Full of hearts, but no heartbreak

MAESTRO PLÁCIDO DOMINGO (opera singer, conductor)

There are few classical stars that possess the gravitas that Maestro Domingo carries. Recognized as one of the finest and most influential singers in the history of opera, he is also a conductor and a major force as an opera administrator. His repertoire encompasses more than 150 roles, with over 4,000 career performances. The Maestro has made over 100 recordings of complete operas, and compilations of arias and duets. His crossover pieces have earned him 12 Grammy Awards, including three Latin Grammys, and won two Emmy Awards. The telecast of his performance of Tosca from the authentic settings in Rome was viewed by over one billion people across 117 countries. He has been supporter, a share holder of Virtuosos Holding Ltd. and appeared as a guest star in Virtuosos TV show, inspiring young performers to reach for the stars.

ANDREA GRIMINELLI (flautist)

He was born in Italy and played the flute from the age of 10. Andrea’s concert career began very early, leading him to the world’s most prestigious theatres where he performed alongside distinguished orchestras and conductors. His magnum opus was performing alongside Maestro Luciano Pavarotti. Throughout his career he has performed several cross over concerts with popular artists, such as Sting and Bruce Springsteen, blending classical music with popular rock and pop songs. He was awarded the honour of “Cavaliere”, and in 2003 that of “Officer of Merit of the Italian Republic”. In 2019, Andrea appeared as a judge alongside Placido Domingo and Lang Lang in the international pilot of Virtuosos.

LANG LANG (pianist)

A very few artists can claim to have the same profound impact on the world of music as Lang Lang. As a pianist, educator and philanthropist, he has fully embraced new technology and innovation, leading the way in bringing classical music into the 21st century. Equally happy playing for billions of viewers or just for a few hundred children in the public schools, Lang Lang unites excellence and accessibility and builds bridges between Eastern and Western culture. He has performed with multiple pop artists, and enjoys the cross over between genres. Lang Lang appeared as a judge in the international pilot of Virtuosos.

SEIA LEE (opera singer)

Seia Lee is a respected mezzo soprano from Tokyo, Japan. Commencing her musical studies in Japan, she continued at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London, England. Ms Lee is well-recognised for her charity performance in aid of the Japanese tsunami disaster with the violinist Taro Hakuse. Her career has enjoyed worldwide success, with unique performances and appearances alongside both stars of classical music and the silver screen. In 2019, Seia appeared as a judge accompanied by Placido Domingo and Lang Lang as a judge in the international pilot of Virtuosos.

ANDRÁS BATTA (music historian)

Following his studies at the Academy of Music, he worked as a music journalist in Hungary and Austria. His Opera encyclopedia, spanning over 1000 pages was translated into 15 languages. After becoming a professor of the Budapest Academy of Music, he was elected to vice-rector in 2002 and rector in 2004. Under his management, the world famous Art Nouveau-style main building of the academy has been renovated and modernized, and a new building named after George Ligeti was built. He has been awarded with Erkel-, Prima- and Széchenyi Prize. Since 2014 he works as a judge and mentor on the classical music TV talent show Virtuosos. From 2015 he has also been responsible for the content development of the Hungarian House of Music.

ERIKA MIKLÓSA (opera singer)

She is a Liszt-awarded Hungarian coloratura soprano. Starting as an athlete, she became a Hungarian Junior Champion. An unfortunate accident forced her to switch career paths, and she studied music at the Franz Liszt Conservatory of Music in Szeged, Milan and New York. Erika became a soloist at the Hungarian State Opera at the young age of 20. Her signature performance piece is the “Queen of the Night” from The Magic Flute. Erika has performed solo in the world’s most prestigious opera houses. Erika is an ardent charity supporter, and was a founding member of the Young Virtuosos Foundation. She has been member of the Virtuosos judge panel since the first season.

 

JÁNOS BALÁZS, pianist

Liszt- and Kossuth awarded Meritorious Artist János Balázs began to play the piano at the age of 4, winning his first competition when he was 8 and has been performing on prominent concert stages all over the world ever since. He founded the Cziffra Festival in 2016 to commemorate George Cziffra, his favourite pianist. In just a few years, this festival has become an important cultural brand. It is of special importance for him to introduce children to classical music, for which he personally runs educational programs. He’s been one of the judges of Virtuosos talent show since 2017.

GERGELY KESSELYÁK, conductor

He has regularly conducted the leading symphony orchestras in Hungary for 25 years. He is the founder and music director the Miskolc National Theatre and has also been the founder-musical director of the Bartók+ International Opera Festival since 2001. Liszt Prize-awarded Meritorious Artist Gergely Kesselyák is the principal conductor of the Hungarian State Opera, also a stage director, with many notable premieres under his belt. He has been conducting over 100 different pieces throughout the world. He’s a judge of Virtuosos since 2014.

