Alexandra Balog is young pianist whose love for music is closely allied to a strong desire to make it accessible to a wider public. This has earned her an active audience in her native Budapest where she has been giving solo and chamber music recitals from the age of thirteen. She currently studies in Graz with Prof. Markus Schirmer. Being a former scholar at the Royal Academy of Music in London, she earned her MMus degree in 2019 under the tutelage of Ian Fountain. She has won the Frederick Jackson and the Margaret Kitchin Awards, and a Hungarian National Scholarship from the Ministry of Human Resources. She has been supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and the Royal Academy of Music’s Entrance Scholarship for her masters. She has taken part in masterclasses given by Pascal Devoyon, Christopher Elton, Yevgeny Sudbin, Ferenc Rados, Pascal Roge, Tatiana Sarkissova and Colin Stone. Alexandra has garnered a number of prizes in significant competitions, notably the first prize at the Béla Bartók International Piano Competition in Graz where she received the special prize as well for the best interpreter of Bartók’s music. Her latest awards include first prize at this year’s Franz Liszt Centre International Piano Competition, La Nucia Spain, and the prestigious three-year-long creative scholarship programme from the Hungarian Art’s Academy. Alexandra made her solo debut at the Budapest Music Center in 2019. She also performed in the Palace of Arts (MüPa), Budapest, the Royal Academy of Music, London, the Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest, the Marble Hall of the Hungarian Radio MTVA, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow, the Sziget Festival’s Papageno Stage, as well as many other prestigious venues across Europe in London, Berlin, Brussels, and several Austrian cities including Vienna and Graz. As a versatile musician, Alexandra is a keen chamber music player. She often plays with her group, the Altalena Ensemble, which she founded in 2015. The group has active contracts with major Hungarian venues such as the Hungarian Radio and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. She is also the founder and artistic director of the Altalena Music Festival (www.altalena.eu) taking place every summer since 2014.
Winner of the Liszt-Bartók Prize at the 15th Concours Géza Anda 2021 Mihály Berecz was born in Budapest in 1997 and began to learn the violin at the age of six. Later, in parallel with his work in various orchestras, he began to devote himself to the piano with Edit Major and Erzsébet Belák. He obtained his First Class Honours Bachelor of Music degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Christopher Elton, however. Winner of the Debut Berlin International Concerto Competition, Mihály performed for the first time at the Berlin “Philharmonie” in June 2017. Previous awards include the Golden Prize of the 2nd Manhattan International Music Competition and the Harriet Cohen Bach Prize of the Royal Academy of Music. At the 2013 Young Euro Classic Festival he performed Liszt’s “Hungarian Fantasy” at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Also in 2013, and upon the invitation of Zoltán Kocsis, he made his debut at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Budapest. At the Liszt Academy, where he frequently performs, he recently played Mozart’s “Jenamy” concerto under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev. Mihály’s interest in historical interpretation has led to performances of fortepiano concertos with renowned orchestras playing on period instruments, such as the Orfeo Orchestra. Between 2020 and 2022, as part of a scholarship from the Hungarian Academy of Arts, he performed Béla Bartók’s complete solo works of in eight concerts at the Hungarian Radio’s Marble Hall.