Japanese-American violinist Mayumi Kanagawa began her violin studies at the age of four in Japan. Moving to New York shortly thereafter and at the age of twelve to Los Angeles, she is currently an undergraduate student of Professor Kolja Blacher at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin. Recipient of the 1st prizes at the 2013 Jascha Heifetz Competition in Vilnius and the 2011 Irving M. Klein Competition in San Francisco, as well as being a finalist at the 2015 International Sibelius Competition in Helsinki and in 2014 at the TONALi Competition in Hamburg. Mayumi has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Lithuanian National Symphony (the Bruch concerto), the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (the Tchaikovsky concerto) and the Kremerata Baltica (Mozart’s Fourth Concerto).
Mayumi has participated in such major international festivals as the Verbier Festival Academy, the Yellow Barn Festival and the Aspen Music Festival, and has also been a featured artist on Performance Today’s Young Artist Series, with her recordings and interviews being broadcast nationally on NPR stations.
Mayumi’s former teachers include Yoshiko Nakura, Masao Kawasaki in the Juilliard Pre-College division and Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School.
Mayumi performs on a violin crafted by Pietro Guarneri (Mantua, late 17th century), on generous loan from the Deutsche Musikinstrumentenfond of the Deutsch Stiftung Musikleben.
Born in Berlin in 1995, Christoph Heesch began playing the cello at the age of six with Andreas Weller. In 2005 he enrolled in the Julius-Stern-Institut for Gifted Children of the Universität der Künste (UdK) in Berlin. He was taught by Professor Matias de Oliveira Pinto. Moreover, between 2005 and 2013 Christoph was a member of the ensemble 12 Cellists of the Julius-Stern-Institut. From 2008 until 2015 he was a student in the class of Professor Jens Peter Maintz (UdK Berlin), and since 2015 he has been taught by Professor Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt (UdK Berlin).
In addition to his musical education, he has attended several master-classes with David Geringas, Wolfgang Boettcher, László Fenyö, Danjulo Ishizaka, Martin Ostertag, Troels Svane, Reinhard Latzko and Wolfgang E. Schmidt. When he was eleven years old he made his debut as a soloist. Since then he has been giving concerts as a soloist in addition to appearing as a chamber musician in Germany, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Japan.
Christoph Heesch is a multiple prize-winner of the German federal competition Jugend Musiziert. In 2008 and 2010 he won 1st prizes in the categories “duo” and “solo” in addition to some special awards. Christoph is a recipient of the Ruth Flesch Memorial Award of the Carl Flesch Akademie (2010). Moreover, he won 2nd prize and a special award at the X International Antonio Janigro Competition in Croatia in 2014. At the TONALi15 competition he was awarded the Mieczysław Weinberg Prize and the prize for the best performance of classical music.
Christoph was recipient of the 1st prize at the XII Domenico Gabrielli Competition (2015). At the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb competition in 2016 he was awarded a grant after reaching the semi-finals.
Since 2008 he has been a scholarship holder of the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now foundation, as well as, since 2015, of the German national academic foundation Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.
Friedrich Thiele (cello) was born in 1996 in Dresden. Since 2007 he has been a pupil of the Landesgymnasium für Musik Carl-Maria von Weber in Dresden. From 2006-2011 he was a pupil of Ulf Prelle, the Cello Soloist of the Dresdner Philharmonie.
In 2008 he won 2nd prize at the International Cello Competition in Liezen (Austria).
In 2009 he won 2nd prize at the International Dotzauer Competition for Cello in Dresden.
In 2010, at the national competition Jugend musiziert in Germany Friedrich Thiele won 1st prize and a special prize from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben. Since then he has received a scholarship from them, and he performs on a French cello from the German Fund of Musical Instruments.
He has taken part in a number of master-classes conducted by Götz Teutsch, Stephan Forck, Alban Gerhardt and Peter Bruns. Friedrich is a young student in the class of Peter Bruns in Leipzig.
Since autumn 2012 he has been a member of Live Music Now in Leipzig. In September 2015 he won 3rd prize and the Audience Award at the TONALi competition in Hamburg. In the final round he played the Rococo Variations with the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.
Hanni Liang (piano) was born in 1993 in Bielefeld (Germany). She took her first piano lesson when she was eight years old and became a young student of Barbara Szczepańska after rapid progress, followed by many prizes and concerts. Among them were 1st prizes at the Rotary Piano Competition, the Van Bremen Piano Competition and the Concorso Pianistico Internazionale di Roma. Concert performances have taken her to Austria, China, Spain, Italy and Poland, where she has appeared at the Tianjin Piano Festival and the International Music Festival Chopin. Furthermore she travels regularly for concerts to Switzerland (the BSI Engadin Festival) and to respected music festivals in Germany including the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Best of NRW, Schumannfest and Gezeitenkonzerte.
In 2010 she was chosen as the “Young Steinway Artist” and was given a Steinway advancement award. Furthermore, she has received sponsorships from the Dörken Stiftung, the Association for Westphalia Cultural Work, Bechstein and the Richard Wagner Foundation among others. Since 2013 she has been an acclaimed TONALi-Musician and has thus developed outstanding skills in musical communication. TONALi has shaped her further career development and influenced her personality in art, as well as her musical engagement, to encourage more young listeners of classical music and to obtain cultural education.
Her close collaboration with the renowned German composer Manfred Trojahn led to the premiere of his piece for piano Leise Gondeln and developed not only into a deep friendship, but also led to a recording of Trojahn’s Six Préludes in 2015. That disc was the pianist's debut recording.
Her frequent collaborations with the Swiss-Uruguayan pianist Homero Francesch have had a fundamental effect on her musical understanding. Other influences have come from such distinguished musicans as Bernd Goetzke, Jacques Rouvier and John Perry.
The 2015-16 season saw Liang undertake a two-week tour of China which included concerts at the country's most prestigious concert halls including the Forbidden City Hall in Beijing, the Tianjin Concert Hall and the Qintai Concert Hall in Wuhan. In July she was honoured to adjudicate the grand finale of TONALi 2016 at the Laeiszhalle Hamburg.