Pianist Nejc Lavrenčič is considered one of the most prominent Slovenian performers in the genre of art song and chamber music. Both in terms of volume and quality, he shows important contributions to Slovenian culture. As a pianist and specialist, he enriches the cultural scene with excellent musicianship in the genre of art song and thus makes an important contribution to the development of the instrumentalist’s profession in Slovenia.
He collaborates with renowned foreign and Slovene artists such as singers Sabina Cvilak, Nuška Drašček, Marcos Fink, Barbara Jernejčič Fürst, David Jagodic, Katja Konvalinka, Juliette de Massy, Theresa Plut, Cristina Segura, Arianna Rinaldi, Artur Rożek, Mojca Vedernjak and many other singers and instrumentalists. He performs in Europe, USA, Canada and Asia and works as a pedagogue in the field of piano solo, chamber music and interpretation of art song.
He is the artistic director of PerArtem Cultural and Artistic Institute (concert cycle Samospevanje and PAF-PerArtem Festival) which take place at the Slovenian Philharmonic and the Slovene National Theater and Opera Maribor.
Juliette de Massy
Juliette completed her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Sue Mc Culloch and at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels with Udo Reinemann.
She is know a renowned soloist in various french baroque ensembles (Sagittarius, Le Concert Spirituel, Hemiolia) and is invited to sing in France in the biggest halls (Jeunes Talents à Paris, Folle Journée de Nantes, Opéra de Tours, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lille).
Passionate about literature, poetry and art song, she’s became a chosen partner for chamber music and has developed strong complicities with different musicians (Bogdan Nesterenko, accordion ; Ronan Khalil, harpsichord ; Rohan de Saram and Laure Balteaux, cellists ; Emmanuel Olivier, Nejc Lavrencic, Marino Formenti, Alain Villard, pianists).
Very involved in defending today’s music as well, she works with contemporary music ensembles (Offrandes, Links and Alternance) and composers. Practicing dance and theater, she is involved with a lot of crossover projects everywhere in Europe with various artists (Atelier de recherche théâtrale 1+1=3 (Martine Venturelli), Le Singe (Sylvain Creuzevault) and Atelier Hors champ (Pascale Nandillon et Frédéric Tétart)).
Juliette is now artistic director of a soloist vocal ensemble, La Grande Garabagne now supported by the National Vocal Center in France, La Cité de la Voix-Vézelay. She’s also created les Ateliers Misuk in Poitiers to develop musical projects and contribute to proposing high level music for the greatest number of people.
Doriana Tchakarova is an internationally successful pianist, has won prizes at important competitions and her CD recordings have been released to critical acclaim and received numerous awards.
As a lied pianist and chamber musician, she appears on important concert stages in Berlin, Vienna, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hanover, Freiburg, Lugano, as well as at major festivals such as the Heidelberger Frühling, the Oxford Lied Festival,the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, the Liedfestival Sindelfingen, the Mozartfest Würzburg and the Schubertiade Barcelona.
She frequently partners singers such as Äneas Humm, Samuel Hasselhorn, Thilo Dahlmann, Eva Zalenga, Julian Prégardien, Johannes Held, Ulrike Sonntag, Krešimir Stražanac, Anna-Lena Elbert, Nathalie Karl, Matthias Klink, Judith and Felicitas Erb, Sylvia Koncza, Carolina López Moreno, Nils Wanderer, Mirella Hagen, Sarah Wegener, Konstantin Krimmel, Marcel Brunner, Thomas Pfeiffer, as well as the SWR Vokalensemble.
Her CD of ballads by Schubert, Loewe, Schumann and Jensen with Konstantin Krimmel on Alpha Classics released in 2019 was nominated for the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) and Opus Klassik and was awarded the Diapason découverte. Her recordings with sopranos Judith and Felicitas Erb featuring songs and duets by Robert Schumann, Hugo Kaun (world premiere recordings) and Louis Spohr at ARS-Produktion and in particular her recordings of duets by Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Hensel were enthusiastically received throughout Europe. The Hensel/Mendelssohn CD was nominated for the Echo Klassik in 2017.
