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About the teachers

  • Mihaela Martin - violin

  • Boris Kuschnir - violin

  • Nobuko Imai - viola

  • Frans Helmerson - cello

  • Conrad Muck, violin

All of our teachers are internationally acclaimed soloists and world renowned 
teachers who provide first class tutoring 
in their chosen instruments.

Mihaela Martin - violin

Mihaela Martin, who was born in Romania, is one of the most outstanding violin virtuosos of her generation. Her father gave her her first violin lessons when she was five years old. She later studied with Stefan Gheorghiu, a pupil of George Enescu and David Oistrakh.

At the age of 19, Mihaela Martin won second prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which was followed by further main prizes in Montreal, Sion and Brussels. Being awarded first prize in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis launched her international career. She has performed with leading orchestras such as the BBC Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. She has worked with conductors such as Kurt Masur, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Charles Dutoit and Neeme Järvi. In the past season Mihaela Martin not only performed as a soloist but also appeared at chamber music festivals in Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, Germany, Greece, Romania and Switzerland. Together with Daniel Austrich, Nobuko Imai and Frans Helmserson, she is a permanent member of the Michelangelo String Quartet, which she helped to found in 2003.

Mihaela Martin is a professor at the University of Music in Cologne and at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva and gives masterclasses throughout the world. She is a regular jury member at major international competitions such as the Queen Elisabeth (Belgium), Indianapolis (USA), Enescu (Romania) and Tchaikovsky (Russia). Mihaela Martin has been a member of the Kronberg Academy faculty since 2013. She plays a violin by J G Guadagnini that dates from 1748.

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Boris Kuschnir - violin

What a gif­ted viol­in­ist! Won­der­ful sound, very vir­tu­oso, strong and well coordin­ated fin­gers and very good music­al struc­ture as a whole!
Dav­id Ois­trakh

Bor­is Kuschnir is one of the most excel­lent teach­ers who brought up world-fam­ous per­formers. Kuschnir has his own fant­ast­ic tal­ent in edu­ca­tion and his con­tri­bu­tion could be com­pared to those of Leo­pold Auer, Carl Flesch or Ivan Galami­an who formed own viol­in per­form­ing schools. Kuschnir adap­ted his cre­at­ive edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem and pro­duced many emin­ent soloists…
Strad Magazine

For the complete biography of Boris Kuschnir please click here.

Photo: Wolf-Dieter Grabner

Nobuko Imai - viola

With her exceptional talent,musical integrity, and charisma, Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding violist of our time. 

After finishing her studies at the Toho School of Music, Yale University and the Juilliard School, she won the highest prizes at both the prestigious international competition in Munich and Geneva. Formerly a member of the esteemed Vermeer Quartet, Ms. Imai now combines a distinguished international solo career. She has appeared with many of the wolrd’s prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, the London, Boston, and Chicago Symphony, among many others. 

A keen chamber musician, Ms. Imai has often performed with world’s renowned artists including Gidon Kremer, Midori, Mischa Maisky, Yo Yo Ma, Andràs Schiff, and Martha Argerich. In 2003, Nobuko Imai formed the Michelangelo Quartet. The quartet gained the international reputation quickly and now became one of finest quartets in the world.Ms. Imai is also a frequent guest at numerous world’s most distinguished music festivals, including Marlboro, Pablo Casals in Prado, Ravinia, and Verbier.

Nobuko Imai has dedicated a large part of her artistic activities to explore the diverse potential of the viola. In 1992 she founded the annual “Viola Space” project which is dedicated to “celebrating the viola, introducing outstanding works and new works for viola”.Sheisalso keen to expand the viola repertoire and has given a number of first performances of the composers such as Vytautas Barkauskas, Hikaru Hayashi, Toshio Hosokawa, Akira Nishimura, Misato Mochizuki, Ichiro Nodaira, Toru Takemitsu, Michael Tippett, among others.

In 1995/1996 Nobuko Imai was artistic director of three Hindemith Festivals in London, New York, and Tokyo and have received highly international acclaim. She was initiator and co-producer of a series in Amsterdam and Tokyo in 1999/2000, celebrating the 400th anniversary of  the relationship between the two countries. In 2009 she founded The Tokyo International Viola Competition as a part of Viola Space, the first international competition in Japan exclusively for viola. From 2011, she is the music adviser of the Phoenex Hall in Osaka. 

An impressive discography of over 40 CDs shows Nobuko Imai’s recordings for prestigious labels such as BIS, Chandos, Deutsche Grammophone. 

