Akemi Murakami

Akemi Murakami, born in Japan, studied piano at the Kyoto University of Music and Art and with Prof. Felix Gottlieb at the Freiburg University of Music. She received her diploma at the University of Music and Theater Munich after studying with Prof. Helmut Deutsch and Prof. Donald Sulzen, Prof. Céline Dutilly, Prof. Siegfried Mauser and Fritz Schwinghammer. Masterclasses with Helmut Deutsch, Graham Johnson, Wolfram Rieger, Ian Bostridge, Julius Drake, Christian Gerhaher, Gerold Huber, Thomas Quasthoff and Justus Zeyen complete her education.

Murakami is a laureate and finalist of many important competitions, including »Schubert and the Music of Modernity« (Lied duo) in Graz.

She played at the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg in 2010 and debuted at the Max Reger Days in Weiden in 2012. Additionally she was promoted by Yehudi Menuhin “Live Music Now” Foundation. She is an official companion for the ARD music competition and at the »Liedakademie Vienna« with Angelika Kirchschlager.
With her duo partner Andreas Burkhart Akemi Murakami has already performed numerous Liederabende. She is the initiator and artistic director of the cycle»LIEDERLEBEN« in Munich.

Iris van Wijnen

Mezzo-soprano Iris van Wijnen studied at the Conservatory Utrecht. She participated in numerous master classes and is currently working with Brigitte Fassbaender, Michelle Breedt and Margreet Honig.

She won several competitions, including three prizes at the International Vocal Competition ‘s-Hertogenbosch 2014. Van Wijnen has performed as a concertante, among others, at the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble in Amsterdam. She was a member of the Opernstudios of the Bavarian State Opera in the season 2015/16, in the likes of Berta “Il barbiere di Siviglia” and young nun in “Der feurige Engel”. In 2016 she sang the part of Fenena in a successful production of “Nabucco” at the Passionstheater Oberammergau, where she will be performing in summer 2017 as Mary in “The Flying Dutchman”.

Other future engagements include parts such as Flora in “La Traviata”, Aksinja and Sonjetka in “Lady Macbeth von Mzensk” at Stadttheater Klagenfurt and second maid in “Elektra” at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

Äneas Humm

Äneas Humm made his debut at Bremerhaven Theatre at the age of 18 in the opera “Kommititonen! Young Blood” by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

At the moment, the  singer studies at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen with Krisztina Laki. He is also influenced by Thomas Mohr, David Thorner and Dora Kutschi-Doceva as well as the pianists Judit Polgar and Babette Hierholzer. It is very important for him to work with the director and conductor Thomas Albert under whose direction he was able to sing “De Profundis” by Nicolaus Bruhns with the Arp Schnittger Ensemble.

As a Lieder singer, he performed in Germany, Hungary, in the United States of America and in Switzerland. Äneas Humm has already been invited to several international festivals, such as the Liedfestival at the Lake of Zurich, the Langenberg Festival, the Arosa Kultursommer, the 23Arts Tannersville (USA) and the Musikfest Bremen.

Magdalena Hinz

24-year-old soprano Magdalena Hinz, born in Laufen/Bavaria, has been studying with Gudrun Pelker since October 2015 and with Jan Philip Schulze at Hanover University of Music, Theater and Media. Master classes with Christine Schäfer and Edith Mathis complemented their training.

She began her vocal education at the age of 15. In 2008 she sang the role of “Maria” at the “Salzburger Adventsingen” in the Grand Theater and took over the part of the “Angel” in the following three years. She won the first prize in the “Prima la musica” competition in Salzburg in 2007 and 2010. Concert performances and Lieder recitals at the State Theater Darmstadt and the world premiere of the song cycle “El gorrión” by Daniel Vargas (* 1986) in the Jagdschloss Kranichstein followed.

Her first guest performance led her to Osnabrück Theatre, where she was to be seen as a bride “Quiteria” by G. Ph. Telemann in the children’s opera “Don Quixotte at the wedding of Comacho” in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 season.

Anna Smith

After completing her studies at the Conservatorium of Music, Brisbane, Australia, Anna moved to Berlin, Germany. She was selected into the Academy of the Rundfunkchor Berlin, where she worked with renowned conductors such as Simon Halsey, Sir Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim. Performing with the Berliner Philharmoniker in the St Matthew Passion, directed by Peter Sellers, in the Berlin Philharmonie was a significant highlight.

Anna recently completed her Masters Degree in Lied, Oratorio and Concert at Universität der Künste, Berlin, with Carola Höhn. During her studies, Anna acquired a broad repertoire of Lied under the tutelage of Eric Schneider (Lied) and Axel Bauni (Contemporary Lied). She also attended Master Classes with Barbara Bonney and Hans-Christoph Rademann, among others.

In addition to Lied, Anna also focuses on performing contemporary music. She discovered her enthusiasm for unique and unconventional projects using classical and early music in a post-modern, urban environment in experimental music engagements such as the Berlin Kiez Oper“.

Anna has performed as a soloist at well known music festivals, including the Brisbane Festival and the Bangalow Music Festival (Australia) and at Musikfest Stuttgart. She currently works as a soloist in Germany and in various Lied and concert projects in Europe. Anna was recently accepted as a Lied soloist into the concert series “Vrienden van het Lied” in the Netherlands.

