Chairman of the jury
Arie Van Lysebeth
Belgium, °1938
Arie Van Lysebeth was the President of the Jury of the Queen Elisabeth Competition from 1996 to 2018. He took up the violin at the age of four. He completed his higher education at the Brussels Conservatory in music theory, bassoon, chamber music, and orchestral conducting. Following a competition, he was appointed bassoon soloist of the Belgian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. Two years later, he came joint first in the Prague International Bassoon Contest. He also studied conducting under Bruno Maderna in Salzburg and under Pierre Boulez in Switzerland. Starting in 1970, he conducted the Flemish Chamber Orchestra, both in Belgium and abroad. As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the major Belgian orchestras as well as with symphony orchestras in the United States of America, Argentina, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany. He has performed with many famous soloists, including Igor Oistrakh, José Van Dam, Murray Perahia, and Augustin Dumay. From 1995 to 2004 he was the regular conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Brussels Conservatory, where he taught chamber music for many years (1970-1994) and served as director (1994-2003). From 2004 to 2014, he was the artistic director of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel.
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Paul Badura-Skoda
- 2019
Paul Badura-Skoda is one of the most important pianists of our time. A legendary artist who has been heard in all the world´s greatest concert halls, and for years was the pianist who had the largest number of records available in the market. His musical personality is characterized by complete immersion in music, a passionate search for the essential, and a sense of artistic responsibility. It soon becomes evident to any listener that he loves music with every part of his being.

In 1945, Paul Badura-Skoda entered the Vienna Conservatory. Two years later he won first prize in the Austrian Music Competition and a scholarship which allowed him to study with Edwin Fischer. In 1949, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan became aware of Badura-Skoda´s outstanding talent and invited him to play concerts. Practically overnight the young viennese became a world-famous artist.

Since then, Badura-Skoda has been a regular and celebrated guest at the most important music festivals and a soloist with the world´s most prestigious orchestras. In addition to Furtwängler and von Karajan, he has collaborated with such renowned conducters as George Szell, Karl Böhm, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Georg Solti, Kent Nagano and John Eliot Gardiner.

Paul Badura-Skoda has recorded a vast repertoire - more than 200 LPs and dozens of compact discs including the complete cycles of the piano sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.

Badura-Skoda performs with equal authority on both period and modern instruments. He was a pioneer in proposing the use of period pianos in perfomance. His profound knowledge of instruments from Bach´s and Mozart time up to the present has given him the capacity to extract from modern instruments a quality of sound which never fails to amaze audiences and critics alike.
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Bella Davidovich
At the age of 18, Bella Davidovich entered the Moscow Conservatory to study with Konstantin Igumnov and Jacob Flier. In 1949 she became the youngest pianist to have won First Prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Since her soldout Carnegie Hall debut in the United States (1979), she has worked with renowned orchestras such as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Concertgebouw Orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, with, amongst others, Rostropovich, Masur, Temirkanov, and Muti. Her substantial discography includes recordings for Philips, Orfeo, Novalis, and Delos. In 1988, together with her son, she became the first Soviet emigre musician to be officially invited to perform in her native country. While in Russia, Bella Davidovich taught at the Moscow Conservatory for 16 years and has been a Professor at the Juilliard School in New York for over 20 years. She regularly serves on the jury of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the Clara Haskil Piano Competition in Switzerland, and the Ferruccio Busoni Competition in Italy.
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Abdel Rahman El Bacha
Lebanon, France, °1958
Born in Beirut in 1958, Abdel Rahman El Bacha lives in France. At the age of 16 he pursued his piano studies under Pierre Sancan at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris, where he obtained four first prizes (for piano, chamber music, harmony, and counterpoint). Since his talent was discovered at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1978, he has performed in the most prestigious concert halls around the world. He has played with a variety of orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Orchestre de Paris, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, and the English Chamber Orchestra. His first disc, devoted to the works of Prokofiev, received the Grand Prize of the Charles Cros Academy. Since then he has recorded many works (including Bach, Ravel, Schubert, and Schumann) with Forlane, as well as Prokofiev’s five concertos with Fuga Libera. His complete Beethoven sonatas and complete works for solo piano by Chopin have been a great success, both in concert and on CD. Abdel Rahman El Bacha is also a composer and is master in residence for the piano at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel.
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Ts'Ong Fou
- 2020
Born in Shanghai in 1934, Fou Ts’ong began his studies in China and later studied under Zbigniew Drzewiecki in Warsaw. He was awarded the special Mazurka prize at the 1953 Chopin Competition, which resulted in many performances in Eastern Europe. In 1959 he was invited to perform under Carlo Maria Giulini at the Royal Albert Hall and since then has made London his home. Recognised by his peers, the public, and the critics alike, Fou Ts’ong has given many concerts all over the world. His recordings on the Meridian label include works by Scarlatti, Handel, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Debussy. This year he has made a recording of Haydn’s sonatas. He teaches at the Lake Como International Piano Academy and the Shanghai Conservatory and has given master classes at many musical institutions and festivals. This year he is serving as a member of the jury of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
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Valentin Gheorghiu
Born in Romania, Valentin Gheorghiu started learning the piano at the age of four and was admitted to the Bucharest Royal Academy of Music at the age of seven. From 1937 to 1939, thanks to a recommendation by George Enescu, he continued his piano and harmony studies at the National Conservatory in Paris. His debut with an orchestra came at the age of 15 with the Bucharest Philharmonic. He has since performed throughout Europe and in North America, Israel, and Japan, with prestigious orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Orchestre de Paris, and the orchestras of Chicago, Tokyo, Osaka, Geneva, and Prague, among others, under conductors such as Seiji Osawa, Simon Rattle, Kurt Masur, and Rafael Kubelik. Valentin Gheorghiu has served on the juries of more than 60 international competitions. He has received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Music in Bucharest and has been awarded the George Enescu Prize for his compositions and the Romanian Academy Prize for his career as a whole, as well as the Award for Excellence in Romanian Culture.
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Vladimir Krainev
- 2011
A famous representative of the Russian piano school and a pupil of Heinreich Neuhaus at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Vladimir Krainev won the First Prize of the Vianna da Motta and Tchaikovsky Competitions. For some 40 years his career has seen him work with the most prestigious orchestras, with leading conductors, and in the world’s great concert halls. His recordings of Prokofiev, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky concertos as well as his recordings of the concerto written for him by Alfred Schnittke and his ‘Anthology of Russian Piano Concertos’ became legendary. Since 1992, he taught at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover. Vladimir Krainev personnally supported many young talents through the Foundation he set up in 1994, his Competition for Young Pianists in Kharkov (Ukraine), his concert series in Moscow and Kiev, and the piano competitions where he served as chairman or member of the jury. Awarded many prizes and medals over the years, he received the Russian State Prize in 2003 in recognition of his outstanding career and talent. He passed away in Germany in 2011.
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Kum Sing Lee
For over three decades, Professor Kum Sing Lee has earned a reputation as a pianist from audiences and critics in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia - as a soloist as well as in duos and in chamber music.

