The 2020 jury for the Jan Wallander Prize

The 2020 jury for the Jan Wallander Prize

Staffan Scheja

Staffan Scheja

Staffan Scheja is professor of piano and 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.

Bjørg Vaernes Lewis

Bjørg Vaernes Lewis

Bjørg Værnes Lewis is one of Norway’s most sought after and recognized cellists.
When Russian master cellist Mstislav Rostropovich heard her play, he invited her to
study with him, noting that “Norway need not be afraid of its musical future when the country has a cellist like Bjørg”.

She has collaborated with musicians such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Jean-Yves Thibaudet,
Paul Lewis, Elisabeth Batiashvilli, Truls Mørk, Steven Isserlis, Martin Fröst
and The Nash Ensemble. She has been a soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic under conductor Mariss Jansons and has also performed as a soloist with orchestras around Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany and the Baltics.

Bjørg Værnes Lewis is a member and one of the founders of the Vertavo String Quartet, which has won several awards, including the prestigious Grieg Prize in 2005.

Bjørg Værnes Lewis has toured Europe, North America and Japan. In the UK, she has performed at festivals in Edinburgh, Bath and The Proms, and she also regularly plays in Wigmore Hall with both the Vertavo Quartet, The Nash Ensemble and her husband, pianist Paul Lewis.

After 15 years as artistic director of Elverum Festival Games, Bjørg Værnes Lewis founded the Vertavo festival in 2016. She regularly participates in many other international chamber music festivals and in 2017 she hosts both the Aldeburgh and Cheltenham festivals in England. In 2009, she and her husband founded Midsummer Music, an international chamber music festival they organize in Chilterns, near their home.

Bjørg Værnes Lewis plays a cello built by Gennaro Gagliani in 1748, whose former owner was Martin Lovett, cellist of the Amadeus Quartet.

Frans Helmerson

Frans Helmerson

Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson has performed with many of today’s finest conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, Colin Davies, Neeme Järvi, Evgeni Svetlanov,
Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Sergiu Comissiona, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Kurt Sanderling and Mstislav Rostropovich. He has also toured with a number of major orchestras throughout Europe, the US, South America, Asia and Australia.

Helmerson studied in Göteborg, Rome and London with Guido Vecchi, Guiseppe Selmi and William Pleeth. He also benefitted greatly from the guidance and support of Mstislav Rostropovitch.

Helmerson’s love for chamber music led him to take the position as artistic director of the Korsholm Festival in Finland from 1994-2001. He frequently appears at a number of international festivals, such as Verbier, Prades, Naantali, Kuhmo and Ravinia.

He currently holds a position as guest professor at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, professor at the Kronberg Academy Masters and lecturer in cello at the Barenboim-Said Akademie.

His recordings include concertos by Dvorak and Shostakovich, the Brahms Double Concerto with violinist Mihaela Martin, the Bach Solo Suites, and others.