Master Classes

Liza Zoe

Evangelos Assimakopoulos

Evangelos & Liza

Born in 1940 Evangelos Assimakopoulos studied the guitar in Athens at the National Conservatoire under Dimitris Fampas. He completed his degree in 1960 and was unanimously awarded First Prize and the Medal for Outstanding Performance. That same year he won First Prize in the Naples International Guitar Competition (Italy). Shortly afterwards he was awarded a scholarship to study with the Presti-Lagoya duo in France and Andrés Segovia in Spain.

Since 1959 Evangelos Assimakopoulos has given many solo recitals throughout Greece. In 1965 he married guitarist Liza Zoe and together they established Greece’s first guitar duo.

Since 1967 the couple has carried out extensive tours all over the world and given hundreds of recitals in some of the most renowned concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, le Théâtre de la Ville, the Lincoln Center and the Herodion. They have also performed for many radio and television stations (the BBC, Paris RTVF, Brussels, Madrid, Cologne, Berlin etc.) and taken part in festivals in, among other places, New York, Boston, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rome, Mexico and Athens. They also appear as duo soloists with symphony orchestras such as those of Montreal, Michigan, Cincinnati and Birmingham, as well as teaching seminars and holding Master-classes at universities and academies overseas including The Juilliard School, The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, UCLA, Stony Brook University and Mannes College of Music.

Not only have the two Greek musicians been acclaimed by major newspapers, including The New York Times, Daily Telegraph, Paris Matin, Chicago Sun and Los Angeles Times, but they also earned the esteem of the great Andrés Segovia himself, who wrote: “Since Fate cruelly deprived us of Presti - Lagoya, I no longer had the pleasure of listening to any similar duo. But lately, when the talented Greek guitarists Evangelos and Liza played for me, I felt complete satisfaction and enjoyment. I cordially wish Evangelos and Liza to conquer the high esteem of the public as they have conquered mine.”

Both Greek and foreign composers (M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, J. Morel, J. Duarte, T. Antoniou, D. Dragatakis, P. Koukos etc.) have written pieces especially for Evangelos and Liza; at the same time the two musicians have enriched a rather meagre guitar duo repertoire with transcriptions and arrangements of their own (J .S. Bach, D. Scarlatti, A. Vivaldi, F. Couperin, J. P. Rameau, I. Albéniz, E. Granados, M. de Falla, F. Chopin, P. I. Tchaikovsky, F. Schubert etc.).

Evangelos Assimakopoulos has produced several records and CDs of works for one and two guitars that are available everywhere. Finally, over his 50 years of teaching, he has established a school of guitarists who have made a name for themselves both in Greece and abroad.

The superb concerts of Evangelos Assimakopoulos and his wife Liza Zoe in Europe, United States and Canada, have made them one of the most highly regarded duo guitarists in the world today.

Not only have the two Greek musicians been acclaimed by many newspapers of repute, including the New York times, Daily Telegraph, Paris Matin, Chicago Sun, El Sol de Mexico and Los Angeles Times, but they also earned the esteem of the great Andrés Segovia himself, who wrote of them: “Since Fate cruelly deprived us of Presti-Lagoya, I no longer had the pleasure of listening to any similar duo. But lately, when the talented Greek guitarists Evangelos and Liza played for me, I felt complete satisfaction and enjoyment. I cordially wish Evangelos and Liza to conquer the high esteem of the public as they have conquered mine!”

They both began their studies of the guitar in 1953 at the National Conservatory of Athens under Dimitris Fampas. After receiving first prizes “with excellence” upon graduating, they shared the first two prizes in the International Competition in Naples, Italy. For four consecutive periods they were awarded scholarships to study with the Presti-Lagoya duo in France and with Andrés Segovia in Spain. Shortly after, they became professors at the National Conservatory in Athens.

Since their arrival on the international scene in 1967, Evangelos and Liza have carried out extensive tours all over the world and given hundreds of recitals at some of the most famous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, le Théâtre de la Ville, the Lincoln Center and the Herodion. They have also performed for many radio and television stations (the BBC, Paris RTVF, Brussels, Madrid, Cologne, Berlin etc.) and taken part in major festivals in, among other places, New York, Boston, Antwerp, Rome, Amsterdam and Mexico. They usually appear as duo soloists with well known symphony orchestras such as those of Montreal, Michigan, Cincinnati and Birmingham, as well as teaching seminars and holding Master-classes at universities and academies overseas including The Juilliard School, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, UCLA, Stony Brook University and Mannes College of Music.

Both Greek and foreign composers have written pieces especially for Evangelos and Liza; at the same time the two musicians have enriched a rather meagre guitar duo repertoire with transcriptions and arrangements for their own. They have produced several records and CDs of works for one or two guitars that are available on the EMI Classics label everywhere. The breadth of their repertoire, their technical skill and rich interpretations, have earned an enthusiastic reception wherever they have performed, resulting to their wholehearted acceptance by the public as one of the “most exciting husband-and-wife virtuoso duos of today’s musicdom.”

Vojin Kocić

Thanks to his musicality and expressive playing, virtuosity, interpretation of guitar music from Renaissance to the music created in the 21st century, Vojin Kocić belongs to the very summit of the international guitar scene. Critics call him ‘Maestro o f Gentle Tones’ (SRF, Switzerland).

