Csaba ONCZAY (Hungary) - President of the Jury

Csaba Onczay is one of the leading cellists of his generation. He received the Kossuth Prize (1993), the highest award given to any performing artist in all of Hungary. His excellent interpretation of Kodály`s Solosonata op.8., he was awarded the Liszt Prize in Budapest, Hungary (1976), and the Meritorious Artist (1986). He was also awarded the prestigious Bartók-Pásztory Prize in 2004. In 2019 he was presented by the Japanese Government award "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon". He has been a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts since 2019. 

He has won various international prizes. They include: First Prize at the International Pablo Casals Competition in Budapest, Hungary (1973); First Prize at the International Villa Lobos Competition of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1976). 

He is Professor Emeritus of Cello at the Liszt University of Music in Budapest, Hungary, where he resides today. He was a Visiting Professor at Freiburg University of Music, at Oberlin Conservatory in OH. From 2006 to 2009 he was a Visiting Professor at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana University in Bloomington. He is a regular faculty member of the Summer String Academy at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Parallel with his activity of interpreter since 1978, he regularly holds master courses in Hungary, Europa, USA, Japan and Asia.

In addition to numerous concert recordings for radio and television, he has concertos of C.P.E. Bach, Schumann, Lalo, Villa Lobos, Dohnányi and also all the sonatas of Beethoven and all the solo suites of Bach. He is associated with the presentation of several contemporary music (Akutagawa, Gubaidulina, Dutilleux, Landowski, Lutoslawski, Penderecki); many Hungarian composers (Levente Gyöngyösi, Miklós Kocsár, Kamillió Lendvay, Sándor Szokolay) has written and dedicated their works especially for him.

He appears as a soloist in some of the most prestigious concert halls of Europe, America, Korea and Japan. He has amassed outstanding successes with numerous orchestras including the Wiener Symphoniker, the Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig, the RAI Orchestra as well as many orchestras in the United States. 

Mr. Onczay founded an orchestra in Florence, Italy in 2000. He is invited as soloist and chamber music player to many international festivals, including: Pablo Casals Festival Prades; Springfestival Budapest; Beaumaris Festival Gifu; Springfestival Prague. He is the Artistic Director of the Niederstotzingen Musiktage in Germany and of the Summer Courses at the Festetics Castle in Keszthely, Hungary and Bergamo, Italy.

His participation at the Wolf Trap Festival in USA in 1984 was received with great enthusiasm. Musical America reported about him:

“Csaba Onczay brought to life the score’s quick-changing moods and its variety

of color, ranging from indomitable of Hungarian dance to lyric folksong and

brooding melancholy.”


Le Monde reported about him in August 1990:

“More significant was the successful presence of Hungarian cellist Csaba Onczay,

with an extraordinary concentration, connected to a sound of “velvet” – disregarding any effects -... vivacious, deep, passionate and sometimes with a “ghostly” character

... close to Casals for saying shortly”.

Szabolcs BENKÖ (Hungary)

He graduated as a cellist and teacher at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 2000, in the class of László Mező. During his studies at the Academy, he focused on playing in the string quartet, under the direction of Sándor Devich and János Devich.

As a scholarship student, he has participated in international master classes as a member of the Sándor String Quartet, including the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop in Carnegie Hall, New York, at the International Music Festival in Lucerne, at the Sommerakademie in Reichenau, and at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit.           

During his student years, he appeared on CDs called Cellomania (Hungaroton) and the 125th Academic Year of the Academy of Music.      

He won first prize at the Leo Weiner National Chamber Music Competition in 2000, in 2003 as a member of the Budapest Cello Ensemble, and in 2010 he received the Artisjus Prize for his pedagogical activities.         

After studying music, he graduated in law from the Faculty of Law of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He was the headmaster of  János Richter Secondary School and College of Music in Győr from 2005-2012, since 2012 he has been the headmaster of Bartók Béla Secondary School of Music, Instrument Making and Repair,  Budapest. Besides, he participates in the chamber music education of the students. As a teacher, he is highly interested in promoting equal opportunities in art education.         

Mr.Benkő was the chairman of the supervisory board of  Budapest Spring Festival from 2010 to 2014, since 2012 he has been the vice-president of the Association of Art Vocational High Schools, and since 2021 he has been a member of the board of trustees of  Artisjus Music Foundation.

