Damascus | Damascus Opera House | 7 November 2022
Juan de la Rubia is the Resident Organist of the Sagrada Família church in Barcelona. His incessant activity as a soloist, conductor, accompanist and continuo has led him to step on the main stages of about thirty countries around the world, the main ones being the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the cathedrals of Cologne, Westminster, Bogotá, Mexico City and Tunis, Saint-Sulpice in Paris, or the Mariinsky Theatre and the Philharmonia of Saint Petersburg, among others. De la Rubia has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Freiburger Barockorchester, Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Orquesta Barroca de Tenerife, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, Orquestra Ciudad de Granada, or Orquesta de Cuerdas de Bogotá. During the last decade, de la Rubia has also specialized in improvisation on silent films.
Damascus | Damascus Opera House | 14 November 2022
Latakia | Church of the Sacred Heart | 17 November 2022
Aleppo | Church of St. Francis | 19 November 2022
Michael Koller explores the organ for completely new sound dimensions. He experiments with the Wind, speaking with the organ as it were. Free and without formal corsets, he paints pictures in a wide variety of timbres, from classical tonality to harsh atonal passages. Born in 1972 in Austria, after school he worked as an organ builder in Krems / Danube. He studied catholic church music in Vienna and St Pölten with his teachers Peter Planyavsky, Otto Kargl and Michael Kitzinger. Masterstudies with Pierre Pincemaille and Rupert Gottfried Frieberger.
He works as a Project Manager in Austrian Television and as a Conductor and Organist in some Churches of Austria.
Damascus | Damascus Opera House | 10 November 2022
Damascus | Church of Saint Anthony | 12 November 2022
Silvio Celeghin is a professor of organ at the “Benedetto Marcello” Conservatory in Venice, principal organist of the “Schola S. Rocco” in Vicenza and reference organist of the “Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia” in Rome. As an acclaimed soloist, he is regularly invited to perform in Italy and all around the world. In 2007 he was one of the eight international organists to perform the world premiere of “La Revolte des Orgues” by Jean Guillou. Besides his activity as a soloist he served as the organist with several renowned orchestras (Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto; Milano Classica; Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; the Orchestra of La Fenice theater of Venice; Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia, Rome; the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Caracas, Venezuela) under the direction of Riccardo Muti, Marcello Viotti, Claudio Scimone, Antonio Pappano. He has been in 2010 the first Italian organist invited directly by J.A. Abreu, to Venezuela for a concert tour with “Simon Bolivar Orchestra” and for playing the new organ “Klais” in Caracas, Venezuela.
Damascus | Damascus Opera House | 10 November 2022
Missak Baghboudarian has been the conductor of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra (SNSO) since 2003. Born in Damascus. Missak made his first debut in December 994 with the SNSO and then he studied conducting in Italy from 1997 till 2002 with Julius Kalmar and he took part in some master classes with H. Handt, D. Pascu, M. Beck, Carl St. Clair, Jorma Panula and Riccardo Muti. He has conducted several concerts with Florence Amadeus Orchestra. He has also conducted the Bruno Maderna Symphony Orchestra of Forlì, the Hans Swarowsky Orchestra of Milan, the Orchestra of the National Academy of Bucharest, the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Sofia, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Dominican Republic, the Grunbunden Kammerphilharmonie, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Algeria.
Nazareth | Basilica of the Annunciation | 31 October 2022
Tel Aviv-Yafo | St. Peter’s Church (Old Jaffa) | 1 November 2022
Jerusalem | Church of St. Saviour (New Gate) | 3 November 2022
Bethlehem | Church of St. Catherine at Nativity | 4 November 2022
Zsolt Máté Mészáros is a defining figure of the young generation of organ players in Hungary and has appeared as a concert artist across Europe and in the USA. After winning several important scholarships multiple times (the Annie Fisher; the Hungarian Academy of Arts Scholarship; the New National Excellence Program) he was selected as one of the young role models of the TALENT Talents and Success Stories series, supported by the Hungarian National Talent Program. He graduated from the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, where he currently continues his Ph.D. studies as the President of the Doctoral Students Association. Since 2018 he serves as the Organist of the Holy Spirit Church in Budapest. In 2021 he became the Director of Music at the Main Parish Church of the Assumption in Budapest. He has premiered contemporary pieces written especially for him by the most prominent Hungarian composers. His concerts have been broadcasted live by Hungarian Radio on several occasions.
