Panel of Judges


1. The panel of judges shall comprise 3 members and chaired by AMPB teacher of instrument in the competition.

2. For the attribution of the Excellence Award, the jury will be constituted by the Educational Direction of AMPB, a member of the former “Tuna Musical Brandoense” and the Artistic Director of Paços de Brandão International Music Festival or the Chairperson of the CiRAC (Círculo de Recreio, Arte e Cultura).

3. The panel of judges reserves the right to interrupt the performance of each candidate, if said panel deems it appropriate.

4. The panel of judges reserves the right not to award any prize.

5. Decisions by the panel of judges shall be final.

6. In exceptional cases where the contestant is a student of one of the members of the panel of judges, such panel member shall be ruled out of that same contestant’s evaluation.




Álvaro Cortez (Percurssion)

Álvaro Cortez Laurenço Alves was born in Barcelos, Portugal. He enrolled in the Calouste Gulbenkian Music Conservatory in Braga, Portugal, studying with Helena Pereira and Hugo Vieira. He was selected to join the “Youth National Orchestra” for four years and was Section Leader twice. With only 16 years old he played solo with the Orquestra Gulbenkian de Braga, and one year later he delightfully played at the “Concert for Marimba and Strings” by Emmanuel Séjourné with Orquestra do Norte, beginning his performance as a soloist. He finished his High School Percussion Studies scoring the highest marks and on that account was awarded the Best Student Degree in the artistic category. In 2011 he enrolled in the Nuno Aroso Percussion Class in Braga.
He worked with Paulo Costa, Nuno Aroso, Pedro Carneiro, Pius Cheung, Teodor Milkov, Marta Klimasara, Daniella Ganeva, Li Biao, Chin Chen Lin, Ludwig Albert, She-e-wu, Mark Brahafart, Gean Geffroy, John Beck, Peter Sadlo, Martin Grubinger, Emmanuel Sejourne and Igor Lesnik.
He was awarded in national and international competitions, but one of the most significant was the third prize in “Young Musicians Award”, which is considered to be the Portuguese contest with more importance and artistic visibility. He also won the first prize in the “Concorso Mosicale Europeu”, Citta di Filadélfia in Italy, and the second prize in the “International Marimba Competition Of Greece” sponsored by the world’s largest percussion association “PAS” (Percussion Arts Society). In 2016 he was awarded with the third prize on what the press called “Asian ARD”, the “International Jeju Competition” in South Korea. Also, he won the sixth prize in the most important competition for marimba, “Universal Marimba Competition”. He won the Sabian Prize for Best Interpretation in the competition and Special Young Talents prize as well. He was the European soloist in “European Capital of Youth” in 2012.
At the young age of 24 he already taught masterclasses in Portugal and Spain; new educational events are expected in Belgium, France and Germany. Aside that, he founded the “Intercontinental Marimba Group”, an ensemble that performed in Europe and Asia. He played with the Orquestra Minho Profissional and Norte Orquestra (both Portuguese) and the Royal Flemish Orchestra (Belgium). At the moment, he works as a soloist with orchestras performing in Portugal, South Korea and China.




Claire Litzler (Percurssion)

Claire Litzler, winner of the first prize in the International Snare Drum Competition “ Italy Percussive Art Society Competition 2010”, regularly performs with many professional orchestras, such as the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra, Mannheim Philharmonic Orchestra, French Youth Orchestra etc.
In 2013, she won the second prize and the Public prize in the prestigious Ludwig Albert Marimba Competition in duo with Ryoko Kondo.
In 2017, she won the “Hit like a girl” Contest in the percussion category.
She also played vibraphone several times as a soloist with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and is regularly invited to play and teach masterclasses all around the world (Tomarimbado Festival – Portugal, TIPSC- Taiwan, PASIC -USA, Southern Percussion Festival – London, Adams Festival – Holland…).
Claire Litzler began her musical education at the age of five at the Conservatory of Saint-Louis, Alsace. She started with the piano, but quickly discovered her love for percussion at the age of twelve, when she decided to partake in a brass band.
In 2010, she graduated in Percussion from the Conservatory of Strasbourg with the highest honors (Mention Très Bien à l’Unanimité), and continued to study with Emmanuel Sejourné, Denis Riedinger and Stephane Fougeroux from 2010 to 2014. She obtained bachelor degree in Musicology, Teaching National Diploma as well as Superior National Diploma at Strasbourg Conservatory.
In 2017, she obtained her Master in Interpretation and Pedagogy at Bern Conservatory (Switzerland).
In parallel to her performing career and conservatory education, Claire Litzler teaches percussion at the “Musikakademie der Stadt Basel” in Switzerland and also in her own percussion school “École de batterie & percussions Claire Litzler” in France.
Claire Litzler is an Adams, Black Swamp and Mike Balter Artist




