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Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

About The Festival

The Oxford Piano Festival was founded in 1999 by Marios Papadopoulos, renowned pianist and Music Director of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. Each year, the Festival welcomes piano players and pedagogues, experts and enthusiasts to some of Oxford’s most historic venues, such as Sir Christopher Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre, the Holywell Music Room, and Christ Church Cathedral.

The Oxford Piano Festival takes place in the last week of July, on the tranquil and scenic campus of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, home of the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, and located just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre.

The Festival’s objective is simple: to inspire, support and encourage music-making at the piano of the highest quality. Welcoming world-renowned soloists and teachers each year, the Festival provides gifted young players with a rare opportunity to work alongside and learn from some of the world’s finest pianists and teachers, to perform and to learn new repertoire, as part of a dedicated community of artists which encourages exchange over competition.

The concept of the pianist as musician lies at the heart of the Festival. The various roles of the pianist – as virtuoso, chamber musician, accompanist, conductor, academic and teacher – are all examined. As part of this holistic approach, the various international schools of piano playing are considered. 

With Alfred Brendel as the Festival’s Patron, Sir András Schiff as President, and the Festival’s founder Marios Papadopoulos a renowned pianist himself, the bar is set very high in terms of quality and artistic integrity.

Previous participants at the Festival have gone on to achieve great success. Notable alumni include Alim Beisembayev (winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2021), Martin James Bartlett, Mark Viner, Alexander Ullman, Mishka Rushdie-Momen and Denis Kozhukhin.

See a full list of our faculty members from previous years here. 

You can buy an Observer Pass and full board accommodation via the Oxford Piano Festival shop by clicking the button below.

For your diary:

Oxford Piano Festival 2025

Sat 26 July – Sun 3 Aug 2025

© Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra
© Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra
© Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Piano FESTIVAL faculty 2024

*  Performing in an evening concert
◊ Teaching a masterclass

Sergei Babayan *

Sergei Babayan has collaborated with such conductors as Sir Antonio Pappano, David Robertson, Neeme Järvi, Rafael Payare, Thomas Dausgaard, Tugan Sokhiev, and Dima Slobodeniouk. In recent seasons, Mr Babayan’s schedule included concert performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Sergei Babayan regularly performs at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Maison de la Radio in Paris, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés, at Salzburg Festival and the Zurich Tonhalle. Sergei Babayan’s latest release ‘Rachmaninoff’ (Deutsche Grammophon 2020) received numerous awards including BBC Recording of the Month and CHOC Classica. His previous release ’Prokofiev for Two’, with Martha Argerich as his partner, was released in 2018. Born in Armenia, Sergei Babayan studied under Georgy Saradjev, Mikhail Pletnev, Vera Gornostayeva and Lev Naumov. Following his first trip outside of the USSR in 1989, he won consecutive first prizes in several major competitions including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Hamamatsu Piano Competition, and the Scottish International Piano Competition.

Kevin Chen *

Kevin Chen, a pianist who commenced his musical studies at age five, gained early recognition by securing first place in the Canadian Music Competition at the age of eight. By age ten, he was acknowledged as one of the ‘Top 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30’ by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and featured among ‘100 Remarkable Canadians’ in Maclean’s magazine. Now 18, Kevin has earned first prizes in prestigious international competitions, including the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition, Concours de Genève, Franz Liszt International Piano Competition, Hilton Head International Piano Competition, and the International Piano-e-Competition. He has performed in notable venues including Carnegie Hall, St John’s Smith Square, and Taipei’s National Concert Hall. Collaborating with orchestras such as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Kevin’s musical journey continues to unfold. Kevin is currently studying at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover under Professor Arie Vardi, having previously studied privately in Calgary with Professor Marilyn Engle and Colleen Athparia.

Barry Douglas *

Barry Douglas has established a major international career since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow. As Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland, the only all-Ireland orchestra and the Clandeboye Festival, he continues to celebrate his Irish heritage whilst also maintaining a busy international touring schedule. Highlights from last season include a major UK tour with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, and appearances with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Orchestre National de Lille. In recent seasons he has performed with a list of orchestras that includes the London Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Moscow State Symphony, Russian National, Vancouver and Colorado Symphonies, and the Halle Orchestra. Barry is an exclusive Chandos recording artist, and recently completed a six-album recording of the full works for solo piano of Brahms. His current recording projects focus on the solo piano works of Schubert and Tchaikovsky. Also with Chandos, Barry is exploring Irish folk music through his own arrangements, working with ancient melodies through to pieces by contemporary song writers. 

