Wolfgang Zerer, Chair of the Jury, Germany

Wolfgang Zerer received his first organ lessons from the organist at Passau Cathedral, Walther Schuster. In 1980 he began his studies at the College of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna; organ with Michael Radulescu, conducting with Karl Österreicher, and later harpsichord with Gordon Murray, plus Church Music. He studied harpsichord for two years with Ton Koopman in Amsterdam and church music in Stuttgart (organ with Ludger Lohmann). Wolfgang Zerer has won awards at several competitions, among them Bruges in 1982 and Innsbruck in 1983

After teaching at the colleges of music in Stuttgart and Vienna Wolfgang Zerer was appointed Professor of Organ at Hamburg´s College of Music and Theatre in 1989. He is also teaching at the College of Music in Groningen/Holland.

Wolfgang Zerer has given concerts and masterclasses almost all over Europe, Israel, the USA, Japan and South Korea. His growing lists of recordings includes organ music by Matthias Weckmann, J.S. Bach and Max Reger.

Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin, France

Ms Cauchefer-Choplin grew up in a musical family where she received piano instruction as a small child. Having studied in Le Mans, she entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where she joined the organ class of Rolande Falcinelli. She was awarded First Prize in organ, improvisation, harmony, fugue and counterpoint. Her academic success  was rewarded in 1980 with a prize from the French Ministry of Culture.

Ms Cauchefer-Choplin was named titular of the Great Organ of Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle in Paris in 1983. In 1985, she added the position of deputy titular of the Great Organ of Saint Sulpice in Paris. In that same year, she became the first woman and the only one to win the 2nd prize of Improvisation at the Chartres International Organ Competition.

Ms Cauchefer-Choplin has an extensive international career and frequently tours the US, Canada, Japan, Singapore, China, Australia and numerous European countries. She is considered by her peers as one of the best improvisers of her generation. Her recordings, reaching from Bach to contemporary music along with her recorded improvisations, have earned high praise.

Henry Fairs, UK

Henry Fairs is Head of Organ Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire and Organist to the University of Birmingham, England. He was a prize-winner in a number of international organ competitions including Paris, St Albans and Chartres. Since winning First Prize and Special Prize at the Odense International Organ Competition (Denmark), his concert career has taken him to the major European centres of organ music and to America, Canada and Japan, performing solo recitals, broadcasts and concertos on both historic and modern instruments.

Born in Hereford (England), he received his earliest musical training as a chorister at Leominster Priory and studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he graduated with First Class Honours and was a prize-winner at the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists. A scholarship from the Countess of Munster Trust enabled postgraduate studies abroad. Important teachers and influences have included David Sanger and Michael Radulescu.

Henry is regularly invited to give guest lectures and masterclasses in the US, Canada and Europe.

He enjoys playing and teaching a broad, eclectic repertoire: currently with a strong focus on the organ output of JS Bach in a project involving research and performance of the organ works in 15 concerts throughout Europe. In addition, he has in recent years been occupied with the performance of 19th and 20th century music; including complete performances of organ music by: Jehan Alain, Liszt, Reubke, Messiaen and Duruflé.

In March 2014, he was appointed Honorary Professor of Organ at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. 

Christian Blom Hansen, Denmark

Christian Blom Hansen studied at the conservatoires in Esbjerg and Copenhagen, Denmark. He made his debut in Copenhagen in 1983.

In 1982 he was appointed  organist at the church  Sct. Jacobi, Varde. The same year he was appointed organ teacher at the Academy of Music in Esbjerg. Since 2004 he has served as associate professor and head of the organ department at this school, currently known as Daish National Academy of Music.

He has given many concerts as solo organist and chamber musician in and outside of Denmark and has recorded CDs.

Karin Nelson, Sweden

Karin Nelson was born in Skellefteå in the far north of Sweden.

She studied music and education at the Piteå School of Music and church music at the Gothenburg School of Music where she also received her Soloist Diploma. Organ- and harpsichord studies followed at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.

Nelson is professor in organ and church music at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg. She has a Ph.D. in musicology, the title of her dissertation being “Improvisation and Pedagogy through Heinrich Scheidemann’s Magnificat Settings”.

Nelson gives regular recitals in Scandinavia and abroad and has made several recordings. The programs include both traditional organ repertoire and free improvisations. She regularly participates as a jury member in international organ competitions.

Ja-Kyung Oh, South Korea

Ja-Kyung Oh is professor and director of the Early Music Institute at the Korea National University of Arts where she was responsible for the installation of the Schnitger-style organ by GOArt of Sweden.

Ja-Kyung Oh studied her undergraduate degree at Hanyang University in Seoul and master's degree at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She has been visiting professor at Yale University as a Fulbright scholar.

Ja-Kyung Oh is one of Asia’s most distinguished teachers and has an international performing career, having given many solo recitals in the USA, Japan, Germany, Italy and Korea. In 2015 she was invited as one of the 14 organists for the performance of complete organ works by J. S. Bach at Izumi Hall in Osaka. She has served on the juries of several international organ competitions in Japan and Europe, including Musashino, the Arp Schnitger Organ Competition and the St. Albans Organ Competition. The CD of her performance on the organ of her University has been released through Loft Recording in the U.S. Her lecture recital series on J. S. Bach as an opening concert of the K’Arts Bach Week in Seoul since 2009 have been warmly appreciated. As the director of this Bach Festival she has made a significant contribution in the field of historic performance practice in Korea.

Pier Damiano Peretti, Italy

Born 1974 in Italy, he studied organ in his hometown Vicenza (Antonio Cozza), Hamburg  (Pieter van Dijk, Wolfgang Zerer) and Vienna (Herbert Tachezi, Michael Radulescu); as well as composition with the Petrassi pupil Wolfango Dalla Vecchia (Padua) and Wolfgang Suppan in Vienna. Attended the Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (a.o. with Wolfgang Rihm).

2002 – 2009 he taught at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, in 2009 he was appointed professor for organ at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.

Award winner of international organ competitions (Bologna, Pretoria, Innsbruck, Toulouse, Hamburg, 1st prize St Albans 1999). Busy concert schedule throughout Europe, Far East and Canada with repertoire from early to contemporary music. In addition to this many radio and CD recordings (Ursina-Motette, IFO Records, Naxos, Ambiente, Tactus), article publications, masterclasses, member of the panel at international organ competitions (a.o. Nürnberg, Brixen, Tokyo, Odense, Dublin, Montreal).

His own compositions, from pieces for and with organ up to chamber and vocal music mainly revolve around spiritual subjects. For his mass “Mane nobiscum” he received in 2015 the “Outstanding artist award” of the Austrian government.