51st International Vocal Competition - Opera | Oratorio
9 - 16 September 2017


Hannah Bradbury. Finale 49ste IVC 2012

Musicians & Orchestra 2017

Three competition pianists will accompany and coach the participants in the Opera | Oratorio category during  the First Round and Semi-Finales in 2017. The Finale programme will be performed by the South Netherlands Philharmonic under conductor Kenneth Montgomery. Mezzo-soprano and IVC Prizewinner Mitsuko Shirai, together with pianist Hartmut Höll give a Lieder Recital & Masterclass. 

Mitsuko Shirai | Mezzo-soprano
Hartmut Höll | Pianist

Mitsuko Shirai & Hartmut HöllThe Japanese mezzo-soprano Mitsuko Shirai met pianist Hartmut Höll in Stuttgart in the 1970’s when both were studying at the Conservatory. Shirai and Höll teamed up as a duo both as artists and, shortly thereafter, in marriage. Between 1973 and 1976, Shirai won singing competitions in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Vienna, Athens and Munich. In 1982 Mitsuko Shirai was awarded the Robert Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau.

Mitsuko Shirai in a Lieder duo with her husband Hartmut Höll, has set a high standard as an interpreter of German lied ever since. The duo has given recitals in Europe, Scandinavia, Israel, Africa, Japan, South America, Russia, the USA and Canada, but they are especially well known in Germany and Japan. A committee of Japanese artists awarded her the Great Idemitsu Music Award 1996 in appreciation of her artistic work. She was Praised by Der Stern as “the first leading lady of Lieder singing”. Her voice encompasses both the soprano and mezzo fields. She has covered a wide range of Lieder running from Louis Spohr to Anton Webern.

Mitsuko Shirai is not just limited to recital singing. A contralto, Shirai has also found acclaim for her performances of Gustav Mahler's orchestral songs. She has appeared in concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker, New Japan Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris and the Wiener Symphoniker; Conductors she has worked with include Riccardo Chailly, Inbal, Ahronovitch, Ferenczik and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Her repertoire includes G. Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Berlioz' Les Nuits d'Été, Alban Berg's 7 Early Songs, Paul Hindemith's Das Marienleben, Complete vocal works of A. Webern, Schubert's Winterreise and Lieder by Johannes Brahms, Wolff and Robert Schumann. Shirai has also appeared in operas, most frequently in Mozart, but also in such rarities as Richard Wagner's Das Liebesverbot. She made her stage debut in Frankfurt in 1987, as Despina in Così fan Tutte. Concert performances of Mozart's Lucio Silla, and Ariane et Barbe-Bleue. She opened Suntory Hall in Tokyo with Alexander Nevsky by Prokofiev.

As a professor in Karlsruhe, Mitsuko Shirai directs together with Hartmut Höll since 1994 a “Lied centre” for voice and piano duos at the Musikhochschule in Karlsruhe. She has also been a professor with the Mozarteum Salzburg for several years. Mitsuko Shirai and Hartmut Höll give master-classes for lied in at the Savonlinna Festival, Finland, at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the International Music Seminar in Weimar, the Mozarteum Salzburg, in the USA (Tanglewood, Cincinnati) as well as at the Isaac Stern's Music Centre in Jerusalem.

Mitsuko Shirai is one of the most frequently recorded Lieder singers of modern times. She has recorded for Philips, Camerata, and others, the vast majority of her recordings have appeared on the Capriccio label. Her recordings include Mozart, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms Lieder (Capriccio); J.S. Bach, Mozart and Spohr Lieder (Eurodisc), Sacred music by Mozart (Philips); Frauenliebe und-leben by Robert Schumann; Lieder by Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann (EMI); works by Schubert, Alban Berg and Wolff, among others. Many of her recordings have received numerous international awards.

Hans Adolfsen | Competition pianist / répétiteur

Hans AdolfsenHans Adolfsen studied singing and piano at the Conservatory in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He found the ideal combination in song accompaniment.

He has given numerous song recitals with a.o. Ulrike Andersen, Renate Arends, Marcel Beekman, Robert Braunschweig, Wilke te Brummelstroete, Rea Claudia Kost, Michael Leibundgut, Yvonne Naef, Marcus NIedermeyr, Thomas Oliemans, Kresimir Strazanac and Hanneke de Wit. He performs regularly with saxophonist Harry White.

For many years, he has been collaborating with singing teacher Margreet Honig. 
As a vocal coach he is highly in demand.

Songs of Johannes Brahms, with Lenneke Ruiten, soprano (Brilliant Classics)
Songs of Rudolf Escher, with Marcel Beekman, tenor and Roswitha Müller, mezzo-soprano
Songs of Sergei Rachmaninov, with Elisabeth Ebbink, soprano
"Piano Duets", with See Siang Wong, piano (Guild)

At the Zurich University of the Arts, Hans Adolfsen teaches song interpretation and works as a répétiteur for singers. 
He is on the board for the song recital series “Liedrezital Zürich”, which presents its concerts at the “Tonhalle” in Zurich.

With the SEN-Trio (with actor Jens Nielsen and singer Ulrike Andersen) he performs regularly in programs, where poetry is combined with light music. 
With his brother Kees Adolfsen (trombone, text), a series of performances is planned with a musical portrait of Ramses Shaffy.

