Festival founder and Artistic Director ROBERT WARD maintains an active career as pianist, orchestral conductor, chamber musician, director of international music festivals, juror at prestigious competitions, and master teacher.
A native of Illinois, his early piano teachers were pupils of the legendary Russian virtuosa Isabelle Vengerova, of Beethoven specialist Artur Schnabel, and of Emil von Sauer, one of the last pupils of Franz Liszt.
He first came to international attention when the U.S. State Department sent him on a 10-country tour of Latin America to introduce Samuel Barber’s PIANO CONCERTO.
Advanced studies took him to Vienna on an Austrian Government Grant to study at the renowned Akademie für Musik with Dieter Weber and to the Salzburg Mozarteum for study with Carlo Zecchi. While on a Fulbright Award to Italy for study with famed German pianist Wilhelm Kempff, he received the Prix di Positano for his Beethoven performances.
“Under the baton of American conductor Robert Ward the Wiener Residenz Orchester responded not only with energy and precision but with great musical sensitivity.” (VIENNA)
Making his conducting debut at age 17, Robert Ward has conducted college and professional orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. He is a founding director of the California Philharmonic Orchestra in Los Angeles, has conducted the Pasadena Pops and the Haydn chamber orchestra at the California Institute of Technology. Since 2006 he has appeared as guest conductor with both the Wiener Residenz Orchester and the Vienna International Orchestra.
In 1997 Professor Ward co-founded Piano*Fest*Austria in Bad Aussee, Austria, later changing its location and name to Concerto*Fest*Austria when the program expanded to present talented young artists as concerto soloists with the Wiener Residenz Orchester. With a colleague from the Paris Conservatoire he founded Bratislava Piano Week in 2015 and on the invitation by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society he presented a week of master classes on their “Musical Bridges” Festival in 2016.
This summer Robert Ward returns to Bratislava to direct the 3rd season of Concerto*Fest*Europa. Conceived as "An academy for the study and performance of Classical Concerti," the festival reaches its climax during the 2nd week with the Chamber Orchestra of the Slovak State Opera under the direction of Robert Ward. The 2019 festival features such prestigious concert venues as the Hall of Mirrors in the Archbishops Palace in Bratislava, the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt where Haydn lived and worked, and the Eroica Hall in the Lobkowitz Palace in Vienna where Beethoven’s Third Symphony received its first performance.
Professor Ward’s former students are on the faculties of music schools and conservatories across the US, Europe and Asia. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts named Robert Ward a Distinguished Teacher in the Arts for “inspiring young artists and having the most profound influence on their artistic development.” He received the MTNA President’s Award “for Outstanding Service as Coordinator for International Outreach” and the inaugural Award of Excellence “for Service to Youth and Music” presented by the Austrian-American Council of North America.
Robert Ward is currently a Professor of Piano at California State University Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Chamber Music at Caltech in Pasadena.
Receiving his first violin at age seven, young Arpad seemed to understand instinctively its basic principles, and after only three months, he began performing. He entered various competitions for young musicians and in short time was winning awards.
Throughout his advanced studies he was a laureate in prestigious competitions such as the Czechoslovak Competition (1983, 1985) and the Dušek Competition in Prague, among others. Upon completing his artist Diploma, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major.
Seeking to further his artistry, he participated in masterclasses taught by distinguished violinists and renowned master teachers.
Soon after, he was engaged by the Slovak National Theatre Opera Orchestra where he now serves as the principal concertmaster.
Arpad Patkolò is an avid chamber musician, and for a number of years, has performed with a trio in Switzerland and in a string quartet with professional colleagues. In addition, he appears frequently with his wife, who is a pianist.
He is highly sought-after as a concertmaster for various orchestras in the region, regularly performing in Vienna where he leads a chamber orchestra; as both concertmaster and soloist with the Wienerklassik orchestra which tours throughout Europe and China, and as a guest concertmaster with the German Passau Orchestra. For many years he has performed with the European chamber orchestra “Spirit of Europe.”
(Director’s Note: Concerto*Fest*Europa welcomes Dr. Julia I as Staff Accompanist for the Festival Concerto Program. In 1998 Dr. I was herself a participant at the Festival performing Mozart’s Concerto in B-flat, K. 450.)
Dr. Julia I was born in Taiwan, where she won numerous piano competitions and appeared as concerto soloist with several well-known orchestras. She moved to the United States in 1986 and began studying with Professor John Perry, first at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and later at the University of Southern California where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Having won many competitions and awards, including the Bronislaw Kaper Award in 1990, she was invited to perform Mozart Piano Concerto in G Major, K.453 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. She has collaborated with violinist Shlomo Mintz and in 1998 she performed Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4 in G Major with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan.
