Natalya Antonova made her debut with the Leningrad Philarmonic at the age of sixteen. As a soloist of two major concert managements, “State Concert” and “Soviet Union Concert,” she concertized in Russia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Ukraine, Armenia, Byelorussia, and other countries like Germany, France, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, South Korea, etc.
When she accepted an invitation from the Leningrad Conservatory, she became the youngest professor ever appointed for this position in the history of the school. After ten years of serving, she accepted a position of Professor of Piano in the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow (formerly the Gnessin Institute of Music).
Antonova has given hundreds of master classes and lectures throughout the world including the Moscow Academy of Music, Paris Conservatory, Budapest Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and Seoul National University.
She has participated in many International Festivals in such countries as Hungary, Germany, South Korea, USA, Russia, etc. Each summer she conducts piano classes in the frame of the International Festival in Paris, France.
Antonova has judged numerous competitions such as Gina Bachauer in Utah, Corpous Christi International Competition in Texas, Sibelius International Competition in Ohio, Hilton Head International Competition and Missouri International Competition.
She is currently a tenured professor at the Eastman School of Music.
Acclaimed for the immediacy, sensitivity and depth of his interpretations, Sergei Babayan’s performances reveal an emotional intensity and bold energy, equipping him to explore stylistically diverse repertoire. He is known for his innovative programming, often including modern works by composers such as Lutosławski, Ligeti and Arvo Pärt, and extending the boundaries of mainstream repertoire for which he continues to be acclaimed, excelling in Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann as much as the Russian heritage of Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Prokofiev.
A student of such legendary teachers and musicians as Gornostayeva, Naumov, Pletnev and Vlasenko at the Moscow Conservatory, he was not permitted to leave the country and be free to compete and study in the West. He was the first pianist from the former USSR who was able to compete without government sponsorship after the collapse of the system. Immediately after his first trip outside of the USSR, Mr. Babayan won consecutive first prizes in several major international competitions including the 1990 Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition (now the Cleveland International Piano Competition; 1990 Palm Beach International Piano Competition; 1991 Hamamatsu Piano Competition; and 1992 Scottish International Piano Competition. He is also a Laureate of the Queen Elizabeth International Piano Competition, the Busoni International Piano Competition and the Esther Honens International Competition in Calgary, Canada.
Since that time, Mr. Babayan has had major engagements and concert tours throughout Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, South America, China and the U.S. His New York recitals at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, performances with The Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and Detroit Symphony have been met with huge critical acclaim, as have his many subsequent recital and concerto performances throughout all the major cities in the U.S.
His recordings of Scarlatti, Ligeti, Messiaen, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Schubert, Liszt, Vine, Respighi and Prokofiev have garnered high acclaim, including a "Critic's Choice" in The New York Times praising his "extraordinary technique and ability to play densely harmonized works with illuminating transparency and a daunting measure of control." American Record Guide joined in the accolades, praising his "phenomenal level of color and imagination." Of the recording of Scarlatti sonatas, American Guide said: "It can stand proudly beside that of Horowitz ..."
Mr. Babayan has appeared with many major orchestras throughout the world, including The Cleveland Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Nationale de Lille and the New World Symphony. His performances with the Detroit and Baltimore Symphonies were received with great enthusiasm by audiences and critics alike. Mr. Babayan has collaborated with such conductors as Michael Christi, Valery Gergiev, Hans Graf, Neeme Järvi, Kazimierz Kord, Theodore Kuchar, David Robertson and Yuri Temirkanov. His concerto repertoire is constantly growing; at this point he has performed 51 concertos. Mr. Babayan is an enthusiastic advocate of new music and has an immense repertoire. His unusual and imaginative recital programming has always elicited interest and praise. Deep interest and love for the music of Bach has led him to study more recently with Helmuth Rilling.
Mr. Babayan was appointed to the CIM faculty in 1992. An acclaimed teacher and sought after teacher, his students have won major competitions throughout the world. His student Daniil Trifonov was the recent winner of the recent Rubinstein Competition and the Tchiakowsky Competition.
Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim (“Fima”) Bronfman is among the most talented virtuosos performing today. His commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts have won consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences worldwide for his solo recitals, prestigious orchestral engagements and expanding catalogue of recordings.
