The pianist Iva Zurbo awarded with the Rising stars award

“The 17-year-old Iva Zurbo, one of the most talented pianists  in her hometown, Albania, a student  of Heribert Koch at the Munster Academy of Music, was also presented with a magnificent work. “, this is how it is  written on the newspaper ‘Rheinische POST’ November 4-th .11, 2019.

As her parents, being invited in the concert used to tell,  the attendees applauded Iva’s performance.

After the concert, many from the audience were waiting to greet and congratulate Iva. Mr. Norbert Bienen as well.

The news on  ‘Rising Stars’ Concert was released a month ago in Germany, but even to us Albanians through the online  artistic magazine OpusAlb.

The  Concert was  held  October 31-rst in Kaiser-Friedrich-Halle with a capacity of over 700 people,  in Monchengladbach.

At the  Music Academy in Munster, it was published: ‘ The 17-year-old pianist Iva Zurbo and Artur Zimmermann, students of prof. Herbert Koch has been awarded the Rising Stars Award by the Initiativkreis Monchengladbach Association and the “Europamusicale” Association. These awards were given to  5 wonderful young pianists, one of  is them is Iva Zurbo. ”

But what about the premises that influenced the extraordinary artistic progress of this 17-year-old pianist?

Being born in Tirana in a family where her father is an engineer and his mother a flute teacher, Iva’s musical abilities were noticed since she was five. Surprisingly, with certainty and clarity, she performed in a concert at the age of six. This concert took place when she was invited in one of the EPTA-Albania concerts held at that time in the Concert Hall of the Ministry of Culture.

She was a student in the class of the experienced teacher Valbona Shehu during her 9 years in the Artistic Lyceum. With the seriousness that characterized her in both general and artistic culture, she kept performing when in high school. She successfully participated in festivals, concerts, competitions and Masterclasses  home and abroad organized by EPTA-Albania, the Frederik Chopin Association and the Pianodrom at the University of the Arts.

During these 72-year history the Artistic Lyceum’s contribution to shaping generations of teachers and artists in every field has been important. These artists make us proud  with  their achievements.  Such is the case of Iva Zurbo, a successful protagonist in concerts, festivals, national and international contests several times awarded.

Despite the  important role of her  teacher Valbona Shehu, a concrete support has been given to Iva by the  EPTA-Albania’s events. The great attention paid to Iva by the German professor Heribert Koch has been a very good help.

If we take a glance at her extracurricular acts up to date, we will see that she has been one of the main award winners at the nationwide “Young Pianist” and “Pianist Duets” festivals  for seven consecutive years. The jury  of these Festivals was composed by local and foreign members coming from Kosovo, Italy, Germany, Croatia, England and Norway.


As a participant in international competitions she is the winner of:

– Ohrid Pearls 2010, Northern Macedonia

– “Kaunas Sonorum” 2011, Lithuania

– “Citta di Barletta” 2012, Barletta, Italy

– “J.S. Bach” 2013, Milan, Italy

– “Jugentmusiziert” piano and violin competition with Jasper Sitte in Germany 2018

– “San Dona di Piave” 2019, Venice, Italy.

Even at a young age, she has been lucky  to perform in many concerts with orchestras:

-J. S. Bach – Concert in fa minor with the Orchestra of the Artistic Lyceum, under the direction of Arben Llozi in 2011.

Tonin Harapi – “Romance” – invited to the 100th Anniversary Independence Concert with the conductor Eno Koco in 2012.

– Mozart – Concert K 466 with conductor J.Loevenich, Duren, Germany 2015

– Mendelssohn – Capricio brillante op.22 Germany 2016

– Mozart – Concert in Re major KV 175 with conductor M. Standfest, Germany 2016

– Saint-Saens – Piano Concerto no.2 in minor with RTSH Orchestra with conductor Oleg Arapi in 2017.

– Chopin – Piano Concerto no 2 op.21 ne fa minor with strings quartet (original version) 2018.

She has also been invited to many concerts in Durres, Elbasan, Shkodra and Kosovo.

The role of EPTA-Albania in promoting our talents for 25 years

With the establishing of democracy, after many years of isolation from the other part of the world, gradually Albania got back to normal contacting with the: schools, universities and academies with their pedagogical corps. This gave to Albania the opportunity for becoming a member (1994) of the European Association of Pianists (European Piano Teachers) London-based Teachers Association This association founded 38 years ago by a great pianist, Carola Grindea (Romanian-English), opened a boundless horizon to us for pedagogical communication.

So it was founded EPTA – Albania in 1994, the Association was led  for 21 years by Takuina Adami and the Vice President was Nadjezhda Porodini. Although financially in difficulties fortunately at the beginning  with the support of the Soros Foundation and the German and Dutch embassies in Albania, this association managed to promote talents in events taking place in and out the country. The Association managed to highlight the values ​​of our artists.  EPTA-Albania Association is currently directed by Klodi Zheji, deputy director of music at the Artistic Lyceum, vice president of the Association is  Herton Mikeli.

What about the  Professor Heribert Koch’s contribution  in promoting our talents?

I met Professor Heribert Koch, President of EPTA Germany in 2007 at the annual EPTA Conference that year was held in Novi Sad, Serbia.  I was impressed by the way of  exposing  the topic and the way  he was addressing to the communication he had with the audience.

I congratulated and invited him to join the jury of the “Young Pianist” Festival i used to organize in 1995. In 2008 r the Festival was held at the “Naim Frasheri” Art School in Vlora.  Since his participation (2008) Heribert has been very careful in evaluating each participant, whose number was always more than 100.

He was very attentive to the realization of the master classes he held at the end of each festival, orienting the participants for quality achievements in their performances. In 2009, in addition to his master classes, he invited the sisters Anarita and Lajda Hitaj, accompanied by their teacher who was also their mother, Enkeleda Hitaj, to attend the master class he used to hold in Achen Germany.

Being familiar with our economic difficulties Professor Koch offered their staying  at his home. He did that even for  Fatjona Maliqi from Kosovo in 2015 and for Iva Zurbo when she has conducted 3 international master classes over the years.

Despite the attention of Ivas’s teacher Valbona Shehu who had an important role for the qualitative enhancement of her performances, a great role has the international master classes in Germany and the successful recital concerts she managed to perform in the cities of Aachen, Duren, Munster and Bonn with the various orchestras with the help of Professor Heribert Koch.

Gradually, along with Iva, the number of participants in international master classes and Concerts in different cities was enriched with other pianists like: Orenc Graca from Elbasan, Nikol Tuka and Odesa Meti from Shkodra, Laura Sula and Klaudia Gjini from Durres.Iva Zurbo today studies in her second year at the Munster Academy of Music under the direction of Professor Heribert Koch.

A few days before the “Rising Stars” winners’ concert, it was held in Vienna on October 26-28, EPTA’s annual conference.  EPTA – Albania was represented by the President Klodi Zheji and the pianist Marsida Koni, a former student participating in the Festival ( nominated for several awards) that has just promoted her 2 CDs with the works of our composers, which were presented at the Conference.

This Conference ended with the decision to hold this year’s Next Year Conference in Bonn, Germany on the 250th anniversary of the great composer L.V. Beethoven.

The organization of this Conference was entrusted to Prof. Heribert Koch under his new position as President of EPTA for 2020.







Takuina ADAMI

President of Honor  EPTA-Albania



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