Mirijam Contzen studied with the legendary violinist Tibor Varga. She specializes in unknown repertoire, having recorded works of Nicolas Bolens, Stefan Heucke, and Franz Clement, among others. She has performed as a soloist with the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and more. She is a professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin.
Barbara Lebitsch has been director of artistic planning at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg since 2018. After earning degrees in theater studies, musicology, psychology, and journalism, she served as an artistic planner and director of production at the Konzerthaus in Vienna and for the Wien Modern festival from 2002 to 2012. From 2012 to 2015, she was assistant to the artistic director at the Berlin Philharmonic Foundation. She joined the Elbphilharmonie in 2015 as lead dramaturge.
Anne Midgette was the classical music critic of The Washington Post for 11 years, from 2008 to 2019. Before that, she was for seven years a regular contributor of classical music and theater reviews to The New York Times. She is co-author of The King and I and of My Nine Lives, and is currently working on a historical novel about the woman who built pianos for Beethoven.
Julian Steckel was born in 1982 in Pirmasens, Germany. He studied cello in Berlin and Vienna. He currently performs with orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. Besides performing as a soloist, Steckel has held concerts at festivals in Lucerne, Mondsee, Heimbach, Lockenhaus, Zermatt, Bonn, Jerusalem, and Prussia Cove; his chamber music partners include Lars Vogt, Martin Helmchen, Denis Kozhukhin, Paul Rivinius, Christian Tetzlaff, Antje Weithaas, Janine Jansen, Antoine Tamestit and the Ébène, Armida und Modigliani string quartets. He lives in Berlin with his family and teaches a small cello class at the Musikhochschule in Munich.
Lars Vogt is a pianist and conductor. He won second prize at the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition, and has since soloed with ensembles such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic. He is Principal Artistic Partner of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and has conducted several orchestras, including an acclaimed May 2019 tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. In October 2019, he was announced as the next Music Director of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris—his tenure starts on July 1.
Hartmut Welscher is the editor-in-chief of VAN Magazine. He earned degrees in development studies, Asian studies, and cultural anthropology from universities in Berlin, Seoul, Edinburgh, and London, and worked as a consultant for international development cooperation projects in Southeast Asia and Africa for over 10 years. He founded VAN with Ingmar Bornholz in 2013.