OLGA KERN, jury chairman (Russia)
Now recognized as one of her generation’s great pianists, Olga Kern’s career began with her historic gold-medal winning performance at the Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov and began studying piano at the age of 5.
“Call it star quality—music likes Kern the way the camera liked Garbo, writes Ronald Broun in The Washington Post. “Her electricity at the keyboard is palpable, and though she generates it from the music itself, as it flows through her fingers, it takes on fresh voltage that is unmistakably hers.”
With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship, and extraordinary technique, the striking Russian pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Ms. Kern’s performance career has brought her to many of the world’s most important venues, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Symphony Hall in Osaka, La Scala in Milan, Tonhalle in Zurich, Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Châtelet in Paris. She has appeared as a soloist with the Mariinsky Theatre, London Symphony, St. Petersburg Academic Symphony, Russian National, China National Symphony, Stuttgart State, La Scala Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, and Cape Town Symphony Orchestras. Ms. Kern has also collaborated with the most prominent conductors in the world today, including Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Manfred Honeck, Christoph Eschenbach, Yuri Termirkanov, Antoni Wit, Pinchas Zukerman, Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero, and James Conlon.
Ms. Kern’s discography includes six recordings released by harmonia mundi usa including her Grammy®-nominated disc of Rachmaninov’s Corelli Variations and the transcription. Most recently, SONY released its recording of Ms. Kern performing the Rachmaninov Sonata for Cello and Piano with cellist Sol Gabetta. She was also featured in the award-winning documentary about the 2001 Cliburn Competition, Playing on the Edge, as well as Olga’s Journey, Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg and They Came to Play.
In addition to performing, Ms. Kern devotes her time to the support and education of developing musicians. In 2012, she and her brother, conductor and composer, Vladimir Kern, co-founded the “Aspiration” foundation whose objective is to provide financial and artistic assistance to musicians throughout the world.
AKEMI ALINK-YAMAMOTO (Japan)
Japanese pianist Akemi Alink-Yamamoto received her first music lessons at the age of 3. Among her teachers were Junko Otake, Mitsuko Oguchi, Junko Yoshida, Dina Joffe, and Vadim Sakharov. In St. Petersburg, she had lessons with Pavel Egorov and Oleg Malov. She also took master classes with Lazar Berman, Victor Merzhanov, and Natalia Trull, amongst others. In 2001, she moved to Europe, where she worked with Naum Grubert.
Prizewinner of national and international competitions, she has toured as a chamber musician throughout Europe, and performed in Suntory Hall, Tokyo Opera City recital hall, and in Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya. A Board member of the Alink-Argerich Foundation, she attended around 100 competitions during the past 10 years,and frequently gives advice to young pianists and competition organizers. She has served on the juries of BNDES Cincinnati’s World, and Lyon International Piano Competitions, among others. She teaches in the Netherlands and Japan, and has regularly contributed to Chopin Magazine since 2013.
ANGELA CHENG (Canada)
Consistently praised for her brilliant technique, tonal beauty, and superb musicianship, Canadian pianist Angela Cheng is one of her country’s national treasures. In addition to regular guest appearances with virtually every orchestra in Canada, she has also performed with the Alabama Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Utah Symphony, and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras. In the spring of 2012, Ms. Cheng made her highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut with the Edmonton Symphony. She also made her debut at the prestigious Salzburg Festival in a recital with Pinchas Zukerman during the summer of 2012.
An avid recitalist, Ms. Cheng appears regularly throughout the United States and Canada and collaborates with such chamber ensembles as the Takács and Vogler Quartets. She has recorded for the Koch, CBC, and Universal Music Canada labels.
Angela Cheng was gold medalist of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, as well as the first Canadian to win the prestigious Montreal International Piano Competition. Other awards include the Canada Council’s coveted Career Development Grant and the Medal of Excellence for outstanding interpretations of Mozart from the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
CATHARINE LYSINGER (United States)
Catharine Lysinger is senior lecturer in piano pedagogy and piano at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she is also the artistic director of the Piano Preparatory Department. Ms. Lysinger is an active soloist, chamber musician, and lecturer. She has performed with orchestras including the Filarmónica de Jalisco (Guadalajara, Mexico), Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, The Houston Civic Symphony, and the Clear Lake Orchestra (Houston). Recent concerts include performances of the Bartók Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with pianist Alex McDonald and Dallas Symphony Orchestra percussionists, as well as chamber music performances with the Voices of Change, a Dallas-based professional ensemble dedicated to performance of composers of our time.
