Hanna Shybayeva

pianist (Netherlands), international soloist.

Her playing has been praised by both the public and the press for her deep musical interpretations, captivating energy, a great sense of form and a rich colour palette. Devoted to music in every form, Hanna enjoys her solo performances as much as being a partner in both chamber and vocal music.
She recorded for labels a.o. Philips-Universal, Etcetera and Brilliant Classics. 
Her duo CD 'Sounds of War' together with violinist Maria Milstein was highly praised by the international press and was chosen as one of the five best classical albums of 2015 by the main Dutch newspaper NRC. The disk was awarded Edison Klassiek Award 2015 in the category Chamber Music. 
She is the first classical musician that has participated in the Studio Konzert Limited Edition vinyl series of the Bauer Studios/NEUKLANG. This live concert recording includes works by Couperin, Scarlatti, Chopin, Debussy, Gershwin and Kapustin and is named by the press as an 'album not to be missed'.
Hanna had the privilege to work closely with professors like Dmitri Bashkirov, Ferenc Rados and Naum Grubert, which had a deep influence on her musical development. Since then, her busy schedule includes appearances in Europe, Russia and North America.
Since 2013 Hanna has held a position as piano professor at the International Anton Rubinstein Music Academy in Düsseldorf (Germany)/Conservatorio Giacomo Puccini La Spezia (Italy) www.rubinstein-akademie.de

Justus Grimm

cello (Germany), international soloist. 

Professor for violoncello at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerpen in 2008, where he acts also as the Artistic Director since 2013.
The beginning of his career in 1993 was marked by his splendid performance as a soloist in the première by Matthias Pintscher's cello concert "La Metamorfosi di Narciso" with the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Besides live recordings by many European radio stations there are already numerous CD records. Worth mentioning here is a CD, Trio Wiek (Christina Fassbender, Justus Grimm and Florian Wiek) with works by Philippe Gaubert, which was awarded a 5/5 rating by the French magazine Diapaison. 
The 2012 saw the recording with earlier works by G. Enescu that was highly acclaimed by the international press and shortly thereafter a complete recording of the chamber music works by Cesar Franck, which was awarded the Prix Cecilia as the best CD of the year 2012 by the Belgian press.
As a founding member of the Malibran Quartet ( www.malibranquartet.com ) he devoted himself to the exceptionally rich repertoire of this genre since 2008.
He plays a violoncello dated 1760 of P.A. Testore.

Sofia Kiprskaya

harp (Russia)


Top prize winner of numerous of international contests. She was presenting Russia at the World's Harp Congress in Sydney, Australia. Sofia is the artistic director of the International Harp Festival at the Mariinsky Theater. She has performed extensively across Russia and abroad in venues such as Fontainebleau and Carnegie Hall as well as on many major stages in Australia, Japan, Europe and the US.
In collaboration with the Russian Institute of History of Arts, Sofia has recorded two CD's of music from Elizaveta Alekseevna era. All musical excerpts on that CD were taken from the original library's manuscripts.
Soloist of the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra since 2010.

Mamed Sadykh-Pur

multi-instrumentalist (Kazakhstan)

Mamed Sadykh-Pur, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, author of many musical works for theater.

Toon Fret

flute (Belgium)

During his studies Toon Fret has won the main Belgian competitions for young musicians, including Tenuto and Belfius Classics among others. Before forming a duo with pianist Veronika Iltchenko 2010, he became known as the flutist of the ensembles Oxalys (www.oxalys.be) and het Collectief (www.hetcollectief.be). As a chamber musician in these and other ensembles, he performed at the major festivals and important venues in Europe, Asia and South America. His artistic stand is the European chamber music from the Belle Époque, though his concerts and recordings witness a much broader artistic horizon, which ranges from medieval to contemporary music. 
Toon Fret is a Professor of flute and chamber music at the Royal Conservatory of Liège.

Veronika Iltchenko

piano (Belgium)

Gained widespread recognition for her performances of late romantic oeuvres that included Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov, and 20th-century works by composers such as Debussy, Prokofiev, Ustvolskaya and Badadjanian. She subsequently refined her skills by studying with Jan Michiels at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and with Rian de Waal at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. She became known as a concertpianist, but forms since 2010 a duo with Toon Fret, flute.

Zhanat Yermanov

clarinet (Kazakhstan)

Honored Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Winner of International competitions. Artistic Director of the State Woodwind Quintet. Dean of the Faculty of instrumental performance of the Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory in Almaty. Professor of Art History.

Lilia Gaissina

soprano (Russia)

Soloist of the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Academic Musical Theater.

Utrecht String Quartet (Netherlands)

The New York Times:
"...richly colored and intensely dramatic performance"(concert NYC)
"...the Utrecht String Quartet delivers lively Allegros, wistful Adagios, cogent Scherzos, in delicate, elegant and simply very, very good performances."
The Strad:
"…the long-established Utrecht players are in every way outstanding 
"A top-class modern recording" (Tchaikovsky) 
The Quartet is also active pedagogically and is as Quartet in Residence responsible for the chamber-music class of the Utrecht Conservatory.

