Born in Turin in 1981, Letizia Belmondo began to study the harp at the age of eight at the Suzuki Talent Center in Turin. From 1989, she continued her studies with Gabriella Bosio at the «G. Verdi» Conservatoire in Turin and in 1998, obtained her diploma for the harp. Thanks to a study scholarship from the Associazione per la Musica De Sono, Letizia continued her studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Lyon under the supervision of Fabrice Pierre, then with Nancy Allen at The Julliard School in New York. She also had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses and to study with Judith Liber. Her musical training is also enriched from studying the cello, which she started at the age of five and which she continued with Antonio Mosca at the «G. Verdi » Conservatoire in Turin until 1999. In 2001 Letizia Belmondo won first prize at the prestigious International Harp Contest in Israël, as well as the Ester Herlitz Prize awarded for the best performance of a contemporary piece. She also won numerous competitions and prizes, including the International Harp Competition in Lausanne and special prize for the best performance of the Prélude by Jolivet, the Franz Schubert Competition, the Martine Geliot Competition, the Third Grand Prix at the Lily Laskine Competition, the Società Umanitaria Competition, the Rovere d’Oro Prize and the Victor Salvi Competition. As a soloist, she appears with the RAI Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale in Turin, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, the Mozart Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under the batons of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Bertrand de Billy and Claudio Abbado. From 2005 to 2012, Letizia Belmondo was the solo harpist in the orchestra of the Opéra Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. She is regularly invited by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, conducted till recently by Claudio Abbado. She recorded several CDs for Egan Records, Deutsche Grammophon and Tactus label. Letizia 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. From 2006 to 2008, she was the assistant of Fabrice Pierre at the CNSMD in Lyon. In June 2011, Letizia Belmondo was appointed Professor of Harp at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne.
Stephen Fitzpatrick started playing the piano at the age of four, and three years later started playing the harp. After initial lessons in his native North Wales, he was accepted as a student at the Royal College of Music in London with Marisa Robles. Further studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Edward Witsenburg culminated with a performance diploma in addition to the degree and teaching diploma already attained in London. As an orchestral musician, Stephen has been co-principal harpist at the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, guest principal at the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and in 2000 he was chosen by Daniel Barenboim to be Principal Harpist at the Deutsche Staatskapelle in Berlin. In 2007, he was appointed harpist at the Bayreuther Festspielorchester. He has freelanced with many world class orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and La Scala, Milan, and was regularly invited by Christoph von Dohnyáni to be Guest Principal Harpist at the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg. Stephen has been active as a chamber musician and soloist throughout Europe. He has given solo recitals in England, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and as member of various chamber music ensembles has given numerous tours throughout France and Spain. He is committed to contemporary music and has given critically acclaimed performances of works by living composers, from the world premiere of a piece for harp, marimba and vibraphone by Victor Varela (Venezuela) to the oboe and harp concerto by Hans Werner Henze with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Stephen was member of the harp faculty at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin from 2008-2011 and Professor for Harp at the Barenboim-Said Academy in Seville from 2004-2011. In 2010, he was appointed Professor of Harp at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
In 2013 Andrea Vigh became a rector at the Liszt Academy of Music. She recorded ten solo CDs, all released on the Capriccio and Hungaroton label to great critical acclaim. Following the release of her "Harp Concertos" CD, she received an invitation to the "Die Beste" programme of German state television "ZDF" in 1994. Ms Vigh gave several successful solo concerts in the sold-out Great Hall of the Academy of Music in Budapest, and frequently appears in the concert halls of Hungary and Europe both as a solo artist and a chamber musician. Between 1993-1996 she regularly played with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, including concerts in Berlin and Paris as well as at the Salzburg Festival, and New York's Carnegie Hall. Several TV-recordings have been made of her playing. During the Budapest Spring Festival 2003 she gave an orchestral concert, conducted by Zoltán Kocsis. In 2005, in the Winter Festive Evenings, she performed with Éva Marton and Ilona Tokody in the Palace of Arts. In 2006 she made a DVD recording of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp with Béla Drahos and the Hungarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra (Hungaroton). Ms Vigh is the founder and artistic leader of the Gödöllő International Harp Festival, launched in 1999. She is a jury member of the Wales, Arles, Belgrade, Szeged and Gödöllő harp competitions. In 2010 she participated in a very successful tour in Japan. In 2012 she gave a solo recital in Brussels and held a master class at the Brussels Academy of Music.
Melinda Felletár (Hungary)
Melinda Felletár began her harp studies at the Szeged Conservatory under the supervision of Richard Weininger (harp) and Lajos Huszár (composition). In 1978, she moved to Moscow to continue her studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in the class of Vera Dulova. After returning to Hungary in 1983, she was appointed as the solo harpist of the Szeged Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre of Szeged until 1988. Since 1985, she has played the majority of solo harp repertoire in Hungary and abroad. She recorded the Romance by Leo Weiner with János Starker in 1999. Between 1998 and 2010, she was the principal harpist of the MATAV Symphony Orchestra. Since 1991, she has been the professor of harp at the Liszt F. Conservatory in Szeged. In 2010, she obtained her doctoral degree at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. Melinda performed six Hungarian harp concertos in a three part concert series in the Hungarian Public Radio, which earned her fame and success. Four of them she recorded on CD, three of them were recorded at the first time. Among them she premiered the concerto of Sándor Balassa that was dedicated to her by the composer. Recently she has been extensively touring the world performing in recitals and concerts with symphony and chamber orchestras alike. She appeared on stage in Rome with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, in Serbia with the National Symphony Orchestra, in Mexico with UANL Symphony Orchestra, and gave a performance of chamber music in Vienna. She was the guest soloist during the concert tour of the world renowned Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland.
Sándor Gyüdi (Hungary)
Born in Hungary, conductor Sándor Gyüdi started his music education as a violoncello player, later as a singer but decided not to pursue music after graduating from high school. Only after receiving a diploma in mathematics and physics from the Szeged University in 1983 did he finally decide on a musical career. While remaining active in music in Szeged, he studied conducting in Budapest at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. After receiving his diploma in 1988, he was appointed conductor and choir director at the Szeged National Theatre. In the first years of his professional career he was known as a specialist in choirs, a winner of several prizes, professor of choir conducting, a jury member of several international competitions. According to his vocal interest, he has been the artistic director of the oratorio chorus of Szeged since 1988. His charismatic personality, distinctive musical ideas and wide repertoire have captivated audiences of his concerts in nineteen European countries, where he has been frequently reinvited. His recordings were published, besides Hungarian publishers, by the Belgian Duchesne World Records (Piano concertos of Mozart). Since his first appearance in Spain, conducting a Christmas Concert in the Royal Basilica of El Escorial, 1991, he has given more than fifty concerts in the major cities of the country. In 1990 Sándor Gyüdi became associated with the Szeged Symphony Orchestra and was appointed their Director & Principal Conductor in 1999. He has been primarily responsible for enhancing the reputation of the Szeged Symphony Orchestra, who have had wide acclamation on their extensive tours at home and abroad.