Jill Lawson (Piano)

The very talented pianist Jill Lawson was born in Mexico in 1974. She grew up in Belgium and has both the American and Portuguese nationality. She
learned how to read music before she learned the alphabet. Today she speaks five languages fluently, but still prefers to communicate through music rather
than through words. Her music provides her with a much richer vocabulary and it lies closer to her heart. Her life experiences in the last few years have
helped to further enrich her range of interpretation abilities. She feels that her way of playing has become more natural, and because of this when
performing she feels almost at one with the public.
During her career Jill won several awards and distinctions. Second prize at the International Vianna da Motta Competition sent her career off to a flying
start. She travelled all over the world performing at both large and small venues. Besides solo performances with international top orchestras she is
also very fond of chamber music. Together with her brother she forms the duo Lawson & Lawson and works with several singers on a regular basis. At
the Escola Superior de Artes Aplicadas in Castelo Branco she teaches piano and the course repertoire for singers.
Jill’s piano education began when she was eight years old. She has studied, among other places, in Antwerp, and in Amsterdam with Jan Wijn and she
completed her Masters in music at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore under Leon Fleisher and Ellen Mack. She has also attended several master classes
with various master pianists including Dimitri Bashkirov and Maria João Pires. Jill is planning an international comeback after a recent lull in activities during
which she introduced more depth into her play. She will be recording the chamber music of Portuguese composer António Fragoso for Brilliant Classics
and the complete sonatas for violin and piano of Hindemith for Fuga Libera.




Paulo Oliveira (Piano)

Paulo Oliveira (b. 1979) is one of the most sought after Portuguese pianists of his generation.
He studied with Tania Achot and Sequeira Costa, completing his doctorate with honors at the University of Kansas. His studies were sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Portuguese government – “Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia”. Paulo has also received lessons from Helena Sá e Costa, Luiz de Moura Castro, Andrei Diev, Vladimir Viardo, Vitaly Margulis, Aldo Ciccolini, Paul Badura-Skoda and Dmitri Bashkirov.
He has been awarded several prizes in national and international competitions, including the “Vianna da Motta International Piano Competition”, the 1st prize at the “Bártok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition”, the 2nd prize at the “Estoril Competition” and the 1st prize at the ”2010 Young Pianists Festival – Chopin Prize” in Lisbon. He was also the winner of the “Kansas University Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.” His duo with cellist Teresa Valente Pereira was awarded after a recital in Barcelona’s mythic “Palau de la Música Catalana.”
Paulo has performed in countries such as Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Italy, France, UK, Poland, Brazil, USA, and recorded for RDP – Antena 2, Radio France and Catalunya Radio. He appeared as a soloist with the Kansas University Symphony Orchestra, the Espinho Classical Orchestra, the Algarve Orchestra, the North Orchestra, the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra and the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with such conductors as Nicholas Uljanov, Steven McDonald, Pedro Neves, Ferreira Lobo, Cesário Costa and Daniel Klajner.
Paulo currently teaches at the Academia de Música de Santa Cecília in Lisbon.
He is regularly invited to give master classes and to judge piano competitions.
Paulo Oliveira is a board member of the European Piano Teachers Association – EPTA Portugal.




