Jury 2024


Olga Borzenko

Olga Borzenko finished Solomiya Krushelnytska Specialized school at the Conservatory M.V. Lysenko as well as the Music Academy (in the class of S. A. Dajč) in Lviv. In 1986 she received her Master’s degree from the National Tchaikovsky Music Academy in Kyiv in the classes of prof. V.V. Sečkin and A.M. Snjegirjov. She started working as a pedagogue in Lviv at the very same Academy, she graduated from. From 1986 to 1998 she was a piano teacher at the piano sub-department. During that period she achieved remarkable results at national competitions and started her activity in the domain of piano methodology. She continued her concert and pedagogue activity in Cetinje, where she was working as an assistant professor of piano at the Music Academy since 1998 and as a part-time teacher at the secondary Music School in Kotor till 2002. She pursued her successful work with pupils and students, which led to numerous awards at national and international competitions, where she was also active as a jury member. Since 2002 she has been living in Novi Sad and has been employed at the Music School Isidor Bajić both as a professional associate as well as a piano teacher. Her active participation in various concerts and competitions has improved her experience and enriched her biography as well. Furthermore, together with her students she took part in the preparation of the First, Second, Third and Fourth Piano Memorial Isidor Bajić– organized as a roundtable of open Piano Teachers’ Forum and she was also an active participant in Piano Competition Isidor Bajić. As a result of that she became a lecturer at the Yale Masterclass. She regularly held piano recitals and performed with the orchestras under the baton of renowned Ukrainian and European conductors (D. Kabalevsky, R. Filipčuk, D. Pelehatoj, I. Simović, B. Gnjedaš, I. Kolesij, I. Juzuk and F. Albanezi). Besides she made performances at festivals held in Podgorica, Kotor, Herceg Novi, Tivat, Bar and Novi Sad. She was a jury member at competitions held in Republics of Serbia and Montenegro, at International music competition Petar Konjović, at International competition Slobomir in Bijeljina, as well as at many competitions in her home-country. She is both a member of UKLAPEV – The Piano Teacher Association of Vojvodina as well as of the European Piano Teachers’ Association EPTA.


Sergio De Simone

Sergio De Simone was born in Florence. He studied piano with Giuseppe Tanzini and chamber music with Franco Rossi, cellist of the famous Quartetto Italiano. In 1995 he graduated from the Arrigo Boito Conservatory of Music of Parma with the highest marks, Laude and Honorable Mention. He has attended master classes with Murray Perahia, Aldo Ciccolini, Philippe Cassard, Bruno Canino, Christopher Elton, Alessandro Specchi e Pier Narciso Masi.  In 1995, ‘96 and ‘98 he took part at Joaquin Achucarro’s Summer Festival in the Chigiana Academy in Siena where he was awarded the Diploma di Merito, the Guido Agosti, the SIAE and the E. Contestabile scholarships. In January 1996 De Simone began studying with Joaquin Achucarro at Southern Methodist University (Dallas) as an Artist Diploma student, recipient of the Joel Estes Tate Scholarship. In 1996/97 he won the Don Nobles Award for accompanying and in 1998 the Von Mickwitz Prize for piano and the Soloist competition.
As an active solo and chamber pianist he performs for prestigious music societies in Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Austria, France, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, etc. As a soloist he has performed with the Romanian State Orchestra, the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Strumentale-Città di Prato, Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Solisti di Città Lirica Orchestra of Pisa, etc. His repertoire includes Piano Concertos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Ravel, Grieg, Shostakovic, Chopin. Sergio is a very active pedagogue: he taught Piano at Gesualdo da Venosa Conservatoire in Potenza, Mascagni Conservatoire in Livorno (Italy) and from 2013 at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.  He is regularly invited to give master classes in Italy, UK, Austria, USA, Croatia, Bosnia, Austria, India and Singapore, etc. for major musical Universities. Many of his students have won prizes at international competitions. At the moment he is a guest professor at KUG (University for Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria).


