Alexey Shor, composer

Whether a piece is commissioned or not, the challenge is always the same: to write something that I feel I would enjoy listening to as an audience member. A lot of music gets discarded because it does not pass that test.

Sergey Smbtayan, conductor

To be unique, believe in the power of music, love music irrevocably, try to understand what music people enjoy and not to just follow trends and, last but not least, be maximally objective in what one can achieve – these are the things I would pass on to aspiring musicians.

Walter Witt, pianist

Stay true to what is written but trust your instincts. Listen deeply. Never stop searching. Never give up on what you love to do as a musician or in life. If you do, it is like running out of water, you will die of thirst.

Adria Foster, flautist

Learn from everyone around you. Be open-minded, be appreciative of the talents of others, and accept loss and disappointment as an opportunity to grow and improve.

Michael Sheppard, pianist & composer

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music? That’s sort of difficult to answer, since I have been playing the piano for as long as I can remember. There was a piano in the house. A crappy upright, sure, but my dad (who had taken piano in college, hence the instrument) kept…