Chairman of the jury
Victor Buffin de Chosal
Belgium, °1867 - 1953
Lieutenant-General and composer.
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Mathieu Crickboom
Belgium, °1871 - 1947
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Marcel Darrieux
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André de Ribaupierre
°1893 - 1955
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Désiré Defauw
Belgium, °1885 - 1960
Désiré Defauw (1885-1960) began studying violin at the Ghent Conservatory at the age of seven and later attended the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. After touring Europe as a violin soloist, in 1906 he was selected to lead the New Symphony Orchestra of London, specializing primarily in contemporary repertoire. He also appeared as guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic as well as with orchestras in Vienna, Rome, Madrid, Moscow, Leningrad, and Budapest.

Admired and praised by both Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel, Désiré Defauw assumed the directorship of the Concerts du Conservatoire, Belgium's leading orchestra, and later of the Belgian National Radio. He was master professor of the conducting and orchestra classes at the Royal Conservatory, and, in 1937 established the National Orchestra of Belgium, a permanent national orchestra.

Désiré Defauw made his American debut in 1939, conducting four performances with Toscanini's NBC Orchestra. He was signed as permanent conductor of the Montreal Symphony after conducting only one concert and served in that capacity from 1941 until 1953. He led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1943 to 1947. He introduced Chicago audiences to the works of several contemporary composers, including Barber, Bloch, Carpenter, Chadwick, Copland, Elgar, Goldmark, Milhaud, Sibelius, Walton, and Warlock. Following his tenure in Chicago, Désiré Defauw also served as music director of the Gary Symphony Orchestra in Indiana (1950- 1958).
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Oscar Espla
Spain, °1886 - 1976
Oscar Esplá, born in Alicante, Spain, studied composition with Saint-Saëns in Paris (1912-13), and in 1932 became professor at the Madrid Conservatoire. After voluntary exile in Belgium after the Spanish Civil War, he returned home in 1960 to teach at the Oscar Esplá Conservatory, Alicante.

His compositions include operas and ballets, choral works, and a wide variety of instrumental pieces. Esplá’s Levantine Impressions are elegant miniatures, short and intense, presenting, in the manner of folk-songs, catchy melodies characterized by strong rhythmic patterns.
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Jindrich Feld
°1883 - 1953
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André Gertler
Hungary (Republic), °1907 - 1998
André Gertler was a prominent twentieth century violinist whose secure intonation, imposing technique, and interpretive acumen set him apart from most of his contemporaries. He might well have been better known had he not focused so much of his attention on contemporary music. He played all of the violin output of Bartók, giving many chamber music concerts with the composer himself; he also played concertos by Berg and Hindemith at a time when these three composers were not yet broadly established. But riskier still, he delved into more uncertain territory, premiering works by Alexandre Tansman, Lars-Erik Larsson, Niels Viggo Bentzon, Matyas Seiber, and other lesser known figures. But his repertory also included more mainstream fare, such as concertos by J.S. Bach, Tartini, Mozart, and Beethoven, as well as a fair number of standards in the chamber music realm. Because of renewed interest in Gertler's career in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, many of his previously out-of-print recordings have been restored to the catalogs of major labels like Hungaroton and Supraphon.

André Gertler was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1907. From 1914-1925 he studied at the Franz Liszt Academy, where his most important teachers were virtuoso violinist Jenö Hubay and, for lessons in composition, Zoltán Kodály.

In 1920 he began limited concertizing in Europe, eventually befriending Bartók. The two appeared regularly in concert from 1925 to 1938, playing a broad range of duo repertory. During this period, as well as throughout most of his career, André Gertler also performed with his pianist wife Diane Andersen. In 1928 he settled in Brussels and three years later founded an eponymously named string quartet there. It would remain active until 1951.

