Kolja Blacher studied at the Juilliard School of Music with Dorothy DeLay and with Sandor Vegh in Salzburg. He performed as a soloist all over the world, with orchestras such as Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia and Baltimore Symphony. He has worked with conductors including Kirill Petrenko, Vladimir Jurowski, Dimitri Kitajenko, Mariss Jansons, Matthias Pintscher, Markus Stenz, Simone Young and Asher Fish.
Blacher’s programmatic spectrum comprises works for solo violin from Bach to Berio, the classical-romantic core repertoire, and contemporary music for violin and orchestra (including works by Magnus Lindberg, Kurt Weill, Hans Werner Henze and Bernd Alois Zimmermann). Open to new concert experiences, he gave the German premiere of Brett Dean’s „Electric Preludes“ for the six-string e-violin.
In the past five years „Play-Lead“ concerts have become the new focus in Blacher’s artistic activities; as a leader – both as a soloist and from the concertmaster’s chair – he worked regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, Taiwan Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Festival Strings Lucerne, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern and the Orchestra of the "Komische Oper" in Berlin. This new form of performance practice, increasing sought after, leads him all over the world, from St. Antonio to Kuala Lumpur to Paris.
Blacher has recorded highly acclaimed CDs (e.g. Diapason d’Or) in collaboration with Claudio Abbado, with whom he has maintained close ties since their time at the Berlin Philharmonic and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. His CD with Schönbergs’s Violin Concerto (with Markus Stenz and Gürzenich-Orchester Köln) was released in Autumn 2013.
Kolja Blacher was a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg before returning to his hometown of Berlin, where he teaches at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler." A born and bred Berliner – his father was the Baltic-German composer Boris Blacher – Kolja Blacher lives with his family in Berlin.
He plays a 1730 “Tritton” Stradivari, generously on loan from Ms Kimiko Powers.
Born in Odessa, Pavel Vernikov graduated from the famous "Stolyarsky Music School" where he studied together with L. and B. Mordkovich. Having been a student of D. Oistrach and S. Snitkowsky at the Moscow State Tchaikovskiy Conservatory, he gained an international reputation as a virtuoso violinist. Among his many awards he won the prestigious ARD Violin Competition in Munich and the Grand Prix International Violin Competition "Vittorio Gui" in Florence. He has since appeared around the world at such renowned venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall as well as the Kennedy Center in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, La Salle Gaveau in Paris, Auditorio National in Madrid, Santory Hall in Tokyo, La Scala in Milan and Santa Cecilia in Rome.
His musical interests and artistic ideas are endless, ranging from the classical repetoire to the modern composers of today. Experimenting with art and drama, he has collaborated and opened a new perspective of music to the world, presenting both music and modern art to the concert stage. Among his many chamber music partners are Sviatoslav Richter, James Galway, Alain Meunier, Patrick Gallois, Misha Maisky, Maria Tipo, Natalia Gutman, Oleg Kagan, Yuri Bashmet, Elisso Virsaladze, Christian Zimmermann, Anthony Pay, Andres Mustonen, Gary Hoffman, Frans Helmerson, Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen along with many others.
Pavel Vernikov has further inaugurated the Russian Academy of Higher Learning in Portogruaro and the Festival "Estate Musicale di Portogruaro" (1980-2006), inviting outstanding artists from all over the world to work together in the heart of European culture. He was appointed Artistic Director of the Gubbio Music Festival (Italy), the Dubrovnik Chamber Music Festival (Jugoslavia) as well as the Eilat Chamber Music Festival (Israel).
Pavel Vernikov continues to teach and give master classes around the world, including Spain (Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia Madrid), Israel (Rubin Academy and Keshet Eilon Summer Academy), Germany (Kronberg Academy), Austria (Salzburg Summer Academy, Wiener Meisterkurse), Japan (Gedai University and Miyazaki Mastercourse), Sweden (Aurora Mastercourse) along with many others around the world. He has also been invited to be a member of the jury at numerous international violin competitions, including Hannover Competition, the J. Szigeti, F. Kreisler Competition, F. Gui, ARD- Competition Munich, Sendai, Budapest, Sarasate and Wieniawski competition. Since 2013 Pavel Vernikov is an artistic director of the Sion Festival.
Following a professorship position at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Lyon, Pavel Vernikov now teaches both at the famous Konservatorium Wien University (Austria) and at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne (Switzerland). Among some of his many laureate students include artists such as M. Quarta (1. Prize Paganini International Violin Competition, Genua), N. Benedetti, A. Sitkovetsky, F. Miura (1. Prize Hannover International Violin Competition), L. Borrani (Leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe), F. Clamagirand (1. Prize Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition, Vienna and 1. Prize International Monte Carlo Violin Competition) and M. Kobayashi (2. Prize Wieniawski Competition), E. Frolova (1. Prize Valesessia Musica Competition; Gran-Prix Osaka International Competition) Pavel Vernikov has also recorded numerous times for RCA, Ondine, and Dynamic and currently plays the beautiful Guadagnini violin courtesy of Varga family.
Svetlana Makarova is Professor for violin at Haute Ecole de la Musique in Lausanne. She started to play violin at the age of 5 in the class of Ludmila Egorova. At the age of 10 she won the first prize at Moscow International Youth Tchaikovsky Competition. Hereafter she won different prizes at numerous state and international competitions. In 2008 Svetlana finished her postgraduated studies at Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory with professor M. Glezarova.
Svetlana performs as soloist and as part of various chamber ensembles. Among her partners are N. Gutman, F. Helmerssohn, P. Vernikov, A, Meunier, A. Lucchesini, C. Henckel, K. Bogino and others. She takes part in Verbier Music Festival (Switzerland), Miyazaki Music Festival (Japan), Eilat Chamber Music Festival, “Paganiniana” (Italy), Aurora Chamber Music Festival (Sweden ), Sion Festival ( Switzerland) etc. In 2005-2008 she was teaching at Gnessin’s Music College in Moscow. From 2008 she was co-principal in Orquestra Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia (Spain).
Since 2009 she collaborates with P. Vernikov in masterclasses throughout the world, such as European Music Institute Vienna, Wiener Meisterkurse and courses in Italia, Israel, Japan and Switzerland. Svetlana plays a violin by N. Gagliano from 1745.