Over the last years, Hans Adolfsen has also been composing. 
Songs on poems by Annie M.G.Schmidt
Two song-cycles: Ein umgekehrter Wellenritt (D. Mayer) and 
Landgewinnung-nicht ganz 40 Versuche zur Gegenwart (U. Andersen)
The nessecity of language, a commission by the famous Raschèr Saxophone Quartet
At present, he is composing a piece on recently discovered poems by Sappho, in collaboration with the University of Basel (CH).

Liubov Orfenova - Competition pianist / répétiteur

Liubov OrfenovaLiubov Orfenova, daughter of the Russian tenor Anatoly Orfenov, was born in Moscow. After graduating from the Moscow Conservatory, Liubov Orfenova has given many recitals. Since 1991 Ms. Orfenova has worked as a coach with soloists of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre. She made her western debut at the Bregenzer Festspiele in the same year. Ms. Orfenova was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of Russia and is prize-winner of several piano competitions. Ms. Orfenova regularly tours in Russia and abroad and appears with artists such as Sergei Leiferkus, Ljubov Kazarnovskaya, Vitaly Tarashchenko, whom she often accompanied on recordings. She has also been musical assistant during several recordings with conductors such as Neeme Järvi, James Conlon, Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Ms. Orfenova has been engaged by opera companies such as La Monnaie Brussels, Komische Opera Berlin, Bastille Paris, Liceu Barcelona, Royal Opera House Covent Garden London, Oper Frankfurt, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Dutch National Opera Amsterdam, Glyndebourne Festival Opera. 

Paul Plummer | Competition pianist / répétiteur

Paul PlummerPaul Plummer was organ scholar at New College, Oxford before moving to London to study piano accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was also a Junior Fellow of London's Royal College of Music and attended courses at the American Tanglewood Music Center and the UK Britten-Pears Young Artists' Programme. Whilst in London, he accompanied many recitals and recordings for BBC Radio 3, major British music festivals, and the recording label SOMM.
In 2008 he moved to Germany to take up a repetiteur position at the opera house in Kiel; and then in 2010 was invited to work as Head of Music (Studienleiter) for Ks. Brigitte Fassbaender's last two years as Intendant of the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck. He also worked for a year as a vocal coach at the Hochschule in Frankfurt, and in 2012 began his continuing work as Head Coach of Lyric Opera Studio Weimar.
In 2013 he returned to London to build his work as a freelance coach; he worked regularly for the Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and for NYIOP.com, an international opera casting organisation of which he continues to be Artistic Consultant. Since September 2015, he has been employed by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow) as full-time coach and co-ordinator of the Opera School.

Kenneth Montgomery | Conductor

Kenneth Montgomery 2013Kenneth Montgomery OBE was born in Belfast. He was the Ulster Orchestra’s Principal Conductor from 2007 to 2010 and the its Principal Guest Conductor before that. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London where he was a pupil of Sir Adrian Boult. He continued his studies in Hamburg with Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, in Siena with Sergiu Celibidache and with Sir John Pritchard. Kenneth began his career with Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the English National Opera (then known as Sadler’s Wells Opera). In 1973 he was appointed musical director of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and two years later musical director of Glyndebourne Touring Opera. Following his début with the Nederlandse Opera in Cavalli’s L’Ormindo in 1970, Kenneth quickly made a name for himself in the Netherlands. In 1975 he was appointed principal conductor of the Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra (the Omroep Orkest, later the Radio Symfonie Orkest) and subsequently of the Dutch Radio Choir (the Groot Omroepkoor) as well. He conducted a large number of broadcast performances for Dutch radio during his many years with the Orchestra and Choir. Many of his recordings have been issued on CD. 

Kenneth is also well-known internationally for his work as a regular guest conductor with the main orchestras in Paris, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and orchestras in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia and the USA. He recently toured with the Orchestra of the 18th Century to great acclaim.


South Netherlands Philharmonic

Philharmonie Zuidnederland - Simon Van Boxtel WEB

The South Netherlands Philharmonic is an ambitious and flexible symphony orchestra, lauded for its high quality, close cooperation, and appealing enthusiasm. The passionate musicians deliver custom work on the highest, artistic level. In its fifth season, the orchestra is one full of confidence, as one of the cultural jewels of South-Netherlands society. Season 2017-2018 is the second, promising season under the baton of chief conductor Dmitry Liss. For his first season, Liss was embraced by both the press and the audience, praised for being a ‘performer of calibre in heart and soul’, for his ‘theatricality and stillness’. The orchestra will perform music ranging from Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion to world premières of contemporary composers: literally the complete symphonic literature.

Characteristic of the South Netherlands Philharmonic is her informed attention to innovation, with adventurous cross-over programmes like i-Classics and bridging the divide with the world of business during Leading the South. In addition, the South Netherlands Philharmonic is the symphonic laboratory of the Maastricht Centre for the Innovation of Classical Music (MCICM). Education too is an integral component of the orchestra. With excellent musical programmes for school students of all ages, children and young people can come and experience the power and magic of live music up close. Talent development of tomorrow’s musicians is stimulated as well. That way, the South Netherlands Philharmonic will keep building a sustainable, musical future for the region of the South-Netherlands.

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