Introduced to the piano by his concert pianist mother, Moscow-born Alexander Braginsky began studying the piano at the age of four. His first teacher, Alexander Goldenweiser, a classmate of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, introduced Braginsky to the nineteenth-century Romantic tradition. After Goldenweiser’s death, he continued to study with Theodore Gutman, another illustrious representative of the “Golden Age” of Russian piano school.
Alexander Braginsky (Chair) / United States
Offering his audiences a repertoire that extends from Baroque to avant-garde, Braginsky has performed more than 20 world premieres, most of which were commissioned and written for him. Braginsky has performed extensively in the USSR, Israel, England, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, Spain, Cuba, France, and the United States. He also appeared on stage in collaboration with the variety of renowned artists including Yefim Bronfman and Oleg Kagan. Alexander Braginsky and his wife, cellist Tanya Remenikova, were the first artists-in-residence appointed by Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1981.
A professor on the faculty of the International Music Summer Course in Vienna, Austria from 1995 to 2006, Braginsky regularly gives numerous master classes around the world, including International Keyboard Institute at Mannes College and Beijing International Music Festival.
Braginsky has recorded for DDF, Sound StarTone, and d’Note labels. He has appeared repeatedly on BBC, National Public Radio, RTB-BRT, and other radio stations throughout the world. In 2003 in Vienna he was awarded the Josef Dichler Gold Medal for outstanding achievement. Today, Braginsky teaches at the University of Minnesota School of Music. Braginsky is the Founding President and the Artistic Director of the International Piano-e-Competition.
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 the Israel Philharmonic. 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. Highlights this coming season include the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Sinfonia Toronto, Vancouver Symphony and the Winnipeg Symphony.
In 2009, at the invitation of Pinchas Zukerman, Ms. Cheng toured both Europe and China as a member of the Zukerman ChamberPlayers. She joined them again in the spring of 2010 for a U.S. tour, which included concerts at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the 92nd Street Y in New York. Subsequent seasons have seen multiple tours of Europe, Asia and South America, including performances at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and at the Schleswig-Holstein, Salzburg and Ravinia festivals.
An avid recitalist, Angela Cheng appears regularly on recital series throughout the United States and Canada and has collaborated with numerous chamber ensembles including the Takács, Colorado and Vogler quartets. Her festival appearances include Chautauqua, Banff, Colorado, Houston, Vancouver, the Festival International de Lanaudière in Quebec and the Cartegena International Music Festival in Colombia.
Ms. Cheng's debut recording of two Mozart concerti with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra received glowing reviews. Other CDs include Clara Schumann's Concerto in A Minor with JoAnn Falletta and the Women's Philharmonic for Koch International; for CBC Records, four Spanish concerti with Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic, both Shostakovich concerti with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Radio Orchestra, and a solo disc of selected works of Clara and Robert Schumann; and, most recently, an all-Chopin recital CD released by Universal Music Canada.
Angela Cheng has been 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.
Director and Professor of the School of Music at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Dr. Michael Kim enjoys a distinguished, multi-faceted career as an academic administrator, professor, and concert artist. Dr. Kim previously served as Professor/Dean of the School of Music and Vice-President (External) at Brandon University, Canada, and as Chair of the Keyboard Department and Faculty Associate to the President at Lawrence University (Appleton, WI).
Michael Kim / Canada and United States
A veteran of the concert circuit, Dr. Kim has performed repeatedly as soloist with numerous orchestras (including the Boston and Cincinnati Pops, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra London, the Florida Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Toronto, Vancouver, CBC Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Oklahoma City) under the baton of such distinguished conductors as Yannick Nezet Seguin, Hans Graf, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Sian Edwards, Mario Bernardi, and Georg Tintner.
He has toured extensively as solo recitalist throughout Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and South Korea, and with the highly successful Music as Theatre production The Schumann Letters. As a chamber musician and collaborative artist, he performs frequently with his wife pianist Dr. Kyung Kim and sister violinist Helen Kim, and has also collaborated with James Ehnes, Edgar Meyer, James Campbell, members of the Canadian Brass, and the Ceclia, New Orford, Fine Arts, New Zealand String Quartets. Summer festival performances have included Ottawa’s Chamber fest, Festival of the Sound, Colors of Music, Agassiz, Brevard, Aspen, Banff, Clear Lake, Huntsville, Heifetz (Annapolis, MD), and Niagara. Michael most recently appeared in subscription performances with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performing with legendary clarinetist Martin Frost.
He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School, and was silver medalist in the 1992 Scottish International Competition in Glasgow, a prizewinner in the Leeds and Ivo Pogorelich International Piano Competitions, and grand prizewinner of the Canadian Music and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation National Radio Competitions. Dr. Kim can be heard on critically acclaimed recordings for Arktos, CRI, Summit, and Orpheum Masters.
After studying at the Royal College of Music and completing her training in the USA and Paris, Vanessa was awarded many scholarships and prizes from international competitions.
Vanessa Latarche’s concert career has taken her to Europe, the USA and the Far East, as well as many festivals within the UK, including Cheltenham, Harrogate and Huddersfield. Her interest in Bach led to a performance of the complete 48 Preludes and Fugues at the Lichfield International Festival in 1992, the performances being given over four consecutive evenings. She has performed as a soloist with international orchestras and those in the UK including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, working with many leading conductors. She is a Steinway Artist.
