The jury of the Borciani prize gathers distinguished members of the music world, specialists in the sector, the majority of foreign citizenship. For the 2024 edition the jury is composed of Sonia Simmenauer, Lorenza Borrani, Kim Kashkashian, Garth Knox, Jonas Krejci, John Myerscough, Abel Tomás.
Sonia Simmenauer was born in the USA and grew up in Paris. From 1982 to 2009 she lived in Hamburg, where she founded Impresariat Simmenauer in 1989 with the goal of creating an agency exclusively for string quartets. The Alban Berg Quartet, the Cleveland Quartet, the Guarneri Quartet and the Tokyo String Quartet are among the artists Simmenauer represented through their final days on stage. In 2009, Impresariat Simmenauer moved its offices to Berlin, and today represents a dozen internationally respected string quartets, among them the Arditti Quartet, the Artemis Quartet, the Belcea Quartet, the Quatuor Ebene, the Cuarteto Casals, the Jerusalem Quartet, the Quatuor Modigliani, the Schumann Quartett. While the string quartet remains a large part of her work, Simmenauer signs also responsible for some very fine soloists such as violinists Isabelle Faust and Vadim Gluzman, cellists Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alisa Weilerstein, pianist Piotr Anderszewski, Alexander Melnikov, Elena Bashkirova and more.
Sonia Simmenauer wrote a widely received book about the life within a string quartet (Muss es Sein/ 2008) and has been named Professor at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg (2009) for a new field called: “Music Transmission”.
Sonia Simmenauer passed the direction of the company in the Summer of 2020 to her son Arnold Simmenauer. Since then, she has shifted her focus on working with young artists at the edge of building their career.
“In solos she was extraordinary, impetuous and magnetic, yet at the same time delicate and fluid” (Sydney Arts Guide, November 2016)
Lorenza Borrani is known and appreciated by the most prestigious orchestras in the world for her fascinating programmes, as both performer and conductor, and for her inclusive approach to music in general. In addition to her concert activity, she is intensively involved in chamber music in special projects carried out together with her devoted musical partners.
In the 2022/2023 season, Lorenza Borrani debuts with the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra performing her transcription of ‘String Quartet in G major’ by Schubert and a short piece by Agnes Ida Pettersen entitled Object of Discourse. Later in the season, she performs again with: the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra with a programme featuring ‘Death and the Maiden’ by Schubert, the Riga Sinfonietta with its programme focusing on Haydn and Maderna, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.
Scheduled debuts for the spring include the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias and the BOSbaroque festival at the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao. In past seasons she has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, with which she presented the first performance of her own arrangement for orchestra of ‘Sonata No. 1 for Violin’ by Prokofiev, with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Vasteras Sinfonietta, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Camerata Bern. In 2022 she was ‘Artist in Residence’ at the Orchestra della Toscana.
At the age of twenty-five, Lorenza Borrani was appointed solo leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Working alongside Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Lorenzo Coppola generated in her a passion and expertise for philological performance. Encounters with Lorin Maazel and the Symphonica Toscanini, with Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart (with which she also performed ‘Violin Concerto No. 7’ by Mozart), influenced her musical ideals and interests. As a soloist, she has collaborated with Trevor Pinnock, Yannik Nézet-Séguin and Bernard Haitink.
In the field of chamber music, Lorenza Borrani has performed with renowned artists such as Kristian Bezuidenhout, András Schiff, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Janine Jansen and Daniel Hope; she also frequently collaborates in a duo with Alexander Lonquich. Lorenza Borrani is one of the founders of Spunicunifait, a formation that performs and records string quintet compositions by Mozart. Spunicunifait currently records for the Alpha label and is scheduled to appear at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg and the Wigmore Hall in London.
Lorenza Borrani is also one of the founders of Spira mirabilis, focused on the preparation and interpretation of orchestral and chamber music repertoire from every era, which works without the figure of a conductor or principal instrumentalist. Recent projects of Spira mirabilis have included ‘Symphony No. 9’ by Beethoven, fragments of ‘Così fan tutte’ by Mozart and the premiere of ‘Spiralling’ by Colin Matthew in Aldeburgh. In 2023, Spira mirabilis offers a semi-scenic version of ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ by Mozart.