Born in Smederevo, Republic of Serbia, in 1990, Vojin Kocić had his first guitar lessons at the age of 8, in his home town, with the Professor Jovica Milošević, and later under the tutelage of the Professor Darko Karajić, at the ‘Josip Slavenski’ School of Music in Belgrade. He received the offers to continue his studies in many countries (Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Switzerland) as well as scholarships. After one year of study at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, in the Professor Srđan Tošić’s class, upon the recommendation of Maestro Oscar Ghiglia (Segovia’s disciple), he decided to continue his studies in 2011 with the Professor Anders Miolin at the University of Arts in Zurich, Switzerland, where he acquired the titles of Bachelor of Arts, Master of Specialized Music Performance and Master of Pedagogy Diploma, achieved the uppermost results, and obtained numerous scholarships and acknowledgements as the best student. Vojin was perfecting his playing in 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2015 with the Professor Oscar Ghiglia at “Accademia Chigiana” in Siena, Italy, where he received “Diploma d’Onore” for his artistic achievements, as the only guitarist to receive it in the history of this famous Academy. He also attended the masterclasses with other famous guitar maestros such as Pepe Romero, Leo Brouwer, Hubert Kappel, Zoran Dukić, Dušan Bogdanović, Carlo Marchione, Paul Galbraith, Pavel Steidl and many others.

Since the dawn of his career, when he was eight years old, Vojin has received over 50 international awards, among which are the first prizes at the prestigious international guitar competitions, special awards, scholarships, grants. He was acclaimed prodigy and the best young musician in every academic year of his. Besides the numerous first prizes won in his category at domestic and international competitions, he won his first international competition in the no age limit category when he was only 14, and then continued to win another 17 awards on prestigious guitar competitions, the most prominent being the 1st prize at “John Duarte” (Austria 2008), the 1st prize at “Citta di Gargnano” (Italy 2009), the 1st prize at “Ruggero Chiessa” International Guitar Competition (2010), the 1st prize at Enrico Mercatalli (Italy 2012), the 2nd prize at “Agustin Barrios” (Italy 2012), the 2nd prize (first prize was not awarded) at Hubert Kappel (Germany 2014), the 1st prize at Heinsberg International Guitar Competition (Germany, 2017). As a winner of the 1st prize at International Guitar Competition Heinsberg (Germany 2017) he was given an opportunity to record his first CD in Toronto for a famous record label NAXOS. In September 2018, Vojin won one of the most prestigious competition for classical guitar 51 International Guitar Competition “Michele Pittaluga” in Alessandria, Italy. Once again he has been given the opportunity to record a second CD for NAXOS Record Label as well as a concert tour in 2019 including concerts in Tchaikovsky Hall (Moscow), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), St. Petersburg Capella Hall, etc.

In December 2014 in Geneva, at the eighth finals of “Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes” (competition of all instruments and opera singers), Vojin was a winner of this prestigious competition. He was chosen for the best young musician in Switzerland and besides the reward of CHF 25,000, was given an opportunity to debut at the prestigious Swiss Lucerne Festival in 2015.

Vojin Kocic has held over 200 solo concerts in various European countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia. As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras such as Atina Camerata (Greece), Symphony Orchestra of Radio Television of Serbia, Gudaci Svetog Djordja – Strings of St. George (Serbia), Orchestergesselschaft Zürich, Stringendo Orchestra Zürich, Orion Trio (Basel). He performed in Zurich with a famous violinist Ingolf Turban (Germany). His concerts have been broadcast by radio and television companies such as SRF 2 radio (Switzerland), Radio Swiss Classic, NPO Radio 4 (Netherlands), Radio Television of Slovenia (Ars), Radio Televizija of Croatia, RTCG (Montenegro) , Radio Television of Serbia etc. He regularly holds masterclasses for disciples and students at international festivals (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Serbia etc.). Also, he often sits on the juries of international music competitions. Besides the classical guitar, Vojin is dedicated to performing early music on historical instruments such as vihuela, the Renaissance lute, the Baroque guitar and the Baroque lute, on which he performed in different projects. Vojin Kocic currently plays on the classical guitar made by Masaki Sakurai and Jean-Nöel Rohé, uses Dâddario strings and records for the NAXOS record label.

Rovshan Mamedkuliev

Since 1999, Rovshan Mamedkuliev has won more than 20 awards in national and international guitar competitions, including the first prizes of the 10th International Guitar Competition «Hommage à Leo Brouwer» (Antony, France, 2009), the 1st International Guitar Competition «Heitor Villa-Lobos» (Salamanca, Spain, 2011), the XXX Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition (Charleston, SC, USA, 2012), the 48th International Guitar Competition «Francisco Tárrega» (Benicasim, Spain, 2014) and the 48th International Guitar Competition “Michele Pittaluga” (Alessandria, Italy, 2015).

In 2012, he made his debut in New York's Carnegie Hall and performed in numerous cities throughout Germany and Spain. In the 2013-2014 concert season after winning GFA's International Concert Artist Competition, he toured throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil and performed in 51 concerts and gave master-classes.

As a soloist he has performed with a lot of ensembles and orchestras including: l’Ensemble orchestral de Valencia (Spain), Orchestre du Conservatoire National de Musique Superieur de Paris (France), Azerbaijani State Chamber Orchestra named after Kara Karaev, Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic Symphonic Orchestra, State Symphony Orchestra of the Udmurt Republic.

Rovshan Mamedkuliev has premiered many new works for classical guitar, including Concerto no.3 «Antony» by Philippe Lemaigre for guitar and symphonic orchestra (Antony, France, 2012) and Concerto «Famalicao» by Elena Lebedeva for guitar and chamber orchestra (Kostroma, Russia, 2008) and he also performs his own arrangements.

A number of works are recorded by Rovshan on CDs: his first professional CD “Con Anima” (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 2011), a Guitar Recital CD at the Laureate Series on the prestigious label «Naxos» (Toronto, Canada, 2012), a Solo CD “Semi-Awake, Semi-Dream” on the «Contrastes Records» (Sevilla, Spain, 2015).

Since 2014 Rovshan Mamedkuliev is a professor of the classical guitar department in the Maimonides Academy (Moscow).