Álvaro Pinto (Trombone)

Álvaro Pinto was born in Porto in 1975. In 1990 he enrolled in the Conservatório de Música do Porto with Fernando Baptista as teacher. In1997 he enrolled in ESMAE, taking classes with Emidio Coutinho and afterwards with Jon Etterbeek and Severo Martinez.
In 2009 he finished his Professionalization in Service by the Aveiro University. Besides, he took part in the Type A Band of the North Military Region.
He worked with Orquestra Nacional do Porto, Orquestra Clássica da Madeira, Orquestra Sinfonieta, Filarmonia das Beiras, Orquestra do Norte, Sinfónica das Escolas de Música (1993), Orquestra de Câmara Musicare, Orquestra de Câmara de Braga, Orquestra de Câmara de Pedroso, Orquestra do Centro, Orquestra Sinfónica da Póvoa do Varzim, Grupo Música Nova and Grupo de Metais do Porto.
Álvaro took Masterclasses from Joseph Alessi, Benny Sluchin, Idalecio Manrique, Emidio Coutinho, Esmael Santos, Jonathan Pippen, Simon Cowen, Carlos Reinaldo Guerreiro,Ricardo Casero; and participated in the Big Band workshop by Cecil Bridgwater.
He taught several masterclasses and internships in Portugal (IX/ X / XI Cursos Regionais de Aperfeiçoamento, INATEL-Delegação de Leiria, Conservatório Regional de Música de Vila Real, Academia de Música de Vilar do Paraíso, VI encontro de Trombones no Conservatório de Música do Porto, Estágio D’Ouro 2014, Estágio Nacional de Banda Sinfónica S. Cipriano Resende 2016, III/ IV / V Estágios de Orquestra Sinfónica Associação de Estudantes do Conservatório de Música de Coimbra).
He was a judge at the first and second International Trombone Contest in Castelo de Paiva and at the 13th International Contest of Wind Instruments “Terras de La Salette”.
He played in the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos with Conrad Herwig, Bob Berg, Ingrid Jensen, Mark Turner, Rich Perry, Chris Cheek, Lee Konitz, Ohad Talmor, Jason Moran, John Riley, Nick Marchione, , Maria Schneider, Jim Mcneely, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Perico Sambeat, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Maria João, Carla Bley, Mayra Andrade, Darcy James Argue, Frank Vaganée, Steve Berstein, Pierre Bertrand, Guillermo Klein, Florian Ross, Julian Argüelles, Manuela Azevedo, Fred Hersch, Manuel Cruz.
Between 2001 and 2006, he held the position of Pedagogical Director at the Conservatório de Música de Águeda.
He currently teaches at Conservatório de Música de Coimbra and Art’J (Jobra); and plays with Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos.




Severo Martinez (Trombone)

Severo Martinez began his musical studies at the Music Conservatory of Elche, studying with Gabriel Garcia and graduated in the class of Mario Calvo, at the Conservatorio Superior de Música “Manuel Massotti littell”, Murcia. Later, he studied with Branimir Slokar at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, where he obtained with distinction the Orchester Musiker Diplom.
He was honored with the first Prize at the Kerkrade International Trombone Competition, Netherlands 1997. In 1998, he won the first prize at the Hochschulwettbewerb in Leipzig, playing solo with the Musikhochschule Leipzig Orchestra. He was a finalist of the International Competition “Citta di Porcia”, Italy, in 2000. He also won the first Concours Branimir Slokar Prize in Grenchen, Switzerland, in 2002.
His performances of particular note are the first Trombone in the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester and in the European Union Youth Orchestra, with which he made several tours and had the opportunity to play with conductors such as L. Koeler, V. Ashkenazy, FW Moest, C. Abbado and S. Ozawa.
He participated in Masterclasses with some of the most prestigious trombonists such as Joseph Alessi, C. Lindberg, Dudley Bright, Michel Becquet, Enrique Crespo, Peter Sullivan.
He collaborates regularly with orchestras such as Galicia Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra, Santiago de Compostela Philharmonia, Seville Orchestra, Extremadura Orchestra, OCB Barcelona, Cadaqués Orchestra, Palau de les Arts, Mozart Orchestra, Murcia Symphony Orchestra, Navarra Symphony Orchestra and Les Disonances Ensemble.
As a soloist he performed with the San Petesburg Camerata, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto, Remix Ensemble, OrquestraArtave and MHS Leipzig.
In the field of contemporary music, he worked with institutions and groups such as “Vor Echo” (Institute of New Music in Freiburg) and “Musik der Jahrhunderte” Stuttgart, conducter Manfred Schreier.
He teaches Masterclasses regularly at the Brassacademy project in Alicante.
He’s currently teaching the Trombone class in Escola Superior de Música e das Artes do Espectáculo do Porto. Since 2001 he has been the head of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto – Casa da Música.