Summer festivals from Aspen to Tanglewood, and Amsterdam to Helsinki, Lucerne and Berlin provide the starting point for the 2013-14 season in which Mr. Bronfman is featured Artist-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic. Repertoire from Tchaikovsky to Lindberg and including contemporary composers Marc-André Dalbavie, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Marc Neikrug will be included in chamber concerts with a winter tour to the Far East and a complete cycle of all the Beethoven concerti over 3 weeks to bring the season to a close in June.
Together with friend and collaborator Pinchas Zukerman a short duo tour is planned in the spring to include Ottawa, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Berkeley and Vancouver. At the Berlin Philharmonic's new spring residency in Baden-Baden he will play Beethoven conducted by Zubin Mehta and during the season will return to the orchestras of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, Houston, Dallas and Detroit as well as Paris, Munich, Berlin and Amsterdam with whose Concertgebouworkester he will tour in Australia as part of that orchestra's world-wide centenary celebrations.
Mr. Bronfman’s 2012-13 season began early with concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle in Berlin, Salzburg and the London Proms followed by the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich with David Zinman and London’s Philharmonia conducted by Tugan Sokhiev. A season-long residency with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra and long time collaborator Mariss Jansons encompassed orchestral and chamber music in a broad range of repertoire. A return to Salzburg’s Easter Festival with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Christian Thielemann was followed by appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic and Michael Tilson Thomas in Vienna and London, subscription concerts in Spain and Germany and a spring tour with Ensemble Wien-Berlin.
In North America he worked with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in one of their infrequent Carnegie Hall visits conducted by Fabio Luisi and returned to the orchestras in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Montreal where he is a beloved regular. In collaboration with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená he made a short winter tour including New York’s Carnegie Hall and in solo recital in Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta as well as the great halls of Paris, Berlin, and Lisbon.
Mr. Bronfman works regularly with an illustrious group of conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yuri Temirkanov, Franz Welser-Möst, and David Zinman. Summer engagements have regularly taken him to the major festivals of Europe and the US.
He has also given numerous solo recitals in the leading halls of North America, Europe and the Far East, including acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993. In 1991 he gave a series of joint recitals with Isaac Stern in Russia, marking Mr. Bronfman’s first public performances there since his emigration to Israel at age 15. That same year he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists. In 2010 he was honored as the recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University.
Widely praised for his solo, chamber and orchestral recordings, he was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in 2009 for his Deutsche Grammophon recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s piano concerto with Salonen conducting and with whom he won a GRAMMY® Award in 1997 for his recording of the three Bartók Piano Concerti and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His performance of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from the 2011 Lucerne Festival is now available on DVD and his performance of Rachmaninoff’s third concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle was released on DVD by the EuroArts label. His most recent CD releases are Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2 commissioned for him and performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert on the Da Capo label, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bayerischer Rundfunk, a recital disc, ‘Perspectives’, complementing Mr. Bronfman’s designation as a Carnegie Hall ‘Perspectives’ artist for the 2007-08 season, and recordings of all the Beethoven piano concerti as well as the Triple Concerto together with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tönhalle Orchestra Zürich under David Zinman for the Arte Nova/BMG label.
Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union on 10 April 1958, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro and the Curtis Institute, and with Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher and Rudolf Serkin.
Yefim Bronfman became an American citizen in July 1989.
Kathryn Brown, head of the piano department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, performs internationally as recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist. She has received numerous international prizes, including the Louis Sudler Prize for the Arts and the Darius Milhaud Prize, and was first-prize winner of the National Young Artists Competition, San Antonio International Keyboard Competition, Pro Piano Competition. She performed her New York Solo Debut Recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and has appeared in recital at the Library of Congress and Columbia Artists' Community Concerts Series. She was pianist and co-founder of the Myriad Chamber Players, a 17-member ensemble comprised of members of The Cleveland Orchestra and international soloists. Her chamber music credits include performances at the Marlboro Music Festival in collaborations with members of the Guarneri String Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio. She teamed with Dmitri Ashkenazy on Ravinia's Rising Stars series, and performed on tour in Estonia, Sweden, and Africa as a winner of the USIA Artistic Ambassadors Competition. As a member of the Verdehr Trio, she appeared in recital at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and in London and Prague. Ms. Brown has been featured on the British Broadcasting Network, the PBS Artistry of... series, Chicago's WFMT Radio, and NPR's Performance Today. She has studied at Michigan State University, Peabody Conservatory, private studies in London, and received an Artist Diploma from CIM under the tutelage of Paul Schenly. An accomplished singer, she is a frequent recitalist and was featured in a title role at the Aspen Music Festival. She also performed in the Phyllis Curtin Seminar at Tanglewood.
