Francisco has been enjoying an uninterrupted international career, touring many countries all over world, and playing Bach on a world tour of some of the most important and prestigious concert halls.

Francisco is a great advocate for training young musicians, working with over a dozen foundations that support classical music. He is currently a jury member and trustee for several international piano competitions, Krainev Moscow, Paderewsky Bydgoszcz International, Tchaikovsky International for Young Musicians Moscow and Astana, Budapest, Piano Texas, Montreal, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, Beijing, Belgrade. Many of his students consistently win top prizes at some of the most important piano competitions.

Today, he is a pianist, professor, artistic director, musical producer and programmer. He advises some of the world’s leading universities and cultural centres, alongside acting as an advisor for a number of museums.

Forthcoming recitals include performances in London, Leipzig, Berlin, St Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Auckland, Beijing, Tokio, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Francisco is Artistic Director of “European Piano Series” in Washington DC and General Director of “Q” International Piano Masters Competitions and founder and Artistic Director of the “Global Bach Players” Chamber Orchestra. In 2019, they toured Canada, the United States, South America, China and Japan.

On 5 May 2022, the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw held a solemn ceremony to confer the title of “Doctor Honoris Causa” to Professor Piotr Paleczny. The promoter of this act of the highest prestige was Maestro Krystian Zimerman.

One of the most outstanding Polish pianists and professors, laureate of five international piano competitions. He completed piano studies at the Frederick Chopin Music University in Warsaw in the class of prof. Jan Ekier. The opportunity of having artistic contact with Arthur Rubinstein and Witold Lutoslawski also had a huge impact on the final development of his artistic personality.

His success achieved at the 8th Frederick Chopin International Piano Competition opened to Piotr Paleczny the doors of many prestigious world concert halls. Receiving, in company of Garrick Ohlsson and Mitsuko Uchida – the Third Prize, the Special Prize for the best performance of a Polonaise and the Witold Małcużyński Prize his career, which the artist has enjoyed constantly until now performing concerts on all continents.

He performed as a soloist with such prominent orchestras as the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouw, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, RAI, Santa Cecilia, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Argentina and Orquesta Nacional de España and many other famous orchestras.

He gave concerts in prestigious concert halls including the Carnegie Hall, the Alice Tully Hall and the UN General Assembly Hall in New York, the Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Berliner Philharmonie, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam,

the Royal Festival Hall in London and Festspielhaus in Salzburg.

He has held master classes in New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Fort Worth, Bordeaux, Paris, Seoul, Beijing, Boston, Brescia, Madrid, Amsterdam, Hamamatsu, Montevideo, Mexico City.

He has gained a great recognition as a juror at the prestigious international piano competitions such as those organized in Warsaw (eight last editions of the Chopin Competition), Leeds, Montreal, Moscow (Tchaikovsky – in 2002 and in June, 2019), Paris, A. Rubinstein in Tel Aviv, London, Cleveland, Geneve, Hamamatsu, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Tokyo, Takamatsu, Seoul, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Santander, Sendai, Taipei, Weimar, Manchester, Shezhen, Los Angeles, Hilton Head, Campillos.

In July 2007, he led the Jury works at the prestigious piano competition in Cleveland, thus he was the first and only Pole invited to fulfill a function of Jury chairman at the USA international piano competitions.

On 5 November 2001, Piotr Paleczny was invited to be a soloist of the extraordinary Gala Concert to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since 1993 he has been Artistic Director of the world’s oldest existing piano festival – the Duszniki International Chopin Piano Festival and since 2004 he also is the Artistic Director of the International Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz.

In 2015 the National F. Chopin Institute has released highly awaited CD recorded by Piotr Paleczny – all Chopin recital which became a huge success among critics and the audience.

Piotr Paleczny conducts the piano class at the Frederick Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. His students have won dozens of awards at the most important international and national piano competitions. Currently he is also Professor at the Talent Music Academy in Brescia, Italy. 

He is also a member of the executive committee of the International Pianists Association.

The artist is honored with many superior and prestigious Polish and foreign states decorations, such as the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Mexican Order of the Aguila Azteca. 

In September 2005, Piotr Paleczny was awarded the highest Polish artistic distinction, “Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis”. 

In March 2017, Piotr Paleczny was awarded with prestigious Diploma and Title of Honorary Professor of the F. Chopin University of Music. 

In April 2017, the Board of the Polish Phonographic Academy, in recognition of his artistic achievements, awarded him with the most prestigious “Golden Fryderyk” Award. 

In 2018, Piotr Paleczny received an extraordinary and unique prize – The C. K. Norwid Award “Work of Life”. 