David Cruz (Cello)

Graduated in 2002 from Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra studying with the cellist Paulo Gaio Lima. From 2001 to 2003 he was a member of the Youth Orchestra of the European Union, playing in concerts in some of the major European concert halls and under the direction of maestros such as Sir Colin Davis and Vladimir Ashkenadzy. Continues his musical studies in the United States at Indiana University, where he studies with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Janos Starker. Teaches at the String Academy of the same University as assistant of the cellist Susan Moses.
From 2005 to 2009, he taught at the Escola Profissional de Música de Mirandela, at the Piaget Institute of Mirandela, and at the Universidade do Minho. He was principal cello of ensembles such as Orchestra de câmara do Minho, and Camerata Musical da Guarda. Works dedicated to him include the solo cello suite “Passo Cruzado”, by the Polish composer Igor Iwanek (premiered at the Boston Portuguese Festival in 2012), and the work “Circumloquios Enrevesados” by the Mexican composer Alejandro Castillo, (premiered in Bloomington IN USA in August 2009). In June 2014, he completed his PhD in Music at Boston University, under the direction of the cellists Michael Reynolds and George Neikrug. As his Dissertation, he developed an analytical study on the works for cello by the Portuguese composer Fernando Lopes Graça. At the same University he was Assistant of Professor Michael Reynolds. He was awarded by this University the membership of Phi Kappa Lambda Honor Society. Also in the USA, he taught cello and chamber music at the Rhode Island Philharmonic School of Music and the Sharon Music Academy. He regularly performs solo and chamber music throughout Europe and the United States and teaches masterclasses in Portugal, Spain, United States and Brasil. Currently, he is professor of cello and chamber music at the University of Aveiro, and Cellist of the Suggia String Quartet. With instrumental pedagogy as one of his main passions, he has spent more than 10 years in instrumental teaching, having as main inspiration the Janos Starker and Demetrius Dounis’ schools.




Jed Barahal (Cello)

American cellist Jed Barahal has pursued his musical career abroad for the last 40 years. At the Juilliard School, he studied with Harvey Shapiro and Lorne Munroe and participated in master classes with Pierre Fournier, Paul Tortelier and Janos Starker. After receiving his Master’s degree from Yale in 1979, where he studied with Aldo Parisot, he was invited to Brazil, where he held the post of first cellist of several orchestras (most notably the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra), and was recognized as one of the most outstanding instrumentalists in the country, having performed widely as a soloist (with virtually every important orchestra), as a recitalist, and in chamber music. He also spent two years in France, where he was first cellist of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.

Since taking up residence in Portugal in 1989, when he was invited as first cellist to the newly formed Oporto Orchestra (Régie Sinfonia), he has performed widely as a soloist in Portugal as well as in Spain, Germany, Italy, Rumania, Turkey as well as the US.

Among his recordings are a CD with works for cello and piano by the Portuguese composers Freitas Branco and Lopes Graça, the the Brazilian pianist Christina Margotto, with whom he has maintained a duo for 25 years. Has also recorded the Boccherini concertos in D and G with the Raizes Ibéricas orchestra.

In addition, he teaches aspiring young cellists at the Oporto College of Music and the Performing Arts (Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espectáculo do Instituto Politécnico do Porto), where he also has served as head of the music department.