Blog of Professor Jo Cole

New Visiting Strings Professors

Professor Jo Cole - Posted on 22.05.2020

(clockwise from top left: Božo Paradžik, Igor Yuzefovich, Roman Simovic, Ashan Pillai)

The Strings Department at the Academy is committed to maintaining and developing our strong links to the international musical community. We give our students access to inspirational teachers from a range of different cultures and nationalities; they each bring a unique and valuable viewpoint. The teaching and student mentoring offered by Visiting Professors, as well as their friendship and support for the Academy, plays a crucial role in this commitment.

I am therefore delighted and proud to announce that these four distinguished artists have accepted our invitation to take up the following positions for the academic year 2020-2021.

Roman Simovic - Visiting Professor of Violin

Ukrainian violinist Roman Simovic's renowned and brilliant musicianship has taken him to all continents, performing on many of the world's leading stages. He has been awarded prizes at numerous international competitions including the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition.

As a soloist, Simovic has appeared with leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and the Camerata Bern with top conductors such as Valery Gergiev and Antonio Pappano.

His debut solo recording of Paganini’s 24 Caprices on the LSO Live label was released to critical acclaim in 2018. Aside from being an active soloist, Roman Simovic is an avid chamber musician and a founding member of the distinguished Rubikon String Quartet. As an educator, he has presented masterclasses in the USA, UK, South Korea, Serbia, Montenegro and Israel. Roman Simovic is leader of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Ashan Pillai - Visiting Professor of Viola

Barcelona-based British violist Ashan Pillai is now regarded as one of the foremost violists and pedagogues in Europe. His former students can be found in orchestras across four continents, including the Berlin Philharmonic. He studied with John White at the Royal Academy of Music before training at the University of Southern California Los Angeles, the Banff Centre and The Juilliard School with Don McInnes and Karen Tuttle.

After winning special prizes and audience prizes at the Tertis and Rome International Viola Competitions, Ashan gave recital debuts at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and Carnegie Hall, subsequently forming long chamber music collaborations: with Pinchas Zukerman (Zukerman Chamber Players), as co-founder of the ensemble Mobius, and as violist in the trio Cervello. Working with artists including Christopher Hogwood and Cristian Zacharias, he has performed at major festivals: from the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico to Tanglewood, Aspen and Salzburg.

He has a substantial solo and chamber music discography under multiple labels. His orchestral profile includes the positions as the Assistant Principal of the English Chamber Orchestra and Principal Viola of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Ashan is also a sought-after professor especially throughout Southern Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Igor Yuzefovich - Visiting Professor of Violin and Orchestral Studies

Internationally acclaimed violinist Igor Yusefovich was previously Assistant Concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Concertmaster of both the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Singapore Symphony Orchestras, before moving to London to take up the post as Leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2019.

Born in Moscow, Igor began his violin studies at the age of 5, shortly after enrolling at the Gnessin Music School to work with Irina Svetlova. In 1991, he moved to the USA to study at the Peabody Conservatory with world renowned pedagogue Victor Danchenko. Winner of multiple awards and competitions, Igor’s performances have taken him from Carnegie Hall to Cairo Opera House and across Europe, South Africa and Asia.

He is the violinist of the Monument Piano Trio, which he co-founded in 2004 when working in Baltimore, and toured with them extensively and to acclaim in the USA. The trio released its debut recording in 2011 with a disc of music by Brahms, Shostakovich and Paul Schoenfield. As well as giving solo violin masterclasses frequently, Igor is keen to share and support young musicians in acquiring the principles of orchestral performance at the highest level.

Božo Paradžik Visiting Professor of Double Bass

Already a much-loved and frequent visitor to the Academy, Lucerne-based Božo Paradžik has an international profile of exceptional accomplishment, versatility and creativity. He began his career as an orchestral musician, playing principal bass roles with the Residentie Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 and 2009, Božo was principal double bassist in orchestral projects with the Orchestra Mozart and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the invitation of Claudio Abbado.

Božo now places more emphasis on solo and chamber music activities and has appeared in many prestigious venues in these genres. Performances include playing the second cello part of the Schubert Quintet in C with the Apos Quartet at the Berlin Philharmonie and performing the Haydn C major Cello Concerto with the Zagreb Philharmonic.

His first solo CD gave him international recognition as a soloist. It was EMI/Virgin Classica’s first solo double bass disc and was followed by numerous recording projects. Božo Paradžik’s teaching is internationally recognised and acknowledged, and his students have achieved remarkable successes. He is regularly invited to give masterclasses at leading conservatories in Europe. The Academy is honoured that Božo has accepted this invitation to formalise our long and fruitful relationship.

Explore our blogs