The Jury

Comprising of members hailing from all over the world, this competition is run by musicians, for musicians.

Meet the Jury:

Dmitry Daniel Askerov.jpg

Dmitry Daniel Askerov


Born in 1993, the Russian-Israeli violinist Dmitry Daniel Askerov discovered his love for the violin at the age of six. After only one year of playing the instrument, Dmitry took part in and won several competitions, at the age of eight he won the America Israel Cultural Foundation “excellence scholarship” being the youngest performer to win this prize since Itzhak Perlmann.

ith 16 Dmitry started studying with Elena Mazor at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. In the course of his early career he already claimed several prizes from renowned international Competitions such as the 2006 International „Remember Enescu“ Violin Competition in Romania and in 2012 the Clairmont Competition in Israel.

After having proven himself as an outstanding musician, Dmitry started playing as a soloist with orchestras around the world such as the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, the Bern Academy Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and many more. He also gave solo recitals in the United States, Europe and Israel.

For many years he took part in the Keshet Eilon master class, where he met many inspiring musicians, such as Ivry Gitlis, Shlomo Mintz and Ida Haendel. During the years of concerts and concert tours, Dmitry started to find his own technique and his own sound. Recently he began to write a book on the various aspects of violin technique. Since a few years Dmitry also plays the viola, which he regards as his second instrument. He has performed the viola part of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Orchestra and given several recitals on the viola. Dmitry is a devoted pedagogue and set a goal of bringing music to parts of the world where there is not much possibilty in the classical field. This is the reason he started his own festival in Florida, the Crescendo Music Festival. In addition to his musical career, Dmitry decided to create a competition that would bring opportunities for a new generation of musicians to start a career. Since 2016 he is the Artistic Director of the New Stars Competition.

Dmitry’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge and inspiration from other musicians led him to obtain a Master’s degree from the Zurich University of the Arts, where he was able to study with Ilya Gringolts. Dmitry also met several times with the cellist Gavriel Lipkind and was able to play with Anna Lipkind in Germany and Israel. Dmitry was also able to recieve masterclasses from some of today’s leading violinists such as Zachar Bron, Haigai Shaham, Rudolf Koelman, Miriam Fried, Julian Rachlin and Leonidas Kavakos.

Dmitry has always considered chamber music to be the highest form of music making. For this reason he founded his own quartet, the Askerov Quartet, with violinist Lee Young Kim, violist Jenny Joelson and cellist Polina Yarullina.

He plays a violin made in 1737 by Carlo Antonio Testore , on loan to him by Yehuda Zisapel.

Markus Hallikainen



Markus Hallikainen is a versatile Finnish Cellist who is based in Switzerland. Currently, Markus is pursuing his Soloist Diploma Degree at the Züricher Hochschule der Künste under the guidance of Professor Raphael Wallfisch. Markus has been supported by all the Finnish Cultural Foundations and was recently chosen to perform a recital in Switzerland by the “For Young Musicians Foundation”. Markus was also a finalist in the Finnish National Turku Cello Competition (2014). He has recorded on the Finnish Broadcasting Company and the RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse). He is also a member of Professor Martti Rousi’s Cello Ensemble which he has performed with in the prestigious Mariinsky Theatre, Russia.

Markus has previously studied at the Espoo Music Institute as well as the Sibelius Academy (Junior Department). He attained his Bachelor’s Degree under the tutelage of Professor Arto Noras and continued to study for his masters with Professor Martti Rousi.

In demand as a soloist, Markus has performed with the Turku Philharmonic and Kuopio City Orchestra. He has participated in multiple music festivals in Russia, Finland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain. Markus has also performed with Zachar Bron, Arto Noras, Frans Helmersson, Massimo Quarta and Alexei Orgintchouk.

As an orchestral player, he has worked as the Principal Cellist in the Vaasa City Orchestra and as Assistant Principal Cellist in the Turku Philharmonic. Markus is also active in other genres of music. He gave his debut in modern music at the 2014 “Time of Music” festival in Finland.

Ryan Hum


Canadian pianist Ryan Hum began his piano studies at the age of four in group music lessons with Cheryl Wallace as part of the Music for Young Children programme, and was subsequently awarded a Gold Medal from Conservatory Canada at the age of eight. He subsequently began studying under the tutelage of Galina Shostakovsky of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and under her guidance, he graduated with distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto, Canada) as the recipient of an Associate Diploma in Piano Performance.

