The inaugural Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival jury—an excellent assemblage of top international performing pianists and educators, each with a strong reputation for encouraging and inspiring young artists:
Since his dramatic 1997 Cliburn gold medal triumph, California native Jon Nakamatsu’s brilliant but unassuming musicianship and eclectic repertoire have made him a clear favorite throughout the world both on the concert circuit and in the recording studio.He maintains a very active touring schedule with orchestra performances, chamber collaborations, and solo recitals, performing widely in North America, Europe, and the Far East. Mr. Nakamatsu records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released nine CDs to date. www.jonnakamatsu.com
A prizewinner at the 1993 Cliburn and 1992 Busoni Competitions, Fabio Bidini is considered one of the top Italian pianists of his generation, sought after for recital, chamber, festival, and concerto engagements across the world. His discography consists of 13 recordings on renowned labels such as BMG. In 2009, he was appointed piano chair of one of the leading music schools in Europe, the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. Mr. Bidini was one of the youngest graduates ever of the prestigious “Conservatorio Santa Cecilia” in Rome. http://www.fabiobidini.com
Edinburgh native Christopher Elton is professor emeritus of the Royal Academy of Music, London—a position awarded him in 2011, following 24 years of service as head of keyboard. His students have won or reached the finals in many top competitions, including the Cliburn, Tchaikovsky, Leeds, Shanghai, Taiwan, and Munich (ARD). A competition prizewinner himself, Mr. Elton also studied at the Royal Academy, where he achieved the unusual distinction of the highest performing award, the Dip. RAM, on both piano and cello. www.christopherdelton.talktalk.net
Mari Kodama has established an international reputation for profound musicality and articulate virtuosity at the keyboard, with powerful, yet elegant performances throughout Europe, the United States, and Japan. She recently completed her latest recording project—the complete 32 Beethoven Sonatas for the PentaTone label. Ms. Kodama serves as artistic and musical director for the Forest Hill Musical Days festival, curates a series for young musicians at the Bad Kissengen Festival, and appears annually at Les Folles Journées in Tokyo. www.marikodama.com
A veteran of the international concert stage, Jon Kimura Parker maintains a busy touring schedule as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. A true Canadian ambassador of music, Mr. Parker has given command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan—and is an officer of The Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian honor. A committed educator, he is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. www.jonkimuraparker.com
A consummate musician recognized for her grace, subtlety, and vitality, Orli Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today’s most gifted pianists—hailed by critics on four continents for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire and recently referred to as “a first-rate Mozartean” (Chicago Tribune). Driven by a passion to bring classical music to new audiences, the Juilliard graduate maintains an active parallel career as a respected broadcaster, music writer, and lecturer. www.orlishaham.com
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Blanca Uribe graduated magna cum laude from the Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna and from The Juilliard School in New York, where she completed her postgraduate studies with Martin Canin and Madame Rosinna Lhevinne. She enjoys a busy performance schedule and has served on the juries of the Cliburn, Gina Bachauer, Honens, Beethoven, Busoni, and Cleveland competitions, among others. She is the 1966 Cliburn bronze medalist.