Chris Todorov

contrabass (Germany)

Chris studied at the music universities of Vienna with Prof. Alois Posch and Berlin "Hanns Eisler" with Prof. Esko Laine and participated in master classes in Ferrara, Potenza and Saarbrücken with Klaus Stoll (Berlin Philharmonic), Giuseppe Ettore ( Scala Milano ) and Herbert Mayr ( Vienna Philharmonic). Christian Todorov was also a member of the Gustav-Mahler-youth-orchestra playing under the musical direction of Claudio Abbado.
In 2005 Todorov was part of the symphony orchestra of the Moscow Easter Festival, conducted by Valery Gergiev. After participating in traineeships with various German orchestras, such as the Radio-Symphony Saarbrücken and Frankfurt Opera, as well as chamber music activities with Gerhard Schulz of the famous Alban-Berg-Quartet, Christian Todorov was appointed Assistant Principal Double Bassist of the Southwestfalian Philharmonic in 2006.
Forte Music Fest 2016 – 20017 participant

Rahim Alhaj

oud (Iraq)

Rahim has performed around the globe and is considered one of the world’s finest oud players. He has recorded and performed with other master musicians of varied backgrounds and styles including genre-busting American guitarist Bill Frisell, modern accordion innovator Guy Klucevsek, Indian sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and indy-rock pioneers REM. He has composed pieces for solo oud, string quartet, symphony and more. Delicately combining traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary styling and influence, his pieces establish new concepts without altering the foundation of the traditional “Iraqi School of Oud”. Rahim has released twelve CDs since 2002, two of which received Grammy® nominations. Letters From Iraq (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2017) is a collection of new compositions inspired by letters he has received from Iraqi women and youth, and is performed with percussion and string quintet. His latest record One Sky, with his amazing trio featuring Iranian santour maestro Sourena Sefati and Palestinian-American percussionist Issa Malluf, was released on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings April 27, 2018.
In 2009 Rahim was honored with a United States Artists Ford Fellowship Award and in 2015 the National Endowment for The Arts Heritage Fellowship.

Gregoire Blanc

thereminvox (France)

Gregoire just graduated in mechanical engineering at “École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers”, and is now studying music as a science (acoustics, signal processing and computer science applied to music) at IRCAM – the famous research institute created by Pierre Boulez in the 70s. After having studied music for a while (cello, piano and trumpet), Grégoire Blanc first heard about the theremin as he was 15. Ever since until present it became as main focus which lead him to exciting musical journey.

Nonna Siamandi

piano, harpsichord (Kazakhstan)

Pianist, composer, arranger. Awards recipient at the Erdenko Competition, Belgorod (Russia) in 2002 and the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan. Currently holds position at the Academy of Arts Zhurgenov. Participant of FMF 2017.

Wladimir Kossjanenko

viola (Croatia)

Wladimir has established himself as an international soloist and active chamber music interpreter.
Since 2008, he is a professor of viola and chamber music at the Academy of Art at the University of Split in Croatia.
Together with the prominent Croatian pianist Vesna Podrug he founded a festival “Days of J.S.Bach in Split” in 2012, which is organized annually for the birthday of the composer.
In 2012 Wladimir founded a new String orchestra “Split Virtuosi” to become its conductor and artistic director. President of Croatia Dr. Ivo Josipović took over the patronage of the first season of the "Split Virtuosi". The orchestra Split Virtuosi successfully has toured Europe and released a CD.

Korlan Kartenbayeva

zhetygen (Kazakhstan)

Winner of national and international competitions. For more than 5 years he has been teaching zhetygen at the experimental school at the Kazakh National Conservatory named after Kurmangazy, at the Elebek College of Pop and Circus Art, at the music boarding School of Arts Baysseitova. Member of International Council for Traditional Music. Korlan conducts seething life of a performing artist.

Gabit Nessipbaev

organ (Kazakhstan)

Honored Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan. From 1988 - lecturer of the organ class of the Kazakh National Conservatory named after Kurmangazy (currently head of the organ class, associate professor). Commander of the Order of Honor. Gabit conducts active concert activities in the philharmonic society, as well as in the near and far abroad.

Damir Burkitbayev

clarinet (Kazakhstan)

Graduate of the Juilliard School of Music (New York, USA), Damir is a winner of several international competitions. Damir is one of the most prominent representatives of the new wave of young performers, and remains actively involved in various international and republican projects. Currently Damir is running busy schedule occupying positions in the orchestra of the Abay Opera Theatre and the Academy State Symphony Orchestra (Almaty, Kazakhstan).

