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Albena Danailova was born in Sofia as the daughter of a violinist and a pianist. At the age of five she began her musical education with Nely Jeleva and Dora Ivanova at the music school and academy in her home city. After graduation from high school, she studied violin performance at the College of Music and Theater in Rostock and in Hamburg with Petru Munteanu. She finished her degree in 2001, having augmented her studies by masterclasses with Ida Haendel, Herman Krebbers and others. In the same year she received an engagement as second violinist in the Bavarian State Orchestra, advancing in 2003 to section leader of the first violins and in 2006 to first concertmaster. In this same capacity, she also served in the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2003/04 season. On September 1, 2008, she became the concertmaster of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.
This prize winner of numerous competitions (2nd Prize "Kloster Schöntal", Tibor Varga-Special Prize", semi-finalist at the Moscow "Tchaikovsky Competition", First Prize "Vittorio Gui", etc.) has, in addition to her work as an orchestral musician, established an equally successful career as soloist and chamber musician. Albena Danailova appears regularly in Bulgaria, Deutschland, Israel, and the USA, among others. She has made recordings for Deutschlandradio Kultur, the North German Radio, as well as for television and radio in her home country, and, since the beginning of this season, as leader of the "Ensemble Wien" (as the successor to Paul Guggenberger and Rainer Honeck). She has appeared twice as a Philharmonic soloist: On January 24, 2009, she performed Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat major, Hob I:105 at the Salzburg Mozart Festival with Tamás Varga, Harald Hört and Michael Werba under the direction of Seiji Ozawa and in October 2009 she was captivating in the violin solo of Richard Strauss' tone poem, "Ein Heldenleben", at the 2nd Subscription Concerts conducted by Georges Prêtre, a performance repeated in a concert in the Vienna Konzerthaus as well as at the "Concert for Austria" in the Brucknerhaus in Linz on October 26, 2009, which was broadcast live on ORF 2.
Olesya Kurylyak, who was born on June 23, 1981 in Lemberg (Lviv, Ukraine), took violin lessons from 1987 until 1998 in her home city at the Solomiya Krushelnytska Music School with Orest Tsisaryk as well as with Lidiya Shutko at the State Music College Mykola Lysenko, where she graduated with a Master of Arts in 2002. She then continued her education at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with Edward Zienkowski and in Graz with Tibor Varga. She studied from 2004-2007 in Vienna with Christian Altenburger, receiving a "Magistra atrium". In the 2004/2005 season she was a member of the Graz Symphony Orchester and since September 1, 2008, she has been a member of the first violin section of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.
Already at the age of 12, Olesya Kurylyak was awarded the 4th Prize at the Jaroslav Kocian Competition in Ústí nad Orlicí (Czech republic) and later added numerous other awards at other international competitions: in 1999, "M Strikharz" (Lviv / First Prize); in 2001 "Kloster Schöntal (Diploma); and in 2001 and 2003, "Tibor Varga" (Sion / First Prize, Audience Prize, Special Prize for the best Bach interpretation). In 1996 she made a solo tour through Germany and in 2001 she gave a recital in the Vienna Bösendorfer Hall. In the following years she has appeared repeatedly with the "Solistes Europeens Luxembourg" (Conductor: Jack Martin Händler) in such locations as Paris, Madrid, New York and Mexico. Her abilities as a soloist are documented on CD in numerous live recordings.
On April 6, 1985, Maxim Brilinsky was also born in Lemberg, where his mother was employed as a pianist at the conservatory. At the age of five, he received his first violin lessons at the music school there and beginning in 2000 continued his education with Michael Frischenschlager at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he passed his first diploma with distinction in 2004, while at the same time completing his high school education in Lemburg. As of 2005, he studied violin at the Conservatoire Nationale Superior de Musique et de Dance in Paris with Jean-Jacques Kantorow. After having served as concertmaster for the chamber ensemble "Orchestra d'Auvergne" in the 2006/07 season, he joined the 2nd violin section of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra on Sept. 1, 2008. Following another successful audition, he moved to the first violin section on September 1, 2011.
Maxim Brilinsky was a stipendiary of the Herbert von Karajan Center in Vienna and the Thyll-Dürr Foundation in Zurich. He is the prize winner of many well-known international violin competitions: he won the 4th Prize at the Yehudi Menhin Competion in Boulogne-sur-Mer (2002); the 2nd Prize and a special prize at the Paganini Competition" in Genoa (2002); the 2nd Prize and a special prize at the Benjamin Britten Competition in London (2004). Numerous solo concerts in Germany, France, Italy, England, the Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland and Japan round off the artistic path that Maxim Brilinsky has consistently followed since early childhood.
As a soloist, Christoph Koncz gave his North American debut with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit at age 12, followed by appearances on tour and in concert with the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. An avid chamber musician, Christoph Koncz won the European Music Prize for Youth as a founding member of the Koncz Piano Trio in 2003. Further musical partners include Leonidas Kavakos, Julian Rachlin, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Kim Kashkashian, Gautier Capuçon and many other prominent musicians. In 1997, Christoph Koncz played a leading role in the Canadian production of "The Red Violin", which won an Academy Award for Best Score.
In addition to his orchestral work, Jan Jankovic has given numerous concerts as a soloist with such orchestras as the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Zagreb Soloists, the Kammerorchestra Zagreb Chamber Orchestra, the Dubrovnik Symphony, the Split Chamber Orchestra or the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. He has worked with the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the UBS Festival Youth Orchestra, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin. He also has great interest in chamber music and has enjoyed much success, working on a regular basis with the Vienna Mozart Academy and as a member of the Vienna Virtuosi and the Vienna Wind Octet.*
At that time he could already claim notable successes as a chamber musician: Manuel Huber is a founding member of the "Vienna Brass Connection", and belongs to the ensembles "Vienna Horns and "Cordon Brass". Together with the brass quintet "Déjà vu", founded in 2005, he won the national competition "Gradus ad Parnassum" as well as 9th International Competition für Brass Chamber Music in Passau. In addition, he has also made tours as a soloist in Austria, Spain and China.