Marilyn Engle

Pianist Marilyn Engle began her studies in Canada, then went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Juilliard School with renowned teachers Ilona Kabos and Adele Marcus.  She followed her piano studies with graduate studies in musicology from New York University while also studying with Jeaneane Dowis. Performing widely on radio and television, she has given numerous solo, chamber and orchestral performances in North America, Europe, Israel, and Asia, and has also been heard frequently in concert and on radio with the chamber ensemble, Aubade, of which she was a founding member. She has taught, lectured, given classes and residencies at major Canadian and US institutions such as Juilliard, Oberlin, and NYU, the Glenn Gould School, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, and McGill. In Asia, she has done the same in major schools in Japan and China, most recently in Hong Kong (Baptist, Lingnan), Xiamen Central Conservatory at Gulangyu, as well as the Central Conservatory in Beijing. Many of her students have won major prizes in international competitions and now teach and perform successfully around the world.

Ian Fountain

In 1989, Ian Fountain became the youngest winner of the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Masters Competition in Tel Aviv at the age of 19. He was educated as a chorister at New College, Oxford and later at Winchester College, and studied piano under Sulamita Aronovsky at the Royal Northern College of Music. Since that time, he has enjoyed a wide-ranging and varied career, performing extensively throughout Europe, the USA, the UK and the Far East, with orchestras such as the London Symphony and Sir Colin Davis, the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, and the Czech Philharmonic and Jiri Belohlavek. He has made several critically acclaimed recordings, including for EMI (20th Century Piano Sonatas), CRD (Beethoven Diabelli Variations), and for Sony and Haenssler Classics the complete works for cello and piano of Beethoven, Chopin and Mendelssohn and Rachmaninov with the cellist David Geringas. Since 2001, Ian Fountain has been a piano professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London. He holds an annual summer masterclass at the Accademia di Cervo, Italy, and further masterclasses around the world. He has served on the juries of international piano competitions, including at the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in 2011.

William Fong

William Fong’s international career was launched in 1984 when he won the first prize, gold medal and Rosa Sabater prize at the Concurso Internacional de Piano in Jaén, Spain. His concerto debut at St John’s Smith Square with the Philharmonia Orchestra followed soon after, and he subsequently added successes in the Busoni, Cleveland, Iturbi, and Scottish International Competitions. Performances in New York, Moscow and St Petersburg (under the auspices of the Sviatoslav Richter Foundation), and in Europe have drawn critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences. Supported by Arts Council England, William has performed and given masterclasses in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. He has performed in Australia at the invitation of the Chair of the Australian Piano Pedagogy Conference and at the Institute of Registered Music Teachers of New Zealand conference in Auckland. He is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music and Head of Keyboard at the Purcell School for Young Musicians, visiting professor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Artistic Director of ‘Piano Star’ – an educational project and festival for young pianists in Romania.

Jayson Gillham *

Internationally praised for his compelling performances, Jayson Gillham is recognised as one of the finest pianists of his generation. After receiving numerous prizes from the leading piano competitions including the Leeds, Van Cliburn and Chopin competitions, it was Jayson’s win at the 2014 Montreal International Music Competition that brought him to international attention. His subsequent debut recital album with ABC Classic was released in 2016, and immediately reached the No. 1 spot in both the Core Classical and Classical Crossover ARIA charts. It was soon followed by highly acclaimed live recording of Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. A passionate chamber musician, Jayson Gillham collaborated with the Jerusalem, Carducci, Brentano, Ruysdael and Flinders String Quartets as well as Manchester Collective. Recent and future highlights include concert engagements with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, the Melbourne, Adelaide and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Cape Town and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestras as well as solo recitals at Wigmore Hall, Louvre Auditorium, St Martin-in-the-Fields and Oxford Piano Festival.

Rustem Hayroudinoff

Described by Classic FM Magazine as a ‘sensationally gifted’ musician of ‘stunning artistry’, and by Gramophone as “a player in the great Russian virtuoso tradition”, Rustem Hayroudinoff has performed to critical acclaim in Japan, the USA, Latin America, Canada, Russia and Europe. He has appeared with such orchestras as BBC Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, NHK Symphony and Czech Philharmonic, and has collaborated with conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy, Marin Alsop and Gianandrea Noseda amongst others. Hayroudinoff has recorded for Chandos, EMI and Onyx Classics. His CD of the complete Rachmaninoff Preludes was selected by Classic FM Magazine as part of its ‘Essential Rachmaninoff Collection’ together with the recordings of Arthur Rubinstein and André Previn. Rustem Hayroudinoff is based in the UK, where he has appeared at major concert halls including the Barbican, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John’s Smith Square and abroad at such venues as Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Rudolfinum in Prague, and the NHK Hall in Tokyo. A charismatic communicator, he enjoys engaging his audience in a light, yet informative rhetoric about the works he performs. This direct approach and informal style is also ideal for attracting younger audiences. Hayroudinoff is proud to be the Goodwill Ambassador for Rainbows4children, an independent foundation that provides education for disadvantaged children in Ethiopia.

