Julius Berger (Augsburg, 1954) studied in Germany at the Musikhochschule of Munich under Walter Reichardt and Fritz Kiskalt. Later, he studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg under Antonio Janigro (Julius Berger was his assistant from 1979 to 1982) and at the University of Cincinnati under Zara Nelsova and master-courses under Mstislav Rostropovic. With 28 years Julius Berger was appointed to the Musikhochschule Würzburg and was one of the youngest professors in Germany. Starting in Würzburg, later in Saarbrücken and Mainz, and since 2000 in Augsburg, he took efforts to promote the top new talents in his subject. Since 1992 he leads a class at the International Summer Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Julius Berger devotes a big part of his international concert and recording works to the rediscovery of Luigi Boccherini´s complete works, the performance and CD-edition of the works for cello and pianoforte by Paul Hindemith, the works of Ernst Bloch, Max Bruch, Richard Strauss, Robert Schumann and Edward Elgar. Julius Berger is also known for his extraordinary commitment to contemporary compositions. He published remarkable CD´s, that are known all over the world, featuring the works of John Cage, Toshio Hosokawa and Sofia Gubaidulina. Tours and concerts have brought him together - in music and in friendship - with people like Leonard Bernstein, Eugen Jochum, Gidon Kremer, Paul Roczek, Margarita Höhenrieder, Siegfried Mauser, Jörg Demus, Norman Shetler, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Stefan Hussong, Olivier Messiaen and Wolfgang Rihm. Moreover, Julius Berger works as art director of "Eckelshausen Music Days" and the "Asiago-Festival" in Italy. He led the international Leopold Mozart-competition in Augsburg as president. Working as a juror for some years, Julius Berger got to visit the competitions in Salzburg (Mozart), Kronberg (Casals), Markneukirchen, Munich, Warsaw and many more. Moreover, Julius Berger works as art director of Eckelshausen Music Days Festival and the Asiago Festival.
Dobrila Berković-Magdalenić graduated from the Music Academy in Zagreb under M. Nagy. She has dedicated her career to teaching and worked as the head of the string departments of all Zagreb's music schools, then as a mentor and the head of the teachers professional councils in Croatia. During thirty three years of teaching, her students have won more than a hundred awards from international and just as many from national competitions. Among them are the first prizes from Rome, Genoa, Turin, Tchaikovsky Sendai Competition, International Cello Competition Roberto Caruana in Milan, second prizes from the ARD Musikwettbewerb in Munich and the International Antonio Janigro Cello Competition in Zagreb, and the third prize from the Rostropovich Cello Competition in Paris. She has founded two international cello competitions: Rudolf Matz and Antonio Janigro. Besides organizing numerous seminars and master classes, she often holds lectures (in Austria, Japan, USA, Germany, Slovenia).
She was a guest professor at the High School in Mannheim, Germany, at the Academy in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, and at American universities of Cincinnati and North Texas. In 1995 she won the Ivan Filipović Award and in 1999 received the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the effigy of Marko Marulić. As the president of Croatian Association of String Instrument Teachers, she founded the most important Croatian cultural and educational event - the International Up-Beat Summer School - that took place in Hvar for twenty years in a row, and then moved to Korčula in 2006. In January, UpBeat is repeated in Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Due to Dobrila Berković-Magdalenić's dedicated and selfless work, thousands of summer school attendants from about thirty different countries have witnessed the high achievements of Croatian culture.
Valentin Erben (Pernitz, 1945) got in contact with music very early. His mother, a pianist, and his father, an amateur violinist and cellist, often invited friends and musicians to make housemusic together. Valentin Erben received his first 'cello' – it was a converted viola – at the age of four. He started taking lessons at the age of eight with Paul Freidel, who was the principal cellist of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and a student of Julius Klengel. Valentin Erben was influenced by many beautiful musical experiences and meetings – for example numerous concerts at the Hercules Hall in Munich, including unforgetable impressions like listening to Rudolf Serkin, the Veghquartett as well as the representatives of the great French cello tradition like Pierre Fournier, Maurice Gendron and Paul Tortelier. He also made a trip to Pablo Casals in the French Pyrenees.
In 1960 he began his cello studies with Walter Reichardt at the Munich Academy of Music. In July 1963 he attended a masterclass in Siena. This experience was very important for his future: he met the famous cellist and pedagogue André Navarra. In 1964 he received his degree at the Academy in Munich and contiued his studies in Vienna with Tobias Kühne, a former student of Navarra. From 1965 to 1968 Valentin Erben studied with André Navarra at the Conservatoire in Paris. He also studied chamber music with Jean Hubeau and Joseph Calvet. He received the Premier Prix for cello and chamber music. In September 1968 he won the International Cello Competition ARD in Munich. Back to Vienna, in spring of 1969 he co-founded the Alban Berg Quartet - a union of four musicians that should mark the international string quartet scene for almost 40 years. From 2004 to 2007 Valentin Erben was a also a member of the Lucern Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado. In June 2013 he retired from the University of Music in Vienna., where he has tought for over 40 years. To a busy schedule of concerts as a soloist and chamber musician, additionally he gives music lectures and masterclasses in chamber music.
Cellist Gal Faganel has been praised in the press for his captivatingly beautiful sound (RTV Slovenia) and for his deep and stirring interpretation of music (Večer). He is frequently heard as a soloist and in chamber music recitals throughout North America and Europe. Until 2010 he served as the acting principal cellist of the Phoenix Symphony. Growing up in a musical family in Slovenia he continued his studies in Croatia and then at the University of Southern California with Eleonore Schoenfeld, culminating with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. His other mentors include Peter Marsh, Nathaniel Rosen, Daniel Rothmuller and Dobrila Berković-Magdalenić. He has won many international competitions and received numerous awards, including the International Cello Competition Antonio Janigro in Croatia and the Slovenian National Competition as a soloist and with piano trio. He also has a number of radio and CD recordings to his credit.
Since 2006 he has been dedicated to researching, performing, and recording music by Slovenian composers. Gal Faganel greatly enjoys teaching cello and coaching chamber music. Recently he has been appointed assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado. He previously taught at Scottsdale Community College and at the University of Southern California. He also regularly conducts master classes and teaches at summer music programs in the United States and in Europe. Innovative teaching approaches utilizing video conferencing technology allow Gal to be accessible to students world wide.
Troels Svane studied with David Geringas at the Musikhochschule Lübeck, Germany. He graduated from the soloist class with distinction and the highest grade in all subjects. Furthermore he was taught by Anner Bylsma, Frans Helmerson, Ralph Kirshbaum, György Ligeti, Yo-Yo Ma, Siegfried Palm, Boris Pergamenschikow, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniil Shafran, Paul Tortelier and the Amadeus Quartet.
After finishing high school he was appointed co-principal cellist of the Copenhagen Philharmonic at the age of 18. He won numerous prizes at prestigious national and international competitions and received several scholarships. Troels Svane was the assistant to David Geringas for 11 years before he was appointed professor for violoncello at the Musikhochschule Lübeck in 2004. Furthermore he has a cello class at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. His students were prize winners at prestigious competitions (ARD, Feuermann, Geneva, Isang Yun, Rostropovich, Tchaikovsky) and members of renowed chamber music ensembles (Armida Quartett, Trio con Brio) and orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.