Doriana Tchakarova was born in Varna, Bulgaria. At the Musikhochschule Stuttgart she completed her bachelor's and master's degree in piano with Prof. Fernande Kaeser and Prof. Friedemann Rieger and studied Prof. Konrad Richter’s lied class. In April 1993 she won second prize at the international piano competition "Dimitar Nenov" in Rasgrad / Bulgaria and performed Sergej Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto with the Varna Philharmonic. In July 2001 with cellist Krassimira Krasteva she was awarded a chamber music prize at the 15th international "Franz Schubert" competition in Italy. In 2004 with soprano Judith Erb, she won second prize in the Schubert competition of the "Concorso Internationale di Interpretazione Musicale Citta di Racconigi" in Italy. Together with baritone Konstantin Krimmel, Doriana Tchakarova won 1st prize at the Berlin “Rising Stars Grand Prix International Music Competition” in May 2018.
Since October 2003, she has been singers in lied, opera and oratorio at the Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts. She is much sought after as a pianist for master classes in voie and art song, and international singing competitions.
With a wide repertoire of styles, the Slovenian born mezzo-soprano Mojca Vedernjak is as comfortable on the opera stage as she is in the concert hall. From 1999 to 2003 she was engaged by Theatre Bielefeld. Now freelance, she has sung a variety of roles in her fach, from Cherubino to Carmen, at different European opera houses and opera festivals.
She has also performed with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bielefeld Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Bern Bach Choir, the Basel Bach Choir and the Sinfonietta Basel. With artistic direction by Dirk Kaftan, Peter Kuhn, Stefan Asbury and Monica Buckland, she sang the orchestral songs "Chants d'Auvergne" (J. Canteloube), "Two Love Poems" (N. Moret), "Sea Pictures" (E. Elgar) and orchestrated songs by Alma Mahler, as well as chamber music such as Albert Moeschinger's "Miracles de l'Enfance" or "Verdiana".
She has given numerous recitals throughout Europe and participating in various concert- and opera CD recordings. Her interest in 20th century art song and of the art songs by women composers is particularly intense in her collaboration with her longtime musical partner, the pianist Stefka Perifanova. Their CD "Intoxication" (Pianoversal, 2020) features songs by various women composers. In the same year, the Lied duo also premiered the "Four Songs" by the Swiss composer Luca Martin in Zurich, with which they also performed in Slovenia in 2021.
Mojca Vedernjak graduated in singing from the Ljubljana Music Academy (prof. Eva Novšak Houška) and subsequently from the concert class (Kurt Widmer) as from the Opera Studio of the Academy of Music Basel. She was also a member of the International Opera Studio at the Opernhaus Zürich.
Ars Augusta e.V.
The Dutch baritone Vincent Kusters studied voice and piano at the Maastricht Conservatory. During his studies at the conservatory, Vincent developed into a versatile musician who feels at home in both oratorio and opera and has a great affinity for song. He took part in international singing master classes several times. Vincent has won several awards for his song interpretation, including the Vocallis Liedprijs (Vaals, 2017 and 2018) and is a prizewinner at the Schumann Competition (Zwickau, 2020/2021). Together with his duo partner pianist Charlie Bo Meijering, he won the Friends of the IVC ('s-Hertogenbosch, 2019) prize, 1st prize in Liedkunst im Schloss vor Husum (2021), the Young Artist Platform from International Song Festival Zeist (2021) and the prize for 'Best Interpretation of a Schubert Song' during International Song Competition Bolko von Hochberg (Görlitz, 2022). He also won first prize at the International Competition for Organ and Voice (Neuss, 2020) with organist Nick Goudkuil. Vincent is a member of the Schola Maastricht, an ensemble specializing in Gregorian chant, and he is organist/conductor of the Bartholomeuskerk in Eckelrade. He is also associated with the Sint-Martinuskerk in Gronsveld as cantor/organist.