Yurii Kot

Jurii Kot finished the Mykola Lysenko Kyiv Specialized Music School in the class of professor Weintraub. In 1991 he graduated with honours from the Tchaikovsky Kyiv State Conservatory and in 1993 he received a postgraduate degree from the same Conservatory in the class of prof. Kozlov. He was appointed Laureate of the following piano competitions: the Mykola Lysenko National Piano Competition (Kyiv, 1988), the All-Union Rachmaninoff Piano Competition (Moscow, 1990) and the First Prokofiev International Piano Competition (St. Petersburg, 1992). In Ensemble with Iryna Aleksiychuk he won both the First International Chamber Music Competition Golden Autumn (Khmelnytskyi, 1993) as well as the 45th ARD International Piano Duo Competition (München, 1996) and the 6th Murray Dranoff International Piano Duo Competition (Miami, 1997). Furthermore, he has performed with many symphony orchestras in Ukraine, Russia, Germany, the USA and Japan. He has made numerous recordings for Ukrainian radio stations, most of which have still been preserved. He has also collaborated with Ukrainian Television in Ukraine, Serbia, Germany and in the USA. Since 1994 he has been teaching at the Department of Special Piano of the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Kyiv, where in 2002 he was appointed an assistant professor. From 2019 to 2022 Jurii was the head of the piano department. Besides he took part as a jury member at piano competitions like: I Prokofiev International Competition for Young Pianists (St. Petersburg, Russia, 2000), I International Competition for Young Pianists, Violinists and Cellists (Tbilisi, Georgia, 2000), I International Competition for Young Pianists Gradus ad Parnassum (Kragujevac, Serbia, 2001, 2003 and 2005), International Competition Isidor Bajić (Novi Sad, Serbia, 2004), Young Musician Slovenia Eurovision Competition (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2007) and International Gavrilin Competition (Vologda, Russia, 2007), etc. He has held master classes in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Japan, the USA, etc. In 1995 he was awarded the title of Honorary artist of Ukraine. In February of 2000 he was granted the L. Revutski Prize by the Ministry of Culture and Art, The Composers’ Union and the National Music Council of Ukraine for concert activity and contemporary music performance. In 2019 he was declared as the People’s Artist of Ukraine.


Lovre Marušić

Lovre Marušić was given his first piano lesson by Rozarija Samodol in his hometown, Omiš. Having been invited by a well-known Russian pianist, Natalia Trull, he left for Moscow in 2006 to attend the Central Music School at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. He started studying at the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb in the class of prof. Rubena Dalibaltayan then continued and graduated in the class of prof. Ljubomir Gašparović. He was awarded both the Rector’s as well as the Dean’s Award by the University of Zagreb for exemplary results during his study. He pursued his postgraduate studies at Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar in the class of Grigory Gruzman. He is also the winner of numerous remarkable prizes at distinguished piano competitions, of which the most outstanding are: The first prize at 20. International Competition Santa Cecilia in Porto (2018), The first prize at the International Competition IMF in Paris (2018) as well as the first both the commission and the audience award at the International piano competition Isidor Bajić in Novi Sad (2016). He has performed with renowned orchestras and first-class chamber groups such as The Cleveland Orchestra, The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, The Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra, The Belgrade Symphony Orchestra, The Irkutsk Philharmonic Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of the Croatian National Theatre HNK Split, Escher string quartet- New York, The Beethoven Trio Bonn, The Zagreb soloists and The Split soloists. He confirmed his international reputation by winning the Silver Medal and the special Robert Schumann award at the prestigious piano competition known as International Telekom Beethoven Piano Competition (Bonn, 2023) and also by winning the Silver Medal at the Cleveland International Piano Competition (Cleveland, 2021). As a soloist and chamber musician he is going to have three tours to China as well as the tour with the Slovak Philharmonic and Mo. Daniel Raiskin in Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia in the 2023/2024 season. He is currently working as an assistant chair of the Piano Department at the Music Academy in Zagreb, performing the role of the artistic director of the International Festival of Chamber Music Ostinato in Omiš at the same time.