A native of Tennessee, pianist Melvin Chen is recognized as an important young artist, having received acclaim for performances throughout the United States and abroad. As a soloist and chamber musician Mr. Chen has performed at major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Frick Collection, Kennedy Center, and Boston's Jordan Hall, in addition to other appearances throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia. In recent seasons Mr. Chen's concerts have included two solo recitals at Weill Recital Hall, concerto performances with the American Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony, Springfield Symphony, and the Paducah Symphony, along with numerous solo and chamber music appearances internationally and in the United States. He was the pianist in Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice, which was presented by Lincoln Center in 2005 and which received a special citation from the Obie awards.
Mr. Chen's performances have been featured on radio and television stations around the globe, including KBS television and radio in Korea, NHK television in Japan, and NPR in the United States. Solo recordings include Beethoven's Diabelli Variations on the Bridge label, praised as “a classic” by the American Record Guide, and a recording of Joan Tower's piano music on the Naxos label. Recordings of the Shostakovich piano sonatas and Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice were released in 2007.
An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mr. Chen has collaborated with such artists as Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, David Shifrin, Steven Isserlis, Pamela Frank, and Peter Wiley; with the Shanghai, Tokyo, Miami, Penderecki, Borromeo, and Miro quartets; and in contemporary music collaborations with the Da Capo Chamber Players and The St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Chen is an alumnus of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Chamber Music Society Two, where he appeared with members of the Chamber Music Society in performance and educational programs for two seasons. A performer in numerous music festivals, he has performed at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music Mountain, Chautauqua, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Bard Music Festival, and Music from Angel Fire, among others.
Mr. Chen completed a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, and also holds a double master's degree from The Juilliard School in piano and violin, where he studied with Seymour Lipkin and Glenn Dicterow, respectively. At Juilliard, he was the recipient of the U.S. Department of Education Jacob Javits Fellowship, as well as the William Petschek Piano Scholarship and the Ruth D. Rosenman Memorial Scholarship. Previously, he attended Yale University, receiving a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and physics. Upon graduation he was awarded the New Prize by the fellows of Jonathan Edwards College. During his tenure at Yale he studied with Boris Berman, Paul Kantor, and Ida Kavafian.
Mr. Chen is on the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he is associate director, and has previously served on the piano faculty at the Yale School of Music. He is also the artistic director of the chamber music program at the Hotchkiss Summer Portals.
James Giles regularly performs in important musical centers in America, Europe, and Asia. Recent tours have taken him to the Nancy Music Festival in France, the Accademia Cristofori in Florence, the Gijon Piano Festival in Spain, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and the Beijing International Music Festival. The current season features a recording with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in Russia; recitals in Florida, California, North Carolina, and France; and master classes in Hong Kong and at the Shanghai Conservatory.
In an eclectic repertoire encompassing the solo and chamber music literatures, Giles is equally at home in the standard repertoire as in the music of our time. He has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, C. Curtis-Smith, Stephen Hough, Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, Augusta Read Thomas, Earl Wild, and James Wintle. Most of these new works are featured on Giles’s Albany Records release entitled “American Virtuoso.” His recording of works by Schumann and Prokofiev is available on England’s Master Musicians label and a new Schubert CD is due for imminent release.
His Paris recital at the Salle Cortot in 2004 was hailed as “a true revelation, due equally to the pianist’s artistry as to his choice of program.” After a recital at the Sibelius Academy, the critic for Helsinki’s main newspaper wrote that “Giles is a technically polished, elegant pianist.” And a London critic called his 2003 Wigmore Hall recital “one of the most sheerly inspired piano recitals I can remember hearing for some time” and added that “with a riveting intelligence given to everything he played, it was the kind of recital you never really forget.”
