Professor Agigat Maharramova, PhD in Art, was born in Sheki, Azerbaijan . At age 13, she was enrolled in the Bul-Bul School of Music , the most prestigious institution for primary and high school music education. After graduation, she continued her studies at the Yzeyir Hajibeyli Baku Academy of Music (previously known as the Azerbaijan State Conservatory) where she completed her Master’s degree with renowned pianist and professor Nigyar Usubova. She continued her studies in a post graduate program at the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, Russia, under the guidance of distinguished Professor of Music, Pavel Serebryakov. Professor Maharramova maintained an extensive schedule of performances in Europe, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and other countries. From 1999, she joined the faculty at the Ataturk University in Erzurum, Turkey, where she is currently
teaching piano. She was the winner of several competitions as both a soloist and an accompanist, and continues to perform as a soloist and chamber musician to this day. Professor Agigat Maharramova has served as a juror at a number of major international music competitions, and is the author of the book “Genesis and Advancement of the Piano Performance Culture of Azerbaijan” (pictured below).
We are privileged to have the well- known teacher and pianist, Rena Shereshevskaya, join our competition as a Judge, and also give a Masterclass to the Grand prize winner or 1 prize winner of “Florida Keys”IMC. She is a Professor of Piano at the Paris Alfred Cortot Music School and at the Conservatory of Rueil – Malmaison. Many of her students became prize- winners of grand international competitions; these students include Lucas Debargue (winner of the XVth International Tchaikovsky Competition) and Alexandre Kantorow (Grand Prix winner at the XVIth International Tchaikovsky Competition)
We greatly appreciate that Professor Shereshevskaya – Mustafabeyli will share her incredible talent and expertise with the winners of our competition.
Elmar Gasanov was born in Sevastopol. In 1990 he began playing the piano with Tatyana Kim at the Music School No.1. After studying for eleven years there he continued his education in the Musical College under the Moscow State Conservatory and the Moscow State Conservatory, where he studied under renowned Russian musician and teacher Professor Ludmila Roshina. In 2010 he succesfully passed his exams and got full scholarship for studying in the Royal College of Music in London where he spent two years with a great musician Vanessa Latarche. Elmar drew attention to himself by winning prizes at various international piano competitions, such as the Highest Prize in the International Competition “In the home town of Prokofiev” in 1999. In the same year he also came third in the International Competition “In Memory of V.Horowitz”. In 2000 he was the winner of the International Krainev Competition. In 2006 he was the winner of Liszt-Bartok Piano Competition in Budapest. In 2009 he got the second prize and Audience prize in Hamamatsu International piano competition. In 2010, he got the third prize in Isangyun piano competition (Korea). In 2011 he got the fifth prize in 3rd Hong Kong Piano Competition. In 2012 he got the third prize and Schumann prize in Geza Anda piano competition in Zurich. Elmar has given solo and concerto performances not just in Russia, but also in Hungary (inc. Budapest Spring Festival), Germany (inc. Baden-Baden Summer Festival), France (inc. Colmar Festival), Holland, Austria, England (inc. Campden Music Festival), Turkey, Brazil, USA, Slovakia, Sloveniya, Ukraine, Switzerland ( Zurich Tonhalle, Paul Klee Centre Berne, Crans-Montana, Gstaad Menuhin Festival).
Elmar regularly works with the many wonderful orchestras and conductors, among them the Musikkollegium Winterthur under Theodor Guschlbauer, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich under David Zinman, Concerto Budapest under Andras Keller, the INSO Orchestra Lviv under Georg Kugi and others, and The Hong Kong Philarmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy. At present, Elmar teaches at Moscow State Conservatory and Academic Music College of the Moscow Conservatory.
A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Russian baritone Alexey Lavrov made his Met company debut in the 12/13 season as the Herald in Otello and the Flemish Deputy in Don Carlo and has since appeared there as Silvio in Pagliacci, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Schaunard in La bohème, Ping in Turandot, Count Dominik in Arabella, the Huntsman in Rusalka, and Yamadori in Madama Butterfly.