Vladimir Mlinarić

Vladimir Mlinarić finished both his elementary and secondary music school in Pula. He graduated from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana in the class of prof. Zdenka Novak and improved himself in Vienna in the class of the prof. L. Brumberg. While still a student Vladimir was awarded several prizes such as The Prešeren Student Prize and first prize at national competition in Velenje, federal in Dubrovnik, and international held in the Zemono castle. He was also granted prizes at international competitions in Italy and Germany (Baden-Baden, the first prize -as the absolute winner). He held his first solo recital in Pula in 1981.He has performed as a soloist and with various chamber ensembles in most of European capitals (Paris, München, Turin, Milan, Florence, Vienna, Edinburgh, Bruxelles…), and in the USA, Canada, China, Chile and Russia. He has also made performances at international festivals, where he played together with reputable artists (Barbara Bonney, Pierre Amoyal, Igor Garvis, Kurt Widmer, Nurit Pacht, Marcos and Bernarda Fink, Mirjam Kalin, Alessandro Svab, Jasminka Stancul). He has been a member of the trio Luwigana since its foundation in 1994 (the winners of Bettet and Župančić Award). Vladimir is also a modern music performer and was the first performer to have played works by I. Petric, B. Leskovic, T. Svetet, P. Ramovs and others.
He is regarded by the critics as a sophisticated interpreter embodying both academic achievements with free phantasy, technical perfection and love for music. His performances are evaluated as explicit and plain and his style as witty, original and discreet. Since 2002 Vladimir has held piano professorship at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. He is a regular jury member at competitions in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Russia. He has also been holding master classes in Croatia, Slovenia, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy and Montenegro.



Vojislav Ivanović

Guitarist, composer and pedagogue Vojislav Ivanović was born in Sarajevo. He started playing guitar at the age of 10.  He received an academic and Master’s degree both in guitar at the Athens Conservatory as well as in composition at the University of Sarajevo. From an early age he performed both as a soloist as well as a member of chamber orchestras and with orchestras such as: Sarajevo Philharmonic, Trinity College Strings, St. George Strings, Camerata Serbica, Macedonian Philharmonic and Macedonia Jeunesse Musicale Symphonic. He also made performances and recordings with world-renowned jazz musicians: double-bass player Arild Andersen, saxophonist Bendik Hofseth, drummer Paul Wertico (an ex member of Pat Metheny Group), trumpet-player Paolo Fresu, pianist Miloš Petrović and guitarist and composer Vlatko Stefanovski. Being a composer of diverse interests, his opus represents the works for solo instruments (guitar, piano, harp, violin, flute etc), for a chamber orchestra and an orchestra.  The most notable guitar pieces are Café Pieces and Sonata, Balkan Express (guitar duet), Raku for chamber orchestra, English Concerto for guitar and strings and Concerto di Mare Nostrum for two guitars and orchestra. Ivanović’s pieces have been performed by world-renowned artists and orchestras such as: New Russia Symphony (con. Yuri Bashmet), Zagreb Soloists, Vienna Pons Artis Orchestra, the Tijuana Festival Orchestra, Boston Alea Contemporary Ensemble, and many others.
As a prolific TV and film composer Vojislav has achieved the greatest success with music for TV serial Porodica Milić (TV Sarajevo) and with music for a documentary Halda, which by representing Bosnia and Herzegovina won prestigious Prix d’Italia award at Pesaro Film Festival. Together with his wife Aleksandra he founded Levante Guitar Duo in 2008. In the season of 2019/2020 duo’s career culminated in exceptional success during three extensive tours in the USA. Ivanović is a highly-respected pedagogue, lecturer and a jury member at world festivals among which one of the most outstanding is GFA – Guitar Foundation of America International Convention and Competition (Miami, 2019). Additionally, he is a tenured professor of guitar and composition at the Music Academy of the Sarajevo East University. Since 2016 Vojislav Ivanović has been both the founder and the director of the international competition Guitar United in East Sarajevo.


