Lira Helvetia is the Swiss Harp Competition for young harpists, organized with Musik Hug, focusing on discovering new talents and encouraging them to evolve, rise and present themselves on the top level. We want to develop an independent and neutral Swiss culture.
Application and video submission: 1st of May to 1st of August 2022
Results and invitations to the Presentational Round: no later than 10th of August 2022
Presentational Round: 1st of September 2022
Grand Finale and Prize Announcements: 3rd of September 2022
Gala Concert of Finalists: 15th of March 2023
Qualifying Round - through HD video
Presentational Round - Live appearance in Lausanne, Basel, Lucerne, or Zurich
Grand Finale - Public live appearance in Musik Hug Zurich
Lira Helvetia focuses on pre-college harpists and welcomes contestants from two age groups:
(number of full years as of September 1, 2022)
A paid trip to the Salvi Factory for the winner and a parent to see how harps are made, try all the newest models and meet the staff behind that
Private lessons with the Harp-Stars of our time. 5 leading teachers (Catherine Michel, Jana Boušková, Fabrice Pierre, Park Stickney, Isabelle Perrin) from around the world will give an online/offline lesson to the winner
Selina Cuonz started her professional music studies with Prof. Xenia Schindler at the Lucerne University of Sciences and Arts, where she achieved her Master of Instrumental Teaching in 2012 with distinction. Afterwards she continued her studies with Prof. Isabelle Perrin, first in Paris at the École Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot (2014 Diplôme Supérieur d'Exécution - with distinction) and later in Oslo at the Norwegian Academy of Music (2016 Master of Arts in Performance - with distinction).
Selina Cuonz was awardee of the Edwin Fischer Gedenkpreis 2012. She was playing as a soloist at the Tage für neue Musik in Tonhalle, Zurich, at the Classic Openair Winterthur and at the International Dam-Festival in Prishtina, Kosovo amongst others. Cuonz is active also as a chamber musician in classical music (e.g. Duo Cuonz with brother Flurin Cuonz Violoncello) and Folk/Jazz (Benj Hartwig - Danzas Criollas or Martina Linn). Selina Cuonz is regular guest harpist of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Zuger Sinfonietta and the City Light Orchestra Lucerne. Moreover, Selina Cuonz teaches harp at Musikschule Limmattal ZH and Musikschule Meggen LU.
Born in Slovakia, Bronislava Šajgalíková graduated at Conservatory in Bratislava, where she studied opera singing and harp under Mgr. art. Zuzana Töröková, PhD. Currently, she is taking harp lessons from doc. Anne Bassand in Luzern. Bronislava is teaching pedal, lever and Veeh harp in music schools in cantons Argau, Lucerne and Zurich. As a member of the harp orchestra Arpa Doro, she has passion for classical and film music. She is playing chamber music and sings traditional Slovak folk songs with cimbalom band.
Cobus Swanepoel is head of the Master's programmes in Music Performance and Specialised Music Performance as well as professor for chamber music at the Zurich University of the Arts, where he acts as deputy head of the music department. Prior to these duties(2003-2014) he was head of the Bachelor of Arts in Music programme at the same institution. He regularly serves as an adjudicator on international competitions and examination panels, whether it be for cello, chamber music or artistic research. In addition, he has been an assessor for the Swiss Study Foundation since 2004.
Mr Swanepoel is an established chamber musician, performing in formations ranging from piano quartet and string quintet to crossover groups and ensembles for contemporary music. He enjoyed frequent appearances as guest-principal cellist with ensembles such as Münchener Kammerorchester, Zürcher Kammerorchester, Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, Salzburg Chamber Soloists and the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein. Regular appearances as soloist with orchestra round off the spectrum of his concert activities. He has presented works by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Elgar, Françaix, Haydn, Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Saint Saëns, Schubert, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky, among others.
Liana Tretiakova is considered to be one of the most successful violin teachers of her generation in the world today. Alumna of the legendary Professor Bron (at the Reina Sofía School Of Music in Madrid and the University of the Arts in Zurich) and his former assistant for 15 years, she has been working with young violinists from all over the planet for almost 25 years.
Fully dedicated to her vocation of bringing up the next generation of classical musicians, in 2010 – together with her admired teacher – she founded the Zakhar Bron School of Music in Zurich (not-for-profit association). Since then she has been working as a leading violin teacher and a principal of the school – with a full support of her inspiring mentor, who kindly allowed the school to use his name to emphasize the very high standards of teaching. Liana has a unique expertise in working with children (starting with the age of four) and guiding them from the very basics to the most complicated aspects of playing violin during the years of tuition. The impressive number of top prizes won by her students at various national and international competitions – including the 2nd prize at the Wieniawsky international competition in Poland and the 1st prize at the Nutcracker international competition in Russia (won by a Swiss participant for the first time in the 20-year history of the contest) – is a living proof of the very high quality of her teaching.