In 2019, the Government of Japan awarded Piotr Paleczny one of the highest Japanese honors – Order of the Rising Sun, Golden Rays with Ribbon.

Pascal Escande – France

Norman Krieger – USA

After working with Pierre Sancan and Gabriel Tacchino, Pascal Escande met the virtuoso pianist Eliane Richepin, who became his teacher and remained so throughout his musical studies. Escande got his awards from the Université Musicale Internationale de Paris, followed by a Master’s Degree in Musicology at the Sorbonne University.

Appointed professor at the Notre-Dame de la Compassion school in Pontoise, where he founded and directed the school’s choir, he was also appointed professor of piano, then as professor-coordinator of the piano/keyboard department at the Regional National Conservatory of Cergy Pontoise, a position he held from 1982 to 2022.

In 1981, he founded the Auvers-sur-Oise Festival, hosting artists from all over the world, including Georges Cziffra, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Zoltan Kocsis, Alexis Weissenberg, Nelson Freire and Hélène Grimaud…. In 1990, the Festival embarked on a mission that would shape its true identity and DNA: to discover and support young talent in their performing and recording careers, with a focus on concert residency. From the Trio Wanderer to Claire Marie Le Guay, Emmanuelle Haïm, Denis Matsuev and Anastasia Kobekina, a great many young artists have not only produced their first CD, but have also received help and support because of the “DiscAuverS” mission, now in its 33rd year. In 1998, Eliane Richepin asked Pascal Escande to take over the presidency and artistic direction of the Annecy Summer Festival, which he transformed into the Academies and International Festival, which ran under the name of Annecy Classic Festival until 2016. In 2002, he founded Piano Campus, International Piano Days, involving a Festival for young pianists and a new style of international piano competition which takes place over an entire month in the town of Pontoise and its Urban Area Community.

Having been invited to join a number of national and international juries in Shanghai, Astana, Moscow and Paris, Pascal Escande also brings all of his cultural experience to the boards of several foundations and cultural institutions. Recognised by his peers for all of his actions and work in the field, he received the decorations of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters and Knight of the National Order of Merit.

From Los Angeles, Norman Krieger is one of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation and is highly regarded as an artist of depth, sensitivity and virtuosic flair.

Krieger regularly appears with the major orchestras of North America, the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra. Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Jaap van Zweden, and Zubin Mehta are among many of the conductors with whom Krieger has collaborated. As a performer, Krieger has performed throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, including tours in many countries around the world.

As a recitalist, Krieger has appeared in the United States, Europe, Mexico and Asia. While chamber music collaborations have included appearances with soprano Sheri Greenawald, violinists Paul Huang, Sarah Chang, Pamela Frank and Mihaela Martin, violist Nobuko Imai, cellists Myung Wha Chung, Jian Wang, Edward Aaron and Frans Helmersen as well as the Tokyo string quartet. His debut at the Carnegie Hall and the Mostly Mozart Festival earned him an immediate invitation to Lincoln Centre’s Great Performers Series.

He studied first in Los Angeles with Esther Lipton and at fifteen became a full-scholarship student of Adele Marcus at the Juilliard School, gaining both his Bachelor and Master’s degrees. Subsequently, he studied with Alfred Brendel and Maria Curcio in London. Joining the New England Conservatory, he gained an Artist Diploma studying with Russell Sherman. In 1987, he won the Gold Medal of the first Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition.

A champion of contemporary music, he features the music of John Adams, Leonard Bernstein, John Corigliano, Daniel Brewbaker, Donald Crockett, Judith St. Croix, Lukas Foss, Henri Lazarof and Lowell Liebermann.

Krieger is the founding artistic director of the Prince Albert Music Festival in Hawaii. Since 2008, he has served on the summer faculty at the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. From 1997 to 2016 was a professor at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. In August 2016 he was appointed Professor of Piano at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Pre-selection Jury

Our Pre-selection Jury included our Artistic Director Professor Vanessa Latarche, Diana Ketler and Aaron Shorr.

Diana Ketler

Aaron Shorr

Diana Ketler commenced her studies of music and piano at the age of five at the E Darzins specialized music school in Riga, and played her concerto debut at the age of 11 with Latvian National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vassily Sinaisky.

Diana graduated from the Latvian Academy of Music with a first class Honours degree in 1993, having studied with Theofil Bikis. From 1992 to 1994 she studied at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg under Karl-Heinz Kammerling. In 1994 Diana continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Christopher Elton. She graduated in 1996, receiving the Dip RAM. In 1996/1997 and in 2000/2001 Diana was awarded the Hodgson Piano Fellowship at the Academy.