Nazareth | Basilica of the Annunciation | 9 November 2022
Jerusalem | Church of St. Saviour (New Gate) | 10 November 2022
Bethlehem | Church of St. Catherine at Nativity | 11 November 2022
Cristina Struta is a graduate of the Faculty of Music and Theatre from Timisoara (Romania), where she also obtained her Master’s Degree. She enrolled at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne (Switzerland). She has been awarded in several organ competitions in Romania and abroad (the International Organ Competitions of Szeged, of Timisoara; the “Ada Ulubeanu” competition in Bucarest). In 2016 she obtained the “Eugen Todoran” Prize for Excellence awarded by the West University of Timisoara. As a concert performer, she has played in Romania, Hungary, France Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. Besides being a soloist she collaborates with the Banatul Philharmonic Orchestra of Timisoara, under the baton of Gheorghe Costin, Nicolae Moldoveanu, Iosif Todea, and Tiberiu Popovici. She is a doctoral student at the Faculty of Music and Theatre, West University of Timisoara, where she is also an associate lecturer for organ, organ accompaniment, and chamber music with organ. She is an artistic manager of the Timorgelfest International Festival and several different musical projects.
Tel Aviv – Yafo, St. Peter’s Church (Old Jaffa), 15 November 2022
Nazareth – Basilica of the Annunciation, 16 November 2022
Jerusalem – Church of St. Saviour (New Gate), 17 November 2022
Bethlehem – Church of St. Catherine at Nativity, 18 November 2022
Giulio Mercati is extremely active and esteemed as a concert performer: as an organ and harpsichord soloist as well as an organist and continuo player in many important ensembles, under conductors such as Alain Lombard, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Juraj Valčuha, Robert Trevino, Alexander Vedernikov and many others. He has recorded for the RTSI (Swiss Italian Radio), Dynamic-Naxos, Bottega Discantica, and Tactus. He is resident organist at the Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angioli in Lugano (Switzerland). In 2019 a CD was released and presented, entirely dedicated to his works, published by Tactus and entitled “Giulio Mercati: Interrogatorio a Maria and other sacred works”. In 1996, Giulio Mercati graduated in Philosophy at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milano, with a dissertation on musical aesthetics. He’s an esteemed musicologist and lecturer. He is an artistic director, ed even creator, of numerous prestigious international festivals in Italy, Switzerland, and Spain. He’s a Professor of History of Sacred Music at the Faculty of Theology in Lugano. Since August 2021 he’s been in charge of all the musical events organized by the Diocese of Lugo (Spain).
Tel Aviv | Yafo | St. Peter’s Church (Old Jaffa) | 8 November 2022
Cosimo Prontera is a professor of organ and organ composition at the Conservatory “Gesualdo da Venosa” in Potenza (Italy) where he also teaches “basso continuo” and ancient organ. He gives masterclasses in Lebanon at Notre Dame University. He is the founder and director of the Baroque Orchestra La Confraternita de’ Musici, which produced various first performances in modern times. Prontera was a guest at Musikwissenschaftliches Institut of Basel and the Handel House in London with concerts from the Neapolitan school of the XVII and XVIII centuries. Positive reviews have appeared in magazines such as CD Classical, Opera, Music, L’Opera de Paris International, Contrappunti, Amadeus, Instruments and Music, Music and School, and Orpheus.
Rhodes | Church of St. Francis | 4 October 2022
He graduated in Organ and Organ Composition, Ancient Keyboard Instruments and Music Teaching at the Cosenza’s State Conservatory “Stanislao Giacomantonio”. He then attended masterclasses with Harald Vogel and Christopher Stembridge. He also graduated at the DAMS faculty of the University of Calabria with full marks and honors. As a concert organist, he has performed in several major organ festivals across Italy, Europe and the USA. He is, for 24 years, the Organist of the Shrine of St. Francis of Paola (Cosenza).
Rhodes | Church of St. Francis | 6 October 2022
He has been the first student to graduate in Organ at the Athens National Conservatory in recent Greek history (since 1957). He is also an LRSM recipient in organ music and a former student of Athens’ Concert Hall organist Nicholas Kynaston. Since 2012 he is the Principal Organist and Director of Music of the Athens German Lutheran Church. He is the Artistic Music Director of the Annual Organ and Music Festival of Rhodes – Terra Sancta. As a reputed concert organist he has performed in Greece (with collaborations with the National Opera, the National Radio Broadcasting Company, the Athens Chamber Opera, the Athens State Orchestra, the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra and Choir) as well in Austria, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom and Israel. He has played world premieres of organ works by Pavlos Ventouras, Spiros Mazis and Konstantinos Agouridis. In 2008 he founded and conducts the choir “Musica Sacra,” the onliest choir of Greece that performs sacred music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. He also conducts the “Cantus Celestis” and “Vox Sinceris” vocal ensembles. He teaches organ at “Erateion” and “Nikolaos Mantzaros” conservatories in Athens.