Ms. Lysinger is a prizewinner in national and international piano competitions, including first prize in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Competition, first prize in the Wideman International Piano Competition and second prize in the Vietri-Sul-Mare duo-piano competition with SMU colleague Associate Professor of Piano Carol Leone.
Many of her students have been awarded first prize in competitions. She was on faculty at the Vienna International Piano Academy in June 2013 and was featured presenter at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in July 2013.
FALI PAVRI (India)
While still a student, Fali Pavri was invited by the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovitch to be his pianist on an extensive concert tour of India. This was followed by his London debut at the Purcell Room and concerts in prestigious venues around the world. He has performed and collaborated with many eminent musicians including violinist Nicola Benedetti; the Vellinger and Vertavo Quartets; the Leopold Trio; Paragon and Scottish Ensembles; clarinetist Andrew Marriner; cellists Franz Helmerson, Wolfgang Schmidt, and Timothy Gill; singers Roderick Williams and Mark Padmore; and composer Mauricio Kagel.
Some concert highlights include concertos at the St. Endellion Festival with Richard Hickox and at the Scottish Proms with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Wigmore Hall concerts with cellists Wolfgang Schmidt and Tim Gill; recital tours of India and South Africa with Naomi Boole-Masterson; and performances at international music festivals in India, Denmark, and Norway.
A committed and sought-after teacher with many international prize-winning students, Fali Pavri is professor of keyboard and collaborative piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has given masterclasses in many countries around the world including recently in Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Cyprus, India, and South Africa. He was also a jury member at the Unisa International Piano Competition.
ANDRÉ-MICHEL SCHUB (United States)
Born in France, André-Michel Schub came to the United States with his family when he was 8 months old, and New York City has been home ever since. He began his piano studies with his mother when he was 4 and later continued his work with Jascha Zayde. Mr. Schub first attended Princeton University and then transferred to the Curtis Institute, where he studied with Rudolf Serkin from 1970 to 1973. Mr. Schub’s recordings for Vox Cum Laude, Piano Disc, and CBS Masterworks (now SONY Classical), include works of Beethoven, Brahms, and Liszt, as well as an all-Stravinsky album with violinist Cho-Liang Lin.
Mr. Schub has repeatedly performed with the world’s most prestigious orchestras, among them the Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, Detroit Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, and the Bournemouth Symphony.
Since 1997 he has been music director of the Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Music series, planning its chamber music programming and performing on a number of programs each year. He is currently an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Schub was the 1981 gold medal winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the 1977 recipient of the Avery Fisher Recital Award, and 1974 winner of the Naumberg International Piano Competition. Mr. Schub has been a Manhattan School of Music College faculty member since 2006.
NELITA TRUE (United States)
Since Nelita True made her debut at age 17 with the Chicago Symphony in Orchestra Hall and her New York debut with the Juilliard Orchestra in Avery Fisher Hall, her career has taken her to the major cities of Western and Eastern Europe, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Iceland, New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, Canada, India, and to Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as to all 50 states in America. She was a visiting professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, performing and conducting master classes, and has been in the People’s Republic of China more than 20 times for recitals and master classes.
Ms. True has been a jury member for the China International Piano Competition (Beijing), Queen Sonja International Piano Competition (Oslo), National Piano Competition in Brazil, Horowitz Competition (Kiev), the Concours de Musique in Canada, PTNA (Tokyo), Lev Vlassenko Competition in Australia, and the Gina Bachauer, New Orleans, Hilton Head, and William Kapell International Piano Competitions in the United States.
Formerly distinguished professor at the University of Maryland, Ms. True is currently professor of music at the Eastman School of Music. Her students have won top prizes in national and international competitions, and many of her former students now serve on the faculties of major schools around the United States and in other countries.