In 2013, he moved to the UK to study at The University of Manchester, continuing to study piano with Duncan Glenday in Manchester and Galina Shostakovsky in Ottawa. As a member of the Manchester University Music Society (MUMS), Ryan won the concerto competition in 2015, performing Scriabin Piano Concerto in F-sharp Minor, Op. 20 with Mark Heron and the University of Manchester Symphony Orchestra in the 2015/2016 academic year.

As a solo performer, Ryan has also been invited to perform in the Ottawa International ChamberFest, and in masterclasses for distinguished pianists Angela Hewitt, Stephane Lemelin, and Andrew Tunis at the University of Ottawa. In competitions, he was a finalist of the 2013 Ontario Young Artist Competition, winner of the 2012 ORMTA Instrumental Competition, and was twice a finalist of the Canadian Music Competition in 2011 and 2009.

Also a dedicated collaborative pianist, Ryan is frequently seen performing with other musicians in chamber ensembles including other pianists as part of a piano duo, and string and wind players as duos, trios, and quartets.


Besides music, Ryan is bilingual, fluent in both French and English, and he is currently learning Italian and German. 


Alja Mandic


Slovenian Cellist, Alja Mandic began her cello studies at the age of 8. At 16, she was accepted to the class of Professor Valter Dešpalj at the Academy of Music at the University of Zagreb. Two years later, Alja, having shown great promise, was accepted to the International Music Academy Liechtenstein. She obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree with highest honours. She is currently collaborating and studying with Israeli Cellist, Gavriel Lipkind.

Alja has participated in masterclasses with F. Helmerson, D. Geringas, A. Rudin, A. Bylsma, M. Perenyi, G. Hoffman, C. Hagen, R. Latzko, L. Fenyö, C. Bohorquez, D. Ferschtman and O. Mandozzi. As an highly active chamber musician, Alja has performed with Mischa Maisky, Giovanni Sollima, Monika Leskovar, Ani Schnarch, Petr Jirikowsky and is a member of WISE (Wienner International Solists Ensemble) and Cellomania Ensemble.

Alja has performed in USA, Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Israel, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece in prestigious venues such as the Israeli Opera House, the Concertgebow Amsterdam and the Cankar Concert Hall.

She has performed at many festivals including the Keshet Eilon International Music Festival, Amsterdam Cello Bienalle, Aurora Music Festival and the Crescendo International Music Festival in Miami.

Alja is both a winner of national and international music competitions. She is a winner of the Slovenian National Competition which enabled her to record on RTV Slovenia. Her recordings were broadcast at the International Festival Concertino Praga. She also won the International Cello Competition Alpe Adria in Italy. This granted her an European concert tour.

Lovre Marusic


Born in Croatia, Lovre Marusic had his first piano lessons at the age of 6.  In 2006, he started his musical education with the eminent pianist, Natalia Troull in Moscow (Central Music school at the P. I. Tschaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory) from which he successfully graduated in 2011. He continued his piano studies at the Music Academy in Zagreb, first with Ruben Dalibaltayan and after with  Ljubomir Gašparović. In 2017, he got his Masters degree at the Music Academy in Zagreb. He is currently a student at Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar in the class of Grigory Gruzman.

Lovre Marušić has taken part and won prizes in various national and international competitions such as second prize at the International Competition Zlatko Grgošević (2002), first prizes at the Regional and National Competition of  Music Students (2003, 2005), second prize at the Stanislaw Moniuszko International Competition in Paris (2009), first prize at the Aleksandar Skrjabin Competition in Paris (2011), first prize at the Karlovac International Piano Competition (2015), first prize at the Mihailo Vukdragović International Piano Competition in Serbia (2016), first prizeat the Memorial Jurica MuraiInternational Piano Competition in Croatia (2016), first prize and absolute winner at the Isidor Bajic International Piano Competition (2016), first prize at the New Stars International Music Competition (2016) and first prize at the World Piano Teachers Association International Piano Competition  (2017).

He has performed with prominent orchestras and conductors such as the Croatian National Theatre Orchestra in Split and Zagreb with conductor, Ivan Repušić, Irkutsk Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor, Ilmar Lapinshem, Symphony orchestra of Music Academy in Zagreb with conductor, Mladen Tarbuk, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor, Zoran Juranić and many others.

Lovre Marušić is perfroming as a soloist and a chamber musician in various festivals and concert series in Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Germany, Lichtenstein, Russia, Ukraine, Japan and USA. He is a member of International Vladimir Spivakov Foundation and winner of Rector and Dean prizes for high artistic achivements, provided by University of Zagreb.

During his studies he has been working with prominent professors and pianists such as Naum Grubert, Mikhail Olenev, Peter Eicher, Snežana Čadikovska, Evgeny Starodubtsev, Szokolay Balázs, Dmitry Bashkirov, Danijel Detoni, Malcolm Bilson, Kemal Gekić, Eduardo Hubert, Nino Katamadze, Pavel Gililov and others.