Dr. I has made recital and concerto appearances in the United States, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Austria, Holland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and has conducted piano master classes in Taiwan, Singapore, and China.
Dr. I served on the piano faculty at Wayne State University and was the Assistant Director at Schoolcraft College Piano Academy in Michigan. She also taught as full-time piano faculty at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster, and as adjunct faculty at Lebanon Valley College. Currently she resides in Maryland with her husband and their four children.
Ms. Anika Patkolò graduated as one of the top students from the Bratislava Conservatory and Academy of Performing Arts in Voice and Piano Performance. Now a professor of the Bratislava Conservatory and Academy of Performing Arts, she continues to make a immense contribution to the music scene of Bratislava by teaching vocal pedagogy and repertoire classes at the Conservatory.
She also tours actively in Vienna, Hungary, Bratislava and Switzerland as a vocalist, specializing in operettas, and performs with Wiener Residenz Orchester and Salon Virtuosen in Vienna.
Jan Pospisil pursues an active international career. As solo cellist he has performed at Opera festivals in the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Japan, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, and Switzerland.
He has performed solo concerts in Finland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Ireland, China and at Brno International Music Festival Moravian Autumn. He was a member of chamber orchestra Bratislava Classic and Slovak Festival Orchestra, which performs mostly in Ireland. And in autumn 2016 he performed in Israel.
Jan Pospisil is also regarded as a master teacher, his students taking top prizes not only in Slovak competitions, but also at international competitions. Most of his students continue their studies at prestigious institutions such as the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava, or at conservatories in Vienna or in the United States.
Jan Pospisil was appointed to the Slovak National Theater Orchestra in 2001, and in 2004 he was named concertmaster of the cello section.
He began his early studies of the cello at the Brno Conservatory and soon was accepted into the class of Professor Podhoransky at Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava. During his studies he became laureate of many competitions including the Herana International Cello Competition, the Czech National Conservatories Competition and at the Czech National Chamber Music Competition.
Following graduation he continued to advance his artistry in the masterclasses of renowned cello virtuosi and master pedagogues.
Vladislava Fabianová has served as principal oboist in the Slovak National Theatre orchestra since 2001. A dedicated woodwind player since childhood, she was accepted into the oboe class of Professor Koloman Oberländer at the State Conservatory of Music in Bratislava.
In 1987 and again in 1990 she took the top award as best oboist in the Slovakian National Conservatories Competition. She pursued advanced studies at the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava in the class of Professor Jozef Ďurdina.
While still a student she was invited to join the Chamber Opera Orchestra in Bratislava and as well as the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. In the latter one she participated in a number of recordings. She has also performed with the Metropolitan Orchestra Bratislava and Vienna Classic Orchestra, and appeared as solo oboist with a number of orchestras in the region, most recently with the State Philharmony of Košice.
Ms. Fabianová enjoys performing chamber music as well, including a series of concerts with the Chamber Ensemble Tubarose as well as with the music ensemble of V. Jablokov in Ireland. Recently she formed an ensemble with musicians Vladimír Ondrejčák (guitar) and Viktória Nagyová (piano and voice).
She has recorded many CDs, including the Uspávanky Lullabies with soloist Jolana Fogašová. In 2014 she served as chairwoman of the jury for the woodwinds section of the Slovak National Conservatories Competion.
The young Slovak flutist, Marcela Lechtová, was appointed professor at the Bratislava State Conservatory already by age of 27, and since October 2014 leads her own flute class at the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (Department of Music).
In 2010, she made her debut as a soloist with Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra on a live boadcast of the Bavarian State Radio series „Stars of Tomorrow“, with Constantin Trinks, conducting. That same year she won the prestigious „Villa Musica“auditions. Since then, she has performed with a number of outstanding artists in Germany and elsewhere, participating as an international exchange artist with the Rotary Club International and San Diego Youth Symphony, with the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now Foundation in Vienna.
Marcela Lechtova studied flute with a number of eminant pedagogues, including Prof. Hansgeorg Schmeiser at the University of Music and performing Arts Vienna, with Davide Formisano at the University of Music in Stuttgart, and she graduated with distinction at the University of Music and performing Arts in Graz with Prof. Erwin Klambauer. She completed a second Master’s degree in traverse flute under Claire Genewein at the Anton Bruckner Private University.
Marcela Lechtova lives in Vienna, where she performs with several orchestras and as well as her chamber music groups, the Ensemble Levante and the Wiener Kammertrio. She presents workshops and master classes on both the modern and baroque flute.
The instrumental faculty of Concerto*Fest*Europa is drawn from the first-desk members of the Slovak State Opera Chamber Orchestra and Konservatorium Bratislava. 2019 concerto soloists will have the opportunity to receive coaching from one of the following.