Performing at various globally acknowledged concerts and festivals – including the Menton Festival of Classical Music (Côte d`Azur, France), the Trans-Siberian Art Festival of Vadim Repin (Novosibirsk, Russia), famous international Swiss festival in Montreux and international Swiss festivals Zaubersee (Lucerne) and Bachwochen (Thun) – is a vital part of professional violin tuition for Liana’s most advanced students. The performance at the Trans-Siberian Art Festival in 2018 was even covered by ‘The Strad’, the world’s most popular magazine for professional musicians, and received a very positive feedback: “Sophie Branson, 11, and Ilva Eigus, 10, who study at the Zakhar Bron School of Music with Bron’s former assistant Liana Tretiakova, were two other young violinists to feature in the festival line-up. Their first appearance came alongside cellist Alexander Buzlov, the string players of the Novosibirsk. Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and Repin himself in the world premiere of iGeneration, a ‘concerto grosso for violin, cello and two young violin soloists’ by Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder. Behind the slightly glib title lay a work of surprising complexity in which Eigus and Branson were pitted against the older musicians in angular dance motifs with jagged harmony that borrowed from bebop as much as from Bartók. The second and third movements saw the girls navigate fiendishly complex polyrhythms on which the orchestra members were depending for their cues, and which were delivered with a poise that belied the scale of the challenge”.
Liana’s students have also performed with chamber and symphony orchestras in Paris, London, Zurich and Moscow. She has given violin masterclasses in Switzerland, England, France, and China and – at the Maxim Vengerov String Academy 2019 – in Monaco. Since 2021, Liana is also acting as an external violin teacher at the PreCollege Music of the University of the Arts in Zurich.
Lea Magdalena Knecht has graduated from the City of Basel Music Academy with a diplomas in Pedagogy and Orchestra specialization (1993, prof. Ursula Holliger) and from the Zurich University of the Arts with diploma in performing arts (1997, prof. Eva Guibantif)
She did an internship at the Basel Symphony Orchestra and Radio Symphony Orchestra Basel (1992).
Lea Magdalena Knecht has been a solo harpist of the Argovia philharmonic Symphony Orchestra since 1998. As Guest Harpist she also plays with Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, CHAARTS, The Zurich Chamber Orchestra ZKO.
Thanks to her participation in various chamber ensamble and as a soloist, she has a wide repertoire.
In addition to her teaching activities at the music school “Zürcher Oberland MZO” and the music school “Konservatorium Zürich MKZ”, she realizes multimedia projects with her students in her MusikFilmAtelier and the ensembles.
Working with her students, she is regularly inspired to try new things and give her students a variety of musical material. To this end, she is passionate about composing and arranging.
With the electric harp, she composes and performs live electronic music that can be classified stylistically between baroque and technoid beats.
Anne-Sophie Vrignaud was born in Nice (France) and began her musical education very early at the Conservatoire National of the Région de Nice. She won a first prize there with specialisation in chamber music.
In Zurich she completed both the Master in Performance and the Master in Music Education in the class of Catherine Michel and Irina Zingg at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). However, teaching takes the first place in her life. She teaches at various music schools and cantonal schools, from beginners to half-professionals. In doing so, she conveys the "French technique" with great energy, with laughter and passion with the aim of supporting every student in the best possible way.
Anne-Sophie Vrignaud is a prizewinner of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and the Orchestre Français des Jeunes. She regularly lives out her passion for orchestral playing with the Zürich Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Zürich.
Has produced more than 200 classical and pop arrangements and 30 compositions for harp and ensembles. Alexander is constantly touring around the world with concerts and workshops. Has six published albums.
Alexandra Bissig (1995) from the Canton of Uri plays violin since she was seven. Her teachers include Sebastian Hamann and Ina Dimitrova. In autumn 2015 she started her studies at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) with prof. Ulrich Gr ner and Alexander Sitkovetsky and completed this at the Lucerne University of Arts (HSLU) with Isabelle van Keulen. She also successfully completed her master’s degree in Music pedagogy in summer 2021 with Isabelle van Keulen in Lucerne. Thanks to master classes with Ulrich Gr ner and Reiko Barbara Oberhummer, she was able to deepen her skills.
Alongside her studies, Alexandra Bissig enjoys playing chamber music, e.g. with the Camerata Uri and plays in numerous orchestra projects. She was also section leader for three years and concertmaster of the Zentralschweizer Jugendsinfonieorchester (ZJSO) for two years. She is currently giving concerts with the Four Forest Strings, 21st century symphony orchestra, the Camerata Luzern, the Christoph Walter Orchestra, the Collegium Musicum Uri, the Kammerensemble Uri and the orchestra of the film music spectacle TriEvent. Tours with orchestras have already taken her to Switzerland, China, Italy and Portugal. She also works as a violin teacher at the music school in Emmen and leads string ensembles at the music school in Emmen and Sarnen.