Actress and Singer
After completing a degree in musicology at the University of Paris VIII, Nina Lainville left for London to study classical singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. At the same time, she trained in acting at Studio London Method Acting. Nina then crosses the Atlantic and works with Tony Greco in New York. Today, she divides her time between her bilingual work as an actress and singer with a particular interest in creation. Nina also dedicates her talents to choir direction, particularly in the health sector. She leads numerous artistic transmission workshops on an ad hoc basis (intervention in schools, festivals...) or on a regular basis (choir direction, body and voice workshops in psychiatric unit...) In 2014, she created the company Clay Theater with which she produces and plays regularly in various creations in London and the United States. Nina collaborates regularly with the writer Brian Eley as well as with the London company Palimpsest or the Hors champ workshop based in Le Mans. She co-directs Les Ateliers Misuk in France and co-wrote, in 2018, Dédale ou la folie jour de Winnie Vils with soprano Juliette de Massy and accordionist Bogdan Nesterenko.
Trainer of cultural management
Maja holds a bachelor in Political science and has been working in the NGO sector for the past 15 years. As well finished the 10 years course on Flute. She is a member of the Pool of trainers for the Slovenian national agency of Erasmus+ and an alumni member of the Pool of trainers of the Slovenian National council. She has been dealing with topics like Inclusion, Global education, Human Rights, Project Management, Cultural management, Fundraising and functioning of NGOs. She is an experienced trainer working for several international organizations such as Plan International, WeMove.eu and several National agencies of Erasmus+, such as Finnish, Austrian, Estonian, Bulgarian, Czech and German National Agency. She was a facilitator of the European Youth Conference in Slovenia, Intercity Youth Conference 2022 and several others international events. She will be delivering workshops on project development and cultural management.
Social pedagogue and M.Sc. of sciences
Sonja is an experienced non-formal education trainer, specializing in human resource management, strategic planning and project management. In 2017, she obtained a certificate for practitioners in the contents of Business Model You® - Personal business model Kanvas. She is employed at TiPovej, the Institute for Creative Society.
Emmanuel Olivier studied piano at the CNR of Lille and at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels before joining the CNSM of Paris where he obtained the Diploma of higher education in piano, as well as the 1st prizes in analysis and chamber music. Passionate about vocal music, literature and the stage, he continued his studies in vocal accompaniment and singing direction classes where he again received two higher education diplomas. After having taught at the Maîtrise de Radio-France, he became assistant professor of vocal accompaniment at the CNSM and gave master classes on the French repertoire on several occasions at the Central Conservatory in Beijing and at the Musikhochschule in Karlsruhe. He also works in Royaumont, at the CNSM in Lyon, at the Universität for Musik in Vienna, at the Opera Studio of the Opéra du Rhin and at the European Academy of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
He performs as a soloist and accompanies many singers at the BNF, the Cité de la Musique, at the festivals of Montpellier and Aix, at the operas of Lille and Tours, at the Auditorium of the Musée d'Orsay... as well as in Europe, Jordan, China and Japan.
He is also a vocal coach, for a very varied repertoire ranging from Mozart and Paisiello to Berg and Weill, with a particular interest in contemporary music: he participates in creations by Campo, Dusapin, Eötvös, Herz, Marti, Pécou... It is an opportunity to meet many directors such as Jean-François Sivadier, David Lescot, Jean-Yves Ruf, Sandrine Anglade, but also David Mc Vicar, or even Bob Wilson.
Collaborating with great conductors such as Altinoglu, Eschenbach, Eötvös, Gardiner, Haïm, Harding, he became John Nelson's assistant for Berlioz's 3 operas: Benvenuto Cellini, Béatrice et Bénédict au Châtelet and Les Troyens à Genève , which naturally leads him to the direction of lyrical works.
Ars Augusta e.V.