Vanessa Latarche / United Kingdom
She has broadcast for over 30 years for BBC Radio 3 and has also broadcast extensively on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. She has been a juror for international competitions in China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Italy, New Zealand, and Hong Kong and has adjudicated the national keyboard final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year, which was broadcast on BBC television. In 2007 she was an advisor to the BBC TV programme ‘Classical Star’.
Vanessa frequently travels to give masterclasses, to such institutions as Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Beijing Central Conservatory, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, Tokyo College of Music, Seoul National University as well as to other UK conservatoires and specialist music schools She is an advisor to Lang Lang’s music school, Lang Lang Music World, in Shenzhen, China, where she formerly held the position of Vice-Chairman.
Since September 2005, Vanessa has been Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music, having been previously a professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music for 14 years, where she was made an Honorary Associate in 1997.
A renowned pedagogue, with many international piano competition prize-winners amongst her students, Vanessa was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music, for outstanding services to music, an honour conferred on her by HRH Prince of Wales in May 2010. In September 2011, she was granted a Personal Chair at the RCM, which gave her the title of Chair of International Keyboard Studies. In 2017, as an extension to her keyboard faculty work, Vanessa was made the Associate Director for Partnerships in China, which involves managing the RCM’s collaborative work in China, particularly the RCM/SHCM Joint Institute in Shanghai.
Stanislav Pochekin / Spain
Stanislav Pochekin was born in Russia and received his music education at the Gnesin Institute in Moscow under the tutelage of the illustrious Edouard Mirzoian and Theodore Gutman. Upon the completion of his studies he served as a professor at the Conservatoire in Sverdlovsk (Russia). In 1989 he was invited to Cuba where he became a professor at the “Instituto Superior del Arte” in Havana.
Mr. Pochekin’s repertoire ranges from Baroque to the Contemporary. He performed with many major orchestras and worked with distinguished conductors such as M. Paverman, F. Glushenko, I. Lapinsh. R. S. Ferrers well as many others.
Mr. Pochekin has been living in Spain since 1993, when he was appointed at the “Concervatorio del Liceo” de Barcelona. Pochekin’s students have received more than 50 prizes in the national and international competitions. Mr. Pochekin has been awarded a medal by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation for his pedagogical accomplishments.
Stanislav Pochekin is a sought-after clinician and gives master classes in Europe, Asia and Americas. He has been invited to serve as a Jury member at many prestigious national and international competitions in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Russia. Currently Mr. Pochekin is the Artistic Director of the International Piano Competition in Andorra, Spain.
Jin Zhang, a renowned piano educator, professor of the Central Conservatory of Music, director of the Piano Division of the Middle School attached to the Conservatory of Music, started piano lessons with his mother, Professor Wenju Sui. He studied also with Professor Gongyi Zhu and Professor Huili Li. In 1983 he was admitted to the Piano Department of the Central Conservatory of Music where he studied under Professor Yiming Pan and Professor Jun Yang graduating with honors in 1987. In 2004, Jin Zhang graduated with honors from the Graduate School of the Chinese National Academy of Arts.
In his teaching career of over 20 years, Professor Zhang has nurtured his students to become excellent musicians. His remarkable teaching results have drawn attention both in his homeland and abroad.
Many of professor Zhang’s students have continued their music education and were scholarship recipients at the top conservatories such as Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, The Liszt School f Music in Weimar, to name a few. His students received many accolades in international piano competitions in North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia, winning top prizes in such prestigious competitions as Ettlingen International competition, the Gina Bachauer International Competition, e-Piano Junior Competition, Hamamatsu International Competition, Tchaikovsky International Competition for Young Musicians.
Professor Zhang served on the juries of many international competitions, such as Cleveland International Competition, PTNA Piano Competition in Japan, the International Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Paris, International Franz Liszt Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar and Chopin International Competition in China. He also planned and organized the 5th Chopin International Piano Competition held in China, the Xinghai National Piano Competition and the Cadenza National Piano Competition, giving masters classes and arranging teacher-student recitals.
Professor Zhang taught master classes in overseas academies, namely, Canada’s Mount Royal College Conservatory, The LISZT School of Music Weimar, the Academy of Music in Gdańsk, Poland, the Ohio State University, the Florida State University, the Oregon State University, TCU’s School of Music.
Professor Zhang has co-authored and assisted in the compiling of music books published by the Central Conservatory of Music intended for students taking graded auditions.
To honor the contribution he and his teaching team have made in the academic research field, the Beijing Municipal Committee of Education granted Jin and his team the title of “Excellent Innovative Team”.
Professor Jin Zhang’s signature attitude of diligence and unique working philosophy of teaching piano along with the manner in which he nurtures his students’ characters have been widely acclaimed by his school and society. In 2005 on the 50th anniversary of the Central Conservatory of Music, Professor Jin Zhang was granted the prize of Special Contribution Award for Middle-Aged & Young Teachers & the 4th Xuelan Yang Prize of Music Education. In 2004, the National Ministry of Culture awarded him the prize of Yongxi Ou Excellent Art Teacher. In 2006, he won the Baogang Teaching Award. In the same year, he was awarded the Best Teacher at the 7th International Youth Piano Competition held in Ukraine in honor of Horowitz.
His personal achievements have been widely reported by media such China Daily (overseas edition), Music Weekly, Little Performing Artist, Little Musician, China Today (English & French editions).