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.
Robert Blocker began his study of piano at the age of five, presenting his first public recital two years later. Today, he concertizes throughout the world. His engagements have included performances in the United States, Europe, Mexico, China, and Korea, Thailand, and several Pacific Rim countries. Recent orchestral engagements include the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, Houston Symphony, Monterey Philharmonic, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Korean Symphony and Daejeon (South Korea) Symphony.
His 2007 performance at the International Great Mountains Festival with the Sejong Artists was broadcast throughout Korea twice on KBS. These appearances have won him critical acclaim as noted in the Los Angeles Times review: “…great skill and accomplishment, a measurable virtuoso bent and considerable musical sensitivity… mesmerizing moments.” This year, Naxos will release a CD of three Mozart concerti performed by Blocker with the Biava Quartet.
Robert Blocker, has been the Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music at Yale University, since 1995. In 2006 Blocker was named honorary Professor of Piano at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. In 2000, Steinway and Sons featured Robert Blocker in its film commemorating the tercentennial year of the piano along with Billy Joel, Van Cliburn and others. He appears regularly on national radio and television as both artist and commentator. In 2004 the Yale University Press published The Robert Shaw Reader, edited by Robert Blocker. Now in its third printing, the volume is presently being translated for publication in Korea.
Jerome Lowenthal, born in 1932, continues to fascinate audiences who find in his playing a youthful intensity and an eloquence born of life-experience. He is a virtuoso of the fingers and the emotions.
Mr. Lowenthal studied in his native Philadelphia with Olga Samaroff-Stokowski, in New York with William Kapell and Edward Steuermann, and in Paris with Alfred Cortot, meanwhile traveling annually to Los Angeles for coachings with Artur Rubinstein. After winning prizes in three international competitions (Bolzano, Darmstadt, and Brussels), he moved to Jerusalem where, for three years, he played, taught and lectured.
Returning to America, he made his debut with the New York Philharmonic playing Bartok's Concerto no. 2 in 1963. Since then, he has performed more-or-less everywhere, from the Aleutians to Zagreb. Conductors with whom he has appeared as soloist include Barenboim, Ozawa, Tilson Thomas, Temirkanov, and Slatkin, as well as such giants of the past as Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Pierre Monteux and Leopold Stokowski. He has played sonatas with Itzhak Perlman, piano duos with Ronit Amir (his late wife), Carmel Lowenthal (his daughter), and Ursula Oppens, as well as quintets with the Lark, Avalon and Shanghai Quartets. He has recently recorded the Beethoven Fourth Concerto with cadenzas by eleven different composers. His other recordings include concerti by Tschaikovsky and Liszt, solo works by Sinding and Bartok, and chamber-music by Arensky and Taneyev.
Teaching, too, is an important part of Mr. Lowenthal's musical life. For eighteen years at the Juilliard School and for thirty-nine summers at the Music Academy of the West, he has worked with an extraordinary number of gifted pianists, whom he encourages to understand the music they play in a wide aesthetic and cultural perspective and to project it with the freedom which that perspective allows.
One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians, the pianist Orion Weiss has performed with the major American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic. His deeply felt and exceptionally crafted performances go far beyond his technical mastery and have won him worldwide acclaim.
2017-18 sees him opening the season for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performing Beethoven's Triple Concerto and ending his season with the Colorado Symphony and Mozart’s majestic Concerto in C major, K. 467; in between Orion will play with eleven orchestras, go on a recital tour with James Ehnes, and perform recitals around the country. In 2016-17 Orion performed with the Knoxville, Wichita, and Santa Rosa Symphonies and the Symphony Silicon Valley, among others, and in collaborative projects with Alessio Bax, the Pacifica Quartet, and with Cho-Liang Lin and the New Orford String Quartet in a performance of the Chausson Concerto for piano, violin, and string quartet. In 2015 Naxos released his recording of Christopher Rouse’s Seeing – a major commission Orion debuted with the Albany Symphony – and in 2012 he released a recital album of Dvorak, Prokofiev, and Bartok. That same year he also spearheaded a recording project of the complete Gershwin works for piano and orchestra with his longtime collaborators the Buffalo Philharmonic and JoAnn Falletta.
Named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year in September 2010, in the summer of 2011 Weiss made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood as a last-minute replacement for Leon Fleisher. In recent seasons, he has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and in duo summer concerts with the New York Philharmonic at both Lincoln Center and the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival. In 2005, he toured Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Itzhak Perlman.
Also known for his affinity and enthusiasm for chamber music, Weiss performs regularly with his wife, the pianist Anna Polonsky, the violinists James Ehnes and Arnaud Sussman, and cellist Julie Albers. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Weiss has appeared across the U.S. at venues and festivals including Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, Sheldon Concert Hall, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Chamber Music Northwest, the Bard Music Festival, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, and Spivey Hall. He won the 2005 William Petschek Recital Award at Juilliard, and made his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall that April. Also in 2005 he made his European debut in a recital at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. He was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two program of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center from 2002-2004, which included his appearance in the opening concert of the Society’s 2002-2003 season at Alice Tully Hall performing Ravel’s La Valse with pianist Shai Wosner.
Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship. A native of Lyndhurst, OH, Weiss attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Schenly, Daniel Shapiro, Sergei Babayan, Kathryn Brown, and Edith Reed. In February of 1999, Weiss made his Cleveland Orchestra debut performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In March 1999, with less than 24 hours’ notice, Weiss stepped in to replace André Watts for a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was immediately invited to return to the Orchestra for a performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in October 1999. In 2004, he graduated from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Emanuel Ax.
“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.