Dmitry Ishkhanov *

‘Evgeny Kissin, Grigory Sokolov – your successor is coming.’ (Luzerner Zeitung) Dmitry Ishkhanov is an outstanding young interpreter of classical music. Apart from showing incredible potential, he already demonstrates mature and unique artistic capabilities. Amongst his biggest accomplishments, in September 2016, at the age of 11, Dmitry represented Malta at the Eurovision of Young Musicians held in Cologne, Germany, and became the youngest finalist in the Eurovision history. Furthermore, at the age of 14, Dmitry made his debut in Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and conductor Miran Vaupotić. He released his first CD ‘Virtuoso’ in October of 2021 with Parma Recordings, featuring a programme by Chopin. Born in 2005 in Moscow and living in Malta since 2008, Dmitry Ishkhanov demonstrated an interest in music at the age of three, when he started playing the piano with his babysitter, and since his first piano teacher, Lolita Poghosyan, Dmitry never stops improving himself. From 2014 to 2020 Dmitry studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln with professors Nina Tichman and Gesa Lücker. Currently, Dmitry is studying at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, with Prof. Pavel Gililov.

Krzysztof Jablonski

Krzysztof Jablonski is a Laureate of the F. Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1985. He has won numerous top prizes at international piano competitions in Milan, Palm Beach, Monza, Dublin, New York, and Calgary, and a Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv. For more than 30 years, Jablonski has been active in performing solo and chamber music as well as with orchestras on stages in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Israel in prestigious concert halls, including appearances on the Master Concert Series at Berliner Philharmonie. He is a jury member at international piano competitions, including Chopin Piano Competitions in Warsaw, Toronto/Mississauga (Chair of the Jury), Miami, Tokyo, and Foshan in China. He was recently on the Jury of the Lang Lang Shenzhen Futian International Piano Festival Competition. Jablonski is the Head of Piano and keyboard and Academic Leader of Piano and Keyboard at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen. He performed with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in January 2023 during the final GBA Festival concert, and during the 2023 Belt and Road International Music Festival opening concert in September 2023.

Ian Jones

Ian Jones FRCM is Professor of Piano and Deputy Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music in London. In May 2014 Fellowship of the Royal College of Music was conferred on him by HRH Prince Charles. He is one of the UK’s most sought-after piano teachers and his students have enjoyed international success both at competitions and on the concert stage. He is Artistic Director of the World Piano Teachers Association International Piano Competition and often serves on the juries of other international piano competitions. He frequently examines and adjudicates at other leading conservatoires, and regularly performs and conducts international masterclasses in China, Sweden, USA, Serbia, Japan, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Russia and Germany at conservatoires such as Stockholm’s Royal College of Music, Berlin’s UdK and many keyboard faculties in USA. His career as a Steinway Artist has taken him to all five continents, including appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Hall, in Paris and throughout France as concerto soloist with the Ensemble International, and he has performed many of Mozart’s piano concertos in Europe and USA. He was piano coach, music advisor and composer/performer on the Oscar-nominated film Hilary and Jackie and has also written and performed music for France’s two national theatres in Paris and Strasbourg.

Stephen Kovacevich

With an international career spanning over six decades, Stephen Kovacevich has long been recognised as one of the most searching interpreters. Born in Los Angeles, Kovacevich made his European debut at Wigmore Hall in 1961. He has appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors, including Hans Graf, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Sir Simon Rattle, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the late Sir Georg Solti. Kovacevich is a frequent guest at prestigious festivals including Lugano, Verbier, and the Mariinsky International Piano Festival. He has forged long-standing artistic partnerships, including numerous recordings with Sir Colin Davis and frequent duo appearances alongside Martha Argerich. As a committed chamber musician, Kovacevich enjoys regular artistic collaborations with Nicola Benedetti, Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Emmanuel Pahud and Alina Ibragimova. To celebrate his 75th birthday, Decca released a limited edition 25-CD box set of his entire recorded legacy for Philips. In 2008, he re-recorded Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which won him the Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award (2009) and the Gramophone Magazine Top Choice Award (2015).

Noriko Ogawa

Noriko Ogawa’s ‘ravishingly poetic playing’ (Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries. As an exclusive recording artist for BIS Records, Noriko boasts a prolific catalogue of over 30 albums from Mozart and Debussy to contemporary composers including Alexander Tcherepnin and Yoshihiro Kanno. Noriko appears with all major European, Japanese and US orchestras including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. She was appointed as the Chairperson of the Jury for Japan’s prestigious 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2018 and elected to the board of the World Federation of International Music Competitions. Noriko is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and guest educator at the Royal College of Music, Yamaha Masterclass from Tokyo to Seoul, Chetham’s International Piano Summer School and Hamamatsu International Piano Academy.