Kum Sing Lee studied with Gerhard Puchelt in Berlin and with Julius Katchen and Magda Tagliaferro in Paris. He debuted in New York's Carnegie Hall in 1963 and in London's Wigmore Hall in 1969. He has collaborated in concerts with leading artists such as Cho-Liang Lin, Alfredo Campoli, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Rivka Golani and Kim Borg and has been featured with BBC, Australian and Canadian Broadcasting Corporations, and on numerous Asian and European radio and television recordings.

Professor Kum Sing Lee has been Head of the Piano Department at the Vancouver Academy of Music and Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Since 1985, he also has been Visiting Professor to the Beijing Conservatory of Music. Well sought after internationally as a teacher, Kum Sing Lee has been conducting master classes and has been on faculty at international summer schools and festivals in Holland, Poland, France, Belgium, Italy, Japan, China, the USA and Canada. He has been a jury member of many international competitions, including the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
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Leonid Margarius
Ukraine
Leonid Margarius, who was born in the Ukraine, studied the piano at the Moscow Conservatory. After a period of intensive activity on the concert circuit, he proved himself to be a great mentor to numerous young artists, among them the winners of some of the most prestigious international piano competitions: the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the Busoni of Bolzano (Italy), the Montreal Competition, and the Città di Cantù (Italy). His apprentices have also distinguished themselves at the Chopin Competition (Warsaw), the Leeds Competition, the Schumann Competition (Zwickau), the Bach Competitions (Leipzig and Saarbrücken), the Lysenko Competitions (Kiev and Lvov), and many others. For his outstanding contribution to the cultural development of his country, the President of the Republic of Ukraine awarded Margarius the title of ‘Leading Personality in the World of Culture’ in 1993. Since 1995, he has taught at the Incontri col Maestro International Piano Academy in Imola (Italy). He often serves on the jury of major piano competitions and has given master classes all over the world.
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Cécile Ousset
France, °1936
Born in Tarbes, France, Cécile Ousset studied under Marcel Ciampi at the Paris Conservatoire, where she won the First Piano Prize at the age of 14. She was a prize-winner at several major international piano competitions, including the Van Cliburn, Queen Elisabeth, Long-Thibaud, and Ferruccio Busoni competitions, before undertaking an international performing career that has taken her to all five continents. She has recorded a vast repertoire, including concertos by Johannes Brahms, Edvard Grieg, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Piotr Tchaikovsky, Sergey Rachmaninov, Sergey Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, and Francis Poulenc, under conductors such as Kurt Masur, Simon Rattle, Günther Herbig, and Neville Marriner. Cécile Ousset gives master classes in the USA, Canada, Europe (including at Puycelsi, France, since 1984), Australia, and the Far East. She frequently serves as a jury member at major competitions such as the Van Cliburn, Rubinstein, Leeds, and Long-Thibaud. In 2011, she was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite.
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Menahem Pressler
The career of Menahem Pressler has spanned more than five decades. Born in Magdeburg, he studied the piano in Israel and won the Debussy Competition in San Francisco in 1946. Since then, he has performed as a soloist, notably with the symphony orchestras of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and London, and in chamber music with the Trio Pasquier and the Juilliard, Emerson, Guarneri, and Cleveland quartets. In 1955 he founded the Beaux-Arts Trio, which was awarded the Concertgebouw Prize in 2006. For over 50 years he taught at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was given the title of distinguished professor. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. His artistic talents have also been recognised by a number of awards, including Chamber Music America’s Distinguished Service Award (1994), the Gramophone magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1998), and the ‘Ehrenurkunde’ awarded by German critics, as well as by his nomination to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009 he was made a citizen of honour of his native city. In addition to his many CDs with the Beaux-Arts Trio, his discography includes some thirty solo recordings of works ranging from Bach to Ben-Haim.
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Anne Queffélec