Lorenza Borrani studied with Alina Company, Piero Farulli, Zinaida Gilels and Pavel Vernikov at the Scuola di Musica in Fiesole and specialised at the Kunstuniversität Graz with Boris Kushnir. She teaches violin at the Scuola di Musica in Fiesole and from 2019 she is Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Hailed as “an artist who combines a probing, restless intellect with enormous beauty of tone; ” Ms. Kashkashians’ work as performing and recording artist and pedagogue has been recognized worldwide. She won the coveted Grammy Award for her recording of Ligeti and Kurtag solo viola works in 2013, and received the George Peabody Medal and Switzerland’s Golden Bow Award for her contributions to music. In 2016, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2020, named an Honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music. As soloist, Kashkashian has appeared with the orchestras of Berlin, London, Vienna, Milan, New York and Cleveland in collaboration with Eschenbach, Mehta, Welser-Moest, Kocsis, Dennis Russel Davies, Blomstedt, and Holliger.
Recital appearances include the great halls of Vienna, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Tokyo, Athens, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia where she appears with the Trio Tre Voce, and in duo partnerships with pianist Robert Levin and percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky. Ms. Kashkashian has forged creative relationships with composers Kurtág, Penderecki, Schnittke, Kancheli, and Pärt and commissioned compositions from Eötvös, Ueno, Olivero, Larcher, Auerbach, Mansurian, and Hosokawa.
Ms. Kashkashian’s long association with ECM Records has yielded a discography that has garnered an abundance of praise and
international awards including a Grammy for her solo recording of works by Ligeti and Kurtág, a Cannes Classical Award for the viola concertos of Kurtág, Bartók, and Eötvös, an Edison Prize for her recording with pianist Robert Levin of the Brahms viola sonatas and the Opus Klassik prize for her recording of the unaccompanied cello suites of T.S. Bach. She coaches chamber music and viola at New England Conservatory of Music and is founder and artistic director of Music for Food, a musician-led hunger relief initiative.
Garth Knox was born in Ireland and spent his childhood in Scotland. After studying viola at the RCM, he played with most of the leading groups in London in a mixture of all repertoires, from baroque to contemporary music.
In 1983 he was invited by Pierre Boulez to become a member of the Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, involving extensive solo and chamber music playing, touring widely and appearing in international festivals.
In 1990 Garth Knox joined the Arditti String Quartet, playing in all the major concert halls of the world, working closely with and giving first performances of pieces by most of today’s leading composers including Ligeti, Kurtag, Berio, Xenakis, Lachenmann, Cage, Feldman and Stockhausen (the famous“Helicopter Quartet”).
Garth Knox now lives in Paris, where he enjoys a full time solo career, giving recitals, concertos and chamber music concerts all over Europe, the USA and Japan. He is also an active composer, and his «Viola Spaces», the first phase of an on-going series of concert studies for strings (published in 2010 by Schott) combines ground-breaking innovation in string technique with joyous pleasure in the act of music making. The pieces have been adopted and performed by young string players all over the world.
He is also a pioneer of the viola d’amore, exploring its possibilities in new music, with and without electronics, and is in the process of creating a new repertoire for this instrument.
After teaching posts at Musikene in San Sebastian and the RNCM in Manchester, Garth Knox is presently International Professor at the RCM in London. He was recently awarded a Doctorate of Music (honoris causa) by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
cello, Pražák Quartet
Jonáš Krejčí was born in 1969 in London and was raised in Prague, where he began cello lessons at the age of six. While at the Prague Conservatory, he was invited to study under William Pleeth in London. Upon graduating from the Prague Conservatory, he entered the University of Southern California on a full scholarship, studying there for four years with Lynn Harrell. During his studies, he won an audition to take part in the New York String Orchestra under the baton of Alexander Schneider. After finishing his studies in California he moved to Vienna, where he spent a year playing in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as well as performing in chamber ensembles. Mr. Krejčí studied chamber music with Milan Škampa of the Smetana Quartet and Walter Levin of the LaSalle Quartet.
Moving on to pursue a full time chamber music career, Mr. Krejčí was a member of the Škampa Quartet, Petersen Quartet and Schulhoff Quartet. Currently he is the cellist of the Pražák Quartet. He performs regularly throughout Europe, North and South America, Japan and Australia. He has appeared in such venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Philharmonie Berlin, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Carnegie Hall in New York. With the Škampa Quartet, he was the first Artist in Residence of London’s Wigmore Hall, performing there dozens of times over the course of the residency. He has collaborated with such artists as François Dumont, Josef Suk, Lars Vogt, Nikolai Demidenko, Melvyn Tan, Wolfgang Holzmair, Boris Pergamenschikov, Juliane Banse and Wolfram Rieger. He is also Principal Cellist of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and cellist of the Korngold Ensemble.
