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© 2015 by Festival Internacional de Música de Esmeraldas

Biographies

 

Iria Porras

Ms. Porras earned a Bachelor´s degree at the Madrid Royal Conservatory in 2009 with honors.

 

 

Since 2010 to 2013, Ms. Porras was a student at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía under the guidance of Hansjörg Schellenberger. Simultaneously, she was a student in the Instituto Internacional de Música de Cámara de Madrid. As a student of the Escuela and the Institute, she formed part of the Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra; furthermore, she was a member of the Trío D´anches, Cuarteto Stamitz, and Trio

Françaix with whom she has performed extensively in the “Ciclos de cámara Sony”, the ABC Museum, Fundación Juan March, in the chamber music series at the Auditorio Nacional and at the Santander Festival. 

 

As an oboe student she has participated in numerous masterclasses with professors such as: Andreas Wittman, Cristoph Hartmann, Casey Hill, Lucas Macías Navarro and Melinda Maxwell. Likewise, past and present chamber music teachers include Eduard Brunner, Klaus Thunemman, Radovan Vlatkovic, Dag Jensen and Jaques Zoon.

 

 

Orchestral training has been a fundamental part of Ms. Porras´ s development as an oboist. She has been part of the Galicia Youth Orchestra (2005-2006), JORCAM (Madrid Youth Orchestra) from 2008 to 2010, and the Dutch Youth Orchestra (NJO) in 2010, where she acted as principal oboist and english horn player, and where she worked with music directors including Alberto Zedda, Pietro Rizzo, James Ross and others.

 

 

Furthermore, she collaborates with professional orchestras such as the  Galicia Chamber Orchestra, Madrid Philharmonia Orchestra, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Spanish Chamber Orchestra and the Colombian National Orchestra.

 

 

Aside from performance Iria Porras views teaching as an important aspect in music-making, being teacher of oboe, music theory, music history and aural training since 2008.

 

 

Awards and honors include Best Student of the year 2012 in the oboe class at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia where Mr. Schellenberger and Her Majesty the Queen Sofía recognized Ms. Porras by presenting her the honor.

 

 

Iria Porras is also Journalist at the Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain

 

 

Iria Porras is co-director of the International Music Festival of Esmeraldas.

 

 

 

Francisco Vila

Sensitivity, effortless technique and intensity of sound characterize the playing of Ecuadorian cellist Francisco Vila. He began playing the cello at age 8 and had his solo debut with orchestra at 14. Having concertized throughout Europe, North and South America, Vila has been described as “…an exceptionally talented young cellist and musician. He is heading for an important place in the world of music.” (Janos Starker, cellist) The Bloomington Herald-Times said of his performance of Lalo’s Cello Concerto that Vila “...displayed absolute command on stage...perfectly executed technical passages and induced the orchestra with his energy… tenderly revealed to us the romanticism of this concerto.”

 

 

Chamber music forms an important part of Mr. Vila's activities as a cellist.  This is a platform that has allowed him wonderful opportunities to collaborate with many of the world's great artists such as Nobuko Imai, Zakhar Bron, Gary Hoffman, Wolfram Christ, Lynn Chang, Martin Charlifour, Michel Arrignon, and others.

 

 

As soloist he has appeared with the Liège Royal Philharmonic, Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia, Bolivia Clásica Youth Orchestra, Santander Festival Orchestra, Indiana University Philharmonic, and the Central Florida Orchestra. He has been a guest artist at the Beaumaris International Music Festival, Santander Music Festival, Stavelot Music Festival among others, and in such venues as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in a radio broadcasted recital celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of F. Chopin; Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra directed by Jaime Laredo; Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Disney Hall and Japan's Phoenix Hall in chamber music collaborations; Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall with Apostolos Paraskevas in a performance of the composer/guitarist’s modern works.

 

 

As the Second-Prize laureate of the Sphinx 15th Annual Competition, prize-winner of the 22nd Concours FLAME (2011) in Paris, Vila has been the recipient of several honors including the Presidential Scholarship at The Boston Conservatory, a National Society of Arts and Letters Award for Performance the Olimpia Barbera and the Eva Heinitz Fund Scholarships at Indiana University.

