The 26-year-old Hungarian trumpet player Tamás Pálfalvi is making a name for himself as one of the most innovative and creative trumpet players of our times. His first-rate technique, stage presence and dramaturgical skills brought him a first prize at the Fanny Mendelssohn Encouragement Award in 2015. The resulting debut album Agitato with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra combines works by Vivaldi, Telemann and Handel with contemporary composers such as Ligeti, Kagel and Dubrovay – as a matter of course. Pálfalvi would like to expand both the trumpet repertoire and playing technique. He pursues these goals not only by championing new composers, but also by transcribing historical repertoire. Pálfalvi has performed in New York and Tokyo, in Hong Kong, London and Beirut, and with conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Matthias Pintscher, Peter Eötvös and Zoltán Kocsis.
Aged 23, Vera Karner has won numerous awards at national and international competitions, honours and scholarships, including at the Fidelio Competition Vienna, Ad Infinitum Lübeck or the Lions Music Prize 2015. In addition to her own concerts, the clarinettist has gathered orchestral experience in the stage orchestra at the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. She is actively engaged in the project “Live Music Now” founded by Yehudi Menuhin, giving free concerts in social institutions. In 2016 she won the Fanny Mendelssohn Encouragement Award together with Dominik Wagner.
At the young age of 20, Dominik Wagner from Vienna has already travelled half the world, looking back upon performances in Asia, South America and Europe. In addition, he was the youngest participant ever to win the Golden Bass Competition in Lviv (Ukraine) in 2013, also winning the International Osaka Competition in 2014. Dominik Wagner is a fellow of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation and a member of Mutter’s Virtuosi. In 2016 he won the Fanny Mendelssohn Encouragement Award together with Vera Karner.
The 25-year-old pianist Maciej Skarbek is originally from Rzeszów, Poland. From 2011 to 2014 he studied with Stefan Vladar at the Vienna Music Academy, then moving on to studies with Roland Batik at the Vienna Private Music University. He has won many international competitions, including Musica Juventutis (Vienna), the Gina Bachauer Society (Greece), and “A Feast for Duos” (Switzerland). Apart from performances in Poland, Germany and Austria, Maciej Skarbek has also appeared in Switzerland, Italy, Portugal and in Israel.
The violinist Matthias Well, Maria Well’s younger brother, is the winner of several regional, state and federal prizes at the German competition “Jugend musiziert”. As early as 2011 he founded the music group “nouWell cousines” together with several other family members. As part of the duo “twoWell” he won the special prize of the Gasteig Cultural Circle for his “breath-taking stage presence during Ondrej Kukal’s Present”. In 2017 he was honoured with the Fanny Mendelssohn Encouragement Award, which is helping him and his sister record their debut album Kein Grund zur Trauer (No Reason to Mourn).
Born in Munich as the daughter of the cabaret musician Michael Well (of Biermösl Blosn) and sister of Matthias Well, cellist Maria Well was accepted at the Munich Music Academy as a junior student at the early age of 16. She also won regional, state and federal first prizes at the competition “Jugend musiziert”. In 2015 she graduated with distinction; during the same year she founded the violin-cello duo “twoWell” with her brother Matthias. An enthusiastic chamber musician, she works with numerous musical institutions in Munich.
She is from Ankara and lives in Berlin: for the 32-year-old German-Turkish composer Sinem Altan, the dialogue between these two cultures is the central subject of her artistic work. Even as a young girl, she won first prizes as a pianist and composer in Turkey and Germany; she was accepted at the Music Academy Hanns Eisler as a junior student at the age of only 11. Later, she initiated the concert series “Yenilige Dogru – On the Road towards Novelty”, which later resulted in the founding of her ensemble Olivinn, which moves freely between European classical music, Turkish folk music and contemporary sounds. Sinem Altan’s activities are uncommonly broad-ranging: she has been composer-in-residence at the Neukölln Opera; she has set several stories about Keloglan, the Turkish equivalent of Till Eulenspiegel, for the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin (RSB); and for the Amsterdam Opera she composed a new version of Verdi’s Aida including a gospel choir and oriental percussion. In 2013 her Concerto for Baglama (Turkish lute) and Symphony Orchestra had its successful premiere at the Konzerthaus Berlin. In 2015 she won the European Composers Award at Young Euro Classic for her work Hafriyat – Earthwork. She performed again at the Festival in 2016, presenting “Classic meets Jazz” together with her Ensemble Olivinn and Nils Landgren.
Four personalities are united the Berlin-based Ensemble Olivinn: apart from the composer Sinem Altan, it includes the soprano Begüm Tüzemen, originally from Istanbul and living in Berlin since 2007, whose repertoire ranges from classical arias to jazz standards and international folk song arrangements. Then there is the Anatolian-born multi-instrumentalist Özgür Ersoy, who performs the duduk, baglama and ney in many formations, for example with pianist Fazil Say. The fourth musician is the percussionist Axel Meier from Berlin, equally virtuosic on timpani and darbuka, in salsa and Turkish folklore, on drum set and vibraphone. The Ensemble Olivinn stands for a very special sound, mixing traditional Turkish and Anatolian folk songs with classical European and contemporary works, which also include improvisation. In Berlin, the quartet has performed regularly in musical theatre works at the Maxim Gorki Theater, Ballhaus Naunynstraße and Atze Musiktheater.
One concert – four programmes: breath-taking trumpet virtuosity between baroque and modernism. Haunting melodies from all over the world: “Gassenhauer – Gassenbauer”. Funeral music, not necessarily sad: Matthias Well revives the ancient tradition of the “funeral fiddlers”. Sinem Altan and her versatile Ensemble Olivinn present their brilliant fusion of traditional Turkish and classical music.