Tal Botvinik is a guitarist based in Cologne, Germany. He graduated his masters in classical guitar, contemporary music and chamber music at the renowned Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. He is an active soloist and chamber musician. Tal is a founding member of the Cologne Guitar Quartet, an ensemble based in Cologne, Germany.
Tal began his guitar studies at the age of 11. He graduated from the Jerusalem Academy High School for Music and Dance, followed by his Bachelor music studies at the Jerusalem music academy, studying in the class of Ruben Seroussi. Tal graduated his Master of Music degree, studying with world famous guitarist Roberto Aussel in Cologne, Germany . He graduated his second Master studies in contemporary music, in the class of Prof. David Smeyers, followed by a chamber music masters together with the Cologne Guitar Quartet.
Over the years, Tal has won several national and international guitar competitions. He has played with several orchestras and ensembles, including the Jerusalem Symphonic orchestra, Ensemble Musikfabrik, MAM.manufaktur für aktuelle music, the Israeli contemporary players. He has been awarded with several scholarships such as “American-Israel Culture Foundation” and Alfred Toepfer “Concerto-Music Stipendium”. In 2016 he participated in the renowned Darmstadt contemporary music course in the class of Yaron Deutsch. He has taken part in many master classes with well-known guitarists such as David Russell, Pavel Steidl, Zoran Dukic, Alvaro Pierri, Hubert Käppel and Scott Tennant.
Henrique Almeida was born in 1990 in Amarante, Portugal. He starts playing the guitar at the age of 12 in Centro Cultural de Amarante with Hélder Almeida. At the age of 17 he is accepted to study with Professor José Pina, and later with Artur Caldeira in ESMAE, “Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espectáculo” in Porto, concluding his studies with highest marks. In 2012 he started his Master studies at the „Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln“ in Cologne with the professor Roberto Aussel and had masterclasses with renown artists like Marcyn Dylla, Chen Zi, Feliu Gasul, Jérôme Ducharme, Margarita Escarpa, José Pina, Artur Caldeira e Miguel Carvalhinho. He won the first prize in the International Guitar Competitions of „Santa Cecilia“ in Porto and „Cidade do Fundão“ in Fundão. Furthermore, he got the third prize in „Jovens Músicos“ competition in 2014. Henrique has played in several concert halls around Europe, such as Paris, Bergerac, Redon, Aarhus, Braga, Maastricht, Cologne, Monschau, Aachen, etc.
Henrique founded in Cologne the project „Cantus Portugueses“ and works at the moment with the ensemble „Cologne Guitar Quartet“, the Duo „Dois Sons“, and also as a composer and arranger. His piece „Cavaquinho in Cologne“ was premiered by the Cologne Guitar Quartet in 2018 and „Cantar Alentejano“ was premiered in January 2019 by the guitarist Adriana Rolão for her Masters Final Exam.
Ptolemaios Armaos is guitarist, multi-instumentalist, arranger and composer. He composes and arranges works for guitar and wider musical ensembles and his goal is to shape a personal musical style by mixing different musical genres: rock, experimental classical music, traditional idioms, and utilizing a variety of musical instruments.
Ptolemaios Armaos (Athens 1993), holds a degree in Classical Guitar (Athens Conservatory) with Prof. Elena Papandreou as well as a bachelor’s and Master’s degree (with Prof. Roberto Aussel) at the Cologne University of Music and Dance and a Master's Degree in chamber music (with Prof. Hans-Werner Huppertz). During his studies he has been granted scholarships from the Achillopoulion Foundation and the Onassis Foundation. He has received awards and distinctions in international competitions as a soloist (Greece, Germany, Serbia etc.) and with groups, like: the Cologne Guitar Quartet (1st prize in interpretation of modern music in Karlsruhe in 2015), and the Armaos Rastani duo (Creole World Muic). He operates professionally within and outside Europe.
Tobias Juchem (1985) started learning the instruments guitar and piano at the age of nine. In 2007, he began studying music at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (Cologne University of Music and Dance). He studied guitar with Ansgar Krause and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 2014, majoring in instrumental pedagogy. Building on this, he completed a Master of Music in Chamber Music with Hans-Werner Huppertz at the Musikhochschule Aachen in 2017 with top marks. In 2018, he earned a Master of Music degree with Roberto Aussel at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.
During his studies he already gained practical professional experience at music schools in Cologne. In addition to the classical guitar, he also devotes himself to the electric guitar. During his studies he attended courses in jazz. He was able to deepen this stylistic expansion in his subsidiary subjects jazz piano and jazz singing and also transfer it to the guitar.
In addition to teaching guitar, he performs internationally with the Cologne Guitar Quartet and regularly gives concerts with his bands Kless, Birds on Wire, combining various styles of jazz, classical and folk music from different countries, klezmer, chanson and pop music.