ISTVÁN VÁRDAI, cellist

The Liszt Prize-winner artist plays the legendary “Ex du Pré-Harrell” Stradivari built in 1673. He’s been winning competitions since the age of 8. István has been honoured with several important international prizes: in 2014 he won the prestigious ARD Competition in Munich, in 2012 he received the prestigious Prix Montblanc awarded to the world’s most promising young musician. He won the 63rd Geneva International Cello Competition in 2008, and he took the third prize in the Tchaikovsky Music Competition in Moscow in 2007. Since 2018 he’s a professor at the Cello Department of Vienna Music Academy while performing on the world’s most prestigious stages as the artist of Harriet Parrot, one of the world’s leading artist agencies. He has released 7 albums. He is one of the artistic directors of the Kaposfest Chamber Music Festival and a judge of VIRTUOSOS Classical Music Talent Show since 2017.

Inspiring young performers to reach the stars

MAESTRO PLÁCIDO DOMINGO (opera singer, conductor)

There are few classical stars that possess the gravitas that Maestro Domingo carries. Recognized as one of the finest and most influential singers in the history of opera, he is also a conductor and a major force as an opera administrator. His repertoire encompasses more than 150 roles, with over 4,000 career performances. The Maestro has made over 100 recordings of complete operas, and compilations of arias and duets. His crossover pieces have earned him 12 Grammy Awards, including three Latin Grammys, and won two Emmy Awards. The telecast of his performance of Tosca from the authentic settings in Rome was viewed by over one billion people across 117 countries. He has been supporter, a share holder of Virtuosos Holding Ltd. and appeared as a guest star in Virtuosos TV show, inspiring young performers to reach for the stars.

THE PIANO GUYS

The Piano Guys is an American musical group consisting of pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, videographer Paul Anderson, and music producer Al van der Beek. Originating in Utah, they gained popularity through YouTube, where in 2011 they began posting piano and cello compositions combining classical, pop, film score and original music, showcased through elaborate or cinematic videos. Just recently the group had surpassed 2 billion views on their YouTube channel and had 6.7 million subscribers. They appeared in Virtuosos as guest stars.

2CELLOS (cellist duo)

2Cellos consists of classically trained cellists, Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser. Signed to Sony Masterworks since 2011, they have released four albums. They play instrumental arrangements of well-known pop and rock songs, as well as classical and film music. The duo performs internationally and has been featured on several American television series, they perform regularly with international superstars, such as with Elton John at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace. They appeared in Virtuosos Season 1 and later also performed together with the talents discovered in the show during a gala concert in Budapest, 2015.

THOMAS HAMPSON (opera singer)

He is an American lyric baritone who has appeared world-wide in major opera houses and concert halls and made over 170 musical recordings. Hampson has won worldwide recognition for his thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. He is one of the most important interpreters of German Romantic song. Hampson’s diverse and expansive discography has earned him an Edison Award for Lifetime Achievement, four Edison Awards, four Echo prizes, numerous VEB Deutsche Schallplatten, Gramophone Awards, and Grand Prix du Disque, as well as six Grammy Award nominations, and one Grammy Award. He appeared as a guest star in Virtuosos Season 1.

LEVENTE MOLNÁR (opera singer)

The Liszt prize-winner baritone was born in Transylvania. Ever since his childhood, he has won many singing competitions. He debuted on stage at the age of 18 at the Arad National Theatre, and he was 21 when he first performed in leading roles at the Hungarian State Opera. He performed in Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper and many other important stages of the world. He also sang in Tokyo and Madrid, performed with Juan Diego Florez and Andrea Rost, as well as such world-famous conductors as Marco Armiliato, Ascher Fisch, Zubin Mehta, and Kent Nagano.

GERGELY BOGÁNYI (pianist and innovator)

Gergely Boganyi started playing the piano at the age of four. He continued his studies at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at Indiana University. Gergely Bogányi is one of the youngest pianists to have attained the Kossuth Prize, becoming one of the leading pianists of his generation and won several major international piano competitions. A relentless desire to innovate and perfect led him to create the revolutionary Bogányi piano. One of the biggest and most innovative grand piano redesigns in 150 years. He’s been the mentor of Misi Boros and Soma Balázs-Piri pianists discovered in Virtuosos talent show and also made several apperanaces as a guest star and a guest judge in the show.

Karmen Stephany Boateng (piano)

Semi-finalist of VIRTUOSOS Season 3 started learning the piano at the age of 6. At her first competition, as the youngest participant at the Margit Varró Piano Competition, she won the first prize. From this moment she has been successfully performing at regional and international events and winning prizes, such as 1st prize at the Vienna Béla Bartók International Piano Competition, the XIV Vienna International Piano Competition and the 1st National Prize of Ferenczy György Piano Competition. She worked with Zoltán Kocsis, Gergely Bogányi, Jenő Jandó, and other renowned artists. Her dream is to travel a lot, to see the world, and to play for kids who can’t afford to go to a concert or have not heard classical music yet.