Víkingur Ólafsson *

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has made a profound impact with his remarkable combination of highest-level musicianship and visionary programmes. His recordings for Deutsche Grammophon – Philip Glass Piano Works (2017), Johann Sebastian Bach (2018), Debussy Rameau (2020), Mozart & Contemporaries (2021) and From Afar (2022) – captured the public and critical imagination and have led to career streams of over 600 million. In October 2023, Ólafsson released his anticipated new album on Deutsche Grammophon of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Ólafsson has dedicated his entire 2023/24 season to a Goldberg Variations world tour, performing the work across six continents throughout the year. He brings Bach’s masterpiece to major concert halls, including London’s Southbank Centre, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Wiener Konzerthaus, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Sala São Paulo and Philharmonie Berlin, to name a few. Now one of the most sought-after artists of today, Ólafsson’s significant talent extends to broadcast, having presented several of his own series for television and radio. He was Artist in Residence for three months on BBC Radio 4’s flagship arts programme, Front Row.

Marios Papadopoulos

Marios Papadopoulos is the Founder of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and the Oxford Piano Festival. He has appeared in many of the world’s most prestigious venues and worked with a host of eminent musicians including Evgeny Kissin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maxim Vengerov, Martha Argerich and Lang Lang. His many recordings feature works by Beethoven, Mozart, Mussorgsky, César Franck, Stravinsky and the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich. He conducts the Oxford Philharmonic in new recordings of the Brahms and Sibelius violin concertos with Maxim Vengerov with whom he has also recorded the complete Brahms Violin Sonatas. In recent years, Maestro Papadopoulos has concentrated his work mainly in Oxford with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. Rare guest appearances have included a UK tour with the LPO and a Mozart Piano Concerto cycle directed from the keyboard with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, he conducted  a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens. Marios holds a doctorate in music from City University, is a Fellow by Special Election of Keble College, Oxford and has been awarded an MBE for services to music in Oxford.

Carducci Quartet *

Described by The Strad as presenting ‘a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose, in which severity could melt seamlessly into charm, and drama into geniality’, the award-winning Carducci Quartet is internationally acclaimed as one of the most accomplished and versatile ensembles of today. As well as mastering the core repertoire, the quartet presents a selection of new works each season and diversifies further with programmes of film music, pop, folk and rock, as well as concerts of music and spoken word. Founded in 1997, the ensemble was a prize winner at numerous international competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and Finland’s Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition.  Recent highlights include a televised performance at the 2023 BBC Proms (Royal Albert Hall) with Voces8, a collaboration with Roderick Williams to close the Aldeburgh Festival, and a series of concerts across the UK with jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth. The 2023/2024 season will include an evening of concerts at London’s Southbank Centre celebrating composer Peter Gregson; returns to the Wigmore Hall in London and National Concert Hall Dublin; and a tour to Italy.

Kathryn Stott *

At the age of five, I made friends with the upright piano in our living room. That was the beginning of my musical journey, one which continues as you read this. Studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music led me abruptly into the life of a professional musician via the Leeds International Piano Competition and onto a steep learning curve. After a rollercoaster three years, I realised that I needed to re-connect with chamber music in a bid to feel more connected to other musicians and when, quite by chance, I met Yo-Yo Ma in 1978, it turned out to be one of the most fortuitous moments of my life and led to a long-standing collaboration. There are too many highlights in my career to mention. Yes, it was a thrill to perform at the Last Night of the Proms, but equally a massive thrill to have lit up twenty small faces in an inner city school while they jumped up and down to energetic piano music! Working with young musicians is something I feel passionate about and I’ve also had some truly exciting music written for me by composers. What an unbelievable privilege it is to be immersed in a language which has no boundaries and has allowed me to share musical stories on a global scale; that little upright piano set me on quite a path!

Colin Stone

Colin Stone’s long and varied career began in the 1980s with success in the Royal Over-Seas League and debuts on BBC Radio 3 and at the Wigmore Hall. Regular broadcasts, London recitals and a series of recordings established him as one of the leading British pianists of his generation. He formed the London Mozart Trio in the 1990s and made his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2001, giving the premiere of Robert Keeley’s Entourages in a live broadcast on Radio 3. Another premiere, a recording with Rustem Hayroudinoff of Shostakovich’s transcription for two pianos of his fourth symphony, attracted considerable praise in the music press. Colin Stone performed Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 in a concert introduced by Vladimir Ashkenazy, during the composer’s centenary celebrations in 2006 at Cadogan Hall, and subsequently recorded the set on the BigEars label. Colin was invited to become a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in 1999, and continues to enjoy a life of teaching, performing, and recording.