He has performed with New York’s Jupiter Symphony (Alkan and Czerny); the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra in Queen Elizabeth Hall (Mozart and Beethoven); the Kharkiv Philharmonic in Ukraine (Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff); and with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Alice Tully Hall (Chopin). After his Tully Hall solo recital debut, critic Harris Goldsmith wrote: “Giles has a truly distinctive interpretive persona. This was beautiful pianism – direct and unmannered.” Other tours have included concerts in the Shanghai International Piano Festival; Warsaw’s Chopin Academy of Music; Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Series, Salt Lake City’s Assembly Hall Concert Series, and in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Musikhalle in Hamburg, and the Purcell Room at London’s South Bank Centre. He has given live recitals over the public radio stations of New York, Boston, Chicago, and Indianapolis. As a chamber musician he has collaborated with members of the National and Chicago Symphonies and with members of the Pacifica, Cassatt, Chicago, Ying, Chester, St. Lawrence, Essex, Lincoln, and Miami Quartets, as well as singers Aprile Millo and Anthony Dean Griffey.
A native of North Carolina, Dr. Giles studied with Byron Janis at the Manhattan School of Music, Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Shannon at Oberlin College. He received early career assistance from the Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy with the legendary pianist Lazar Berman.
The pianist was the recipient of a fellowship grant and the Christel Award from the American Pianists Association. He won first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Competition. As a student he was awarded the prestigious William Petschek Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Rudolf Serkin Award for outstanding graduate at the Oberlin College Conservatory. He has written for Piano and Keyboard magazine and has presented lecture-recitals at the national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society, and Pi Kappa Lambda. He regularly serves on competition jury panels and has been conference artist for several state music teachers associations.
Dr. Giles is coordinator of the piano program and director of graduate studies at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. He gives master classes and lectures at universities nationwide and has taught during the summers at the Eastern Music Festival, Bowdoin, Brevard, Colburn, Interlochen, ARIA, and the Schlern Festival in Italy. He has been a guest professor at the Sibelius Academy, the Shanghai Conservatory, and at Indiana University and has taught classes at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Royal College of Music in London.
Claude Frank began piano studies in his native Germany and continued in France and then the United States with Artur Schnabel and Karl Ulrich Schnabel. He studied composition at Columbia University and conducting with Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood.
Since his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1959, he has performed with most major symphony orchestras in the United States, Europe, and South America, and he has toured on six continents. He has recorded all thirty-two Beethoven piano sonatas for RCA, as well as Mozart concertos and chamber music.
His wife was the late pianist Lilian Kallir. Their violinist daughter, Pamela, graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1989 and is now a member of the faculty.
Mr. Frank is on the faculty of the Yale School of Music, and he joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1988.
Tomasz Herbut was born in Lublin, Poland, where he began his first piano lessons when he was six years old. He entered the local Conservatory at an early age, graduating with honors in 1979. His studies then took him to Warsaw’s F. Chopin Music University, where he completed his diploma with distinction as a member of the piano class of Bronisława Kawalla in 1984. Next he improved his musical skills at the Zurich University of the Arts in Homero Francesch’s master class – obtaining the Soloist Diploma in 1987 – and in Irwin Gage’s Song Interpretation class. At the same time he worked with Nikita Magaloff, who played a significant role in his artistic development.
Through intensive scholary work Tomasz Herbut possesses an extraordinary wide spectrum of knowledge of both the Romantic literature for the piano and the lied repertoire. His programmes encompass such forgotten composers as Lekeu, Zarebski, Paderewski, as well as Chausson, Szymanowski, or Bloch, among others. In 1986 he was a prizewinner of the XIX Festival of Young Soloists in Bordeaux, France, and one year later he was honored by the city of Zurich Artist’s Award.