Alexander Seidel is characterized by his great versatility:
As a conductor for baroque operas and oratorios, Vienna classical music and choral-symphonic works is recognized in the European Baroque scene.
He is the chorusmater at the Evangelical Reformed church in the district Höfe at Lake Zurich and musicdirector of the St. Otmar Choir in St. Gallen. Every year he conducts highly acclaimed concerts with his choirs, renowned vocal soloists and baroque orchestras. In addition, he directs a master class every summer during the music course weeks of the festival Arosa Kultur, where he conducts Henry Purcell's opera Dido & Aeneas in 2019.
In 1995 he founded the New Sagittarius Consort Zurich, with which he worked on over fifty concert projects and partly performed at international festivals. Hospitals and assistants brought him together with Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, William Christie, Sir Roger Norrington and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He refined his conducting technique in masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Colin Metters and René Jacobs.
He has conducted concerts with musicians from the Berlin Staatskapelle, the RSO Berlin, the Sinfonieorchester Basel, the St.Gallen Kammersolisten, the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz, the Baroque Orchestras Stella Matutina Feldkirch, Musica Poetica Freiburg La Folia Dresden and La Scintilla of the Zurich Opera House. From 2019 onwards he performs regularly with the baroque ensemble Anima Mea.
Alexander Seidel has worked as a countertenor in numerous opera and theater productions - most recently at the Theater Basel - and has sung numerous solo concertos with works by Antonio Caldara, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Gustav Mahler, Franz Schubert and Antonin Dvorak.
His repertoire ranges from early baroque music to Handel, Bach and contemporary music. In 2018 he debuted at the Easter Festival Baden-Baden, together with Concerto Melante (member oft he Berlin Philharmonics and guests), with music by Bach and Telemann in the master concerts.
The British composer Thomas Adés composed the cycle "Love in Winter" for him. The German composer Manfred Schlenker dedicated a cycle of biblical duets based on Dvorak's "Biblische Lieder".
In 2016, the Swiss Frederic Bolli composed the first full-length German-language song cycle for countertenor and piano "Flea Market of Dreams" and 2017 Louizes Labès sonnets for countertenor and lute. Both cycles were premiered by Alexander Seidel.
Alexander Seidel is the organist at the Evangelical Reformed church in the district Höfe at Lake Zurich and gave solo concerts u.a. in St. Petersburg, Berlin and Potsdam, as well as throughout Switzerland. He played on many historical instruments in Europe. His improvisational art was praised by the press as "Simply brilliant" (Märkische Allgemeine).
In 2017 a Telemann CD was released on the label deutsche harmonia mundi with the Concerto Melante.
Born in Turin in 1981, Letizia Belmondo began to study the harp at the age of eight at the Suzuki Talent Center in Turin. She continued her studies with Gabriella Bosio at the «G.Verdi» Conservatoire in Turin and in 1998 obtained her diploma for the harp, then pursued her studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Lyon under the supervision of Fabrice Pierre and with Nancy Allen at The Julliard School in New York. She participated in numerous masterclasses and studied with Judith Liber. Her musical training is also enriched from having studied the cello.
In February 2001, at just nineteen years of age, Letizia Belmondo won first prize at the prestigious International Harp Contest in Israël, as well as the Esther Herlitz prize awarded for the best performance of a contemporary piece. She also won numerous competitions and prizes, some of which include the International Harp Competition in Lausanne and the Third Grand Prix at the Lily Laskine Competition. Since then, Letizia Belmondo has gained much success and recognition in Europe and in the United States, she appears as a soloist and works with renowned orchestras, amongst others, under the baton of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Bertrand de Billy and Claudio Abbado. From 2005 to 2012, she was solo harpist at the Opéra Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels and since 2008, works with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.
Letizia Belmondo is regularly invited to give masterclasses in Europe and in the United States. She is a member of the jury for many international and prestigious harp competitions, notably the International Harp Contest in Israël and the Lily Laskine Competition in Paris.
Her discography is represented by Deutsche Grammophon, Egan Records and by the label Tactus.
Since 2011, Letizia Belmondo is Professor of Harp at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne.
The video should be HD quality, horizontal, and include at least 80% of the harp and performer.
Better to put the camera (or good phone) right in front of the Harp and turn the instrument diagonally so that the column does not interfere with the view. The camera should be stable.
The video shouldn’t have any background noises and glitches and could be cut/edited only between the compositions.
At the beginning of the video, the contestant should say his/her name, age, and compositions/composer name, which will be performed (also, please, put it in the description of the video).
Name: FREUNDE DER HARFE
c/o Alexander Boldachev
IBAN: CH76 0900 0000 1531 1114 4
Reason for transfer: write applicant's name