Zarina Altynbayeva

soprano (Kazakhstan)

Since 2013 she has been leading soloist of the Abay Opera Theater in Almaty. She was a participant of the FMF 2017. In 2018 she has won the top prize at the 16th Tokyo International Competition (Tokyo, Japan) along with the Audience Award.

Nicholas Baker

percussion (USA)

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Nick is now an active and in-demand percussionist. Nick received a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri - Kansas City (2009), and a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from University of New Mexico (2011). Post-graduation, Nick studied Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Colombian, Indian and Middle-Eastern percussion styles with a myriad of teachers. In addition to performing with Rahim AlHaj, his South American fusion group, Baracutanga, performs regionally, nationally and internationally and has won four New Mexico Music Awards. Since 2012, Nick has also been the instructor for the Universal Beat drum circle class for the Albuquerque Academy Summer Session, incorporating rhythms from all around the world.

Jan Rudkovsky

conductor (Kazakhstan)


A graduate of the Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory (Almaty, Kazakhstan), Jan Rudkovsky holds the degree of Master of Arts in Music.
In 2004 Jan he became the head of the student mixed choir of the same Conservatory. As a leader of the choir he has gained international recognition.
2012 - 2 gold medals of the 28th International Schubert Choir Competition (Austria).
2010 winner of the Gold Medal at the World's Choir Games
2009 a recipient of two golden diplomas at the festival Venezia in Musica ( Venezia, Italy).
2008 - Diploma of the laureate of the festival of the 6th international festival of creative youth and students (Crimea).

Sabina Atageldiyeva

piano (Kazakhstan)


Member of the first Ensemble of Modern Music in Kazakhstan "Eegeru".
Participant of various national and international musical projects.
Actively engaged in performing and teaching activities.
Winner of regional and international competitions.
Collaborates with many Kazakhstani artists.

Eric Chalabayev

oboe (Kazakhstan) 


Since 2002 he serves as Principle Oboe of the New Russia Symphony Orchestra under Yuri Bashmet. As soloist frequently appeared with the Moscow Soloists chamber ensemble under the direction of Yuri Bashmet. Eric has performed in numerous concerts as soloists and chamber music partner with the GSO “New Russia” orchestra members, Maria Gambaryan (piano), “Franck Quartet”. A winner of the II Prize of the First All-Russian Contest of Wind Ensembles (Kazan, Russia).

Sourena Sefati

santour (Iran)


He learned “Radif Mirza Abdollah” (Persian Classical Music Style Learning) with Majid Kiani, a leading figure in the Iranian musical establishment, and the modern techniques of playing santour with master Kurdish musician Ardavan Kamkar. He won the Best Composer Award of Iranian music at Art University in 2006. Sourena Sefati served as music instructor at the Art University and Elmi-Karbordi University in Tehranfrom 2008 to 2014. Often called the santour playing master, Sourena has performed around the world and composed music. 
Sourena is the author of the book Dorrab: One hundred and seventeen Etudes for Santour.

Serge Litvinov

percussion (Kazakhstan)


As a young drummer Serge Litvinov took his first lesson from his father, Alexander Litvinov - a legendary drummer at the time. He is graduate of the Kurmangazy Kazakh State Conservatory. A winner of the top prize at the XIII Competition of Young Wind and Percussion Artists in Kazakhstan. Fluent in various styles and praised for his versatility Serge remains a musician in high demand. He currently teaches drums and percussion at the Zhurgenev Kazakh National Academy of Arts. Forte Music Fest 2016 participant. *Portrait by N.Postnikov

Eduardo Dvukhimenny

contrabass (Kazakhstan)


Participant of numerous international festivals, Eduardo is in high demand as engaging performer of many musical genres. Author and leader of its own vocal instrumental duo. Plays multiple instruments.
Forte Music Fest 2015 - 2016 participant.

The Rahim AlHaj Trio (USA)


The Rahim ALHaj Trio featuring 2-time Grammy nominee, National Endowment for The Arts National Heritage Fellow and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist Iraqi oud virtuoso and composer Rahim Alhaj joined by Iranian santour maestro Sourena Sefati and world percussion master Nicholas Baker. The trio perform Alhaj’s intricate compositions. Rahim’s music delicately combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary styling and influence. His compositions evoke the experience of exile from his homeland and of new beginnings in his adopted country. His pieces establish new concepts without altering the foundation of the traditional “Iraqi School of Oud”.

An oustanding group of young and talented players. Most of them run a busy schedule performing with leading Kazakh orchestras:


Kurvanzhan Akhatov, cello
Nadir Murat, viola
Zynkhar Akhmetbek, violin
Abylai Meirbekov, viola
Sezim Duishenbayeva, violin
Zhalgasbek Ryskeldy, violin
Eldana Abdrakhmanova, violin
Abay Mutan, tuba
Natalya Sadykh-Pur, accordeon