Since 1977 Tomasz Herbut has performed Japan, Korea, South America, and in most European countries, including Switzerland, where he has lived since 1984. He is a regular soloist as well as a chamber music artist at such international festivals as The Flandern Festival, The Menuhin Festival Gstaad, The Vratislavia Cantans Festival, and The Chopin Festival Paris. In addition to his solo performances, he is an acclaimed chamber music player, having performed with the best musicians of the country in the Varsovia String Quartet, the Camerata String Quartet, the Silesian String Quartet, the Sine Nomine Quartet, and alongside such musicians as Patrick Demenga and Paul Meyer, among others. He is also recognized as an authority on Song accompaniment, partnering such great Polish and foreign singers as Jadwiga Rappé, Urszula Kryger, Josepg Calleja, and Rudolf Rosen. He has made numerous recordings for both television and radio in many European countries. He is a prizewinner of the Polish Music Prize “Grand Prix du Disque FRYDERYK.” In his adopted homeland he performs on the such stages as Victoria Hall Geneva, Tonhalle Zurich, and Casino Berne, among others.
Since 1990 Herbut has also dedicated himself to teaching, leading the piano class at the Berne University of the Arts in Switzerland. Many of his students are prizewinners of national and international competitions (Honens/Calgary; Toronto; Minneapolis/St.Paul; Bach/Würzburg; 20th Century/Orleans; among others). He gives Master Classes all over Europe as well as in both Americas and Asia. He is often requested to serve on the Jury of international competitions. He is also President and artistic Director of Berne Chopin Society.
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.
Blair McMillen has established himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after young pianists today. The New York Times has called his playing "lustrous," "riveting," and "brilliant... prodigiously accomplished and exciting." Known for imaginative and daring programming, he plays a repertoire that spans from late-medieval keyboard manuscripts to today's up-and-coming younger generation of composers.
Recent appearances include Miller Theatre's 15th-anniversary "Piano Revolution" recital series, the Moscow Conservatory, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Concerten Tot en Met (Amsterdam), Harvard University, CalArts, Caramoor, Casals Hall (Tokyo), and Carnegie's Zankel Hall. Recent solo programs have included performances of selections from the Codex Faenza (penned in the early 1400's), a New York recital of music inspired by the art of improvisation, and the U.S. premieres of solo pieces by Frederic Rzewski and Giacinto Scelsi. During the 2005-06 season, Mr. McMillen made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist under the baton of David Robertson.
A solo CD "Soundings"—featuring the works of Liszt, Scriabin, Debussy, Copland, and Bolcom—was released to rave reviews. Recent recordings include Concert Music of Fred Hersch on Naxos, Multiplicities '38, a multi-composer recording of solo piano music on Centaur, and Music of Ralph Shapey with violinist Miranda Cuckson on Centaur. Mr. McMillen resides in New York City and serves on the piano faculty at Bard College.
Anthony Molinaro is the 1997 winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Piano Competition and one of the most versatile pianists of his generation. Acclaimed for his "edge-of-the-seat brilliance" and "musically imaginative mind," Mr. Molinaro has appeared as soloist with over fifty symphony orchestras, headlined at major jazz clubs throughout the world, and composed and arranged music in both the classical and jazz genres (including his Piano Concerto No. 1 and arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue for piano and big band). His recordings include "The Bach Sessions" featuring J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations and A Major and F Minor Concertos with The Academy of St. Martin in The Fields, "New Blue" featuring his singular solo rendition of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and "Live" - a duo album with Grammy Award winning harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy. Mr. Molinaro has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Downbeat magazine and in the 2010 book, The New Face of Jazz. In addition to the release of Here, There and Everywhere and an accompanying U.S. and European tour, Mr. Molinaro's 2013-2014 season will include performances of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #3 and his Carnegie Hall debut.
Praised by audiences and critics alike for his fresh interpretations and dramatic presentation style, Yoshikazu Nagai has performed as a soloist and a chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe and America in such venues as Shanghai Concert Hall in China, National Recital Hall in Taiwan, Carnegie Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Kennedy Center's Terrace Theatre, The National Gallery and Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., and Seattle's Benaroya Hall. His schedule in recent seasons include recitals in Naples, Seoul, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco and in recent collaborations with the Ives Quartet, violinists Robert Mann, and Anthony Marwood. Mr. Nagai has appeared at many international music festivals, and his live performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today", RAI Italian National TV, Hong Kong National Radio RTHK4, and on public radio stations in San Francisco, Houston, Cleveland, and Salt Lake City. Winner of numerous international piano competitions, including first prize at the 2002 Washington International Piano Competition, Mr. Nagai is also a major prizewinner of the San Antonio, Missouri Southern, New Orleans, IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competitions, and the Concert Artists Guild International Music Competition.