After finishing her studies at the Paris Conservatoire, Anne Queffélec went on to study in Vienna with Paul Badura-Skoda, Jörg Demus, and Alfred Brendel. Her successes in the Munich (1968) and Leeds (1969) international competitions paved the way for a remarkable international career as a soloist. Acclaimed in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, and the United States, she has had the opportunity to perform with great conductors and with prestigious orchestras such as the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Kanazawa Ensemble, the Tokyo NHK Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestras of Radio France and Prague. She is a regular guest at renowned festivals worldwide and in France. At La Roque d’Anthéron she performed Mozart’s complete sonatas, broadcast live on France Musique. Under the baton of Sir Neville Mariner she has recorded music for the movie Amadeus. On stage as well as in the recording studio, Anne Queffélec cultivates an eclectic repertoire, ranging from Handel to Dutilleux. She has made more than thirty recordings, for Erato ("Ravel, Debussy, Fauré”), Virgin Classics or Mirare ("Satie & Compagnie”, " Ombre et Lumière").
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Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden
Belgium, °1947
Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden was only 16 years of age when he was proclaimed a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1964. That sought-after distinction launched a brilliant career that has taken him to the world’s leading concert halls and the most prestigious festivals, including the Korsholm (Finland), Umea (Sweden), Prades, la Chaise-Dieu, and Giverny (France), Delft (the Netherlands), Seoul (Korea), and Stavelot and Seneffe (Belgium) festivals. In chamber music, he has played with outstanding Belgian and international partners such as Véronique Bogaerts, Marie Hallynck, Augustin Dumay, Silvia Marcovici, Mihaela Martin, Miriam Fried, Gérard Caussé, Frans Helmerson, José Van Dam, Walter Boeykens, the Enesco Quartet, the Melos Quartet, the Quatuor Ysaÿe, and the Ensemble César Franck. His formidably extensive repertoire includes almost all the great concertos, a wide array of chamber music pieces, and the complete works for solo piano of Maurice Ravel. Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden was knighted by King Philippe in 2018.
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Elisso Virsaladze
Georgia, °1942
Elisso Virsaladze attended the conservatory in her native city, Tbilisi (Georgia), before moving to Moscow. At the age of 20 she won the Third Prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition and four years later the First Prize at the Schumann Competition in Zwickau. Ever since, she has been recognised as one of the great interpreters of Schumann. Her heart also goes out to the composers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, especially Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. At the same time, the pianist is well known for her wide repertoire up to and including modern Russian composers. Elisso Virsaladze today regularly performs in London, Milan, Rome, Paris, Lisbon, Baltimore, Tokyo and Berlin, both with orchestra and in recital. She regularly performs under renowned conductors such as Rudolf Barschai, Kyril Kondraschin, Mariss Jansons, Ricardo Muti, Kurt Sanderling, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Evgeny Svetlanov and Juri Temirkanov. She teaches at the Moscow Conservatory and at the Munich Musikhochschule and frequently serves as a member of the jury of international competitions, including those in Santander and Munich, the Geza Anda in Zurich, the Rubinstein in Tel Aviv, and the Tchaikovsky in Moscow. Her recordings on the Live Classics label perfectly convey her musical personality.

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Boyan Vodenitcharov
Bulgaria (Republic), °1960
Born in 1960, Boyan Vodenitcharov entered the Conservatory in Sofia in 1979, having already been a prizewinner at the Senigallia international competition. He went on to come third in the Busoni Competition in 1981 and in the 1983 Queen Elisabeth Competition. He undertook further studies with Leon Fleischer at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in 1986 and 1987. He gives concerts throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan, performing at prestigious concert halls such as the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Palais de la Musique in Strasbourg, the Smetana Hall in Prague, and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. For 20 years now, he has also taken an interest in period instruments, on which he has recorded a number of CDs. In addition to his activities as a performer, Boyan Vodenitcharov also works in the fields of composition and improvisation. A number of his works have been performed in France, Germany, Belgium, and Bulgaria. He currently teaches the piano, the fortepiano, and improvisation at the Brussels Royal Conservatory.
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