Judith Valerie Engel is an Austrian concert pianist and musicologist. She is currently pursuing a DPhil in Historical Musicology at the University of Oxford. She is the recipient of the Stone-Mallabar Music Doctoral Studentship in association with Christ Church.
Engel first started studying the piano at the age of five with Russian pianist, who was brought up with the Neuhaus-school in St. Petersburg, Prof. Mag. Nina Igudesman. From the age of 17 onwards, after graduating high school a year early, renowned pianist and pedagogue Prof. Pavel Gililov was her teacher. Under his supervision she completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with highest distinction at the Mozarteum Salzburg, where she was also a recipient of the university’s merit-based scholarship. In 2016 she spent a semester abroad at the Sibelius Academy Helsinki, studying with Teppo Koivisto. Before coming to Oxford, Engel was pursuing graduate studies at UBC in Vancouver, in the piano studio of Dr. Terence Dawson, winning multiple academic awards and scholarships. For many years, Engel also took private lessons with Austrian pianist and author Paul Badura-Skoda. Further inspiration came from masterclasses with Matti Raekallio, Rena Sharon, and Mihaela Ursuleasa, as well as regular singing and conducting lessons. In December 2014 she first performed as a conductor – conducting and playing Marianna Martines’ piano concerto in a major in Salzburg. This was the first Salzburg performance of this concerto. In 2016 she played the first Helsinki performance of the concerto at the Sibelius Academy.
Engel is a laureate of numerous national and international competitions for solo piano, as well as chamber music and art song. From the age of six to 16 she regularly participated in the Austrian competition ‘Prima La Musica’ and won first prizes and special awards for both her solo and her chamber music performances. 2008 saw her win the first prize at the ‘International Music, Harmony and Art Festival Contest’ and 2010 the Grand Prix at the international competition ‘The Festival Bridges’. In 2012 she was awarded the ‘Yehudi Menuhin – Live Music Now’ scholarship. In the fall of 2013 Judith Valerie Engel participated in the International Schubert Competition Dortmund LiedDuo and won the third prize. In the fall of 2016 she was a finalist at the International Vocal Competition ‘s‑Hertogenbosch in the category Lied. In January 2014 she was the winner in the piano division of the competition ‘Musica Juventutis’ and as a result performed in Konzerthaus Wien in March 2015, a concert which was recorded and broadcasted by the Austrian national radio. That same year she also got awarded the Richard Wagner scholarship of the Richard Wagner Verband Wien and in 2016 she was a scholarship holder of the Club Alpbach Salzburg and was thus able to attend the European Forum Alpbach 2016. In the winter term of 2017/18 she received the scholarship for academic/artistic excellence of Mozarteum Salzburg.
Judith Valerie was a finalist in the Silverman Piano Concerto Competition hosted by UBC School of Music. The final, originally scheduled for September 2020, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the University of British Columbia, she recieved a series of awards, among them the N.H. Benson International Graduate Award, given out by Green College UBC. Concert tours took her to over a dozen countries around the world. Her recordings have been widely acclaimed and aired on Austrian, German and Dutch radio and TV stations.
In addition to her life in music, Engel has been an advocate for gender equality. She helped build up the Institute for Diversity and Gender Studies at the Mozarteum Sbg. Over the years she organised many charity events supporting women’s shelters and other organisations fighting gender-based violence. Her academic interests intersect with her activism. Working as a university lecturer, she created and taught a seminar on gender studies in music at the Mozarteum Sbg, after finishing her Master’s. Her research at Oxford focusses on Viennese composer Marianna Martines, paying particular attention to the socio-cultural significance of a Classical woman composer. In 2019 Engel starred in a documentary on Martines, produced by Austrian National TV, and is actively promoting the forgotten music of this composer in concerts. During her first year at Oxford, she received a TORCH grant from the Oxford Humanities Division for a Public Engagement with Research project called ‘Siren Voices’, in collaboration with local activist group TransOxford. Furthermore, Engel teaches as a tutor at various Oxford colleges. In 2022 she became an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).