Rhodes | Church of St. Francis | 6 October 2022
Rania Panagiotou was born in Athens. She studied piano at Attiko Odeio conservatory (class of Stefie Koulouris) and music theory (class of George Skordilis). She is a diploma recipient in singing (Excellent and 1st prize) from «Nikolaos Mantzaros» conservatory (class of Ioanna Vrakatseli). Since 2004 she is a member of the choir of the National Conservatory of Athens (performing oratorios and opera repertoire) under the direction of Spyros Klapsis with major concerts at Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, festival of the Aegean in Syros, Larnaka Festival. In 2008 she joined the «Musica Sacra» choir under the direction of Christos Paraskevopoulos with which she performed at the Catholic Church of St. Paul in Piraeus, in the German Church, in the First Evangelical Church, the Catholic Church of St. Francis in Rhodes. She is also a graduate of the Department of Geology and Geoenvironment of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Rhodes | Church of St. Francis | 6 October 2022
Flora Pelekanou was born in Rhodes. She has studied Singing and Byzantine music and has also received her Certificate in Piano and Composition (Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue). She is a certificate recipient for the Brass Band Instrumentation, and also holds a certificate in Business Administration and Tourism. Since 1985 she has been the director of the “Apollo” Music-Literature Association of Kremasti and she has obtained a distinction in various choir festivals. In 1992 she founded the Youth Choir of the Cultural Organization of Pastida, Rhodes, and she has also founded the children’s choir and mandolin band “Keroniatis.” In 2004 she established and directed the Mixed Choir of Petalouda Municipality and she has given many concerts in Greece (Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Pharsala, Kos and Kalymnos) and abroad (Malta, Cyprus, Turkey). She has taught in various Experimental primary and secondary schools in Rhodes and every year she attends choir conducting lessons at the Summer Academy of the Ionian University of Corfu and she continues her studies in composition and violoncello.
Rhodes | Church of St. Francis | 8 October 2022
Stelios Daniilidis was born in Athens. He took his first piano lessons at the Niki Rizopoulou Conservatory in Neo Heraklion, Attica, while simultaneously studying Music Theory and Harmony with the well-known music director and composer Nikos Fylaktos. In 2011 he graduated from the Piano class of Rita Konstantinidou-Vourtsis with a Piano Diploma and 1st prize for excellent performance. In 2017, he won the 1st prize “Manolis Hatzimarkos” in the diploma exams of Byzantine-Ecclesiastical Music of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens. He started church organ lessons as part of the ABRSM program with the internationally renowned organist and music director Christos Paraskevopoulos. He has taken part in church organ masterclasses in Greece and abroad with internationally renowned organists including Eleni Keventsidou and Stephan Debeur. He is currently studying church organ with Christos Paraskevopoulos to obtain the LRSM title. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Physics Sciences and Ph.D. Candidate of NTUA. He has been a cantor in several holy temples of the Greek Orthodox Church until today.
Rhodes | Church of St. Francis | 9 October 2022
She graduated in Piano at the Athens National Conservatory in 1995 with an unanimous First Prize. After a three-year scholarship by the ‘Friends of Music Society’ to study the organ with Nicolas Kynaston at the Athens Concert Hall she continued her studies as an Alexander S. Onassis Foundation scholar at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she obtained the Postgraduate Performance Course in 2004 with Distinction. Then she was awarded the ‘Margaret and Sydney Lovett Organ Prize’ and the ‘United Music Publishers Ensemble Prize’ (Royal Academy, London). In 2007 she was awarded the Artistic Director’s Prize at Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition in Kaliningrad, Russia. Eleni has performed as a soloist and ensemble player (with Capella Istropolitana, the Athens Philharmonic, the Athens Camerata and the Greek Radio orchestras) in Greece, Europe, UK and in the USA. She has participated in a joint recording project with the Royal Academy of Music and the Southwark and South London Organ Society, playing at the Royal Festival Hall. She recorded for Regents Records, Selby Abbey Organ Masters and Ravensbury Records.