Zdzislaw LAPINSKY (Poland)

Zdzisław Łapiński was born in 1956 in Cracow.

His teachers were prof. L.Solecki and H.Zarzycki – whose violoncello class he completed with distinction in 1979 at Cracow Music Academy.

In 1981 he got a scholarship from Yale University where he studied under the guidance of prof. Aldo Parisot.

In 1977 he won the 1-st prize at the Polish Chamber Music Competition.

In 1978 he won the 3-rd prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian (France).

In the same year he won the 3-rd prize at the National Cello Competition in Poznań.

In 1979 he was among the prize-winners at the International Chamber Music Competition in Florence (Italy).

He made several recordings for Polish Radio and TV as well as for French Radio (R-3).

He gave concerts as a soloist and performer of chamber music in France, Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, USA, Brazil, Germany and Malta among the others.

In 1979-81 he was the First Cellist of „Capella Cracoviensis” Chamber Orchestra.

In 1981-89 he was the First Cellist of the Cracow Radio and TV Orchestra.

In 1989-2012 he hold the position of the First Cellist in National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice.

In 1992 he founded Cello Ensemble „CANTABILE” and held position of Artistic Director.

From 1997 he is also Artistic Director of Chamber Ensemble „Primo Allegro”.                 

He is also Professor and Head of Cello Department in Academy of Music in Cracow and from 2012 he held position of Rector of Academy of Music in Cracow.

Kangho LEE (South Korea)

“The mesmerizing performance not only showed Lee’s technical perfection but also his musical elegance and lyrical depth.” The Korea Herald, Korea

Kangho Lee has been a sought-after soloist and chamber musician since his orchestral debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at the age of twelve. His performances with the Korean Broadcast System (KBS) Symphony, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, and recitals in the Kumho Recital Hall were lauded with critical acclaim and broadcast nationally on KBS radio. He was a featured soloist for the 2001 New Year’s Eve Gala Concert with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and continues to perform with all of the major symphony orchestras in Korea on a regular basis.

Upon invitation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Lee performed recitals in Paris, Lyon, Milan, Rome and for the United Nations in Geneva. Lee's other international engagements include performances Moscow and St. Petersburg as a guest of the Moscow Conservatory, concerts with the Sofia National Academy Orchestra and the Halle Philharmonic, and recitals in New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Boston. An active chamber musician, Lee has collaborated with the Pacifica String Quartet, the Orion String Quartet and members of Tashi, the Cleveland, Vermeer and Tokyo string quartets. Lee is a member of the Kumho Chamber Music Society and the Tonus Piano Trio.

Lee was a jury member of the Isang Yun International Cello Competition, the Penderecki International Cello Competition and numerous major competitions in Korea. Currently, Lee is Professor of Cello at the Korea National University of the Arts and regularly gives master classes at the Kirishima International Music Festival in Japan, the Cantus Academy and the Vivace Music Festival in Korea.

Lee’s artistry and career as a performer, pedagogue, and administrator have generated much attention. He has appeared on major television networks in Korea, the United States and South Africa. His interviews have been featured in magazines and journals such as Vogue–Korea, Asiana Airline’s in-flight magazine and Strad–Korea.

Lee received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Swarthmore College, Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from New England Conservatory.


Susan Moses is the Co-Director Emeritus of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music String Academy. Her students have been awarded top prizes in international competitions and hold positions in leading orchestras of the United States and Europe. During her years of teaching in England, France and Italy, Susan was honored with several distinguished teaching awards and is the recipient of the 2014 INASTA Studio Teacher of the Year award. She also has served on the faculty of Boston University and the Oberlin Conservatory and serves on the juries of national and international cello competitions as representatives of the United States.

The recipient of a Ford Foundation prize, Ms. Moses has performed throughout the world in recital, with orchestras and as the solo violoncellist of the celebrated ensemble I Solisti Veneti.

As a founding member of the Chicago String Trio, she received a special prize from the University of Milan for outstanding contributions to chamber music. Susan Moses records for ERATO and the CONCERTO labels, has been nominated for a Grand Prix du Disque, and has served as a juror in major international cello competitions. Ms. Moses has also been recognized by the University of Padua for her research on the school of Giuseppe Tartini. Susan is currently an editor for the International Music Company. Her edition of Goltermann 4th concerto was released in 2019.