Other recent career highlights have included the title roles in Aleko and Eugene Onegin at Opera Carolina, his role debut at Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore at the Macau International Music Festival, his debuts at the Opernhaus Zürich as Silvio in Pagliacci and Teatro Real in Madrid in a new production of The Golden Cockerel, Albert in Werther and Silvio with CulturArte de Puerto Rico, Malatesta at the Cincinnati Opera and Atlanta Opera, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette at the Festival Internacional de Ópera Alejandro Granda in Peru, his debuts at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre in Moscow as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and at the Mikhailovsky Theatre as Silvio in Pagliacci and Robert in Iolanta, the title role of Eugene Onegin at Germany’s Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg Festival and on tour with the Mikhailovsky Theatre in Japan, Donald in Billy Budd at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, a Flemish Deputy in Don Carlo at the Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, and a recital with the Friends of Chamber Music Society of Miami with Ken Noda. Mr. Lavrov was also a member of the Young Artist Program at the Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre where he sang Moralès in Carmen, Shchelkalov in Boris Godunov, and Robert in Iolanta.
A native of the Komi Republic, Russia, Mr. Lavrov studied voice at the Republican Art College, Syktyvkar and the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. He was recently a semi-finalist at the 2014 Operalia International Voice Competition, and his many other awards and distinctions include 1st Prize at the 2014 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, second prize at the 2014 Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Voice Competition, third prize at the 2014 Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition, the 2014 Musique et Vin Festival Prize, the 2014 Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award, winner of the 2010 Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition, second prize from the Byulbyul International Vocal Competition, fourth-prize winner of the Concurso Internacional de Canto competition in Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colón, and a diploma from the International Rachmaninoff Competition.
Mr. Lavrov made his debut at the Arena di Verona in Turandot in the summer of 2021, and this season makes his debuts at the Grand Théâtre de Genève as Napoleon in War and Peace and the Palm Beach Opera in L’Elisir d’Amore. He also returns to the Metropolitan Opera in Turandot.
Sergiu Schwartz’s international concert appearances have taken him to major music centers on four continents, including twenty European countries, Israel, Asia, Canada, and over forty U. S. states, as soloist with orchestras, in recitals and chamber music concerts. “Following in the footsteps of his fellow countrymen Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, he is a product of the best of European romantic interpretative style and 20th-Century American technical acuity,” states New York’s Newsday, while Le Soleil (Canada) notes that “he stands out as one of the best violinists of his generation.” Comparing him to the greatest violinists, Fanfare – The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors, writes: his “warmth of sound and insight into the music raise to the level of expression achieved by Oistrakh” and his “tonal sheen approaches Milstein’s… for those who lament the passing of the great violinists of the middle of the last century, Schwartz’s collection should provide a great sense of optimism that a younger violinist still commands such assured rhetoric and expressive resources. Heifetz, Milstein, Oistrakh, Isaac Stern, Francescatti – they all come to mind.”
Mr. Schwartz has performed in venues including the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Jerusalem Theatre, and Rome’s Academia Santa Cecilia. In solo orchestral engagements, he has performed with conductors including Giuseppe Sinopoli, Sergiu Comissiona, James Judd, JoAnn Falletta, Mehli Mehta, Peter Maag, Bruno Weil, Antoni Wit, and Enrique Batiz. He is a frequent guest in festivals across North America, Europe, and Asia, and he serves on the artist faculty of the Bowdoin (Maine), Summit (New York), Mozarteum (Austria), and Keshet Eilon (Israel) international music festivals. Mr. Schwartz has been featured in broadcasts for radio and TV stations, including NPR, CNN, WXEL-TV’s “Great Performances,” and the BBC.
Alongside his performing career, Sergiu Schwartz holds the position as Professor of Violin (William B. and Sue Marie Turner Distinguished Chair in Violin) at the Schwob School of Music, Columbus State University, and as Professor at Haute Ecole de Musique et Conservatoire de Lausanne, Switzerland. He regularly conducts master classes and lectures at international music schools, colleges, and universities. Sergiu Schwartz also serves as a juror in major international competitions, including Tchaikovsky, Sarasate, Wieniawski, Michael Hill, Mozart/Salzburg, Oistrakh, Postacchini, Szeryng, Novosibirsk, as well as Canadian National, Sphinx, Stulberg, Blount-Slawson, Washington International, and others.