In the latter half of his career he was quite active as a teacher: from 1940 he was a professor on the music faculty at the Brussels Conservatory; later he taught in Cologne at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik (1954-1959) and after 1963 at Hanover's Hochschule für Musik und Theater.
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Abraham Jampolsky
Russian Federation
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Wachtald Kochansky
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Georg Kulenkampff
°1898 - 1948
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Artur Lemba
Estonia, °1885 - 1963
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Franz Mairecker
Austria, °1879 - 1950
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Arrigo Serato
Italy, °1877 - 1948
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Joseph Szigeti
Hungary (Republic), United States of America, °1892 - 1973
Violinist Joseph Szigeti's (1892-1973) father and his uncle were both professional musicians and gave him music lessons. He advanced so quickly that he was soon assigned as a pupil of Jenö Hubay, later entering the celebrated virtuoso's advanced class. He began to play in public at age ten and made his formal debut in Berlin in 1905 at the age of 13. Joseph Joachim offered to teach him, but he chose to remain with Hubay.

After making his London debut when he was 15, Joseph Szigeti remained in Britain until 1913, giving frequent concerts and becoming a favorite. His partners in recitals included such illustrious musicians as Myra Hess and Ferruccio Busoni. Busoni, a pianist-composer and also a deep-thinking philosopher on the nature and future of music, became a formative influence on Szigeti. As with others in his line of work, his concert career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. Settling in Switzerland in 1913, he accepted a position as a violin professor at the Geneva Conservatory, where he gave master classes from 1917 to 1924.

Upon returning to the concert scene in the early 1920s, Joseph Szigeti rapidly became a famous international name in classical music. He was noted for his quick understanding and advocacy of new music, and took up the cause of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Minor Op. 19, which he played it at the I.S.C.M. Festival in 1924. Later that same year he performed this work on his Russian tour, giving the Concerto its Leningrad premiere. He made his American debut in 1925, playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski in Carnegie Hall. During the 1930s he also toured in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa.

In 1938, Joseph Szigeti premiered Ernest Bloch's Violin Concerto in Cleveland. Among other first performances given by, or works dedicated to, Szigeti were Bartók's Rhapsody No. 1, Alan Rawsthorne's Sonata, Bloch's Le nuit exotique, and the violin concertos of Casella and Frank Martin. His interest in new music led him to become a persuasive advocate of many great violin works that had been premiered by others, including music by Ravel, Roussel, Milhaud, Stravinsky, and Alban Berg. With the outbreak of World War II, he settled in the United States.

Upon his arrival in America in 1940, Hungarian composer Bela Bartók renewed an earlier friendship with Joseph Szigeti, and they played some concerts together, including a famous one at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He also took up Bartók's new Violin Concerto (No. 2), playing it widely. Through Szigeti's influence, Bartók was commissioned to write a new classical work for clarinetist Benny Goodman. Bartók responded with Contrasts, scored for the uniquely non-blending ensemble of piano, violin, and clarinet, thereby including Joseph Szigeti in the work's premiere. He played frequently in America during the war years, and afterward resumed his international career. He took part in the 1950 Prades Festival organized by cellist Pablo Casals. He was naturalized as an American citizen in 1951.

By 1960, Joseph Szigeti had scaled down the number of his personal appearences, and in that year he settled in Switzerland. He subsequently withdrew from the concert stage, and taught only a limited number of students. He wrote scholarly studies on great works of the violin repertory, the history of the violin and its playing styles, and made changes to his already published autobiography. Joseph Szigeti was also a welcome member of the juries on several international violin competitions, where his discerning ear and wise judgment were highly influential.
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Jacques Thibaud
France, °1880 - 1953
The violinist Jacques Thibaud was born in 1880 in Bordeaux. Before beginning a solo career, he was an orchestra violinist, discovered by conductor Édouard Colonne. Friend and follower of Eugène Ysaÿe (who dedicated him his Second Sonata), Jacques Thibaud personifies the classical French violonist whose playing is both elegant and enchanting. A remarkable performer of Mozart, he was one of the members of a memorable trio including the cellist Pablo Casals and the pianist Alfred Cortot. Owing to the contest which he founded in 1943 with Marguerite Long, Jacques Thibaud also devoted himself to a teaching career in l'École normale de Musique and l'Académie Chighiana de Sienne. He died in 1953 in a plane crash, on his way to Asia. His 1720 Stradivarius perished with him.
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Gabry Ysaÿe
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