Haifa | Hecht Museum Auditorium | 11 November 2022
Karel Martìnek studied organ at the Janáček Academy of Music in Brno under K. Klugarová and improvisation under K. Pokora. He followed numerous masterclasses under world-class organists subsequently winning several interpretation and improvisation competitions. He also graduated from Palacký University in Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy and Musicology. Artistic director of the International Organ Festival in Olomouc; organist, and choirmaster at St. Wenceslas cathedral in Olomouc, As a soloist Karel regularly performs in Czech Republic, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Finland, Sweeden, Poland, Slovakia, Netherlands, and Ukraine. His collaborations include eminent Moravian music ensembles such as the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc, the Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra Zlín, and the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno. He teaches organ at the Conservatoire of the Evangelical Academy in Olomouc, and organ improvisation at Janáček´s Music Academy in Brno. As a composer his catalog includes organ, piano, choir, and orchestra music, receiving several awards at different competitions.
Haifa | Hecht Museum Auditorium | 13 January 2023
Alessandro Bianchi studied at Piacenza Conservatoire where he obtained an Organ and Organ Composition diploma with Luigi Toja. He attended Masterclasses by Nicholas Danby and Arturo Sacchetti. He is organist of St. Paul’s Basilica in Cantu’ and Artistic Director of the Musical Association “Amici dell’Organo di Cantù”. Organ Concert tours have seen him play, always as a soloist, in many Internationals Organ Festivals in Italy, Vatican, all of Europe, Russia, UK, USA, Mexico, Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, South Africa. He has given Masterclasses and lectures on Italian Music in Italy, England, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, the USA, Singapore and Mexico and he has undertaken several CD and Radio-TV broadcasts and recordings in Europe, USA and Brazil. He was a juror in several organ competitions and many composers have dedicated to him new organ works. He is currently the organist of the St. Edward’s Anglican Church in Lugano. In 2014, the City of Cantù awarded him the title of “Honorable Citizen” for his work in Art and Culture.
Haifa | Hecht Museum Auditorium | 10 March 2023
Born in 1979 in Arad (Romania), Zsolt Garai began piano lessons at a young age. He attended the Sabin Dragoi Art School (Arad), proceeding to the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Napoca, where he studied organ and composition, taking a master’s degree in 2005 and receiving his Ph.D. in 2013. With a busy international performing career in Europe, Zsolt Garai is presently a lecturer in the Music Pedagogy Department of the Emanuel University, Oradea Romania and is the harpsichordist in the “Il Pastor Fido” Baroque Music Ensemble.
Haifa | Hecht Museum Auditorium | 14 April 2023
Rodolfo Bellatti was born in Genova in 1973. He is currently the organist of the Basilica Nostra Signora della Rosa in Santa Margherita Ligure (Genoa – Italy) and serve as professor at the Conservatory of Cesena. He studied organ and harpsichord with Flavio Dellepiane and Barbara Petrucci at the Genoa Conservatoire. He went on to obtain his solo diploma in the Master Class of Guy Bovet at the Basel Hochschule für Musik, and his Master in Organ Music with Roberto Antonello at the Vicenza Conservatoire. In national and international competitions, he won eight prizes to date (Magadino – Switzerland, Viterbo Acqui Terme and Castellana Grotte). In addition to his activity as a concert player (he performs as a soloist in all Europe and Japan), he is also an active researcher in the areas of organ building and musicology. He produced several CDs devoted to historical instruments.
JORDAN: Amman | Terra Sancta Cultural Center | 16 March 2023
Fausto Caporali is “First Organist” of Cremona Cathedral and teaches Organ and Gregorian chant at the Milano Conservatory. He regularly holds courses in organ improvisation in Italy, and works as a music critic for magazines. He was among the first to bring recital and liturgical improvisation back to the attention of the Italian organ world after having studied it in European countries with an uninterrupted tradition, and he was among the first to attempt to renew the classical repertoire with collaborations with pop (Antonella Ruggiero) and jazz artists (Gianluigi Trovesi, Fabrizio Bosso, Erminio Cella). He created the first modern teaching of organ improvisation in Italy publishing “L’Improvvisazione Organistica. Un metodo teorico e pratico” (“Organ Improvisation. A theoretical and practical method”), “Propedeutica all’improvvisazione organistica” (“Introduction to organ improvisation”), “L’accompagnamento del canto liturgico” (“Accompaniment of liturgical songs”); he wrote “Il dialogo perpetuo. L’opera per organo di Olivier Messiaen” (“The O. Messiaen’s organ works”, 2008), for Armelin Musica (Padua) and has edited publications of previously unedited music by baroque and romantic composers. He has performed in Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Lithuania, Spain, the Holy Land and has recorded many CDs.