Diana has appeared as a soloist with Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Sudwestdeutsches Kammerorchester, Riga Chamber Orchestra, Georgisches Kammerorchester and Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. She has performed extensively in Britain, Japan, Canada, Russia and most European countries. Her engagements have included performances at the Gstaad Musiksommer Festival , Ravello Music Festival, St Gallen Musikfestival, Carinthischer Sommer and Kobe International Art Festival. Diana has given recitals at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Purcell Room, Glenn Gould Studios in Toronto, Tokyo Opera City Hall, Osaka Symphony Hall, Atheneum in Bucharest and other prestigious venues.

She has collaborated with artists such as Wolfram Christ, Konstantin Lifschitz, Daishin Kashimoto, Adrian Brendel, Baiba Skride, Remus Azoitei, Sasha Sitkovetsky, Bernhard Hedenborg, Narimichi Kawabata, Inga Kalna and Marlis Petersen. As a member of the Ensemble Raro, she regularly tours Europe and Japan. Diana has given a number of British and German premieres of the works by contemporary Baltic composers and collaborates closely with Peteris Vasks and Arvo Pärt.

Diana’s performances have been broadcast on radio and television in Japan, Britain (BBC 3, Classic FM), Germany (Bavarian Radio), Romania, Latvia and Austria. Since 2003 Diana has been professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music.

She has given masterclasses in Spain, Czech Republic, England, Latvia and former Yugoslavia, and has served as a jury member at the International Piano Competition Jeunesses Musicales in Bucharest. Since 2004 Diana has been Artistic Director of the Chiemgauer Musikfrühling Festival in Bavaria, Germany.

Since settling in the United Kingdom in 1984, Aaron Shorr has established an international career as soloist, chamber musician and educator.

As well as appearing as soloist at London’s South Bank in over thirty concertos, he has toured extensively as a recitalist and chamber musician worldwide. More recent performances have included tours of Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Holland, Turkey, Australia, China, Japan, Korea,Mexico and the United States. He has performed extensively in the United Kingdom appearing in concerti, solo recitals and chamber music concerts at the Wigmore Hall, St. Martins in the Fieldand St. John’s Smith Squareand festivals throughout Britain.

He has also appeared in major European Festivals including the BBC Proms, Menuhin Festival, Munich Biennale, Hanover Expo, Paganiniana in Genoa, Venice Biennale, Instrumenta Festival Mexico, the Skopje Days of New Music, Cyprus International Contemporary Music Festival and the Istanbul Biennale. He has broadcast frequently for radio, including BBC Radio 3, BBC Scotland, Classic FM, Bavarian Radio, Swiss Classical Radio, ABC Australia, and WQXR New York.

Aaron Shorr has recorded for Naxos, Mettier, Olympia, NMCand Meridian. His recordings of Beethoven with duo partner, Peter Sheppard Skaerved, have won wide acclaim. Research on composers in Beethoven’s inner circle of friends and contemporaries has yielded modern recording premieres of works by Mayseder, Ries and Archduke Rudolph as well as unknown chamber version of Beethoven’s Third Symphony. He has also enjoyed close associations with composers and has given countless premieres and performances of works, including those by Hans Werner Henze, George Rochberg, Sadie Harrison, David Matthews, Paul Moravec, Elliott Schwartz, Jorg Widmann, Michael Alec Rose, Jeremy Dale Roberts, Judith Bingham, Rory Boyle, Marek Pasieczny,and Sidika Ozdil.

Aaron Shorr studied at the Manhattan School of Music in New York and the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he received their most prestigious prizes for performance. His teachers have included Alexander Kelly, Solomon Mikowsky, Gary Graffman, André Watts, John Browningand chamber music with Joseph Seiger, former duo partner of legendary violinist Mischa Elman.

Aaron Shorr was a professor and researcher at the Royal Academy of Music in London since 1992 before going on head the keyboard department of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2006. His students have gone on to win major prizes at international competitions including the Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Tel Aviv, UNISA, Pretoria, Rio, Brazil, Munich, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, Vines – Spain, Piano Campus – Paris, Redding-Piette and the Schubert Competition in the Czech Republic. His students have also won prizes in major UK competitions, including the Royal Overseas League, Brandt, Bromsgrove, Park Lane Debut Series and the Moray Piano Competition. In 2011, he became Artistic director and Chair of the Jury for The Scottish International Piano Competition.

In 2006, Aaron Shorr was appointed Head of Keyboard at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In 2013, he was awarded a Professorship from the RCS and from 2013-2015, also served as Acting Director of Music at the RCS