Born in Germany and raised in the United States, Mr. Nagai studied with John Perry at Rice University, Paul Schenly and Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was awarded the Malvina Podis Prize in Piano upon graduation, and Duane Hulbert at the University of Puget Sound.
He has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts for excellence in teaching and Mr. Nagai's students are top prizewinners of national and international competitions including the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in Australia, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, Music Teacher's National Association Piano Competition, New York International Piano Competition, Hilton Head, Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists, Van Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition, Nina Wideman, International Russian Music, King Award, Missouri Southern, Corpus Christi, Lennox Young Artists, Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU, Heida Hermanns International Piano Competitions, and Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Mr. Nagai frequently gives master classes at universities and conservatories throughout the United States and Asia including recent classes at Shanghai Conservatory, Beijing's Central Conservatory, Xinghai Conservatory, Shenzhen Arts School in China, Seoul National University, Seoul Arts School, in Korea, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, and Eastman School of Music. He also regularly serves as adjudicator of international piano competitions and has served on the juries of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competitions, World Piano Competition, and Alaska International Piano E-Competition amongst others.
Currently Professor of Piano and Chair of the Piano Department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mr. Nagai teaches during the summers at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and "Art of Piano" at Cincinnati Conservatory. He has also been summer faculty at the Shanghai and Beijing International Piano Festivals in China, Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, Chautauqua, Summit Festivals in New York, South Eastern Piano Festival in South Carolina and Colburn Academy and Montecito International Music Festival in California. Mr. Nagai is a former faculty member at the Interlochen Arts Academy.
“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.
The Irish pianist John O’Conor has been gathering wonderful reviews for his masterly playing for over forty years. Having studied in his native Dublin, in Vienna with Dieter Weber and being tutored by the legendary Wilhelm Kempff his unanimous 1st Prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973 opened the door to a career that has brought him all around the world.
His recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas led CD Review to say that he “by now should be recognised as the world’s premier Beethoven interpreter” and his recent recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra and Andreas Delfs have also been greeted with acclaim.
A Steinway Artist, he is Chair of the Piano Division at Shenandoah University in Virginia, a faculty member at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, International Visiting Artist at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Visiting Professor at Showa University in Japan.
For his services to music he has been decorated “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Government, awarded the “Ehrenkreuz fur Wissenschaft und Kunst” by the Austrian Government, the “Order of the Rising Sun” by the Japanese Government and has received many other awards.
Born and raised in Foggia, Italy, Antonio Pompa-Baldi won the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1999 and embarked on a career that continues to extend across five continents. A top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, France, Antonio Pompa-Baldi also won a silver medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Mr. Pompa-Baldi appears regularly at the world's major concert venues including New York's Carnegie Hall, Cleveland's Severance Hall, Milan's Sala Verdi, Boston's Symphony Hall, and Paris' Salle Pleyel, to name a few.
He has collaborated with leading conductors including Hans Graf, James Conlon, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and Keith Lockhart, performing with the Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Berliner Symphoniker, Orchestre National de Paris-Radio France, National Orchestra of Ukraine, Fort Worth Symphony, among many others.
Notable recital engagements took place in Beijing, Seoul , Paris, London, Chicago, and Houston. Among recent orchestral appearances, Mr. Pompa- Baldi performed with the Santo Domingo Festival Orchestra under Maestro Benjamin Zander, the National Symphony of Ecuador, and the Johannesburg and Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestras in South Africa. Last season's recitals included Nancy (France), Cleveland (OH), San Francisco (Liszt Society Festival), Hong Kong, and Macao.
Upcoming engagements include a recital in Fort Worth, TX, in memory of Van Cliburn, performances with the Eugene Symphony, OR, the Nova Scotia Symphony (Canada), and the Cheyenne Symphony, a tour of South Africa, including appearances with the Johannesburg and Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestras, and recitals in Jerusalem, San Jose, Cleveland, Poland, and China.
