Kyoko Hashimoto (Artistic Director) - Piano, McGill University

The legendary pianist and a teacher, Gyögy Sebök described Kyoko Hashimoto
“extraordinary musical talent”“one of the finest of her generation”.
Kyoko Hashimoto was born in Tokyo and began to study the piano at the age of three. After graduating from the Toho-Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, she studied at the International Menuhin Music Academy, Indiana University and the Juilliard School. She received full scholarships from the Menuhin Academy and the Juilliard School. Among her teachers were György Sebök, Menahem Pressler, György Janzer, William Masselos, György Sandor, Felix Galimir, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados.
She has been regularly performing throughout the world, so far in more than 35 countries, including many major cities and halls such as the Wigmore Hall in London, the Lincoln Center and the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, etc. She has been invited to many important festivals including the Prague Spring Festival, the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival and the Saito Kinen Festival. Besides performing Solo recitals in many countries in Europe, North America and Asia, she has performed Concertos (wide range of repertoire from Bach to contemporary, including the pieces such as Trangalila Symphony by Messiaen) with distinguished orchestras such as the Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra.
She has performed as well many duo recitals with Ruggiero Ricci(Vn), Thomas
Zehetmair(Vn) and Antonio Meneses(Vc), and duo and chamber music concerts with artists such as Sandor Vegh(Vn), Mischa Maisky(Vc), Jean-Jacque Kantorow(Vn), Aaron Rosand(Vn), Ralph Kirshbaum(Vc), Steven Isserlis(Vc), András Adorján(Fl), Patrick Gallois(Fl), Maurice Bourgue(Ob), Hansjörg Schellenberger(Ob), Barry Tuckwell(Hr), Atar Arad(Va), Anthony Marwood(Vn), Nobuko Imai(Va) Sergio Azzolini(Fg), Isabelle van Keulen(Vn), Chantal Juillet(Vn), Hermann Baumann(Hr), Regis Pasquier(Vn), Matt Haimovitz(Vc) and Bruno Giuranna(Va).
Ms. Hashimoto was awarded numerous prizes such as the 1st grand prize and the
public prize at the Concours International de Musique Française, the top prize at the Concours Musical de France, and the special prizes at the Budapest International Music Competition and at the Spohr International Competition.
She has recorded many times for TV and radio all over the world including a series of 20 works by Beethoven for Dutch radio. She has been a frequent performer for CBC (Canada) and BBC (UK) and in 2012, she was chosen as representative performance for the Schubert Impromptus together with
Edwin Fischer, William Kapell and Wilhelm Backhaus for BBC “Schubert Marathon”. She has also made more than a dozen CD-recordings, including solo recordings of the early piano pieces (all the Preludes+4 pieces) by Messiaen, 34 piano pieces by Schumann, 24 Preludes by Scriabin combined with 24 Preludes by Shostakovich, 4 Impromptus by Schubert and 12 Preludes Book II by Debussy, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Blumenfeld, Bartok, and her most recently released CD contains Mozart solo pieces.
She is Professor of Piano and Piano Area Chair at Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and was on the piano faculty and the chamber music faculty of the Utrecht Conservatory in Holland for 12 years. She has been invited many times as a visiting professor at the European Mozart Academy in Poland and in the Czech Republic and at the International Chamber Music Academy in the Czech Republic. She has served as an International Jury member for many competitions such as the Gina Bachauer International Piano Artists Competition, CMC Stepping Stone Competition, Montreal International Piano Competition, The Piana del Cavaliere International Piano Competition (President of the Jury) and YAMAHA Benelux Competition. She has been the Artistic Director of the International Music Workshop and Festival (IMWAF) in the Czech Republic, Germany and in Portugal since 2004. She has also given master classes at major institutions in France, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, the Czech Republic, the U.S.A., the UK, Holland, Germany, Taiwan, Brazil, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Finland, Mongolia, Montenegro and Japan.

James Clark

James Clark’s musical career reflects a wide variety of accomplishment. He has played chamber music with, amongst others, Stephen Kovacevich, Mikhail Pletnev, Steven Isserlis, Michael Collins, Adrian Brendel and Simon Trpceski. He has toured the world with the Endellion Quartet and the Raphael Ensemble, and as Leader of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has led every major symphony orchestra in the UK holding leading positions with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra for 11 years, and the last 12 years with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also Guest-Led the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich.

James Clark is a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he teaches. He also gives Masterclasses on Orchestra Leadership and in Chamber Music with advanced students from the major music colleges in Britain.

As a recitalist and soloist, he has given some 30 radio broadcasts and appears on discs as diverse as Bach Concertos, Messiaen, Alkan and Maxwell Davies. His recording of Vaughan William’s Lark Ascending with the RLPO is often heard on Classic FM. His chamber music discs include Brahms and Dvorak Sextets, Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten String Quartets.