Edevaldo Mulla



“A Byronesque extrovert who conquered the virtuosic demands and never lost touch with songfulness and romance” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Edevaldo Mulla, Albanian born cellist, has been widely praised for his concerts throughout Europe and America. As a soloist, he has performed with the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, USF Symphony Orchestra, Fresinger Chamber Orchestra and the Tirana Youth Orchestra.

In command as a teacher, Edevaldo has been a member of faculty at the Artistic Lyceum of Tirana ‘Jordan Misja’, the International Summer Music Festival “Vivace Vilnius” and at the Crescendo International Music Festival in Miami.

Edevaldo has also worked alongside famous artists such as Steven Doane, David Ying, Michael Tetel, Alain Menuir, Ammy Flamer and Christian Ivaldi. He has also participated in many international music festivals of contemporary music throughout Italy and his native Albania.

As a camber musician, he is a member of the Jemur Piano Trio. The trio has experienced immense success and has played a series of concerts at the Boston Conservatory as well as performing a world premiere by the Boston Ballet’s Daniel Pelzer. The trio has also toured throughout Europe.

As an orchestral player, Edevaldo held the principal cello position at the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed with the Boston Philharmonic, Cape Ann Symphony, Orchestra of Indian Hill, MIT Orchestra, Symphony Nova and East Coast Scoring Orchestra.

Edevaldo started his cello studies at the age of six. He gained his Bachelors degree from the Academy of Arts in Tirana under the guidance of Professor Astrit Selita. Thereafter, he completed his Graduate Performance Diploma at the Boston Conservatory where he studied with Andrew Mark and Holgen Gjoni. Edevaldo is currently completing his Masters degree at the University of South Florida in Scott Kluksdahl’s studio, playing on an Oded Kishony Cello (1998) on generous loan from the Virtu Foundation.


Anna Dorothea Mutterer


Anna Dorothea Mutterer commenced her violin and piano studies at the age of six. At the age of ten, she continued her violin studies at the “Hochschule für Musik Würzburg”. She is currently studying with Professor Nicolas Koeckert in Munich and Vienna. In masterclasses she has worked with world renowned pedagogues including Petru Munteanu, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Michael Vaiman, Weidong Tong, Baiba Skride and Florian Meierott. She is currently a scholarship holder of the “Florian Meierott Stiftung”.

Anna Dorothea is a prize winner of both national and international violin competitions. She was awarded first prize at the National German Youth Competition “Jugend musiziert”. Anna Dorothea also received a certificate of honour from the Kloster Schöntal International Violin Competition. In 2007, she won the audience prize at the Kitzingen International Violin Competition. She also received first prize at the International Violin Competition in Vicenza/Italy.

Anna Dorothea also performs in various chamber and orchestral ensembles. As well as being a performer, Anna Dorothea has also been teaching the violin since 2007.

Itamar Rashkovsky


Itamar Rashkovsky began playing the violin under the guidance of Natasha Boyarsky of the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music. Accepted to the pre-college of the Royal College of Music aged 10, he continued studying with Boyarsky under a full scholarship funded by the Tsukanov Foundation.

His playing has been heard throughout the UK, USA, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Israel, Croatia and Slovenia in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and the Israeli Opera House. A number of these performances have been broadcast on the BBC, IBA (Israeli Broadcasting Authority), Slovenian television and in an award-winning Hollywood. 

In competitions, Itamar was awarded 1st prize in four consecutive years at the John Evans String Prize–Kings College School Wimbledon (2010-2013), 1st prize at the Gordon Turner Memorial and Peter Morrison Concerto Competitions – Royal College of Music JD (2012). On the International stage, Itamar was a finalist and the only British prize winner of the 2013 Kloster Schoental International Violin Competition and also won 2nd prize at the 2015 Enkor International Piano and Violin Competition. 

Itamar graduated with first-class honours from the University of Manchester where he gained a Bachelor of Social Science in Politics and International Relations. During his time at Manchester, Itamar twice won the University of Manchester Concerto Competition and led the University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Since graduation, Itamar has returned to London where he is working as a Data Analyst for Kantar Worldpanel (WPP). 

Akvile Sileikaite


Akvile Sileikaite.jpg

Akvile Sileikaite was born in 1992, Lithuania. For more than 10 years she had been studying piano with prof. Tatjana Romashkina and painting with Loreta Laurinaviciene in Klaipeda. In 2015 she graduated from Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (Bachelor degree of solo performance, assoc. prof. Daumantas Kirilauskas). From 2015 autumn she has started her studies in Zürcher Hochschule der Künste with prof. Friedemann Rieger.

Akvile is a winner of more than fifteen international piano and fine arts competitions in Germany, Japan, Belgium, Finland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and other countries (including IV International competition for pianists, dedicated for J. B. Cramer (Germany), international young artists competition “XXIst Century Art” (Ukraine), International Competition of Young Performers (Finland). In 2003 she made her debut as a soloist with chamber orchestra, in 2005 she had her first personal paintings exhibition “Kitaip“ (“Differently”), in 2009 first personal art exhibition abroad (Germany).

Akvile Sileikaite actively participates in many concerts, festivals as soloist and as a member of various chamber music ensembles in Lithuania, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and is a regular participant of charity concerts for children, who suffer from cancer (“Muzikinis linkėjimas”) and other non-profit, charity projects. She also plays in Zurich University of Arts (ZHdK) orchestra. In 2016 she made her debut together with contemporary music ensemble “Arc-en-Ciel” and is invited to take part in contemporary music projects, workshops, perform premieres of new compositions. During her professional development, Akvile Sileikaite has been participated in many master classes under famous professors and pianists like Ivo Pogorelich, Pierre Reach, Jean Marc Luisada, Avedis Kouyoumdjian, Eleonora Tkach, Valentina Berman and others.

Her achievements in music, painting and photography have been evaluated by the Presidents of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuanian Musician Support Fund, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Culture, the local Government and others. In 2007 she has been acknowledged as the laureate of the award of the Queen Morta of Lithuania.

Akvile is also deeply interested in other fields of arts, especially literature, fine arts, photography (she is also painting and photographing), traveling, sports. Akvile belongs to scout’s organization, is participant of social projects and a volunteer of various cultural events.

Jorge Vazquez


Jorge Vasquez.jpg

Jorge Vazquez continues to captivate musicians and audiences around the world for “his dynamic interpretations” and for “reclaiming the fervent musical intentions of composers.” Vazquez currently serves as Artistic Director of the Miami Chamber Orchestra and as Founder and Chief Conductor of “Filarmonía” in Mexico.

In 2016 he won First Prize at the International Competition “4x4 Prizes for Composers and Conductors” in Oklahoma. In 2015 he won First Prize in the “New Talents in Orchestral Conducting” Competition hosted by Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, one of Mexico’s most prestigious musical institutions, where he was subsequently engaged to perform six concerts. That same year he was selected as one of ten international participants to conduct the Rochester Philharmonic as part of the Summer Conducting Institute at the Eastman School of Music.

He began conducting under the invitation of Grzegorz Nowak, Permanent Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and immediately served as his Assistant Conductor for the Florida International University Symphony Orchestra. Vazquez has participated in master classes with world-renowned conductors such as Jose Serebrier, Sherrill Milnes, David Effron, Giancarlo Guerrero, Eduardo Marturet and Neil Varon. In 2013 Vazquez was awarded the first ever Miami Symphony Orchestra Conducting Fellowship.

During the summer of 2014 and 2015, he was invited to participate in the International Masterclasses Berlin with Lior Shambadal, Chief Conductor of the Berliner Symphoniker and was also awarded a position as an Assistant Conductor in the Miami Summer Music Festival. 

Anzhe Zuo


Anzhe Zuo.jpg

Born in China, Anzhe started her musical studies as a pianist and cellist at the age of 4. She completed her Bachelors degree at Tianjin Conservatory of Music in China under the tutelage of Professors Yunxin Zhang and Pan Wang. Anzhe is currently pursuing her Masters degree at the Zürich Hochschule der Kunster with Professor Orfeo Mandozzi. Having performed in participated in many masterclasses, Anzh has been praised as one of the promising cellists of her generation by world-renowned artists such as Natalia Gutman, Gavriel Lipkind, Wen Sinn Yang, Yibing Chu and Yehuda Hanani.

Anzhe has regularly performed throughout China in prestigious venues and concert halls. In Europe, she performs as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. In 2013, she became a founding member of the first Classical Music Festival in Nanjing University in China.

Anzhe is a prize winner of numerous international competitions. These have included the second prize of the first Asian String Competition and the second prize in the Fourth National “Aegean Cup” Cello Competition.

Anzhe is a diverse performer. She played in the music production of Canada’s first Chinese-language film “Father & Son TCK” and played as cello soloist in the OST. Thereafter, she was personally appointed as the cello soloist in the musical production for the new national film project “Chen Shaomei- the greatest spirit of Chinese Fine Arts”.