Paul Schenly, Director
Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Paul Schenly has been a soloist with major United States orchestras, including the Atlanta Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and New York Philharmonic. He made two United States tours with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and toured with the same orchestra in Europe. He has appeared in many summer festivals, including repeated performances at the Hollywood Bowl, the Ravinia Festival, Blossom Music Center and the Mostly Mozart Festival.
Mr. Schenly appeared in the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center, and in acclaimed recitals at Carnegie Hall. He has performed with many of the world's leading conductors including James Levine, Erich Leinsdorf, Christoph von Dohnányi, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Edo de Waart, Mstislav Rostropovich, Robert Shaw and Aaron Copland, Michael Tilson Thomas and Kiril Kondrashin.
Born in Munich, Mr. Schenly lived in South America before coming to the U.S. at age five. Currently, he is the head of the Cleveland Institute of Music Piano Department and holds the Reinberger Chair in Piano. He earned a Master of Music degree from CIM, where he studied with Victor Babin.
Mr. Schenly has served on the juries of several national and international competitions and his students have won many national and international prizes. He is on the advisory board of the American Pianists Foundation and on the nominating committee for the Gilmore Piano Foundation. He has recorded for Sine Qua Non and RCA. Mr. Schenly is artistic director of the Cleveland International Piano Competition and is the founder/director of Pianofest in the Hamptons.
His website address, including video of his performances and information about Pianofest in the Hamptons is www.paulschenly.com.
A virtuoso with a warm and elegant style and a wide-ranging repertoire, pianist David Jalbert has established himself among the elite of a new generation of classical musicians, and was recently named by the CBC among the 15 best Canadian pianists of all time. With his personal style, incomparable stage presence, and refined ear, he has wowed audiences and critics everywhere: “a deeply musical pianist” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “a virtuoso in the best sense of the word” (La Presse), “…wide-ranging musical imagination, phenomenal technique, and an unerring lightness of being” (The Toronto Star). His first solo disc, dedicated to the works of Corigliano and Rzewski (in preparation for which he worked with both composers), was launched to great applause on Endeavor in 2004 and was followed in 2006 by a recording of Fauré’s complete Nocturnes (a winning selection on La Tribune des Critiques de Disques, France-Culture). His 2008 release on the ATMA label, Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues opus 87, drew rave reviews, won an Opus Award, and was nominated for a Juno Award. He followed it up with an album dedicated to works by minimalist greats John Adams and Philip Glass (2010), and his 2012 recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was met with unanimous praise.
An accomplished chamber musician in both the hall and the studio, his latest releases include Poulenc’s music for winds and piano (with the woodwind quintet Pentaèdre) as well as the Rachmaninov and Chopin Cello Sonatas with his long-standing musical partner Denise Djokic. With violinist Jasper Wood and cellist Yegor Dyachkov, he is also a member of Triple Forte, a piano trio whose first recording was awarded a 2014 Prix Opus (Album of the Year). Jalbert has also collaborated with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, the Cecilia and Alcan string quartets, double-bassist Joel Quarrington (on another Opus-winning collaboration, the album Brothers in Brahms) as well as with pianists Anton Kuerti, Wonny Song and Jean-Philippe Collard.
As guest soloist, Jalbert has appeared with many orchestras, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestre Métropolitain, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, CBC Radio Orchestra, Bielefelder Philharmoniker, and National Symphony of Ireland and others. He has collaborated with conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Skitch Henderson, Jacques Lacombe, Bramwell Tovey, Mario Bernardi, Peter Kuhn, David Currie, Marc David, Dinuk Wijeratne and others and has performed in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Europe. Jalbert’s repertoire is expansive, and he plays Bach, Brahms, Stravinsky or Ligeti with equal pleasure. David Jalbert can be heard regularly on CBC Radio and Radio-Canada broadcasts, not only as a pianist, but also as a guest commentator.
A national and international prize-winner, David Jalbert was the 2007 winner of the prestigious Virginia Parker Prize of the Canada Council for the Arts, has been awarded four Prix Opus by the Conseil Québécois de la Musique, was nominated for three Juno Awards, and is now an Associate Professor of piano at the University of Ottawa. He holds two Artist Diplomas: one from the Juilliard School in New York, the other from the Glenn Gould Professional School (Toronto). He received his Master’s Degree from the Université de Montréal at age 21, winning the Governor General’s Gold Medal (awarded yearly to the top graduate student of the University). His main teachers have been Jerome Lowenthal, Marc Durand, André Laplante, and Pauline Charron. He has also worked with Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Claude Frank, Gilbert Kalish, and Marylin Engle.
“His performance brought a veritable roar of approval from the audience,” wrote the Irish Times, after Pavel Nersessian received the 1st Prize in the GPA Dublin International Piano Competition in 1991. Being one of the most remarkable pianists of his generation in Russia, he is known for his ability to play equally convincingly in the whole palette of the piano repertoire. He won prizes in the Beethoven Competition in Vienna in 1985, the Paloma O’Shea Competition in Santander, and the Tokyo Competition.