Marco Tamayo

Marco Tamayo, the Cuban guitarist with Austrian citizenship, acclaimed as the “Il Re della Chitarra” has preserved his international reputation in all fields of classical guitar. Tamayo, the new Professor for classical guitar at the Universität der Künste Berlin (UDK) is winner of major international competitions with more than 25 awards among which we can list the International Guitar Competition Michele Pittaluga (Italy), International Guitar Competition Andrés Segovia (Spain), Vienna-Rust, Nikita Koshkin International Guitar Competition (Austria), Leo Brouwer International Guitar Competition in Havana (Cuba). Marco Tamayo is a well-known soloist and cooperates with different chamber music ensembles. His repertory includes all different styles and is considerably large. As a president of Jury panels and organiser of guitar festivals, Marco Tamayo has gained experience since early age. Lately, his interest in composition has lead him to create new literature for the instrument.
Tamayo started playing guitar at the early age of three years old, he was hailed as a prodigy child at the age of six and his first international tour took place in Europe when the young guitarist was ten years old. His pedagogical experience counts with Professorship at the Sidney University (Australia), at the GMPU (Austria), at the Mozarteum University of Arts-Salzburg (Austria), at the Academy of arts Gdansk (Poland), and recently he won, among more than 400 guitarists from all over the world, the Professorship at the UDK Berlin. His class is joined by guitarist from all around the globe.  Tamayo’s book “Essential Principles for the interpretation on the Classical Guitar” changed the approach to classical guitar teaching around the world. Tamayo is the Artistic Director of the “Michele Pittaluga Int. Guitar contest” and director and founder of the “Klagenfurt Int. Competition and Festival” in Austria (event that ended last 2020).  In 2023 Marco Tamayo presented his new project online “Tamayo’s Masterclasses”, a platform that aims to share his knowledge collected throughout the years, performing and analysing famous works and basic compositions for the instrument.


Xhevdet Sahatxhija

Xhevdet Sahatxhija graduated from the Music Academy in Zagreb in the class of Professor Darko Petrinjak. As a guitar professor, he has been working for many years in Music school Pavao Markovac. Currently, he is an art advisor at the Faculty of Arts and Culture in Osijek and an associate professor at the Faculty of Arts in Peja (Kosovo). From 2003-2017 he worked as an art associate at the Academy of Music in Zagreb and from 2003-2021, as an associate professor at the Faculty of Arts – Department of Music in Prishtina. He has educated generations of young guitarists among which there are many who have won valuable awards at national and international competitions and who are now recognized artists and music teachers. In 2004 he received Croatian Society of Music and Dance Teachers Annual Award. From 2003 to 2009 he was the head of professional council for guitar pedagogues and a mentor to many young teachers. Furthermore, Sahatxhija was the president of the Croatian Association of Guitar Teachers from 2010-2018, and from 2009 to 2014 the director of the Music School in Novska (Croatia). In addition to his regular teaching work he has also led the International Summer Guitar School in Pučišća and Milna on the island of Brač and in Poreč as well. Apart from being a jury member at many national and international competitions, he also performs solo and as a member of various chamber ensembles in Croatia and abroad.




