SCHOLARS (2016–2018)

Following auditions in Vienna and Hamburg in the spring of 2016 four young musicians were selected to attend the Balthasar Neumann Academy and have been in receipt of scholarships since the summer of 2016. An additional scholarship was awarded to Javier Cantillo Laffita from Cuba.

Maja Backovic, violin

Maja Backovic was born in Serbia in 1992. At the age of fourteen she moved to Budapest to enrol at the city’s Academy of Music. Since 2011 she has lived in Austria and is studying for a master’s degree in the violin at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, where her supervisor is Rainer Schmidt.

„I’m particularly interested in the interpretative practices of the Baroque and the Classical era – not only as a soloist but also in chamber formations and as an orchestral musician. I’d really like to find out more about the practice of improvisation at this time. In particular I am fascinated by the links between the individual styles of the Baroque and the language of each of the countries of origin, not to mention the connection with dance, with the other arts and with science…”

Patrons: Poolhaus-Blankenese Stiftung/ Ingeborg und Bernd Kahnert

Veronica Böhm, violin

Veronica Böhm grew up in Passau but has lived in Vienna since 2009. She is currently studying for a master’s degree with Prof. Thomas Fheodoroff.

“I got to know lots of different musicians in Vienna and kept wondering what my career would look like. I am now certain that it is above all my love of the music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that defines me both as a person and as a musician. Although I’ve been playing early music since I was a child, it was only three years ago – as the result of an injury – that I started to play the Baroque violin. I quickly became fascinated by my new old instrument, which has opened my eyes in more ways than one.”

Patrons: Ernst-Herbert und Christiane Pfleiderer Stiftung

Muriel Razavi, viola

Muriel Razavi was born in southern Germany in 1992. She began to study the viola with Nils Mönkemeyer in 2011. Since 2012 her teacher has been Tabea Zimmermann at the Hanns Eisler University in Berlin. She is a member of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and until recently was a member of the Academy of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin.

“I really want to get to know more about different ways of performing Baroque music at the Balthasar Neumann Academy and increase my understanding of the interpretative approaches and compositional styles of other periods.”

Patrons: Caroline and Gerhard Wöhrl 

Kristina Chalmovska, violoncello

Kristina Chalmovska was born in Slovakia. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in London and is currently studying with Roel Dieltiens and Raphael Wallfisch at Zurich’s University of the Arts.

“My greatest passion is to perform with other people: chamber music, in an orchestra, in a chamber orchestra, in a Baroque ensemble and as a continuo player. While at the Academy I should like to learn different ways of studying new repertory efficiently and professionally. I am also looking forward to getting to know the reactions and interaction within the ensemble at individual concerts. And, of course, I should simply like to play as much as possible both in the orchestra and as a chamber recitalist.”

Patrons: Karen & Stefan Müller

Javier Cantillo Laffita, violin

Javier Cantillo was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1992, and it was there that he trained as a musician. He moved to Havana to study and last year completed a course at the Instituto Superior de Arte. In Cuba he has performed with various orchestras and ensembles: he is the leader of the orchestra at the Lyceum Mozartiano de la Habana and has been exploring his country’s musical legacy with the Caribe Nostrum Quintet and the Música Eterna Chamber Orchestra run by the composer Guido López. He continues to live in Havana.

“Music means everything to me in my life. You need endurance and a willingness to sacrifice yourself if you are to express your emotions through music. There is so much for me to learn at the Academy, including a better understanding of other cultures. Working together and performing in concerts together will be an unforgettable and extremely constructive experience for my development as a musician.”

Patrons: Sabine and Klaus Engel