Zoltán Bácsy-Schwartz (violin)

Born in the Netherlands, he has been playing the violin since he was 4 years old. His mother is a music teacher, and his father is also a musician. At the age of 14, he was admitted to the “Special Talents” department of the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. After applying to the Virtuosos, he became concertmaster of the famous Bayreuth Youth Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Virtuosos Chamber Ensemble.

Mariam Abouzahra (violin)

Finalist and special price winner of Season 4 was born in 2008 into an Egyptian-Hungarian family of musicians, the parents are renowned concert pianists. Mariam has started learning to play the violin at the age of 3. Her teachers are Dora Schwartzberg and Junior Prima awarded Gábor Homoki. She has succeeded in competitions such as the Jugend Musiziert. She has performed in places such as Oman, with Maestro Placido Domingo in Denmark, in Shanghai, at the Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall, at the Lincoln Center in New York and the Budapest Arena.

„It is astonishing that at the age of nine you already have the style and attitude that are typical of the greatest violinists.” (János Balázs, about Mariam)

Amira Abouzahra (violin)

Age group winner of VIRTUOSOS Season 3 Amira was born in 2005 into an Egyptian-Hungarian family of musicians, their parents are renowned concert pianists. Amira has played the violin she was 4. Her teachers are Dora Schwartzberg and Gábor Homoki. She has succeeded in competitions such as the Carl Schroeder Violin Competition, the Jugend Musiziert and 1st Ilona Fehér International Violin Competition. They have performed with her sister in places such as Oman, Maestro Placido Domingo’s Operalia Gala in Győr, in Shanghai, at the Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall, at the Lincoln Center in New York, with Maestro Domingo in Denmark,  in Covent Garden, London and the Budapest Arena.

„There’s something in you that touches the soul! You’re wonderful!”
(Erika Miklósa, about Amira)

Soma Balázs-Piri (piano)

Balázs-Piri Soma has started to play piano at the age of 8. Since then he has won first prize at numerous international and national piano competitions. In 2018, he won his age group in “Virtuosos”. In 2019, he was awarded by the Minister of Human Capacities in Hungary and became the Young Talent of Szeged. In 2019, he gave an all-night concert with the London Mozart Players chamber orchestra in London, and with a fellow pianist they gave a 2-hours concert at the Qatara Opera House in Doha, Qatar. He took part in master classes abroad and at home, where his teachers included Rita Kinka, Yuval Adamy, Marcus Schirmer – who invited Soma to the University of Music in Graz. His teacher is Emőke Sóti Szobonya, his mentor is Gergely Bogányi, Kossuth- and Liszt Ferenc awarded pianist.

“You’ve surprised us so much we can’t find the words! You are very cool! ”
(Erika Miklósa, about Soma)

Teo Gertler (violin)

Special prize winner of VIRTUOSOS Season 4, Teo was born in Bratislava in 2008 into a Slovakian-Hungarian family. He first started playing the violin at the age of 4. He’s been the student of Renata Klempar at the Ludovit Rajter Music School in Bratislava and Éva Szily Ácsné at the Aladár Tóth Music School in Budapest.
Winner of countless Hungarian and international prizes, including first prize at „Talents for Europe 2018” and the grand prize of Karol Lipinski and Henryk Wieniawski Young Violinists Competition, and also the 5th Zatureczky Violin Competition. He performed in Poland, Belgium, Russia, the Czech Republic, and the USA. His exceptional talent is much appreciated by music experts and fans of VIRTUOSOS as well.

„Your talent is simply breathtaking, you’re perfect and still developing.”
(János Balázs, pianist)

„We met Maestro Plácido Domingo and he asked how were you. He’s watching the show and watches you, Teo.” (András Batta, musicologist)

Misi Boros (piano)

The Junior Prima awarded age group winner of the first season of VIRTUOSOS was born in 2003 in Pécs, Hungary. He’s been spending all his free time playing the piano since he was five. His piano teacher is Ildikó Megyimóreczné Schmidt, and he’s also being taught by the renowned concert pianist Gergely Bogányi.
Misi is the winner of several Hungarian and international piano competitions. He’s been performing worldwide in major concert halls in Milan, Paris, Stockholm, Gothenburg, New York, Brussels, Zürich, Tokyo, Osaka, Islamabad, Beijing, Shanghai, at the Asia Music Festival in Shenzen, China. According to internationally acknowledged artists such as Plácido Domingo and Tamás Vásáry, Misi Boros’s exceptional talent and charming personality will raise him among the top classical musicians.

“When we listen to Misi playing, it is clear for all, that one doesn’t have to be an expert to understand classical music. The message he transmits is clear for everybody because a talent like him shows us the divine face of the universe.” (Gergely Kesselyák, conductor)

Amira Abouzahra (violin)

Karmen Stephany Boateng (piano)

Mariam Abouzahra (violin)

Soma Balázs-Piri (piano)

Teo Gertler (violin)