Competition Jurors

The following outstanding musicians have been selected to be members of the jury of the 2020 Competition:

  • Matti Raekallio (Finland), Chairman
  • Hung-Kuan Chen (China)
  • Noriko Ogawa (Japan)
  • Matan Porat (Israel/Germany)
  • Mūza Rubackytė (Lithuania/France)
  • Margarita Shevchenko (Russia)
  • Balázs Szokolay (Hungary)
  • Mira Yevitch (Serbia/Australia)

Matti Raekallio (Finland), Chairman

Finnish pianist Matti Raekallio studied in his home country and thereafter in London, Vienna, and St.Petersburg. He finished his Doctorate at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He has enjoyed a 40-plus year career, performing cycles of the complete sonatas of Beethoven, Scriabin, and Prokofiev, and 62 concertos. He has made about 20 CDs, including the complete Prokofiev sonatas.

Mr. Raekallio first taught at the Sibelius Academy and has held professorships in Sweden, Germany, and the USA. In 2007 he was invited to join the faculty of The Juilliard School in New York. He is a juror in many international competitions, and his students have won many of them. He gives master classes in the USA, Europe, and Asia. As the recipient of several national and international grants and awards, Mr. Raekallio has also conducted research for and served in the Finnish Academy of Sciences. He is an Honorary Doctor of the Estonian Academy of Music.

Hung-Kuan Chen (China)

Born in Taipei and raised in Germany, pianist Hung-Kuan Chen has played in many of the world’s foremost concert venues: Carnegie Hall (New York), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco), the Tonhalle (Zürich), the Herkulesaal (Munich), the Sala Verdi (Milan), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), National Concert Hall (Taipei), and Shanghai Concert Hall, The National Theater, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing).

One of the most honored pianists of his generation, Mr. Chen has won top prizes in the Arthur Rubinstein, Busoni, and Geza Anda Piano Competitions and the Young Concert Artists International Piano Auditions. He also won prizes in the Queen Elisabeth, Montreal International Musical, and Van Cliburn International Piano Competitions and received an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has enjoyed fruitful artistic collaborations with dozens of musicians, however, his most meaningful artistic partnership is with his wife, Tema Blackstone, with whom he frequently performs as a piano duo. Mr. Chen is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School, is a visiting professor at Yale, and on the faculty for Artemisia Akademie at Yale. He has adjudicated prominent international piano competitions such as the Van Cliburn, Busoni, Shanghai, and Honens.

Noriko Ogawa (Japan)

Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world since her success at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records has established her as a leading Debussy specialist. Her current recording project for BIS Records is solo piano music by Eric Satie. She has appeared with all the major European, Japanese, and US orchestras, and is also renowned as a recitalist and chamber musician, collaborating with such artists as Michael Collins, Steven Isserlis, Martin Roscoe, and Peter Donohoe. As an advocate of commissioning, Ogawa has been involved in numerous premieres including works by Richard Dubugnon, Takemitsu, Graham Fitkin, and Dai Fujikura. As a presenter and adjudicator, she regularly judges competitions such as the Leeds International Piano Competition and BBC Young Musician. She is the Chairperson of the Jury for Japan’s prestigious Hamamatsu International Piano Competition and serves on the board of the World Federation of International Music Competitions. In addition, Ogawa is also a teacher and a Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She founded Jamie’s Concerts, a series for the caretakers of autistic children, and is a Cultural Ambassador for the National Autistic Society.

Matan Porat (Israel/Germany)

Hailed by the New York Times for his “magnificent sound and breath of expression,” pianist and composer Matan Porat has performed in such distinguished venues as the Philharmonie in Berlin, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, and with such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Known for his unique, narrative-based programming, Porat’s varied repertoire ranges from the complete Bach Partitas and Schubert Sonatas to Ives’ Concord Sonata and the Ligeti Concerto. He recorded three solo CDs for MIRARE: “Variations on a theme by Scarlatti,” 24 pieces from Couperin to Boulez that all relate to Scarlatti’s Sonata K. 32; “Lux,” a recital of works around light from dawn to nightfall; and “Carnaval,” a program around Schumann’s Carnaval op. 9.