Fiona Pollak

Fiona Pollak, born in Vienna in 1986, received her first piano lessons at the age of five. She studied piano, organ and chamber music at the Vienna University of Music, among others. She completed her portfolio by studying vocal accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Pollak was awarded at the 1st International Competition for Organ and Vocals in Neuss. In November 2014 she also won the first prize of the Vocallis festival in Vaals with her brother Angelo Pollak and shortly afterwards they received the 3rd prize at the International Song duo competition in Enschede.
In June 2016 she won the special prize »Best Song Accompanist« at the renowned international Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, and shortly afterwards together with her duo partner Ilker Arcayürek the 1st prize at the International Song Art Competition in Stuttgart.

Raoul Steffani

Dutch baritone Raoul Steffani studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
Currently Steffani is a member of the Dutch National Opera Academy.

Steffani has participated in master classes with Thomas Hampson, Christa Ludwig, Marjana Lipovšek, Nelly Miricioiu and Elly Ameling.

The young artist won the “Elisabeth Everts Prijs” and the “Grachtenfestival Concours” in Amsterdam in 2016 and is a multiple winner of the Prinses Christina Concours in the Netherlands.

The baritone was a strong interest in art song. His repertoire includes the Liederkreis op. 39 and the Dichterliebe op. 48 by Robert Schumann.
In March 2017, Steffani and the German pianist Gerold Huber perform in Munich and Muziekgebouw Eindhoven.

As a finalist of the “Dutch Classical Talent” contest, Steffani will also perform together with pianist Daan Boertien in the 11 biggest concert halls of Holland in 2018.

Sean Michael Plumb

Hailed for his “big, rich voice and acting chops beyond the usual” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), 24-year-old Sean Michael Plumb enters the Ensemble of the Bayerische Staatsoper in autumn 2016 having spent the summer in the Salzburg Festival’s Young Singers Project.

He was recognized during the 2015-16 season with a multitude of awards including the Grand Prize of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Top Prize at the 2016 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, a 2016 Shoshana Foundation Grant, the 2015 Sullivan Foundation Award from The Sullivan Foundation, Top Prize at the 2015 Opera Index Competition, First Prize at the 2015 Gerda Lissner Liederkranz Competition, and the 2015 Theodor Uppman Prize from the George London Foundation.

Sean Michael Plumb has performed across the United States and with orchestras including the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, and the Curtis Symphony. He has been a young artist at The Glimmerglass Festival, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and the Aspen Music Festival. He was honored by President Obama as a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts at a ceremony at The White House.

Sean Michael Plumb was graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied under renowned instructors Mikael Eliasen and William Stone.

Marie Seidler

The German mezzo-soprano Marie Seidler studied with Prof. Hedwig Fassbender in Frankfurt am Main and passed her concert exam successfully. 2012/2013 she studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and passed with distinction. From 2016-19 she was part of the ensemble at Opera Gießen. Her roles include Flora (G. Verdi’s La Traviata), Annio (Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito), Olga (P.I. Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin), Dorabella (Mozart’s Così fan tutte), Cherubino (Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro), Fatime (C.M. v. Weber’s Oberon), Bostana (P. Cornelius’ Der Barbier von Bagdad) et al. Furthermore she sang at the Staatstheater Mainz, at the Opera Frankfurt am Main and the Opera Aachen. For the season 2019/20 she will return to Staatstheater Mainz as Fjodor in Mussorgskis opera Boris Godunow.

Marie Seidler is a prize winner of the international Hugo Wolf competition in Stuttgart and recipient of the Trude-Eipperle-Rieger prize. Furthermore she holds a scholarship of the Richard-Wagner-Stiftung.In 2013 she was selected as a young artist at the Britten-Pears-Festival in Aldeburgh.

She established herself as a welcome guest on the concert podium, including performances at King’s place, at the Handel Festival in London under the guidance of Laurence Cummings, at the Schleswig-Holstein festival et al. She sang G. Mahler’s Knaben Wunderhorn Lieder in Nancy (France) with the Orchestre Lyrique and was invited to the Eppaner song festival under the patronage of Brigitte Fassbaender as well as the Schubertìada in Barcelona. In August 2019 she gave a recital together with Wolfram Rieger at the Schubertíada Vilabertran. Marie Seidler is part of the “Bach:Vokal-Ensemble” in Stuttgart under the guidance of Kay Johannsen.

Marie attended master classes with Brigitte Fassbaender, Thomas Hampson and Helmut Deutsch.

Justin Austin

Born in Stuttgart/Germany to professional opera singer parents, Justin Austin began his singing career as a boy soprano performing at venues such as Teatro Real, Bregenzer Festspiele, Avery Fisher Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts .

2016 Justin Austin joined the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as a “Schwab Vocal Rising Star”, New York Festival Of Song in their “Emerging Artist Series”, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a “Richard Gaddes Festival Artist”. In July, 2016 Justin was honored by the historic National Association of Negro Musicians Inc. and named the National Winner of their prestigious Vocal Performance Scholarship. 2017 Justin Austin will join Heidelberger Frühling 2017 as scholar at Lied Academy under the artistical direction of Thomas Hampson.

Justin Austin’s prizewinning competitions include the Benjamin Mathews International Vocal Competition, George London Foundation Awards Competition, Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition for Emerging Artists, Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and the NANM National Vocal Competition.

Justin is a proud graduate of the Choir Academy of Harlem, Laguardia Arts, and Manhattan School of Music holding a Bachelor of Music Degree. he is currently a candidate for the Master of Music Degree at his alma mater.