 

 

Aside from performance Vila views teaching as an important aspect in music-making and is regularly invited to give classes at The Boston Conservatory and Indiana University as well as Bolivia Clásica in La Paz, Bolivia, an educational music program founded by pianist Ana-Maria Vera.

Mr. Vila´s principal teachers include Janos Starker, Sharon Robinson and Gary Hoffman, and chamber music with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University, where he was also the first-prize winner of the ’09-’10 concerto competition.

 

 

Upcoming appearances include concerts as soloist and in the chamber music setting in Los Angeles, Brussels, Boston, chamber music tour with Macondo Chamber Players and recitals with pianist Maria João Pires. Vila performs on a fine 1790 Vincenzo Panormo cello on generous loan from the Saul B. and Naomi R. Cohen Foundation as well as the “ex-Janos Starker” E. Tubbs bow.

 

Francisco Vila is co-director of the International Music Festival of Esmeraldas.

 

 

Hansjorg Schellenberger

Hansjörg Schellenberger was born in Munich, Germany, in 1948 and grew up near Regensburg. His early musical exercises on the practically obligatory recorder were followed by his initial instruction in oboe with the solo oboist of the Regensburg City Theater. Only four years later, in 1965, the young musician was victorious at the Jugend musiziert German national competition. This success was followed by a summer stay at the international music camp in Interlochen, Michigan, where Schellenberger participated in a competition for young talents and immediately also won the first prize.

 

After his Abitur school-leaving examination in 1967 Hansjörg Schellenberger initially pursued two educational paths with his concurrent study of oboe and mathematics. Two years later music had gained the upper hand. By now twenty-one years old, Schellenberger became an oboe pupil of Manfred Clement and was instructed in conducting by Jan Koetsier. After concluding his training and a one-year master class Schellenberger became an oboist in the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra on 1 September 1971 and subsequently advanced to the post of its solo oboist in 1975. He concurrently pursued further studies under Helmut Winschermann (oboe) and Martin Stefani (conducting) at the Detmold College of Music. In September 1977 Schellenberger regularly began assisting in the series of the Berlin Philharmonic, which made him its solo oboist three years later.

 

During all these early years Hansjörg Schellenberger had already distinguished himself on the national and international level with numerous awards and activities. He was the winner in oboe at the German Music College Competition in 1971, and the second prize at the ARD Competition in Munich followed in 1972. Various Bavarian and North Rhine-Westphalian culture prizes were also bestowed on him. He began ten years of teaching at the Berlin College of the Arts in 1981, and from 1985 to 1998 he organized summer courses at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena on an annual basis. In 1983 he was among the founders of the Ensemble Wien-Berlin, and in 1991 he founded the Berlin Haydn Ensemble. During all his “philharmonic years” in Berlin (1980-2001) he was active as an oboe teacher at the orchestra academy of “his“ orchestra, which he also served in a managerial capacity in the field of sound and television productions from 1983 to 1997.

 

While Hansjörg Schellenberger continued to appear both as a chamber musician and a soloist with many outstanding colleagues and conductors of the rank of Herbert von Karajan, Carlo Maria Giulini, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, and Claudio Abbado, his own orchestral conducting gradually returned to the foreground. After a concert series with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto in 1995 he received constant new conducting offers: the Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de Valencia, and Orchestra of the Florentine Maggio Musicale were among the ensembles with which he performed so successfully during the following years that his departure from the ranks of the Berlin Philharmonic was evidently only a matter of time – and also a proper question to consider, as developments of the most recent past have shown. The Camerata Salzburg, Spanish National Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo, Orchestra Verdi from Milan, German Radio Philharmonic of Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern, and many other top-quality orchestras have regularly welcomed Hansjörg Schellenberger as their guest conductor.

Following their first successful collaboration in May 2014 the WDR radio orchestra and Hansjörg Schellenberger have agreed to form a regular working relationship.

 

Hansjörg Schellenberger’s cooperation with his wife, the excellent harpist Margit-Anna Süß, in chamber performances and on the concert stage is also of central artistic importance to him. For more than twenty years this »family business« has formed a very sought-after duo and has acquainted music fans at countless German performance venues and on many international tours with special repertoire gems. In the last years several concerto tours took them to Japan.