Mr. Pompa-Baldi's recording catalogue features an all-Brahms disc (Azica), and a recital from his Cliburn Competition performances (Harmonia Mundi).
He has recorded 17 CDs for Centaur Records: the Josef Rheinberger Piano Sonatas; the entire piano output of Edward Grieg, in 12 volumes; an all-Rachmaninoff CD; an all-Schumann album; a live recital in Cleveland; and the first volume of the Hummel Piano Sonatas.
Soon-to-be-released by Centaur is the second volume of the Hummel Sonatas.
Mr. Pompa-Baldi was recently recorded live in recital at the Stellenbosch Conservatory, South Africa, in a program including, among others, the complete set of Chopin's Etudes Op.10. This CD will soon be released by the TwoPianists label.
For the Steinway label, Pompa-Baldi recorded a disc of songs by Francis Poulenc and Edith Piaf, arranged for solo piano, to commemorate the 50th year of the passing of both French musical icons. The album, titled "The Rascal and the Sparrow: Poulenc meets Piaf", released in September 2013, received unanimous praise in Classical Music's most esteemed review sites.
Mr. Pompa-Baldi has been seen and heard many times on French National Television, Radio-France, Ukrainian National Television, Cleveland's WCLV, Boston's WGBH, and National Public Radio's "Performance Today". He was featured in the PBS documentary on the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition "Playing on the Edge", which premiered in October 2001 in USA and Canada.
Mr. Pompa-Baldi appeared again on PBS in the documentary "Concerto: A sense of Self", featuring his performance of Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and James Conlon. This performance was also seen on French National Television in May, 2003, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Prokofiev's death, as well as throughout Europe.
Antonio Pompa-Baldi is a Steinway Artist. He serves as Distinguished Professor of Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and gives master- classes around the world, both in conjunction with his performing engagements, and at summer festivals including Piano Fest in the Hamptons, TCU-Cliburn Institute, Southeastern Piano Festival (University of South Carolina School of Music), Paisiello Academy (Lucera, Italy), Amalfi Coast Festival, and Napolinova Academy (Naples, Italy). He helped found the Academia Manuel Rueda in Santo Domingo, where he also gives regular masterclasses.
He is often invited to judge international piano competitions, and has served as president of the jury for the San Jose International Piano Competition, CA since 2006. His students have been prizewinners in important competitions such as Marguerite Long, Hilton Head, JoseÌ Iturbi, Isang Yun, and Gina Bachauer.
Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances that receive tremendous audience response and press attention throughout the United States. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he became the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas: piano, violin and conducting.
In 1992, Mr. Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded a 1994 Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has played numerous recitals throughout the U.S. including performances in New York at Lincoln Center, Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Chicago at Orchestra Hall. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, St. Louis, National, Detroit and New Jersey symphonies. Major summer festival engagements include Ravinia, Blossom, Wolftrap, Caramoor and Aspen, the Hollywood Bowl and the Mostly Mozart Festival in Tokyo. Mr. Pratt is also the Artistic Director of the Next Generation Festival, a two-week chamber music festival in Lancaster, PA., tours with the Dedalus String Quartet and appears with cellist Zuill Bailey in duo recitals throughout the US.
Awadagin Pratt has been the subject of numerous articles in the national press, including Newsweek, People Magazine, USA Weekend, New York Newsday, Emerge and Mirabella. He was named one of the 50 Leaders of Tomorrow in Ebony Magazine's special 50th anniversary issue and has been featured on National Public Radio's Performance Today, St. Paul Sunday Morning and Weekend Edition. On television, Mr. Pratt has performed on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and Sesame Street, been profiled on CBS Sunday Morning and was one of the featured soloists on PBS's "Live from the Kennedy Center - A Salute to Slava." He also performed twice at the White House at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Pratt is currently an Associate Professor of Piano and Artist in Residence at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.
Daniel Shapiro continues to gain recognition as a leading interpreter of Schubert, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms and Beethoven—whose thirty-two sonata cycle he has twice performed—and as a teacher and coach at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has given critically acclaimed recitals and concerto appearances across the United States, in Brazil, Britain, Ireland, Spain, France, China, Korea, and at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. His CD of Beethoven’s “Diabelli” Variations on the Azica label has received enthusiastic reviews.