Mr. Krejčí has given masterclasses at such institutions as the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Winterthur Conservatory in Switzerland. Mr. Krejčí has been invited numerous times by the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan as a visiting artist to perform with, coach and mentor its members. He was selected to coach the prizewinning quartet of the Princess Christina Competition in the Netherlands, and was a member of the string quartet jury at the ARD Competition in Munich. Mr. Krejčí also teaches cello and chamber music at the International Music Master Classes in Slavonice, Czech Republic.
He has recorded extensively for the Praga Digitals/Aparte Music, Supraphon, Capriccio and VMS labels. He has also made numerous broadcast recordings for the BBC, Radio France, Minnesota Public Radio, ORF in Austria, and Český Rozhlas in Prague among others.
Mr. Krejčí plays a Paolo Testore cello from 1761 (Milano).
cello, Doric String Quartet
John Myerscough leads a busy international career as the cellist of the Doric String Quartet. Regular visitors to Wigmore Hall, since 2010 the Quartet has recorded exclusively for Chandos Records, with recent releases including the complete Britten quartets, works by Mendelssohn, Schubert and Brett Dean, as well as its continuing series of Haydn string quartets. They have also recently embarked on a project to record the complete Beethoven Quartets. The Quartet performs at major concert halls throughout Europe including Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus and Musikverein Vienna, Konzerthaus Berlin, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Auditorium du Louvre, Paris. It tours annually to the USA performing in the most important halls and cities, including Carnegie Hall, New York City, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, Library of Congress, Washington D. C., and has recently undertaken tours to Australia and Japan. The Quartet also has a busy festival schedule and has performed at the Aldeburgh, Delft, Edinburgh, Lofoten, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Risør, Schwarzenberg Schubertiade and West Cork festivals.
Alongside his work with the Doric, John performs widely as a solo cellist and chamber musician. Since 2018 he has been a faculty member at the Yellow Barn festival in Vermont, USA. In chamber music settings he has collaborated with Nicolas Altstaedt, Alasdair Beatson, Jonathan Biss, Pavel Kolesnikov, Vilde Frang, Elizabeth Leonskaja, Anthony Marwood and Lawrence Power, amongst others. He is also active as a baroque cellist and has appeared with groups including Arcangelo, La Nuova Musica and La Serenissima. Away from the concert stage John is a dedicated teacher and mentor. He is Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where the Quartet holds the position of ‘Teaching Quartet in Association’. He also gives masterclasses for the London-based ChamberStudio and the ProQuartet Professional Training Programme for String Quartets in France.
John performs on a 1587 Brothers Amati cello.
violin, Cuarteto Casals
Born in Barcelona in 1980, ABEL TOMÀS began his musical studies with his father and the violin with his uncle. Later he was a student of Zakhar Bron and Serguei Fatkouline at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía and of Viktor Tretjakov at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne.
Abel has been awarded prizes at various national and international competitions in Spain and Argentina. As soloist he has appeared with various orchestras including Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona and Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife and with distinguished conductors such as James Judd, Junichi Hirokami, Victor Pablo Perez and Zubin Mehta. He has given numerous violin recitals, collaborating with pianists like Juan Carlos Garvayo, Orli Shaham, Eldar Nebolsin, and Hyo-Sun Lim. As a chamber musician, he has also appeared with Gerard Caussé, Marta Gulyas, Seguro Ito and Kennedy Moretti.
At sixteen years of age, he Abel was a founding member of the internationally recognized Cuarteto Casals, a chamber music ensemble which maintains a full calendar of artistic activity, appearing in the most renowned halls in Europe, Latin America, the United States and Japan. Since 2004 the quartet has recorded exclusively for Harmonia Mundi for whom they have recorded numerous works. The quartet has been awarded the Spanish National Music Prize and the Prize of the City of Barcelona.
Together with his brother Arnau Tomàs Realp and pianist Hyo-Sun Lim, Abel is a founding member of the Ludwig Trio, with whom he has recorded music of Beethoven, whose Triple Concerto the trio will soon record with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia.
Aside from concertizing, Abel teaches violin and chamber music at the Escuela Superior de Música de Catalunya, and additionally gives masterclasses in both Europe and the United States.