 

Since 2000 he has had a small and very select oboe class at Europe’s only purely privately-run school of music, the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid, where he also teaches the chamber music classes for the wind players of the school’s International Institute for Chamber Music. This arrangement comes under the patronage of the Queen of Spain and is supported by the Fundación Albéniz, which was founded by Paloma O’Shea, one of Spain’s most influential women.

 

The artist has demonstrated his work as a musician on more than fifty CDs with all the major recording firms. Moreover, 1997 he founded his own label, Campanella Musica, on which he himself is represented with works by composers such as Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Joseph Haydn, and Ludwig van Beethoven as well as with a French baroque program and various works by modern classical composers.

 

Daniel Austrich

The St. Petersburg-born violinist Daniel Austrich has distinguished himself by winning major prizes at the Sarasate and the Paganini Moscow international competitions. Despite his young age, his performances are highly acclaimed by the international press. The Strad magazine compared him to Vadim Repin and Christian Tetzlaff, and the Washington Post characterized his playing as the “most impressive”.

 

 

Austrich studied at the St.Petersburg Conservatory School and the Oberlin Conservatory with Alla Aranovskaya and continued his studies with Viktor Tretyakov at the Hochschule in Cologne.

 

 

Since his debut at the age of 11 at the Great Philharmonic Hall in St.Petersburg, his performances have taken him to concert halls including the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Tonhalle in Düsseldorf,  Philharmonie in Cologne,  Tonhalle in Zurich, the Strathmore Center in Washington, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. He has soloed with the Moscow Philharmonic, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, the St.Petersburg Camerata, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Cologne New Philharmonic, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de San Luis Potosi to name just a few.

 

 

Daniel has been a guest at festivals including Schleswig Holstein, Usedom, Davos, Ottawa, Mendocino, and has performed chamber music together with Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, David Geringas, Julian Steckel, the St.Petersburg Quartet, and has recorded a duet with José Carreras.

He plays a 1695 Pietro Guarneri of Mantua violin, on loan from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben of Hamburg, Germany. 

 

In 2012, he joined the renowned Michelangelo String Quartet.

 

Andrej Power

Andrej started his musical life at New Year’s day 1992 playing the violin, at the age of 3.

 

Andrej is 1st prize winner in Berlinske Tidendes Competition in Copenhagen, Rovere D’oro in Italy, Eurovision Final in Sweden and prize winner in Stradivarius International Violin Competition in Salt Lake City.

 

In 2001 Andrej played at the Swedish King and Queens 25th wedding anniversary gala in front of an audience of 15 000 and live broadcasting in television.

At the age of 15 he was accepted to the Royal College of Music in Stockholm to study with Professor Henryk Kowalski, with whom he is studying until this day.

 

In 2006 Andrej started his Masters degree in Hochschule der Künste in the class of Professor Bron and recieved his diploma with Exellence in 2009.

Andrej is a recipient of a number of scholarships, among others the Dr. Anders Wall culture scholarship and the Royal Castle music scholarship given personally by the king of Sweden, H.M. Carl the XVI Gustaf.

 

He has participated in many festivals such as International Music Academy Switzerland with Seiji Ozawa, Bashmet Festival in Russia and Verbier Festival where he was awarded the Audience Prize.

 

Andrej has had the opportunity to play concerts in USA, China and thru-out Europe with orchestras such as the Royal Opera Orchestra in Stockholm, Utah Symphony, Jalta Symphony, Beijing National Opera, Solti Chamber Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Moscow Philharmonic.

 

Andrej plays a Mattio Goffriller violin made in Venice 1695 kindly lended by an anonymous sponsor and a Dominic Peccatte bow kindly lended by Dr. Anders Wall.

 

José Romero

Born in Colombia, José Romero began playing the violin at the age of 5 with Liliana Arboleda. Already at a young age he performed with the Cali Philharmonic under Francesco Belli and appeared in festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and the Preludio Program in Ithaca, New York.

