10th Competition Jury
Judy Loman - Jury President
Judy Loman is considered among the finest harpists of her generation, leading a long and fulfilling career largely centered in Toronto. As a ubiquitous recording artist, she has performed a wide range of repertory on a variety of labels including Marquis Classics (Judy Loman Favorites, Illuminations, A Baroque Harp, and Musique de chamber française) and Naxos (Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Romantic Music for Flute and Harp, and Harp Showpieces). Loman has been praised not only for her interpretations of standards in the harp repertory by Salzedo, Grandjany, de Falla, Fauré, Hindemith, Pierné, and others, but for her performance and advocacy of contemporary works. She premiered two significant harp concertos specifically written for her, those by John Weinzweig (1965) and R. Murray Schafer (1988). Loman has managed to balance a diverse career in music. The principal harpist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for over 40 years, she also maintained an active schedule as a freelance soloist and recitalist. In addition, she has been a harp teacher at the University level since 1966.
Loman was active both on concert stages and in recording studios in the closing decades of the 20th century. In 2002, when she decided to retire from the TSO, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation commissioned a concerto for harp and orchestra by Kelly-Marie Murphy to celebrate this turn in her career. After retiring from the TSO, her focus turned even more toward her teaching duties at the Curtis Institute, as well as at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, whose faculty she joined in 1966. She has given masterclasses worldwide and has adjudicated at the International Harp Contest in Israel, the USA International Harp Competition, and the International Harp Competition in Moscow as well as composition competitions and young artist competitions held by the American Harp Society and the Fukui Festival.
His unfailing commitment to his instrument has earned him the highest international distinctions. In rapid succession, he won the Gold Medal and a special performance prize at the USA International Harp Competition (Bloomington) in 2004, First Prize and six special prizes at the New York Young Concert Artist Auditions in 2006, and First Prize at the prestigious ARD Competition in Munich in September 2009, thus becoming the first harpist to obtain awards at three major international events. Ceysson recently won the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra harp audition and will be joining the orchestra in September 2015.
Sarah O'Brien harp is an extraordinarily versatile harpist who proves that the harp is no longer to be confined to a narrow Romantic frame but has a voice of its own, from baroque to contemporary literature. She has been principal harpist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and the Munich Philharmonic for over 20 years and is the professor of harp at the University of Arts Zurich. Before her positions in Switzerland, Sarah O'Brien was professor at the Mozarteum Salzburg and the Music Hogeschool in Rotterdam, along with her work in the orchestra. She has taught as a guest professor to the Music Universities of Munich and Amsterdam, the Sibelius Academy Helsinki, the Juillard School in New York, and the summer classes in Montepulciano, Italy.
Sarah O'Brien studied at the conservatoire de Musique de Genève with Catherine Eisenhoffer and concluded her studies with a premier prix de virtuosité in 1991. Further studies included working with with Pierre Jamet in Paris and Susann McDonald at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. She was the prizewinner of the Concours d'execution musicale (CIEM) Geneva in 1997 and from
1991-1994 a winner of the study grant of the Ernst Goehner Stiftung Zurich. Her position as principal harpist to two of the world's most renowned orchestras has led her on tours through Europe, Asia, and the United States. She has also performed as a soloist with many orchestras and is a member of the new music ensemble 'Musikfabrik NRW'.
Florence Sitruk was born to French-German parents, took her first harp lesson at age six, and, after early studies at Stuttgart Music University and in Paris with Marielle Nordmann, gained her Artist Diploma from Indiana University/USA with Susann McDonald whom she calls decisive for her musical development, as well as legendary late pianist György Sebök who predicted she would become "one of the finest artists in her field". Today, Florence Sitruk is acclaimed internationally for her musical language, intelligent programming and pedagogic passion.
Winning 1st Prize at the Rome International Harp Competition "Bucchi" for Music of the 20th Century, led to her debut at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. As an invited soloist, she plays regularly with leading orchestras, such as the Lucerne Festival Strings, the Lithuanian Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra, the SWR Symphony Orchestra Germany and the Berliner Symphonie Orchester. She is in demand all over world, and has toured countries such as Estonia, Marocco, Australia and Asia.
At only age 26, she was appointed Guest Professor at the Lithuanian Music Academy Vilnius; in addition, since 2014, she has been the Professor of Harp at Cracow University Poland. Since 2005, she has been professor of harp at Geneva Music University enjoying an international class and being the youngest professor in her field. She is also the artistic director of the Swiss chamber music festival les muséiques, as well as the founder of the Elias Parish Alvars Harp Festival. In 2013, the Israel International Harp Contest, appointed her as Artistic Director with her first Competition in 2015.
Caryl Thomas heads the harp department at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, UK, and is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished solo recital harpists of her generation. She made her American debut in 1981 at Carnegie Hall as winner of the Concert Artists' Guild Award, and her London debut at the Wigmore Hall a year later. She has performed to critical acclaim throughout the UK, Europe, the USA and the Far East, and her innate musicianship is supported by a solid technique and an exceptional ability to communicate with her audience.
Caryl graduated from the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and gained a Masters' degree from New York University. Her teachers were Ann Griffiths, Marisa Robles, Pearl Chertok and Susann McDonald. She has been awarded many scholarships and prizes, including a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and the ISM Young Artists Award. Caryl was the first British harpist to win a major prize at the International Harp Contest in Jerusalem, when she was seventeen years old. In 1985, William Mathias composed the Santa Fe Suite for her, which she premiered at Wigmore Hall.
Irina Zingg, enjoys a multifaceted career as a teacher, performer, publisher, producer. She is the Professor of Harp at the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado in Milan as well as the Founder & Artistic Director of the HarpMasters Academy & Festpiele. Ms. Zingg teaches around the world at seminars including Porto Harp Week (Portugal), Maribor Harp Seminar (Slovenia), Seoul Harp Seminar (Korea). She is the Professor-in-Residence at ISHA “HarpMasters” (Switzerland), teaches at the Talent Music Master Courses (Italy), and has given seminars and masterclasses at the Düsseldorf Hochschule der Kunste, Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado, Conservatorio di Musica di Torino, among others.
Born in Moscow, Ms. Zingg holds a degree with honors from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she studied with Professors Milda Agazarian and Olga Erdely. Her career began in Moscow in the earlier 1990s as principal harpist with the International Harp Duo “Ailos Harp”. After the fall of the Soviet Walls, her career took an international emphasis: living in the Middle East, she premiered new music, lectured for cultural foundations, founded the school educational program “Harp and More”, and initiated a highly acclaimed chamber music project “Hommage to Feiruz” exploring new dimensions of the harp in context of oriental music.
Ms. Zingg is currently conducting research on the history of harp schools and is a Correspondent for the World Harp Congress Review. Her publications have appeared in various harp periodicals. Composers A. Ariefdien, G. McKenzie, and S. Mezzadri have dedicated their works to Ms. Zingg. She has one solo and two chamber CD albums to her credits.