Blanche Kommerell was born in Halle/Saale in 1950 and studied German and musicology at the Humboldt University in Berlin from 1968 to 1971. From 1972 to 1974 she completed acting training at the State Drama School in Berlin (now the Ernst Busch College) and at the Berliner Ensemble. This was followed by various engagements at theaters in Potsdam, Leipzig, Magdeburg and Berlin (Maxim Gorki Theater and Deutsches Theater). In addition, she took part in DEFA and GDR television films, e.g. in "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jacob the Liar", "Bahnwärter Thiel" and "The Actress". In 1990 she received an existing lectureship for speech and drama at the University of Witten/Herdecke; She built up the student theater there and has since staged annual productions, including Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Hamlet", Goldoni's "Much Noise in Chioggia", Chekhov's "The Three Sisters", Miller's "Witch Hunt" and Brecht's "The Good Man of Sezuan". Between 1991 and 1998 she was a lecturer in the department of theater education at the Hochschule (today: University) of the Arts in Berlin; From 2005 to 2009 she taught speech and diction at the Institute for German Literature at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Since 1994 she has prepared and performed several stage monologues. She developed and staged matinees about Marina Zwetaeva, Anna Achmatowa and Annette von Droste-Hülshoff at the Deutsches Theater Berlin. For more than twenty years she has created many thematically and formally different literary portraits, which she presents in guest performances throughout Germany and abroad. In 2008, Blanche Kommerell received the German Language Prize from the Henning Kaufmann Foundation.
Int. Lied-Competition "Bolko von Hochberg"
Ars Augusta e.V.
The Polish-born Greek soprano Eleni Ioannidou completed her singing studies with honors in Volos. In 1998 she won the "Alexandra Triandi" scholarship for talented singers from the "Society of Friends of Music" in Athens, with the help of which she worked in Vienna (University of Music and Performing Arts) and at the famous "Accademia della Scala di Milano“ in Italy with Leyla Gencer. She was first prizewinner at the international singing competitions "Giuseppe di Stefano" (Trapani) and "Velluti" (Dolo) and was twice a finalist in the "Voci Verdiane" competition (Busseto). In addition, she completed the biennial course of the European Union "Il Teatro e la Musica", organized by the Academy for Dramatic Art "Silvio d'Amico" in Rome and the Conservatorio di Prato, which dealt with the theatrical dimension of opera.
As a prize winner of the "Giuseppe di Stefano" competition she made her debut in the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte" in Maggio Musicale Trapanese and as a prize winner of the "Velluti" the role of Leonora in "Trovatore" and Violetta in "La Traviata" by Giuseppe Verdi.
After her debut in 1999 in Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto in Puccini's "La Boheme" (role of Mimi) and in Varazze with Ciléa's "Adriana Lecouvreur" and after first small productions with the Milan Chamber Opera as Puccini's "Tosca" and Leonora in Verdi's "Trovatore" , she has appeared on stages such as the Athens State Opera (Contessa in "Nozze di Figaro, 2006), La Scala in Milan (Bianca in "Ugo, Conte di Parigi" by Donizetti 2006 and Fiordiligi in "Cosi fan tutte" in 2008), Teatro Strehler di Milano, Teatro Massimo di Catania, Teatro Donizetti di Bergamo ("Parisina" by Donizetti) etc. and in Germany (Passau) as well as at concerts in Japan, France and Colombia. In Munich she appeared with the "Anderes Opernensemble eV" as Euridice in the spectacle "Orpheus - Variations on Love and Death" by Hector Guedes. She was chosen by Jose Carreras to sing with him at a concert for the Leuchemia Foundation at Megaron Mousikis in Athens.
Since 2015 she has been involved in the production of musical events. She has lived in Görlitz since 2016. In year 2017 she founded and heads the non-profit society "Ars Augusta" to promote art, culture and international understanding. With the society she founded the "Lausitzer Barockensemble", produced three baroque operas and initiated the "International Lied-Competition Bolko von Hochberg" which is connected with the organisation of Song-concerts for the finalists.
In addition, in 2017 she initiated the first "Internationale Messiaen Tage" for the society "Meetingpoint Music Messiaen" and is actually also Artistic Director for the International Festival "Międzynarodowy Festiwal Muzyka u J.I.Schnabla" in polish city Nowogrodziec.
She is an active member of the "Your Heritage" Foundation (Fundacja Twoje Dziedzictwo) with the task of revitalizing the former Evangelical Karl Langhans Church in Zeliszów, better known as "The Pearl of Zeliszów".
In May 2023 she will be awarded the Barbara Jurkowska Medal for Merit in the Field of Literature, Music and Culture in Lwówek Sląski.
Eleni Ioannidou is also a graduate engineer in agricultural science. In addition to her mother tongues Greek and Polish, she speaks Italian, German and English very well and French well enough.