 

Other festival appearances include the Pablo Casals International Festival in France and the Mozaeteum Summer Academy in Austria.José’s performances have taken him throughout South-America , United States and Europe in venues such as the Frederick Loewe Theatre in New York, Sala Beethoven, Teatro Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Teatro Guillermo Valencia and Teatro Municipal de Buga in Colombia, Casa de La Música in Quito, Ecuador,  David Josefowitz hall in London, Sanders Theatre in Boston and Wiener Saal in Salzburg.

 

José holds a Bachelor of Music from the Boston Conservatory, studying with Rictor Noren and Lynn Chang, and further studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Nicholas Miller guidance. Additional mentors include Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, Thomas Brandis, Jack Liebeck and Weigang Li. He currently studies with world-renowned violin professor Mauricio Fuks. 

 

José is a founding member and Artistic Director of Macondo Chamber Players (MCP), a chamber music society that brings together established, and emerging artists to perform, teach, and encourage international understanding in Latin America. MCP has appeared in Cali, Bogotá, Buga, Popayán and Medellín in Colombia, as well as Esmeraldas and Quito in Ecuador, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and La Havana in Cuba, presenting several concerts for hundreds of people, and developing educational projects for local music students. Future engagements include concerts in Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, as well as appearances in the U.S. and a collaboration with the renowned Paquito D'Rivera.

 

In addition to his musical studies, José has pursued the study of literature and philosophy at Harvard Extension School, Kings College London and is currently completing further studies at the University of Chicago.

 

José performs on a Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin from 1865 and a Louis Bazin bow.

 

 

 

 

Jenny Lewisohn

British violist Jenny Lewisohn completed her Bachelor of Music with highest honours and Masters of Music with Distinction from London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2014 where she was also awarded the Concert Recital Diploma.

 

 

She won joint first prize at the Kenneth Page Foundation competition and is a member of the award-winning Hieronymus Quartet. The quartet won the CAVATINA Intercollegiate String Quartet Competition in 2012 as well as the Audience Prize. In April 2014 they were selected for one of ChamberStudio’s three prestigious Mentorships.

 

 

Upcoming performances include a complete Beethoven quartet cycle for Music at Woodhouse.

 

 

Jenny has participated in solo masterclasses with Nobuko Imai, Tatjana Masurenko, Lars Anders Tomter and Hartmut Rohde amongst others. She has frequently participated in the Encuentro de Musica y Academica de Santander and IMS Prussia Cove where she has been invited to return for Open Chamber Music in the autumn.

 

 

As part of the Guildhall New Music Ensemble she has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and in 2011 a movement of a work for solo viola by composer Raymond Yiu was dedicated to Jenny.

 

 

Raúl García

Colombian Violist Raúl García has established himself as one of the most promising artists of his generation. Currently performs with the Colombia National Symphony Orchestra as Principal Violist and serves on the viola faculty at Juan N. Corpas University and Central University in Bogotá, Colombia.

 

Mr. García began his studies at an early age at Batuta Foundation. He has concertized at the most prestigious concert halls in his native country and abroad including the Luis Angel Arango Music Library, Carnegie Hall, the National Arts Centre, and the Lincoln Center. Mr Garcia has collaborated with artists such as Ani Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, Gilbert Kalish, David Halen, Andres Diaz, Chee Yun Kim, and The Tokyo String Quartet. He participated in several master classes with Joseph de Pasquale, Carol Rodland, Paul Neubauer, Michael Tree, Pinchas Zukerman, Roberto Diaz and Kim Kashkashian, among others.

 

Mr García has been winner of numerous prizes and competitions in his native country performing as soloist with every major orchestra including the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, Colombia National Symphony Orchestra, and Cali Philharmonic. He received first prizes at the Second Colombian Viola Competition and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Americas festival concerto competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was awarded the Carolina Oramas Scholarship, as well as The Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize, offered by the Yale School of Music for excellence in performance in  2010.

 

An avid chamber music performer Mr Garcia has appeared at The St. Lawrence Quartet Chamber Music Seminar, Innsbrook Institute, Zukerman's Young Artist Program, The Pacific Music Festival, Yellow Barn, and the Perlman Music Program. Recent discography projects include a CD for NAXOS titled ‘’Tango Distinto’’ with music of Astor Piazzola; along with trombone player Achilles Liarmakopoulos; As well as a collaboration with compositor Andy Akiho in his Album  “no one to know one’’.

