Benjamin Lai was born in 1993 in California, USA and received his first cello lessons at the age of four from Michail Gelfandbein, a former student of Mstislav Rostropovich. In 2002 he moved to New York, where he attended the Juilliard Pre-College with Andre Emelianoff and was also taught by David Soyer and Nathaniel Rosen. In 2003 he was chosen as one of the two cellists to play at the Grammy Festival Classical Music Luncheon - Honoring Mstislav Rostropovich. In the following years he deepened his musical education with Chu Yi-Bing, Wen-Sinn Yang and Michel Strauss. From 2007 to 2012 Benjamin studied with Jens Peter Maintz at the Julius Stern Institute of the Berlin University of the Arts. From September 2012-2016 Benjamin studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with Prof. Heinrich Schiff. Since 2016 he has been studying with Julian Steckel at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Rostock. He received important artistic impulses during master classes with Yehuda Hanani, Richard Aaron, David Geringas, Yo-Yo Ma, Frans Helmerson, Natalia Gutman, Truls Mørk, Arto Noras, Miklos Perenyi, Peter Bruns, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Janos Starker and Troels Svane.
Benjamin Lai has won prizes at several international competitions. In 2006 he won the first prize at the "International David Popper Competition" in Varpalota, Hungary and in 2009 the second prize and special prize for the best interpretation of the contemporary compulsory composition at the 4th International Dotzauer Competition for Young Cellists in Dresden. In October 2011 he received the 2nd prize at the International Hindemith Competition in Berlin. In August 2012 he won the first audience prize as well as the Charles-Ives-Prize at the Tonali Grand Prix in Hamburg. Winner of the 11th "TSO Star of Tomorrow" audition, Benjamin made his Taiwan debut with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra in January 2016.
As a soloist Benjamin has performed with the Neuensinfonieorchester Berlin, the Hamburger Symphoniker and the Philharmonie Baden-Baden. In May 2011 he gave concerts with the school orchestra of the Musikgymnasium Carl-Philipp-Emanuel-Bach in the Konzerthaus Berlin. Benjamin has also participated in numerous festivals in the USA, Germany, France and Switzerland.
"Nina Gurol, [...] an extraordinary, a giant talent," the composer York Höller told the Kölner Stadtanzeiger. Nina has cultivated a close relationship with Höller for many years and his works form an integral part of her repertoire.
The pianist, born in 1997, captivates with her fine sense of sound, her ability to interpret and her special expressiveness. Her charisma on stage touches and impresses audiences and press alike.
Her passion for contemporary music is reflected not only in her collaboration with the ensemble "Studio MusikFabrik", but also in her regular, close collaboration with contemporary composers and various world premieres. She is also intensively involved in the field of music education and regularly arranges concerts in schools and social institutions. She was recently awarded the Mysclaw-Weinberg Prize for the outstanding interpretation of a contemporary work at the renowned TONALi16 piano competition and has been represented by the artist agency TONALiSTEN in Hamburg since 2016.
Nina received her first piano lessons at the age of 6 at the music school in Leverkusen. At the age of 13 Nina was accepted as a young student at the "Pre-College Cologne" of the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. There she first studied with Prof. Nina Tichman and then with Prof. Gesa Lücker, with whom she has also been studying for a Bachelor's degree since 2015. Thanks to the generous support of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben (supported by the Gerd-Bucerius Scholarship), Nina completed a semester abroad at the Bonporti Conservatorio di Musica in the class of Prof. Mario Coppola as part of the Erasmus programme. She gained additional important musical impressions through her regular collaboration with Tamara Stefanovich, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and York Höller, as well as with Matti Raekallio, Jerome Rose and Alexander Kobrin.
Many years of concert experience as a soloist and chamber musician have taken Nina to numerous cities in Germany, Italy, Poland, Austria and the USA, as well as to concert halls such as the Kölner Philharmonie, the Essener Philharmonie, the WDR Funkhaus Köln, the Beethoven Haus Bonn, the Ehrbar Saal Wien, the Erholungshaus Leverkusen and the Studio DuMont Köln. Nina has also performed at important festivals such as the Ruhr Piano Festival, the ACHT BRÜCKEN Festival Cologne, the Leipzig Bach Festival and the Köthener Bach Festival.
As a soloist with orchestra she gained experience with the Toru? Symphony Orchestra under Anna Mrósz, the Rhein-Erft Philharmonie under Christian Letschert-Larsson and with the Bayer Symphoniker under Kenneth Duryea.
Nina has been awarded numerous prizes at home and abroad, including 1st prize at the National Bach Competition in Köthen and the Thürmer Piano Competition, 1st prizes in the category "Solo Piano" and "Chamber Music" at the national level in Jugend musiziert, the special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary work at the International Rotary Piano Competition, the Classical Prize at the International Rosario Marciano Piano Competition as well as 2nd prize at the International Rotary Piano Competition and 3rd prize at the International Grotrian-Steinweg Piano Competition.
Nina is currently studying with Prof. Gesa Lücker at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne.
Elene Ansaia Meipariani
Elene Ansaia Meipariani was born in Filderstadt in 1998. At the age of five she had her first violin lessons with Christine Schneider. In 2007 Elene continued her education with Prof. Christine Busch and was accepted at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart from the age of 10.
Elene won national and international prizes. Most recently Elene won the 3rd prize as well as the student jury prize for the most creative music mediation at the TONALi Violin Competition in Hamburg and played Prokofiev's Violin Concerto under the direction of Daniel Blendulf in the great hall of the Elbphilharmonie in the finale. She also received the "saltarello" special prize, which includes a concert and a recording in the Sendesaal Bremen. In this context she was also accepted into the non-profit TONALiSTEN agency and will give a concert together with star violinist Lisa Batiashvili.
Also in 2017 Elene and her trio "Pirvel" won the 3rd prize at the Jeunesses Musicales Internatonal Chamber Music Campus. This is combined with a concert at the Rheingau Music Festival in 2018. She also received the Tomastik-Infeld-Vienna-Foundation Prize at the international Knopf-Competition in Düsseldorf, the 1st Prize at the "Lions-Club" Competition and the 2nd Prize at the Bechstein Competition in Berlin. She also won the 1st Federal Prize in Jugend Musiziert in the category "Violin Solo" as well as in the category "Chamber Music" and received the Yamaha Special Prize for an "Extraordinary Chamber Music Performance". Elene was awarded the sponsorship prize of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben, the Harald Genzmer Foundation, the Kreissparkasse Waiblingen and the Riebesam Foundation.
She performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Tbilisi Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tbilisi State Opera, as well as the Beethoven Triple Concerto, among others with the Filderharmonie Filderstadt. Elene performed at the festival "Arpeggione" - Stars of Tomorrow, played in the show of "Willi will´s wissen" and was on concert tour in England. Elene attended numerous international master classes, among others with Prof. Heime Müller, Prof. Eckhard Fischer, Belcea Quartet, Trio op.8, Prof. Elisabeth Weber, Prof. Dirk Mommertz, Prof. Sebastian Schmidt, Prof. Winnfried Rademacher, Prof. Hariolf Schlichtig, Prof. Christian Sikorski and Prof. Peter Buck. Elene plays a violin by Domenico Montagnana from 1740, on loan from the Rudolf Eberle Foundation.
The complete program 8. Kammermusiktage finden Sie hier.