Meet the Distinguished Judges of the
2018 Lyra Youth Competition Finals

Alex Fortes.jpg

Alex Fortes, Violin

A native of San Diego, New York-based violinist Alex Fortes is recognized for his versatility and warmth. Recent performances have included concerts in France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Indonesia, as well as throughout North America with groups such as the Attacca Quartet, Amphion Quartet, Henschel Quartett, Dalí Quartet, Franklin String Quartet, Momenta Quartet, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Knights, Quod Libet, and A Far Cry.  His playing is featured on A Far Cry's 2014 Grammy-nominated album, Dreams and Prayers, as well as on Law of Mosaics, which The New Yorker’s Alex Ross hailed as one of the top ten albums of 2014. He can also be heard on a forthcoming album with the Henschel Quartett and pianist Donald Berman featuring the music of Chris Theofanidis.

Fortes holds a strong interest in finding new contexts in which to experience familiar music. His arrangements of Schubert lieder and chamber music were hailed by the Boston Globe as “uniformly resourceful and, subtle.” In May 2016, A Far Cry premiered his arrangement with Sarah Darling of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in collaboration with pianist Simone Dinnerstein. 

Alex has participated in educational residencies in both English and Spanish related to entrepreneurship, music performance and education,  at colleges and public schools throughout the United States. He holds degrees from Harvard College and Mannes College, and his teachers include Mark Steinberg, Peter Zazofsky, Hernan Constantino, Mary Gerard, and Michael Gaisler.


Adam Golka, Piano

Polish-American pianist Adam Golka was recently selected by Sir András Schiff to perform recitals at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany, Tonhalle Zürich, as well as in Berlin and New York (organized by the 92nd Street Y). Adam has been regularly on the concert stage since the age of sixteen, when he won first prize at the 2nd China Shanghai International Piano Competition. He has also received the Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Max I. Allen Classical Fellowship Award from the American Pianists Association.

With his extensive concerto repertoire, Golka has appeared as a soloist with dozens of orchestras, among those the BBC Scottish, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Phoenix, San Diego, Fort Worth, Vancouver, Seattle, and Jacksonville symphonies, Grand Teton Festival Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Warsaw Philharmonic, and the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. Adam made his Carnegie Hall Isaac Stern Auditorium Debut in 2010, performing Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto with the New York Youth Symphony, and also performed a cycle of all five Beethoven concerti in 2011 with the Lubbock Symphony, under the baton of his brother, Tomasz Golka.

As a recitalist, he has performed scores of solo concerts, among those at excellent venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York (presented by the Musicians Emergency Fund), Concertgebouw’s Kleine Zaal, and Musashino Civic Cultural Hall in Tokyo, and at festivals such as Mostly Mozart, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the New York City International Keyboard Festival at Mannes, the Newport Music Festival, and the Duszniki Chopin festival. As a chamber musician, his appearances have included prestigious festivals such as Marlboro, Caramoor, Ravinia, and Music@Menlo. Adam Golka has premiered solo works written for him by Richard Danielpour, Michael Brown, and Jarosław Gołembiowski. His début disc, featuring the first sonata of Brahms and the Hammerklavier Sonata of Beethoven, was released in 2014 by First Hand Records.

Adam Golka’s 2017/18 season begins at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival with the Manhattan Chamber Players, and followed by concerts at the extraordinary Tippet Rise Arts Center in Fishtail, Montana in a recital of Schubert, Liszt, and Brahms and in the Schumann Quintet with the Ariel String Quartet.  He returns to the Krzyzowa Festival in Poland in August and caps off the summer with a return to the Fort Worth Symphony for Mozart Cto. No. 27, K. 595, with Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya.  The season continues with recitals and chamber music in Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., at the Cliburn in Fort Worth, Boston, Sedona, and at the College of the Holy Cross, where Adam is Artist-in-Residence.  With orchestra, Adam plays Mozart Cto. No. 25 with the Harrisburg Symphony, Ravel G Major in Lubbock, and Rachmaninoff Cto. No. 2 with the Tallahassee Symphony.

As a child, Adam studied with his mother, Anna Golka, as well as with Dariusz Pawlas. For most of his teenage years and as a young adult, Adam studied with the late José Feghali, whom he considers his most significant influence. Adam also spent four years at the Peabody Conservatory studying with Leon Fleisher. Since finishing his official studies, Adam has continued his work with great musicians such as András Schiff, Alfred Brendel, Richard Goode, Murray Perahia, Ferenc Rados, and Rita Wagner.

Adam Golka acts as Artist-in-Residence at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.


Julia Yang, Cello

Praised for “her sense of joyful virtuosity” as concerto soloist, Julia Yang is a dynamic and versatile cellist, founding member of the Merz Trio and current member of Carnegie Hall's Ensemble Connect (South Florida Classical Review).  

Ms. Yang has garnered top prizes at numerous competitions such as the Lennox International Competition and the Union League of Chicago’s Young Artist Competition and performed as concerto soloist  with the New World Symphony Orchestra, Central Florida Symphony Orchestra, and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra among others.  

An actively concertizing chamber musician, Julia has been noted for her “deep tone” and “precision,” and has performed throughout the United States and internationally in Europe, Australia and Canada (South Florida Classical Review).  Upcoming festival invitations include the Marlboro Music Festival and Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, with previous festival appearances at Yellow Barn, Perlman Chamber Music Program, the Taos School of Music, Britten-Pears’ Young Artist Program, and Poland’s Krzyzowa-Music.  Her chamber performances have been broadcasted on radio in New York, Chicago, and Germany, and she can be heard on cd with the Aldeburgh Strings (Linn Records). 

Ms. Yang's bold new piano trio presents innovative multidisciplinary concert experiences alongside its traditional concertizing, interweaving the piano trio genre with diverse art forms ranging from the visual arts, literature and dance to theatre and the culinary arts.

An engaging orchestral leader, Ms. Yang has toured as principal cellist of the New World Symphony, and has performed as principal under conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Susanna Malkki, James Gaffigan, John Adams, and Leonard Slatkin and many others in halls ranging from New York’s Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall to D.C.’s Kennedy Center and Miami’s New World Center and Arsht Center.