Meet the Jury Panel
is a pianist, author, teacher, and composer. He studied piano under the direction of Royal Academy Vice-Principal Mark Racz and, more recently, under the guidance of Professor Philip Martin, studying both piano and composition. Leslie Howard nominated Marcel's composition Butterflies from his Life Cycle CD for the British Composer Awards. His music is frequently played on radio stations including BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester, Radio Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire and more. Radio 3 shows have described Marcel as a 'Musical Gem' and likened his compositional style to Chopin, Liszt and Satie. He is the author of Hey Presto, a unique and fully comprehensive piano method for older beginners and adults, focusing on the sustain pedal's early use. His popular pieces from the newest book Away from the Grade are also included on the repertoire list of the Around the Globe Piano Music Festival. Marcel has performed extensively at music festivals throughout the UK and giving concerts locally and in the Midlands. In May 2018, Marcel performed and recorded his compositions live at Hay Festival in conjunction with BBC Hereford and Worcester. He has given masterclasses and adjudicated for music competitions, including at the Birmingham Conservatoire and has regularly adjudicated for the Rotary Young Musician of the Year competitions at local and regional finals.
Award-winning composer Mónica Cárdenas captivates with culturally rich compositions celebrated for interpretive pleasure and sonic beauty. Her international performances solidify her status among distinguished 21st-century composers, while her distinctive style shines in piano and chamber music at renowned festivals and conferences, including American universities. Through her partnership with Alea Publishing, her works from 2016 to 2022 gain broader recognition. Noteworthy accomplishments include a Gold Medal at the 2021 Global Music Awards for her CD "10 Preludes and Fugues of Latin America." Her recent "Chaos" release, featuring cello and piano compositions with Johann Aparicio Bohorquez, won the Silver Medal at the 2023 Global Music Awards. With roots at the National Conservatory of Music in Lima and studies at eminent institutions, Mónica, a Peruvian-Spanish artist, currently thrives as a pianist and composer in Germany.
Sanja Drakulic Ratkovic, a Serbian-American concert pianist and instructor, initiated her musical journey in Belgrade, Serbia. She honed her skills at Moscow's Central Music School and P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, excelling as a pianist, chamber musician, and educator. She holds dual Master's degrees, one from Belgrade University. Her performances have spanned the globe, including countries like Russia, USA, Canada, and Mexico. With experience at Belgrade University and her own studio in Mountain Lakes, NJ, she has taught, recorded, and judged piano competitions, while establishing her piano studio "Musical Mind & Soul" in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2013.
Tim Richards, initially trained in classical piano by EPTA founder Carola Grindea, ventured into self-taught jazz and blues influenced by his father's vintage record collection featuring Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, and Louis Armstrong. Since the early 1980s, he has been a notable figure in the jazz realm, performing across Europe with ensembles like SPIRIT LEVEL, GREAT SPIRIT, and the TIM RICHARDS TRIO. With over a dozen albums to his credit, his 2015 work 'Telegraph Hill' was praised by The Observer. A prominent jazz educator, he authored acclaimed books such as 'Improvising Blues Piano' (1997) and 'Exploring Jazz Piano' (2005) while conducting workshops and courses globally. Graduating with a Composition Master's from Trinity College of Music in 2008, Tim Richards continues to teach jazz piano and lead musical endeavors at various institutions.
is a classical pianist and piano pedagogue specialising in Prevention of Occupational Injuries in Pianists. In addition, she has contributed articles to EPTA and ISSTIP journals as well as holding seminars, masterclasses and workshops on related subjects at various universities and music colleges in London and Cork.Since settling in London in 1989, she performed solo recitals as well as chamber music and accompanying opera singers in major concert halls across the UK and London, including Regent Hall, St John's at Smith Square as well as other music institutions. Further to performing and teaching career, the versatile Mrs Petrov is also Co-Founder and Managing Director of Around the Globe Music & Arts and AGPMF Piano Competition as well as Executive Editor of Around the Globe Music Magazine. As a child prodigy, she has won many national piano competitions in former Yugoslavia that followed by tours, media appearances including TV and Radio Belgrade shows. She has also won a national grant to study further at the renowned Moscow Music Conservatoire, in 1979. Marina's talents are renowned in the British press including The Times and she is listed in International Who's Who in Music since 1992.
Serbian pianist Olja Jacobs began her studies in Belgrade with Marina Petrov. Her studies brought her to the UK where she attended The Purcell School for Young Musicians with full scholarship under the tutelage of Christopher Elton. She went on to receive her bachelor degree from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where she studied with Paul Berkowitz and Hilary Coates. She enjoys a diverse and multifaceted career as both concert pianist and music educator. As a teacher, Olja has been on the piano and chamber music faculty at the Trinity College of Music and Dance Junior Department in London, as well as Head of the Senior Piano Department at Bedales School. An avid chamber musician and initiative of her own collaborative projects, Jacobs runs intensive week long masterclasses every summer alongside other eminent musicians. A musician of wide interests, Olja is a member of the London Baroque Ensemble. As a member on the board of the Belgrade Music Festival, Olja enjoys an active role in Belgrade’s music scene.
She holds a Masters Degree of Music Academy in Belgrade and a PG Certificate from the London College of Music. A winner of numerous prizes, she has performed throughout the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Cyprus, France, Germany and England and recorded for various Radio and TV programmes. Maya's performing career has extended through her interest in bringing music and artists of different countries together. Maya has been co-founder of the project 'Sounds of the Balkans' and Artistic Director of numerous events and projects, promoting Serbian culture and encouraging artists of different origins to work together. For many years she was a Secretary of the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe. At present Maya is a Secretary of The Serbian Council of Great Britain and has been involved in numerous charity projects (including 'Magic & Toys', 'Ada Art') in aid of Serbian people and children. She is also a Programme Coordinator of the Serbian Month in Great Britain and co-founder / Director of the Around the Globe Music & Arts.
After his studies in Serbia, acclaimed accordionist Miloš received a full scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music, where he achieved a historic feat by becoming the first accordionist to win the RAM Club Prize. He also earned the prestigious Derek Butler London Prize at the Wigmore Hall. Miloš has premiered numerous compositions and performed with esteemed ensembles like the London Mozart Players, Russian Virtuosi, and London Sinfonietta. His collaborations span various genres, from classical to tango, and he has appeared on platforms like BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. An Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, Miloš exclusively performs on Pigini Accordions, with his debut solo CD "Accord for Life" available on the Nimbus label.
Djordje Gajic, a Serbian accordionist, began his musical journey at six, ultimately graduating from the Russian Academy of Music in 1993 with a Master of Music degree and the Honorary Title of Solo Performer. He pursued postgraduate studies at the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music, becoming Assistant to Professor Yuri Dranga. Djordje has won numerous international accordion competitions and received awards leading to broadcasts on BBC, RTS Serbia, RTR Russia, and RAI Italy. He has performed with esteemed orchestras and ensembles worldwide and regularly presents recitals in Europe, USA, Australia, China, and beyond. Djordje is a dedicated educator holding a position at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, giving masterclasses and co-founding the International Summer School and Competitions in Serbia. He has also contributed to accordion syllabi and led international accordion summer schools.