Presentation of six Laureates of Promotion 2016/2017



© Martin Hobby Photography

Margarita BALANAS - Latvia

23 years old. Latvian, lives in London (UK)

Latvian cellist Margarita Balanas made her debut at Wigmore Hall at the age of 17 and has since appeared in most of the major concert halls across the UK and Europe.

Recent performances include a debut recital at the Royal Festival Hall with pianist Vassilis Varvaresos, participation in the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival 2016 in Los Angeles and a performance of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto and Carlos Izcaray at Casa da Música, Portugal. She has collaborated with Trevor Pinnock, Murray Perahia, Paul Daniel, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and has performed in masterclasses with Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Steven Isserlis, Natalia Gutman, Frans Helmerson and Mischa Maisky.

She is a recording artist for ABRSM as well as being an active chamber musician, having appeared in International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, French Chamber Music Festival, Roman River Music Festival, Adelaide International Cello Festival, Minoa Palace Chamber Music Festival and Aurora Chamber Music Festival. She regularly performs with her sister violinist Kristine Balanas. In summer 2015 she toured Finland with the contemporary ensemble ÄÄninen.

Margarita began her musical studies at age six with Arvids Tareila and Maris Villeruss at Emils Darzins School of Music in Riga, Latvia, before studying at the Purcell School of Music with Alexander Boyarsky. Margarita was awarded the ABRSM Scholarship, Zara Nelsova Award and Martin Music Scholarship Fund Award to undertake her undergraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music where since 2013 she studies under Mats Lidström. In 2016 Margarita was awarded the Drake Calleja Trust Scholarship.


© Maya Bacelar

Sophia BACELAR – United States of America

20 years old. American, lives in Berlin (DE)

Cuban-Chinese cellist Sophia Bacelar was born in 1996 and began her musical studies at the age of two.

At the age of ten, she was accepted to The Juilliard School, where she studied under the tutelage of Clara Kim for six years. After graduating in 2012, Sophia went on to further her studies at Le Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris in the class of Philippe Muller, from which she graduated in 2014.

Additionally, she was one of Bernard Greenhouse’s last private students and visited him regularly for musical mentorship throughout several years.Sophia has appeared as both a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, America, and Asia in various prestigious venues such as Victoria Hall, Le Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Cité de la Musique, Carnegie Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. She regularly participates and performs in several renowned festivals, including The Kronberg Academy Cello Festival, The Seiji Ozawa International Academy, and The Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. She is also a scholarship recipient at the The Internationale Musikakademie in the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Throughout the years, Sophia has had the opportunity to work with and receive coaching from many esteemed performers, conductors, and pedagogues such as Seiji Ozawa, Matthias Pintscher, Lawrence Foster, David Geringas, Lynn Harrell, Mischa Maisky, Gary Hoffman, Frans Helmerson, Jens Peter Maintz, Sadao Harada, Michel Strauss, Jian Wang, Laszló Fenyö, Ami Flammer, Pamela Frank, Nobuko Imai, Claire Désert, and Fabio Bidini. Sophia plays on a 1914 Giulio Degani cello restored by her father, luthier Alejandro Bacelar.


© Red Rubber Studio

Cameron CROZMAN - Canada

21 years old. Canadian, lives in Paris (FR)

Cameron Crozman is quickly being hailed as one of Canada’s leading young cellists. Playing on the ca. 1696 “Bonjour” Stradivarius cello and the ca. 1830 “Shaw” Adam cello bow generously on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Instrument Bank, he has been recognized for his musical expressivity, versatility, and remarkable technique. He performs around the world in such prestigious venues as the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, the Philharmonie de Paris, and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Regularly invited to appear at festivals such as the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Festival de violoncelle de Beauvais, and Musica Nova Helsinki, Cameron plays alongside eminent musicians including James Ehnes, Martin Beaver, André Laplante, Denis Pascal, and Huw Watkins.In 2016, Cameron received his Prix de Violoncelle with highest honours from the Conservatoire de Paris in the class of Michel Strauss and Guillaume Paoletti, He is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in contemporary repertoire and creation at the Conservatory, as well studies in chamber music in the class of Claire Désert and Ami Flammer. He has participated in numerous international competitions, and is a laureate of both the OSM Standard Life and Eckhardt-Gramatté competitions. He has played in masterclasses for legendary cellists, including Janos Starker, Anner Bylsma, Lawrence Lesser, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Gary Hoffman, and Colin Carr. Passionate about collaborating with contemporary composers, Cameron is particularly devoted to the promotion of Canadian music. He is very grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Sylva Gelber Foundation for the support in his various projects.


