Staffan Scheja is Pro Vice-Chancellor and professor of piano at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
Staffan Scheja made his debut as pianist at fourteen with conductor Herbert Blomstedt and the Swedish Radio Orchestra. After studies for Prof. Gunnar Hallhagen at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he was accepted to the Juilliard School in New York, studying with Rosina Lhevinne, Ilona Kabos and Ania Dorfmann.
In 1975 he received the highest prize in the Busoni International Competition. Since then he has given concerts all over the world with conductors such as sir Simon Rattle, David Zinman, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sixten Ehrling, Okko Kamu and with orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic, the French Radio Orchestra in Paris, the NHK in Tokyo, the English Chamber Orchestra and with all the major Scandinavian orchestras.
He has made numerous recordings with EMI, BIS, Vanguard and LCM and has received two Swedish Grammy Awards.
In 1995 Staffan Scheja received the Royal medal ”Litteris et Artibus” for prominent artistic achievements.
Staffan Scheja is a frequent adjudicator in competitions such as Queen Elisabeth, Sendai, Clara Haskil and Stanislav Neuhaus.
He is the founder and artistic director of the Gotland Chamber Music Festival on the island of Gotland in the Baltic sea and resides in Stockholm.
He is also vice chairman of the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden.
Elina Vähälä is born in the USA and raised in Finland. She made her orchestral debut with Sinfonia Lahti at the age of twelwe, and was later chosen by conductor Osmo Vänskä as the orchestra’s ‘young master soloist’. Since then, her career continues to expand on the international stage, winning praise from audiences and musicians alike as ‘a fluent, stylish and gifted musician whose brilliant technique is matched by an abundant spirit, sensitivity and imagination’ (Chicago Tribune).
Season highlights for 2016/17 include her debut with the Irish RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and performances with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra, as well as with symphony orchestras in Detroit, Houston and Virginia.
Elina Vähälä has performed with orchestras in Tokyo, Strasbourg, Buffalo, Colorado and Gävle as well, and with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. She has also participated in a tour of the US with en ensemble from the Pablo Casals festival in Prades.
With a repertoire that ranges from baroque to contemporary, Vähälä gave the first Nordic performance of John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto ‘The Red Violin’ and commissioned a new violin concerto from composer Jaakko Kuusisto. Both the Corgiliano and Kuusisto concertos were recorded in 2013.
In 2009 Elina launched the Violin Academy, funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, as a master class based educational project for selected, highly talented young Finnish violinists.
As a devoted chamber musician, Elina Vähälä’s collaborations include leading international musicians such as Yuri Bashmet, Itamar Golan, Gary Hoffman, Steven Isserlis, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Alisa Weilerstein.
Olivier Charlier is teaching violin at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris.
A First Prize winner at the age of 14, Olivier Charlier continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire with Pierre Doukan (violin) and Jean Hubeau (chamber music). His talent caught the attention of great artists such as Nadia Boulanger, Yehudi Menuhin and Henryk Szeryng. Since then has won prizes at several international violin competitions.
As a soloist Olivier Charlier has given concerts with major symphony in Europe as well as in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, China and Australia.
Olivier Charlier pursues an active recording career which includes works such as the Dutilleux violin concerto “L’arbre des songes” with the BBC Philharmonic and Yan Pascal Tortelier, the Roberto Gerhard concerto with the BBC Symphony conducted by Matthias Bamert (both nominated for the French ‘Victoires de la Musique’ Awards in 1998 and 1999), as well as concertos by Lalo, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns and Mozart.
Olivier Charlier has also recorded a collection of sonatas by Franck, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Pierné and Vierne, together with pianist Jean Hubeau, and sonatas by Schumann, Grieg and Beethoven with the pianist Brigitte Engerer. He has also recorded Beethoven’s complete piano trios with his trio Owon.