Nersessian was a pupil of the famous Central Music School of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, where his teacher was Yu. Levin. Later he was a student of the Conservatoire under Prof. S. Dorensky. Upon graduating from the Conservatoire in 1987 with maximum marks he was invited to join the faculty.
Pavel Nersessian has been touring Russia and surrounding states from the age of eight, and has given performances in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Cannes, Leipzig, Vienna, Budapest, Madrid, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Dublin, Muenchen, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Belgrade, Cairo, Kiev, and many other cities.
Mr. Nersessian, by special invitation from the Kirov and the Perm Ballet, performed solo part in Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial based on the music of Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Piano Concerto with performances in the Kirov, Bolshoi, Chatelet and Covent Garden. He also played a solo part in J. Robbins’ ballet “The concert, or The Perils of Everybody” on the music of F. Chopin.
He is known for his collaboration with chamber music groups and other musicians, such as Borodin and Glinka Quartets, National Symphony Orchestra in Russia, Thomas Sanderling, Tugan Sokhiev, Eri Klas, Saulius Sondeckis, Alexander Lazarev, Ken-David Mazur, Pavel Kogan, Alexandre Chernushenko, Mikhail Agrest, Pascal Moragues, Julius Milkis, Evgeny Petrov, Abel Perreira, Benjamin Schmid, Stepan Yakovich, Ani Kavafian, Andrei Gridchuk, Alena Baeva, Philippe Cassard, Yana Ivanilova, Nina Kogan, Mikhail Bereznitsky and many others. He has recorded numerous disks with the compositions of Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Shostakovich, and he has given masterclasses in the USA, Russia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Korea, Brazil, and Japan.
Pavel Nersessian has been working as an assistant in a class of a famous professor S. Dorensky since 1987. Many famous students graduated from this studio during these years: N. Lugansky, V. Rudenko, D. Matsuev, O. Kern, A. Shtarkman, P. Kolesnikov, G. Tchaidze, A. Dossin, F. Kopachevsky, T. Tessman and many others.
In 2005 he became a merited artist of the Russian Federation.
Pierre van der Westhuizen
With performances described as showcasing the “utmost polish,” “impressive control” with a “broad stylistic spectrum” (Beeld, South Africa), South African pianist Pierre van der Westhuizen has established himself as an accomplished and versatile musician, with critically acclaimed performances across South Africa, the USA, and Europe. Pierre graduated from Northwest University (Potchefstroom, South Africa) with a double major in Piano Performance and Composition. Pierre has received several prizes, awards and scholarships, which included the M.C. Rhoode Memorial Performance Prize, and a grant from the National Research Foundation. He made his concerto debut in 1998, performing with the National Chamber Orchestra of South Africa. He continued his studies in the U.S., completing the Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati (2007), under the guidance of Frank Weinstock. His performances have been heard on WCLV (Cleveland), WYSU (Youngstown), ClassicFM, and WGTE (Toledo), and he has appeared as guest artist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra under the direction of maestro Chelsea Tipton, as well as frequent collaborations with violinists Annette-Barbara Vogel and Ioana Galu.
Pierre is also part of the Westhuizen Piano Duo, with his wife Sophié. As duo, they have performed across the U.S. and South Africa, where they also teach master classes. Their interest in new music has led them to premiere numerous works by young South African and American composers. They were the first piano duo to receive fellowships as Young Artists at the prestigious PianoTexas International Academy and Festival (formerly the TCU/Cliburn Institute), as well as Shouse Artists at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, where they shared the stage with artists such as Ann Schein, Wu Han, Jeremy Denk and James Tocco. Their performances were heard on WGTE (Toledo), Radiosonder Grense and ClassicFM. They were featured as guest artists at the Volksblad Arts Festival, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Northwest University (Potchefstroom) and the University of South Africa/UNISA Concert Series in South Africa, as well as OSU/Port Clinton Arts Festival in Ohio, the “Music at Covenant” series (Cincinnati), Firelands Concert Series, Lakeside Summer Music Festival, and St. Mary’s College in Indiana. They were featured on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, which was broadcast live on NPR and PBS, and have recorded the complete works for two pianos by Poulenc, which has been released by AMP Recordings. The Westhuizen Duo has also just been named international Steinway Artists, and recent highlights include a New York debut at Steinway Hall, as well as being the featured guest artists for concerto and recital performances at the 2017 Baldwin Wallace University Bach Festival.
Pierre also enjoys teaching, and has previously served as guest artist and faculty member at the Colorado International Piano Academy, Cleveland Institute of Music’s Summer Sonata, Chautauqua Institute, and served on the piano faculty of Heidelberg University. Pierre is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, a position he has held since 2011.