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Our jury includes piano pedagogues and concert pianists who play an important role in any musician's artistic journey. They have extensive knowledge of piano literature, experience as performers, and are analytical with the qualities needed for a young musician to find success in their career. They will offer their professional advice to encourage participants throughout the competition to perform to the best of their abilities. 


Walter Prossnitz 

Walter Prossnitz was born in Canada, where he made his debut at the age of 14 years old with the A major Concerto by Liszt. At age 17, he won the Grand Prix at the Canadian National Music Competition, later winning first prize in the Montreal Later studies took him to Vienna and to New York where he earned a Masters Degree at the Juilliard School in 1984. Walter has lived in Switzerland since 1987 and has enjoyed a busy international career, playing in some of the world’s most famous concert halls as a soloist with orchestra or in recital. These include Carnegie Hall, the Place des Arts in Montreal, the Pallacio des Belles Artes in Mexico City, Centre Culturel in Paris, the Carl Orff Hall in Munich, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the City Hall Arts Complex in Hong Kong and the Central Conservatory Hall in Beijing.He has performed over 150 times as a soloist with orchestras around the world, and has given masterclasses in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and China. Walter Prossnitz is very versatile – he has written several sonatas by Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt and Saint-Saëns as concertos for solo instrument and orchestra, He has been active as a composer and orchestrator, and has also served as a jury for numerous competitions. Walter's great-great-grand uncle was the head of the piano and music history department at the Vienna Academy from 1875-1900. Among his students were Bruckner, Mahler and Wolf.


Joanna Sochacka

Joanna Sochacka is a very successful performing artist. So far she played countries such as Israel, France, Switzerland, Austria, USA, Moldova, Estonia, Italy, Spain, England, Holland, Czech Republic and Germany.  She has performed in many renowned concert halls in Poland and abroad, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Beethoven Haus Chamber Hall in Bonn, Royal Albert Hall in London, Sala cu’Orga in Moldova, National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Philharmonic Halls in Lodz/Kielce/Cracow, Villa Atma in Zakopane, National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, and the Liszt Concert Hall in Raiding. She regularly takes part in many international piano festivals as well as in chamber music concerts . She has been awarded prizes at more than 20 international and national piano competitions. Furthermore, she received multiple grants awarded to the most talented musicians, by scholarship foundations such as the Julian Cochran Foundation (2019), and the Rita Zimmermann Musik Stiftung Bern (2019).

While developing her skills at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, Joanna  is completing her PhD at the Academy of Music in Lodz, Poland and is currently a professor at the 2nd Degree Music School of Frederic Chopin in Cracow. She is also studying at the Haute École de Musique de Geneve.  


Michelle Howland


Michelle Howland is a certified piano educator and performer, specialized in teaching young talented children. She has established an exceptional reputation for earning awards with her students, such as piano competitions for young children throughout Germany, and the Victoria Performing Arts Festival in Canada. Her students have achieved high marks and received many valuable scholarship awards. They have participated for many years in events such as Canada Music Week, and Beethovenfest Bonn.

During her recent years in Germany, Michelle Howland has combined art and music together to create an environment that exposes children to music in different ways. She created a "Piano Theatre" by combining children's classical stories and plays with piano music, such as "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Princess and the Pea," and "Little Match Girl." Most recently, she designed a project combining ballet and piano together, as an artistic vision using two Chopin Nocturnes.
Moreover, Michelle has organized many charity events and concerts, and has worked to promote classical music, especially to a younger audience.


Sijing Ye

Sijing has served on juries at multiple international piano competitions, including 11th Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists and the Marta Hidy Prize Concerto Competition in Canada. Sijing is also the director of 11th Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition in North America. She has also give masterclasses in United Kingdom, Canada, United States and China.

Sijing has given multiple recitals in many major music halls within the U.S, China and Europe, which includes George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Center for Arts, Koerner Hall in Toronto, Atheneum Roman Music Hall in Bucharest, Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, Lincoln Theatre in Miami Beach, Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Peter Jay Sharp and Paul Recital Hall of Lincoln Center in New York, Beijing Music Hall, Zhong­Shan Music Hall, and Hong Kong City Concert Hall. When she was 13, She was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music. In 2006, She moved to New York to study with Yoheved Kaplinsky at the Juilliard school with full scholarship, from where she graduated in 2010. She was also the only artist of Mr. Bruce Kovner, who is the chairman of Juilliard School and Lincoln center. Sijing has received her diploma in Piano Performance (Bachelor) with Mr.John Perry and Artist Diploma with Mr.James Anagnoson at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto with full scholarship.

In 2016, Sijing founded  the Bellissimo Academy for Music and Arts (BAMA), as well as the “BAMA Concert Series," both located in Toronto, Canada.


Jadwiga Padjas-Zielinska

Pianist and teacher, recognized as ‘’the Artist of Austria’’. Artistic director of the International Gloria Artis Festival , president of the International Artistic Association Gloria Artis. Director of Piano School (Klavierschule Padjas ) Member of the board of the Polish Diaspora Forum. She graduated from the Academy of Music in Krakow class of prof. Irina Sijalowa – Vogel. For over 30 years she has lived in Vienna, where she opened her own Piano School, KlavierschulePadjas’. Her students have won many prestigious prizes in Austria (Prima La musica) Poland, Italy and Russia. She pursues very wide pedagogical activities, promotes artists and enables young pianists to play in Vienna. She is a Jury member in many international piano competitions in Austria , Russia and Poland. In September 2016 she received the prize ‘’ Meritorious for Polish culture’’ for her musical and educational contributions. She cooperates with many educational institutions and is often invited for competition juries and festivals in Austria and abroad . Recently she has been working with Baylor University in USA where her lectures on musical education for children take place,.

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