© Byong-Eon Kim

Sol Daniel KIM - Austria

25 years old. Austrian, lives in Berlin (DE)

The Austrian cellist Sol Daniel Kim started paying the cello at the age of six. In 2000 at the age of 9, he started to study as a young student in the "University of music and performing arts Vienna" with Christine Vitoux-Erben. Since then he had the privilege to study with cellists such as Valentin Erben, Heinrich Schiff, Jens Peter Maintz and Danjulo Ishizaka.

He earned his Bachelor title at the "University of music and performing arts Vienna" and his Master title at the "University of Arts Berlin" both graduating with distinction. He has won several prizes at international competitions such as the 48th Markneukirchen International Instrumental Competition in 2013 and he was the representant of Austria at the Eurovision Young Musicians Contest in 2008. In 2007 he entered the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra at the age of 16 and in 2014 he got a 1 year contract as a cellist at the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Broadcasting station (Bayerischer Rundfunk BR).

He gave his debut concert in 2009 at the "Wiener Konzerthaus" and has an active career as a soloist since then, playing also with many orchestras around the world such as the Graz Philharmonics, Spirit of Europe, recreation - Grosses Orchester Graz and the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz.


© DR

Laura SZABO - Hungaria

23 years old. Hungarian, lives in Vaskut (HG)

Born in 1993 in Baja, Hungary, Laura Szabo began studying cello at the age of six. At eleven years old, she joined the Kecskemét Kodály Music School, under the tutelage of Martha Agócs. During her time at the Kodály School, she gathered many top prizes in both National and International competitions, including First Prize at the 2010 David Popper International Cello Competition in Várpalota, Hungary; the International Competition in

Liezen, Austria (2008); the Janos Starker National Competition in Kecskemét, Hungary; the 2007 Gorizia International Competition in Gorizia, Italy; the Antonio Janigro International Competition in Porec, Croatia (2006); and the "Talents for Europe” Internationl Cello Competition in Dolni Kubin, Slovakia, also in 2006.

Laura made her orchestral debut at the age of 15 with the Szekszard Chamber Orchestra in Szekszard, Hungary. In 2009, she performed the Hidas Frigyes Cello Concerto with the Pecs Wind Orchestra at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest. In summer of 2008 and 2010, Laura won a scholarship to study at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, where she had the opportunity to work with such renowned artists as Janos Starker, Susan Moses, Csaba Onczay, and Daniel  Morgenstein.

In September 2010, Laura joined Natalia Shakhovskaya’s class at the prestigious Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. Along with Professor Shakhovskaya’s coaching, Laura has participated in masterclasses with Frans Helmerson, Phillip Muller, Natalia Guttman, David Geringas and Truls Mork. At the age of 18, Laura performed Dvořák Cello Concerto with the Kecskemét Symphonic Orchestra in Hungary.

In the summer of 2011 and 2014, she participated in the Encuentro de Musica y Academia Santander and had the opportunity to play together with artists such as Zakhar Bron, Ana Chumachenco and Wolfram Christ.


© Serban Mestecaneancu

Cornelius ZIRBO - Romania

17 years old. Romanian, lives in Cluj (RO)

Cornelius Zirbo studies at "Dinu Lipatti” National Highschool of Arts in Bucharest with prof. Octavian Lup.  Untill now he worked with many famous cellists such as Frans Helmerson, Götz Teutsch, Emeric Kostyák, Rãzvan Suma, Marin Cazacu, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Maximillian Hornung, Mihai Marica, Wendy Warner, Romain Garioud, Jacob A. Shaw.

He participated at SoNoRo– Interferences in 2014 at Portul Cultural Cetate (Romania) and in 2015 at Bad-Endorf (Germany). He has given concerts in a tour in South Bohemian Festival 2016 (Czech Republc). In July 2016 he was selected as active student to Frans Helmerson's masterclass in Montepulciano, Italy. He has also participated at the Cello Masterclass at Kronberg Academy.

He is a laureate of many competitions in homeland and abroad, for instance International Competition "Concertino Praga" (Czech Republic), International Cello Competition "Antonio Janigro" (Croatia), International Competition "Young Virtuosos"(Bulgaria), "Mihail Jora" Competition (Romania) etc.

He performed as soloist with orchestra such as: Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, "Transilvania" State Philharmonic, The Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation Youth Orchestra, "JUNIOR" Romanian National Orchestra and in December 2016 Cornelius will perform Elgar Cello Concerto in e minor with "Moldova" State Philharmonic.

He is a scholar of The Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation.