2018 Jury

2018 StringComp logoMembers of the Competition Jury are:

John Gilhooly OBE, Chairman

stringcomp2018 bio jury JG ©FrancesMarshallPhotograhy John Gilhooly OBE, Chair
Artistic and Executive Director of Wigmore Hall/
Chairman, Royal Philharmonic Society


John Gilhooly became Director of Wigmore Hall in 2005, making him, then, the youngest leader of any of the world’s great concert halls. He had been Executive Director of Wigmore Hall since December 2000 and has overseen the artistic, financial and administrative transformation of the Hall over the past 16 years. His tenure has produced record box office returns and the Hall’s highest ever membership levels and annual fundraising. As Artistic Director of Wigmore Hall, he programmes the largest chamber music and song series in the world, and he is noted for his commitment to outstanding emerging artists, diversity and contemporary music. John Gilhooly has been honoured by heads of state and academic institutions. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and in 2015 was made a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland by the President of Finland. John has also received the prestigious Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, and the Order of the Star of Italy (Cavaliere), awarded by the President of Italy. In 2016 he was awarded the German Order of Merit, which is Germany’s highest civilian honour. He is a recipient of Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music (2006), Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music (2012), Honorary Fellowship of the Guildhall School (2015), and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (2016).

John Gilhooly undertakes a huge amount of voluntary and charitable work in the music sector and beyond. In July 2010, he was elected Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society (one of the oldest music societies in the world), and he led the Society’s Bicentenary celebrations, on both sides of the Atlantic, in 2013. He is also Chairman of Mahogany Opera Group. He is a trustee of the Susan Chilcott Scholarship and the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, and is a member of the Advisory Council for London Music Masters. He is a Patron of the performing arts organisation Irish Heritage and the CAVATINA Music Trust, and is also a Patron and an active fundraiser of the refurbishment project for Corpus Christi Church, Covent Garden, the national Catholic Church for those working in the performing arts.

In December 2013, Musical America named him as one of the most influential arts leaders in the international music world. In January 2016, John Gilhooly was named as one of Britain’s 500 most influential people by The Sunday Times/Debrett’s. In April 2016, he played a major part in co-ordinating the London activities for the commemoration of the 1916 rising, celebrations which further enhanced Ireland’s reputation for cultural excellence over the past century in London.

John has twice been named in ‘London’s Top 100 Opinion Makers’ by Time Out magazine, and was listed in the Evening Standard’s ‘Most Influential’ list in 2011, 14, 15 and 16. He is a frequent public speaker and well-known radio and media commentator, and is regularly invited to take part in international competition juries such as BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Das Lied Competition in Berlin, the Lyon International Chamber Music Competition (CIMCL), the Cologne International Music Competition (Internationaler Musikwettbewerb Köln) and the Cité de la Musique String Quartet Biennial (Biennale de Quatuors à cordes) in Paris.

John Gilhooly’s tenure at Wigmore Hall has also seen the success of three capital appeals, the establishment of an endowment fund, and over £50 million raised for capital and artistic projects under his leadership. In 2004 he managed the refurbishment of the Hall, and in 2006 led the acquisition of a 250-year lease. In 2015 he led an additional refurbishment of the Hall’s backstage and broadcast areas. John Gilhooly also established the Hall’s highly regarded CD label ‘Wigmore Hall Live’ (named Gramophone’s record label of the year 2011). He read History and Political Science at University College Dublin. In addition to his academic studies, he pursued vocal studies, as a tenor, at the Dublin City College of Music and the Leinster School of Music, under Veronica Dunne.

John Gilhooly OBE, Hon FRAM, Hon RCM, Hon FGS, Hon FRIAM was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1973.

Jonathan Brown

stringcomp2018 bio jury Jonathan Brown Jonathan Brown
viola, Cuarteto Casals


Born in Chicago in 1974, Jonathan Brown began his musical studies at the age of four. He studied with Heidi Castleman, Martha Strongin Katz and Victoria Chiang, before receiving his Masters Degree from the Juilliard School with Karen Tuttle. Upon receiving a Beebe Grant for Musicians, Jonathan moved to Salzburg where he studied at The Universität Mozarteum with Thomas Riebl and Veronika Hagen. He participated in masterclasses with Diemut Poppen, Sylvia Rosenberg and Donald Weilerstein and has been profoundly influenced by his lessons with Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág.

In 2002 Jonathan joined the Cuarteto Casals, with whom he has regularly appeared in the most important concert halls and festivals around the world. Jonathan is a founding member of Funktion and has often appeared as soloist with BCN216, performing works of Morton Feldman and Luciano Berio.

He is currently professor of viola and chamber music at ESMUC in Barcelona and assistant professor of viola at the Escuela Reina Sofía in Madrid.