An avid chamber musician, Porat has participated in many acclaimed festivals including the Marlboro, Lockenhaus, Ravinia, Verbier, Hohenems, and Rheingau Festivals. Chamber music appearances include performances with the Artemis Quartet, Cuarteto Casals, Pacifica, Modigliani, and Jerusalem Quartets. Born in Tel-Aviv, Matan Porat studied with Emanuel Krasovsky, Maria João Pires, and Murray Perahia, earning his master’s degree from the Juilliard School.

Mūza Rubackytė (Lithuania/France)

Mūza Rubackytė was born in Lithuania and splits her time between Vilnius, Paris, and Geneva.
A graduate of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, in 1981 she won the Grand Prize at the Liszt-Bartok International Piano Competition in Budapest. As an internationally known concert pianist, she has 40 concertos with orchestra and 40 recitals in her repertoire. Her discography of some 30 titles includes the complete “Years of Pilgrimage” by Liszt (Lyrinx), “24 Preludes and Fugues” by Shostakovich (Brilliant Classics), “10 concertos pour piano et orchestra” of Beethoven, Liszt, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Schnittke, Saint-Saëns, Schubert/Liszt, and Bartok for the Doron label series “Great Lithuanian live recordings.”

A member of the Lithuanian resistance, she was not able to leave the USSR until 1989. In Lithuania, the President of the Republic awarded her the Legion of Honour for her actions for independence and several decorations for her commitment as a cultural ambassador. In 2018 Ms. Rubackytė was named Commander of the Great Cross of for her services to the Lithuanian State.

Margarita Shevchenko (Russia)

Margarita Shevchenko has been a winner of major international piano competitions including the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw; Leeds International Piano Competition, England; UNISA International Piano Competition, Pretoria, South Africa; Cleveland International Piano Competition, USA; and the Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Israel. Praised for her Chopin interpretations, she has also been the recipient of the Special ” Chopin Prize” at five of those competitions in addition to the main prizes won.

Shevchenko has given solo recitals to critical acclaim at New York’s Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center; Old Opera House in Frankfurt; Salle Cortot and Chatelet Theater in Paris; Tchaikovsky Hall and the Big Hall of Moscow Conservatory; Mann Auditorium, Tel-Aviv, Israel; and many others.

Highlights of her many orchestral appearances include performances with the “Moscow Virtuosi” orchestra under Vladimir Spivakov, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Symphony, and Kammerorchester Heilbronn.

Balázs Szokolay (Hungary)

Liszt Award-winning pianist and professor Balázs Szokolay has played an integral role in the international music scene for decades. Szokolay performs at major concert halls throughout the world with a repertoire covering a range of styles, including a strong focus on chamber music. He has released more than 50 albums and won numerous international awards, most recently in 2016 he received the 39th Liszt Ferenc International Grand Prix du Disco for his performance of the Sonata in B minor (Widmung-Liszt, Schumann). He has also played on numerous radio and television broadcasts.

Szokolay was taught by Erna Czövek and continued his studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, where his professors included Klára Máthé, Pál Kadosa, Zoltán Kocsis, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados.

He has won 14 competition prizes during his career and regularly gives masterclasses at renowned music academies and piano festivals around the world. His students have already won more 60 international prizes in different music competitions. He has been a piano professor at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest since 1987 and at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar since 2012. In 2001, he was awarded the Liszt Prize by the Hungarian Government.

Mira Yevitch (Serbia/Australia)

Mira Yevtich was born in Belgrade and started playing the piano when she was three years old. In 1980 she was awarded a Doctorate in Piano Performance from the Moscow State Conservatory studying under Professor Stanislav Neihaus and a Doctorate from Gnessin Academy of Music studying under Professor Boris Berlin.

International concert engagements followed with performances in France, Austria, England, Italy, Russia, and Australia with internationally renowned conductors Valery Gergiev, Evgeny Svetlanov, Alexander Anissimov, Yuri Bashmet, Gerg Rat, Takeshi Naito, and others. In addition to a prolific performance and recording schedule, Yevtich is passionately involved in the development and promotion of young musical talent.

Yevtich is a co-founder of the Mariinsky International Piano Festival held in St. Petersburg with the world-famous conductor and director of Mariinsky Theatre, Maestro Valery Gergiev. This festival is an important and inspirational musical event and is held twice a year with performances from the world’s top pianists.