Ozren Bilušić

Ozren Bilušić was born in 1975 in Bjelovar. After finishing Science and math gymnasium and The Secondary Music School Vatroslav Lisinski (clarinet), he enrolls in the vocal pedagogy programme at Zagreb Academy of Music in the class of prof. Snježana Bujanović-Stanislav. In 1995 he becomes a professional episodic choir singer of the Croatian National Theatre Opera Chorus in Zagreb, in 2004 a soloist, and in 2016 he is promoted in the leading opera singer of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.
On his home stage he has performed more than 70 roles. He is a regular guest performer of the Croatian National Theatre in Split, Split Summer Festival, The Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, and also of the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin. He has collaborated with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, The Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles in Croatia. In addition he is a regular member and also one of the co-founders of the Croatian Vocal Ensemble Sv. Blaž.
He is a recipient of several awards: the Porin award in the category for the best performance of the Boris Papandopulo’s Afternoon Symphony (2003); the Milan Pihler Award of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka for best male performance (Fra Melitone in the opera The Force of Destiny) as a part of the opera programme of the 2011/2012 season; the Vladimir Ruždjak Award for the best opera creation in the role of Chapman of opera Lennon by Ivo Josipović (the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, 2023).


Snežana Nena Brzaković

Snežana Nena Brzaković studied singing in the class of prof. B. Cvejić and prof. R. Smiljanić in Belgrade. She both improved herself professionally as well as finished her postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik Hans Eisler with the prof. Norma Sharp. She was improving her educational achievements together with noteworthy musicians of the world opera scene like B. Fassbaender, I. Borgh, S. Skigin and others. She performed a lot of singing roles and held concerts and recitals in Germany, Austria, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Serbia, Spain, etc. From 1998 to 2007 she taught singing and vocal pedagogy at the Hochschule für Musik Hans Eisler in Berlin. Since 2006 she has been the artistic director of the Institute of vocal pedagogy and breathing technique in Berlin.She also works as a visiting professor at the Music Academy in Vilnius, Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, the Conservatory of Music in Maribor and Ljubljana. She is a regular participant at international master classes and a jury member at singing competitions all around the world. A great deal of her students have become successful opera singers performing on international stages. She has been teaching singing since 2007, and since 2017 she has been the artistic director of The International Opera Festival Oper-Oder-Spree in Beeskow (Germany). Since 2015 she has been working as a vocal coach of the Children Choir under the direction of Vinzenz Weissenburger at The Berlin Staatsoper.
Due to her highly-praised skills both as a vocal pedagogue and a teacher of breathing technique she collaborates with various professional choirs, opera houses and distinguished conductors like Daniel Barenboim, Simone Young, Diego Fasolis, Zubin Mehta and others. Thus she has held master classes in Malaysia, Singapore, Finland, Spain, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia, Sweden, Turkey, Mexico etc. Since 2020 she has been active as an authorised examiner of Master’s degree in the Swiss opera studio of the Bern University of Arts in Switzerland.


Claudia Visca

Born in New York, soprano Claudia Visca graduated from the acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she studied with Eufemia Giannini and Margret Harshaw.  A Fulbright Scholarship took her to the Hochschule fur Musik Wien where she finished her education under the guidance of Ks. Hilde Rossel-Majdan and Anton Dermota. Claudia Visca has worked with renowned conductors, stage directors, and artists, including Eugene Ormandy, Gustav Kuhn, Istvan Kertesz, Miguel Gomez-Matinez, Sandor Vegh, Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, Pina Bausch, Christine Mielitz, Marcel Prawy, Bruno Canino, Rudolf Serkin, members of the Guarneri Quartet, Edith Mathis, Agnes Baltsa and Placido Domingo. A highlight of Claudia Visca’s career was to sing Maria in West Side Story conducted by the composer, Leonard Bernstein. During her long stage career, Claudia Visca guested in more than 25 opera houses in Europe, among them those in Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne, Geneva, Vienna, and Zürich. In over 2,000 performances, she appeared in more than 75 roles in operas, operettas, and musicals as well as in concerts. From 1998 to 2003, Claudia Visca was voice professor at the Hochschule für Musik Cologne.  In 2003, she became a professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Claudia Visca has given international masterclasses in vocal technique and interpretation in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland and the United States. Her students are winners of international competitions and are engaged in major opera houses and concert halls as soloists all over the world, including: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Bologna, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Glyndebourne, Hamburg, Lisbon, London (Convent Garden), Madrid, Milan (La Scala), Moscow, Munich, New York (The Metropolitan), Paris, Peking, St. Petersburg, Prague (National Theatre), Rome, Seoul, Tokyo, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.