 

Mr García holds a Bachelor Degree from Juan N. Corpas University; Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees from the prestigious Yale School of Music holding the Georgina Grosvenor Scholarship. He is also a candidate for the Doctorate degree at Rutgers University where he studied with Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Violist Choong-Jin Chang. His main teachers include Anibal Dos Santos, Jesse Levine, Toby Appel, Ettore Causa and The Tokyo String Quartet.

 

Raúl plays a contemporary viola made by Robert Brode.

 

 

Chris Johnson

American bassist Christopher Johnson started his musical journey in Boston Massachusetts with Project S.T.E.P. (string training educational program) at the age of 7.

 

He completed his Bachelors Degree in Bass Performance at New England Conservatory with Donald Palma and received his Masters in orchestral performance at Manhattan School of Music with Tim Cobb.

 

He was the 1st place winner of the International Society of Bassist Orchestral Competition in 2013.

 

Christopher currently lives and freelances in New York City where he explores a wide range of musical genres with different groups and artists ranging from the NYC Ballet, Danny Elfman, John Legend, AfroPunk, JP Jofre Hard Tango Band, Sphinx Virtuosi, to Brooklyn’s PitchBlakBrassBand. 

 

 

 

Jeong Heum Yeon

Korean-American pianist Jeong Heum Yeon performed as a soloist and a chamber musician throughout Europe and the United States.

 

He has recently performed at the LSO St. Luke's, the Beethoven Sonata Series at St. Barnabas Church, appeared in Wigmore Hall in London, and at the New York’s Arnold Hall as a part of Ernst C. Stiefel Chamber Music Series, theSteinway Hall. Also at the Ingram Hall and Turner Hall in Nashville, Jordan Hall in Boston, and performed also with Nashville CURB Youth Symphony Orchestra.

 

He has worked with Jean Yves Thibaudet, Karl Heinz Kammerling, Imogen Cooper, and with an English composer, Thomas Ades.

He appeared in numerous festivals including, Les Estivales de Megeve, Fete Musicale de la Foret, and Gstaad New Year Music Festival.

 

He earned Bachelor’s Degree in Music at Mannes College of Music in New York with ArkadyAronov and Master’s Degree at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Caroline Palmer where he was granted an Award for Contemporary Music.

 

Jeong Heum Yeon was a founding member of TrioKarmeliet, the second prizewinner of VII InternationalStasysVainiunas Competition for Chamber Ensembles. He studied chamber music with Trio Wanderer at Conservatoire de Paris and with Ralf Gothoni at Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid.

 

He additionally studied with Bruno Canino at International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove.

 

 

 

Carlos Vargas

Dominican-American pianist Carlos Vargas’s performances have taken him throughout the United States, South America and countries in Europe in venues such as “Teatro el Circulo”, Argentina; “Sala Eduardo Brito”, Dominican Republic and Wiener Saal, Salzburg among others.

 

 

A native of Dominican Republic he began his studies at a young age with renowned Cuban pianist and pedagogue Karelia Escalante. Since a young age Mr. Vargas has been an active participant and winner of national and international competitions, getting the Manuel Rueda award in year 2005 in the Festival of Latin-American music celebrated in his country.

 

Other prizes include third prize in The Steinway Competition of Massachusetts, Second Prize in The Churchill Scholarship Competition and second prize at the Bradshaw and Buono International Competition.

 

 

During the 2008 season Carlos Vargas toured Argentina with his duo partner, Sebastian Plano, giving concerts as the special guests of the concert season of “Teatro El Círculo” and with the Orchestra of Rosario, Argentina. For this reason the young pianist was invited by the President of Dominican Republic to play for the opening of the literary festival celebrated every year in Santo Domingo.

 

 

Mr. Vargas has a particular interest in developing programs that facilitate musical education to people that because of their social status and economic situation wouldn’t be able to receive this type of training. For this reason he was awarded since 2008 a Grant by the Boston Public Library that allowed him to create a piano program in which dozens of kids are able to receive lessons in piano and theory for free.

 

 

Mr. Vargas was awarded since 2005 the Zitrin scholarship and completed both his bachelors and master degree at the Boston Conservatory on full scholarship under the guidance of Dr Jonathan Bass.