Her many prizes include the Avon Arts Award, the Education Minister’s Art Prize for Music awarded by the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs, the Mobil Prize, the Suntory Music Prize, and the Mainichi Art Prize. Ms. Imai received the Purple Ribbon Medal (2003) and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (2013) from the Japanese government.

Ms. Imai is a professor at Amsterdam Conservatory, Kronberg International Academy, and Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid. She is also a professor extraordinarius at  Ueno Gakuen  University in Tokyo and a guest professor at Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Franz Helmerson - cello

The Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson began his musical training with Guido Vecchi in Göteborg before moving on to study with Giuseppe Selmi in Rome and William Pleeth in London. Sergiu Celibidache and Mstislav Rostropovich also played a very influential role in his artistic development. In 1971 he won one of the most famous music prizes for cellists, the Cassado Competition in Florence - the first of many other distinctions. Tours have taken him to other countries in Europe as well as to Japan, Russia, South America, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Frans Helmerson plays with many well-known orchestras and receives outstanding critical acclaim for his concerts and recordings.

His love of chamber music is another important driving force in his musical endeavours. He is a regular guest at the major European festivals such as Verbier, Pablo Casals-Festival or the Ravinia Festival, and spent many years as the artistic director of the Umea-Korsholm International Chamber Music Festival. In 2002 he founded the Michelangelo String Quartet with Mihaela Martin, Stephan Picard and Nobuko Imai. In addition to his career as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor, Frans Helmerson taught for many years as a professor at the Conservatories in Cologne and in Madrid. Since 2011/12 he has been teaching as a guest professor at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin. Frans Helmerson plays a cello by Stefan-Peter Greiner.

Photo: Marco Borggreve

conrad muck.jpg
Conrad Muck - violin

Conrad Muck has given concerts worldwide, both as a violin soloist and in chamber music where he has performed with a number of acclaimed interpreters such as Stephane Grappelli, Renaud Capucon, Stephen Kovacevic, Christian Zacharias, Boris Pergamenschikow, David Geringas, Christine Schäfer, Carolyn Sampson, Marc Padmore, Julie Kaufmann, Paul Meyer and also with numerous String Quartets such as Amadeus, Cherubini, Artemis and Vogler.

Highlights of his career have included performances at the Berlin Philharmonic, the Hercules Saal Munich, the Wigmore Hall and the Queen Elisabeth Hall in London, the Viennese Music Association, the Auditorium du Louvre Paris, the Auditorio National Madrid and Carnegie Hall, New York.

Born in Dresden, Conrad Muck started to learn the violin with Heinz Rudolf at the age of five. He attended the former East German School for Music Dresden and studied afterwards with Reinhard Ulbricht and Gustav Schmahl. He continued his studies with Werner Scholz in former East Berlin (Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler")  and Wolfgang Marschner in Freiburg.

Master classes with Saschko Gawriloff, Boris Gudnikow, Tibor Varga,

Max Rostal & Ruggiero Ricci amongst others rounded off his studies.

In 1988 Conrad Muck won the First Prize at the International Ludwig Spohr Competition in Freiburg Germany and in 1991 the First Prize at the International Bodensee Music Competition, Germany.

During his studies he had already given concerts as a soloist with distinguished orchestras in East Germany, for example the Dresden State Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic and the East Berlin Radio and Berlin Symphony Orchestra.

From 1992 to 2009 Conrad Muck was the First violin of the Petersen Quartet and gave annual concerts at musical centers worldwide. The music labels Capriccio and Phoenix Edition published numerous of his award-winning recordings including inter alia awards such as the Grand Prix de l´academie Charles Gros, the German Record Critics’ Award, Gramophone “Editor`s Choice“, Choc de l´année du Monde de la Musique and the Echo Classical Music Award.

From 2013 to 2015 he was Professor for Violin and Chamber Music at the Al Quds University Jerusalem, Israel and the First violin of the Leipzig String Quartet until 2018.

Conrad Muck is regularly invited to give master classes at the Vienna Summer Academy of the Universiy of Music and Performing Arts, the Zurich University of the Arts, the Royal College of Music London, the Geidai Tokio, several U.S., Canadian and Australian Universities. He also appears as juror at international music competitions, for example the International String Quartet Competition “Premio Paolo Borciani” in Reggio Emilia, the Music Competition “Vittorio Gui” Florence, the “Premio di Trieste”, Italy and  "Deutscher Musik Wettbewerb" in Bonn, Germany.

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