Ljubica Živković

Ljubica Živković was born in Belgrade. She studied solo singing in the class of prof. Zvonimir Krnetić and music theory in the class of prof. Petar Ozgijan at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade. She graduated in the class of prof. Radmila Smiljanić. While still studying she passed the audition for National Theatre in Belgrade where she performed as a soloist in 360 shows for 13 seasons. Since 1994 she has been working as a vocal pedagogue. She started working as a vocal pedagogue at the Music School Jovan Bandur in Pančevo and has continued doing it at the Music School Stanković up to the present day. She has been supporting the development of the singing department in Music School Vlado Milošević in Banja Luka for three years. She has had her class at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade since 2004. Her pupils have won the most prestigious awards at all significant competitions both in their home country as well as abroad. In 2000 Ljubica founded the Ensemble Operetica made of her present and former pupils and students. In collaboration with the Music Youth of Serbia the Ensemble Operetica has made performances in many Serbian cities.
Ljubica Živković also participates as a jury member at the following competitions: International Competition Petar Konjović in Belgrade, The Singers’ Competition Nikola Cvejić in Ruma, The Republic Competition held in Serbia and in the Republic of Serbia, Days of Solo Singing in Lazarevac, International Competition Davorin Jenko, International  Competition Lazar Jovanović in Belgrade, International competition Distant Chords in Split, and International Chamber Music Festival ART in DUO / ART in TRIO in Šabac, etc. She has been granted the Award for her perennial extraordinary achievements in her pedagogue work by the Association of Music and Ballet Pedagogues of Serbia, the Annual Award of The Association of Music and Ballet Schools of Serbia, and the award for the best pedagogue of Vojvodina.


Ante Jerkunica

Bass Ante Jerkunica started his career in Croatian National Theatre of Split in 2002. Four years later he won the first prize at the international competition in Zagreb, which marked the beginning of his international career. Having accepted the invitation of one of the most prestigious opera houses, Deutsche Oper Berlin, very soon he became the holder of the bass repertoire in a wide range of programme from bel canto to Wagner. He has performed a few distinguished roles such as Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Fillip II (Don Carlo), Padre Guardiano (La forza del destino), Banco (Macbeth), Alvise (La Gioconda), Rodolfo (Sonnambula), Sarastro (The Magic Flute), Marcel (Hugenoti), Gremin (Onjegin), Pimen (Boris Godunov), Fafner (Rheingold und Siegfried), Hunding (Walküre), King Mark (Tristan und Isolde), Daland (The Flying Dutchman). Simultaneously with his performances in the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he has also appeared as a guest performer in opera houses from Paris to Buenos Aires where he received the audience award for the best interpreter of the opera season for his performing role of „Acquarius“in the opera Rusalka in the famous Teatro Colon, and furthermore in 2017 he performed the role of the Prince  Khovansky (Opera Khovanschina) during the BBC Proms manifestation in the London Royal Albert Hall. He has collaborated so far with countless outstanding conductors such as: Ricardo Muti, Kiril Petrenko, Semyon Bychkov, Ivor Bolton, Marco Armiliato, Sir Mark Elder, Kent Nagano, Adam Fischer, Sir Donald Runnicles, Marc Albrecht, Michael Jurowsky, Alexander Vedernikov, Bertrand de Billy, Alain Altinoglu etc. It is noteworthy to mention his collaborations with remarkable opera producers like: Robert Carsen, Dmitry Tcherniakov, David Alden, Casper Holten, La fura del Baus/Alex Ole, Hans Neuenfels and Romeo Castelluci.