Ms. Moses earned degrees from Indiana and Yale Universities, studying under Janos Starker and Aldo Parisot, and completed her studies at the renowned Jascha Heifetz-Gregor Piatigorsky Master Class at the University of Southern California and at the Paris Conservatoire.

Matias de OLIVEIRA PINTO (Brazil / Germany)

Matias de Oliveira Pinto is well known as an outstanding cellist and pedagogue. He was born into an artistic family in São Paulo, Brazil. At the young age of 18 and while still a student of Zygmunt Kubala, he became professor at the School of Music in Curitiba (Brazil). During the same year, following a master class with Aldo Parisot, he performed with great success in a competition which resulted in him being awarded a scholarship from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation, offering him the opportunity to study at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy. In Europe he studied with Prof. Eberhard Finke (first solo cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic), followed by two years of study at the Franz-Liszt-Academy in Budapest with Prof. Csaba Onczay. Further master classes followed with Antonio Meneses, Gerhard Mantel, William Pleeth and Paul Tortelier.

As a demanded soloist, many tours have led Matias de Oliveira Pinto through Europe, South America, USA, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. He has performed at numerous important international festivals as both a soloist and chamber musician. 

Alongside his concert career, Matias de Oliveira Pinto has established himself as a highly sought after teacher and teaches a number of excellent young cellists, many of whom today play in distinguished orchestras and hold positions at prestigious universities. Since 1991 he has taught at the University of Arts in Berlin (since 2005 as a guest professor), while also taking up a professorship at the Music Academy in Münster since 2005. He has offered numerous cello and chamber music courses in Germany, France, USA and Japan, Korea, Israel, Italy, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Brazil and Chile and is artistic director of the festivals of Ouro Branco in Brazil, Musikfestival Verden in Germany. 

Matias de Oliveira Pinto also regularly performs and promotes contemporary music and is a founding member of the Modern Art Sextet for contemporary music. His cooperative work with renowned composers such as Katzer, Penderecki, Piazzolla, Zimmermann, Ching and Corbett and man y Otters reflect his versatility as an instrumentalist and many composers have dedicated works to him. He is member of the Bolivar Soloists and several other chamber music groups. 

Many broadcasts and CD productions round off the enormous spectrum of his musical activities and success.

László PÓLUS (Hungary)

After he had finished his studies at the music school, he became a student of the Zoltán Kodály Secondary School of Music in Debrecen, where László Papp was his master.

In 1990 he won the 1st prize of the National Cello Competition in Kecskemét. From September 1990 he continued his studies at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music under the direction of cellist László Mező. He had participated in the master classes of Csaba Onczay, Miklós Perényi, Uzi Wiesel and David Geringas. After graduating, he became a student at the Basel Musikakademie in 1995-96 as a student of Thomas Demenga, with a Swiss federal scholarship.

In 1992, he won the Grand Prix of the Budapest Festival of Youth European Strings. In 1993, he represented the Academy of Music with his fellow musicians at an international chamber music meeting in Paris, which was also recorded on CD. Also in 1993, he regularly participated in the youth support program of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestral Academy. Here he played in many concerts and radio recordings under the direction of internationally famous conductors. In 1994, he participated in the work of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, where the Orchestra performed Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet with the direction of Mistislav Rostropovich. In June 1994, he won first place at the Popper Cello Competition organized by the Academy of Music, and following this, in 1998 he won the special prize of the Hungarian Radio Cello Competition.

He has been a solo cellist at the Hungarian State Opera since 1996, and the member of the Somogyi String Quartet since 1999. From 1994- 1996 he was a member of the Budapest Weiner-Szász Chamber Symphony Orchestra, he worked with this ensemble under the direction of Tibor Varga, Sándor Végh, on the ensemble's Weiner CD (BMC records) with the soloist János Starker. From September 2009 he took part in the doctoral program of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Pécs, where he obtained a doctoral (DLA) degree in 2015. Currently he is the cello major teacher of the institution.

Awards, recognitions: 1999 Artisjus Prize, 2002 Juventus Prize, 2016 János Ferencsik Prize