András Fejér

stringcomp2018 bio jury András Fejér András Fejér
cello, Takács Quartet


András Fejér was born in 1955 into a musical family. His father was a cellist and conductor, and his mother was a pianist.

He began playing the cello at the age of seven, when his father was unwilling to listen to a violin-upstart practising. When he was very young, his parents held string quartet weekends, which were the most memorable of occasions for the young cellist, if not for the music, then for the glorious desserts his mother used to prepare for those sessions.

After attending a high school for music, Mr. Fejér was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 1975, where he was a pupil of Ede Banda, András Mihály, Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág. That same year he founded the Takács String Quartet with three fellow classmates. Although the quartet has been his sole professional focus since then, he does perform as a soloist occasionally.

Nobuko Imai

stringcomp2018 bio jury Nobuko Imai Nobuko Imai
viola, Michelangelo Quartet


Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding violists of our time. After finishing her studies at the Toho School of Music, Yale University and the Juilliard School, she won the highest prizes at the international competitions in Munich and Geneva.

Formerly a member of the esteemed Vermeer Quartet, Ms. Imai combines a distinguished international solo career with various teaching commitments. In 2003, she formed the Michelangelo Quartet, which quickly gained an international reputation. In 1995/1996 Nobuko Imai was artistic director of three Hindemith Festivals in London, New York, and Tokyo. The annual Viola Space project in Japan, which she founded in 1992, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

Currently Ms. Imai is a professor at Amsterdam Conservatory, Kronberg International Academy, and Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid. She is also a professor extraordinarius at Ueno Gakuen University in Tokyo and a guest professor at Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

Bjørg Lewis

stringcomp2018 bio jury Bjørg Lewis Bjørg Lewis
cello, Vertavo String Quartet


Bjørg Lewis is a founder member of the Vertavo String Quartet, an internationally acclaimed Norwegian ensemble, which has received numerous awards including Norway’s prestigious Grieg Prize.

Bjørg Lewis is also one of Norway’s most sought-after and admired cellists. She has been a soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra with Mariss Jansons conducting, as well as performing with orchestras throughout Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Baltics. A busy performance schedule takes her to all the major international chamber music festivals. Bjørg has also been regularly invited to join the Nash Ensemble for Wigmore Hall concerts and tours for the past five years.

She was Artistic Director of the Elverum Festival in Norway from 2001-2015 and of Midsummer Music, held in Buckinghamshire, since its inception in 2009. In 2016 Vertavo started its own chamber music festival – Vertavofestivalen - in Norway. The Dextra Musica Foundation generously provides her with a 1748 Gennaro Gagliano cello, previously played by Martin Lovett of the Amadeus Quartet.

Heime Müller

stringcomp2018 bio jury xx Heime Müller


Heime Müller, born in Hamburg, Germany, was first and second violinist in the Artemis Quartet from 1991-2007. He performed all over the world in the major concert halls, from the Philharmonie in Berlin to Carnegie Hall in New York. Whilst playing the whole range of quartet repertoire, the Artemis Quartet has a strong interest in commissioning and performing new pieces and working with the composers. Heime Müller recorded many of the major works for string quartet with the Artemis Quartet.

Since leaving the quartet, Heime Müller has become a renowned teacher of violin and chamber music. He taught at the University of Arts in Berlin and is currently Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the Musikhochschule Lübeck. In addition, he holds a professorship for String Quartet at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid. Heime Müller frequently gives masterclasses all over Europe and is the artistic director of the International Chamber Music Campus of the Jeunesses Musicales in Weikersheim.

Károly Schranz

stringcomp2018 bio jury Károly Schranz Károly Schranz
violin, Tákàcs Quartet


Károly Schranz was born in 1952 in Budapest, Hungary. His first musical experiences were listening to the Gypsy bands in restaurants, which he has always admired for their virtuosity and musicianship.

Mr. Schranz began playing the violin at the age of four under the very strict supervision of his mother who often resorted to unconventional methods of teaching and encouraging practice. ('To improve my bowing technique, she devised a method of attaching a string to my arm, and pulling in the desired direction. When this approach failed, she spanked me with a wooden spoon, which resulted in my hatred towards practising.')

At the age of fourteen, he entered the Béla Bártok Secondary Music School, where he met his future wife, also a violin student at the school. In 1980, he received his music diploma from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music where he studied with Mihály Szücs, András Mihály, and György Kurtág.

Members of the Invitation Jury are:
  • Hélène Clement viola, Doric Quartet
  • Emma Denton cello, Carducci Quartet
  • Donald Grant violin, Elias Quartet
  • Oliver Heath violin, Heath Quartet
  • Alasdair Tait cello, Director of YCAT