Dr. Shapiro has performed extensively with orchestras, including the National Symphony, the Sâo Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of London, the Knoxville Symphony and the Los Angeles Debut Orchestra. He was a top prize winner of the William Kapell International Piano Competition, and also won the American Pianists’ Association Beethoven Fellowship Award.
As a chamber musician, Shapiro has performed regularly with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras, and has also performed with the Cavani and Mirò and Linden Quartets. He has participated at the Marlboro and Ravinia Festivals and the Fellowship Program at Tanglewood. He has released chamber music compact discs on the Harmonia Mundi and ASV labels.
As a conductor, he studied with Daniel Lewis, Victor Yampolsky, Fritz Zweig, and Gustav Meier. He made his conducting debut at sixteen at Tanglewood, where he was given a special award for outstanding achievement in piano, chamber music and conducting. He recently conducted Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Akron Lyric Opera.
His musicianship has been enhanced and deepened by extensive experience as a collaborator and coach in art song and opera. He studied with Gwendolyn Koldofsky and Natalie Limonick, and was an opera and art song coach at UCLA.
A native of southern California, he began the study of piano at the age of six. His teachers have included Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Russell Sherman, Joanna Graudan, and Reginald Stewart. He studied at the University of Southern California and at the Peabody Conservatory, where he received his doctorate. Before joining the Cleveland Institute of Music he was on the piano faculty of the University of Iowa. He has given master classes in several of the leading conservatories in Korea, China and Hong Kong. He has also taught and given master classes at many summer music festivals across the U.S. and Canada.
Beginning his artistic career at the age of fifteen, Israeli born Arie Vardi went on to receive international acclaim as one of the country’s foremost pianists. After winning the Chopin Competition in Israel, he appeared with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta, and upon winning the George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest, he played numerous concerts throughout Europe. Alongside his study of music at the Rubin Academy, he succeeded in achieving a degree in law at Tel Aviv University.
Vardi continued his piano studies in Basel with Paul Baumgartaner and studied composition with Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He has performed widely as soloist with major orchestras under the baton of Semion Bychkov, Sergio Commissiona, Lukas Foss, Kurt Masur, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Zubin Mehta, Paul Paray, Paul Sacher, Gustavo Dudamel and David Zinman, among others. His concert tours have taken him to Eastern and Western Europe, the United States,Latin America, the Far East, Australia and Japan. His first Russian tour, in 1992, included performances in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities. Vardi performs regularly as soloist-conductor, playing the complete set of concerti by Bach and Mozart, part of which he has played on the Hammerfluegel. In recent years he has specialized in the literature of the Impressionist period, including the entire repertoire of Debussy and Ravel. His RCA records have won international acclaim and prizes.
Mr. Vardi’s extensive repertoire includes various Israeli works, many of which were dedicated to him. In addition to his concert career, Arie Vardi is a professor of piano at the Hochschule fuer Musik in Hannover and at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv University, where he served as its director and chaired the Piano Faculty. More than 30 of his students have won first prizes in international competitions. Arie Vardi is best known to television viewers for his series “Master Classes”, the family series of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra which he conducts and presents, and currently for his new series “Intermezzo with Arik”.
He has been a invited to serve as jury member in most of the leading international piano competitions, such as Chopin in Warsaw, Leeds, Van Cliburn, Tchaikovsky in Moscow, Sydney, ARD, Beijing, Beethoven in Vienna and Bonn, Cleveland and Hamamatsu, as well as in Milan, Salt Lake City, Santander, Tokyo, and Seoul. He is the Artistic Advisor and Chairman of the Jury of the Arthur Rubinstein International Master Competition.
Mr. Vardi has held Master Classes and presented lecture recitals at the Juilliard School of Music, the Paris Conservatoire, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the London Royal Academy, and many other major music centers.
In the 2001 season, Arie Vardi directed, conducted and played a series of five concerts with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. The series, entitled “The Piano Concerto,” featured twelve concertos ranging from Bach to the 21st century. In the 2004-5 season he launched a new weekend series with the Israel Philharmonic, “Morning Intermezzo”, where he serves as conductor and presenter.
Mr. Vardi was the recipient of the Minister of Education Award in 2004 for lifetime achievement.
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.