Stefan Engels was recently named Professor of Organ and Leah Fullinwider Centennial Chair of Organ at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. This appointment was preceded by his positions as Professor of Organ at the University of Music and Performing Arts “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany, and as Associate Professor of Organ and Chair of the Organ Department at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. In Leipzig, Mr. Engels was founder and Artistic Director of the European Organ Academy Leipzig, attracting faculty and students from around the world. As an advocate and specialist for the music of the late-Romantic German Composer Sigfrid Karg-Elert, he also founded the Karg-Elert Festival in Leipzig, demonstrating and discovering the unique works of this Leipzig composer. In 2015 Mr. Engels will finish the world premiere recording of the complete organ works of Karg-Elert. Mr. Engels maintains a vigorous international concert schedule and is a sought-after teacher, having presented lectures and master classes across the European continent, North America, Russia and South Korea. He frequently serves on juries at leading international organ competitions, such as the St. Albans Competition and the Bach Competition Leipzig. Mr. Engels’ musical education took place in Germany and the United States. He studied organ, piano, harpsichord, choral conducting and church music at the Universities in Aachen, Düsseldorf, and Cologne. From 1993 until 1998 he pursued further organ studies with the late Robert Anderson in Dallas and with Wolfgang Rübsam in Chicago. He achieved his international breakthrough when he was awarded the “Concerto Gold Medal” at the 1998 Calgary International Organ Competition.
Pavel Svoboda (*1987), laureate of the Prague Spring International Music Competition, is one of the most successful young Czech organists. He began to study the organ at the Conservatory of Pardubice (Josef Rafaja, Václav Rabas), has attended various workshops at famous organists (S. Landale, M. Sander, T. Jellema, Ch. Bossert and others) and since 2008, he has been studying at the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague at Jaroslav Tůma and since 2010 at the Berlin University of Arts at Leo van Doeselaar.
He won the 1st prize at the International Organ Competition of Young Organists in Opava and the Prize of the foundation Český hudební fond (Czech Music Fund) for the best performance of contemporary music. He won the 1st prize and the Laureate title at the International Performing Competition Brno and the 2nd prize at the International Competition of Petr Eben. In 2013 he was awarded by 3rd prize in Germany within Internationale Orgelwoche in Korschenbroich and in the same year he received Laureate title of the Prague Spring International Music Competition.
He performs at music festivals in the Czech Republic and abroad (Germany, Belgium, Slovakia, Poland, and Spain) and as a soloist he plays with the best orchestras. Since 2004 he has been a organist and cembalist of Barocco sempre giovane. With this ensemble he has performed at hundreds of concerts (including of International Music Festival Prague Spring). He makes CD recordings, as well as those for the Czech Radio and the Czech Television. He is also active as a dramaturge and co-organizer of the classical music festivals, in 2011 he became artistic director of the International Music Festival F. L. Vek.
Michaela Káčerková is a significant personality in the upcoming young generation of Czech organists.
She studied organ playing at the Prague Conservatoire (under Prof. Jan Hora), and then at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (under Prof. Jaroslav Tůma) and at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Leipzig (under Prof. Stefan Engels – organ, and Prof. Tobias Schade – cembalo). During her studies she participated in a number of master courses led by outstanding teachers (Harald Vogel, Martin Sander, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Olivier Latry, Ludger Lohmann) and won awards in national and international performers' competitions.
She regularly participates in concerts and co-operates with various choirs, soloists, orchestras and Baroque ensembles (the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Baroque Ensemble, Prague Mixed Choir, Capella Regia, Bach-Collegium, Art N). Her repertoire covers music of all style periods from Renaissance to contemporary pieces. As a soloist she has performed at concerts in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, England, USA and Japan.
Currently, she concentrates predominantly on interpretation of Czech music and stages premieres of works of contemporary composers. Since 2014 she has held the position of Arts Director of the International Organ Festival in Karlovy Vary.
Robert Hugo got his first univesity degree at the Faculty of Science at the Charles University in Prague. He also is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, the Department of Music Theory. He studied organ with Milan Šlechta at the same institute. In the season 1992-93 he worked as a conductor in the National Theatre in Brno. In 1992 he founded an ensemble Capella Regia Praha, which performs mainly Czech Baroque music. He is a specialist on Czech and South German Baroque music. In 1998 he made the famous recording of Czech Christmas Mass by Jakub Jan Ryba for the Deutsche Gramophon staring Magdalena Kožená. Robert Hugo teaches at the Academy of Early Music of the Masaryk University in Brno. He is currently an organist in the Church of the Holy Saviour in Prague.