As a conductor, James has worked with the Philharmonia, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra amongst others. He has conducted a series of concerts of the music of the Strauss family with the RLPO and Classic FM’s John Suchet. He has also visited Venezuela several times to teach as part of El Sistema, and to conduct the Simon Bolivar Orchestra at the invitation of Gustavo Dudamel.

As a Chorister at King’s College Cambridge, he sang solo at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Radio 3’s Building Library recently chose the 1972 recording of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols as their recommended version with James singing Treble Solo.

Ramón Jaffé

A world-class cellist, Jaffé's playing reminds me J. du Pré's musical vitality

(V. Askkenazy)


This motto is not only a fitting characterization of Ramón Jaffe‘s artistic life but also documents his moving biography.                                                   

Born into a musical family in Riga, Latvia in 1962, he immigrated to Israel with his family in 1971 before coming to Germany in 1974. Ramón Jaffé received his first musical tuition under his father Don Jaffe, who guided him until his concert exam in 1988 with B. Peragamenschikow. In addition to his tutelage under D. Geringas, D. Shafran and S. Vegh served as his musical mentors. As chamber music partner, he accompanied Sandor Vegh in his last great appearance as a violinist in the great Mozarteum Hall in Salzburg.

Ramón Jaffé, under this master‘s aegis, took successfully part in a series of competitions such as the German Musical Competition (1984) and the Casals Competition in Budapest (1985). His solo career, which had commenced during his studies, led him to the prestigious concert houses of Berlin, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, London, and Cologne, St.-Petersburg, Rio de Janeiro, to name a few. While doing this, he devoted himself to chamber music as a member of the string trio ,,Belcanto Strings“  (1993 – 2009) and the ,,Mendelssohn Trio Berlin“. Further chamber music partners have included, among others, I. Vermillion, Y. Bronfman, A. Mustonen, A. Frölich, F. Leleux, V. Mendelssohn, J. Rachlin, W. Fuchs, M.P. Langlamet, B. Schmid, E. Bashkirowa, G. Causse, and N. Znaider.

In addition, Mr. Jaffé is the founder and artistic manager of the Chamber Music Festival Hopfgarten/Tirol. In 2011 he has accepted the invitation to the artistic leadership of the Chamber Music Festival in Middelburg/NL.

The orchestras with which Ramón Jaffé  has worked, include the DSO & BSO Berlin, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Berliner Symphoniker, Hamburger Symphoniker, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Radio SO Vienna, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Armenian Philharmonic, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica do Brazil. 

A sampling of the conductors, with whom he has worked includes A. Boreyko, A. Mustonen, M. Jurowski, E. Topchjan, St. Blunier, Ralf Weikert, as well as the jazz singer Bobbie McFerrin.

He appeared with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra under the conductorship of R. Abbado, M. Viotti and L. Foster, and the RSO Vienna in the Vienna Musikverein within the Wiener Festwochen. This performance was frequently broadcast internationally via radio and television. Numerous other T.V. and radio recordings as well as an impressive number of CDs document his artistic work. ,,Meditation hebraique“, Brahms Arrangements (published by Koch Schwann), and the premiere of B. Blacher‘s Cello Concerto (Signum) are examples of this. Among the newest releases one can find “The cello’s opera voice” with original pieces for Cello & Orchestra by Verdi, Rossini, Weber, Auber and R. & J. Strauss and Dvoráks Cello concerto No. 1 in A Major. 

Ramón Jaffé was a welcomed guest at international festivals, such as the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Rheingau Festival, the Würzburg Mozart Festival, Open Chamber Music Prussia Cove (GB), D. Oistrakh-Festival (Estonia), Schubertiade Roskilde (DK), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, Stuttgarter Bachtage, Steirischer Herbst Graz, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, Salzburg Culture Weeks, the Expo 1992 and the Biennial in Seville, the Middelburg Festival (NL), the MIDEM in Cannes, Amadeo (NL), Summertime (LV) and the Ludwigsburg Festival.

One of his most artistically exciting and impressive encounters was that with the late Flamenco guitarist Pedro Bacan. Bacan introduced Ramón Jaffé to the secrets of the fascinating world of Flamenco.

Their performances have culminated at all the significant Flamenco Festivals in Spain and France. In 2006 Ramón Jaffé has founded the RamonJaffé-Trio (cello, flamenco-guitar & flamenco-dance), which is specialized on the connection of spanish classical music with the flamenco. He is also constantly performing with the Sri Lankan Sitar-virtuoso Pradeep Ratnayake.

Ramón Jaffé is teaching at the University of Music “C. M. v. Weber” in Dresden. In addition he is leading worldwide masterclasses and is jury-member of several competiotions.