An experienced jury of critics, journalists, artistic directors and dramaturges is looking forward to hearing the young talents.

Juergen Kesting

Jürgen Kesting (Chairman)

Jürgen Kesting, a journalist and specialist author has made a name for himself by writing first a history of the art of singing (1986) in three volumes, of which an extended version was published in 2008, and then a monograph on Maria Callas. He’s a journalist for FAZ and several journals as well as a writer for several broadcasting stations. Jürgen Kesting is the chairman of the jury of the Fanny Mendelssohn Sponsorship Award 2015.

Juergen Ernst

Jürgen Ernst

Since early 1994 Jürgen Ernst has been the managing director of the Mendelssohn-Haus association and since 1997 he’s been the founding director of the museum within the Mendelssohn-Haus. As a cultural manager he was responsible for the concept and the restoration of the Mendelssohn-Haus, the establishment of the museum and its‘ thematic and musical program. Furthermore, he is the executive director of the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy foundation. He gives speeches all over the world and initiates publications about the composer, the Mendelssohn-Haus and Leipzig, the city of music.

Dr. Dieter Rexroth

Dr. Dieter Rexroth

The dramaturge Dr Dieter Rexroth is considered one of the most creative personalities in the German music scene. From 1996 until 2006 he was the director and dramaturge of Rundfunkorchester und Chöre GmbH and of the German Symphonic Orchestra. Since its foundation in 2000, Rexroth has worked as artistic director of Young Euro Classic and as such he was one of the founding fathers of this successful festival which will hold its 15th edition in 2014. Furthermore, he is the artistic director of “Kasseler Musiktage” (since 2006) as well as of the annual Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Conservatory Competition.

Prof. Peter Schmidt

Prof. Peter Schmidt

Prof. Peter Schmidt is a renowned German corporate and product designer. He designed much admired perfume bottles, he creates books and magazines and has been honoured many times for his social and cultural commitment, among others with the Federal Cross of Merit. Schmidt is an associate member of the jury and responsible for the cover design of the award winner’s CD.


Prof. Niklas Schmidt

The internationally renowned cellist Prof. Niklas Schmidt founded the Trio Fontenay in 1980 giving guest performances at the most important venues on the world and winning numerous international awards until 1997. Since 1999, he is in charge of the Hamburg chamber music series Fontenay Classics where the world’s leading ensembles and soloists perform. It is as part of this series that the first Mendelssohn Festival IMF takes place in 2015. In 2010, he founded his own label Fontenay Classics International FCI, which has already released nine CDs. Niklas Schmidt was a member of the jury at international competitions in Hamburg, Melbourne, Reggio Emiglia (Borciani) and Vienna. He plays a Rogeri-Cello (Brescia) dated 1700!

Dr. Markus Fein

Dr. Markus Fein

Since the beginning of 2014, Dr. Markus Fein is the director of the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He was the artistic director of the Summer Music Festival in Hitzacker, and five-years director of the Niedersächsische Musiktage, and most recently a program manager/dramaturg at the Berlin Philharmonic.


Dr. Ralf Ruhnau

Among Lorin Maazel Dr. Ralf Ruhnau started his career at the symphonic orchestra of the Bavarian Broadcast. Being a concert manager and a doctor of law, Ralf Ruhnau is in charge of the concerts organized by Stiftung Frauenkirche Dresden. Born in Westphalia, he has made a significant contribution in shaping the multifaceted musical profile of this place which is so meaningful throughout the world: chamber music, choral symphonic music, new music, educational programmes, interdisciplinary formats. Ralf Ruhnau lives in Dresden and Berlin. He has a passion for films, fine arts and current cultural policies.