The Screening Jury reviewed 53 Disklavier Audition competitors, narrowing the field to 24 contestants, who have been invited to Minneapolis and St. Paul for the 2004 International Piano-e-Competition.
Accomplished performer and academic Rees Allison is Professor of Piano and Chair of the Music Department at Hamline University. Allison came to the United States in 1965 as a Fulbright Commission and English Speaking Union scholarship recipient after completing his undergraduate study at London's Royal Academy of Music. Since attaining a Ph.D. at Washington University, St. Louis, in 1970, Allison has continued to perform as well as teach. Currently, Allison performs with The Musical Offering and with The Hill House Chamber Players, and has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Edmund Battersby, American born and trained, is a pianist of international reputation. He has performed with many of the country's top orchestras including Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New Jersey Symphonies and has played recitals in major capitols around the world. He has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Koch International, Marco Polo and most recently Naxos. A versatile chamber musician also, he has played with groups such as the Tokyo Quartet, Orion Quartet and at festivals including Library of Congress, Santa Fe, La Jolla, Mostly Mozart (NY) and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival.
An active recitalist, Mr. Battersby made his London recital debut at Wigmore Hall and his New York recital debut at Alice Tully Hall. His many tours have taken him to major cities in the United States, Europe, Great Britain, the former Soviet Union, and Africa. He is a member of the distinguished piano faculty of Indiana University, Bloomington
One of the last pupils of the great Heinrich Neuhaus (Moscow Conservatory), Vladimir Leyetchkiss emigrated to the United States in 1974. He has become known as a concert pianist, teacher and a transcriber, specializing in Russian and Romantic music. He has done several European tours as well as served as a juror in many piano competitions. His recordings for Orion, Centaur, and Classic Digital include Beethoven's Diabelli Variations and Sonata Opus 109, "Russian Virtuoso Piano Music", "Great Piano Transcriptions", "Taneyev and Scriabin", "My Favorite Tchaikovsky" and others.
His transcriptions include a piano version of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring", approved by the composer and published in Moscow and in New York by G. Schirmer. He teaches at De Paul University in Chicago.
Whether conducting contemporary masterpieces or bringing fresh insights to the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, Mark Russell Smith demonstrates consummate musicianship and enthusiastic commitment to the art of music-making - qualities that have endeared him to audiences and musicians alike. Appointed Music Director of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in 1999, he has been praised for his innovative and approachable programming, and has won critical acclaim for the orchestra's renewed vigor, depth of sound and expression.
As a guest conductor, Smith enjoys a burgeoning national reputation that has already brought him engagements and re-engagements with prestigious American orchestras, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony, the Houston Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Other recent appearances include the Hartford Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, the Phoenix Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Curtis Opera Theatre, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Berkshire Choral Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Tulsa Philharmonic, Orchestra London (Ontario), and the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Ghent, Belgium.
Mark Zeltser was already established as a major pianist in Russia when he left in the late Seventies, and his unusual talent was immediately recognized by the Western Music World. He made his very successful debut with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Herbert von Karajan. Subsequently, Mr. Zeltser has appeared as guest soloist with Berlin Philharmonic on seventeen different occasions in Berlin, London, Salzburg and Lucerne. His many appearances with the world's leading orchestra's, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra and many more have all been hailed by critic and public alike as major musical events.
Appearing at such renowned festivals as Tanglewood, Ravinia, the Hollywood Bowl, Salzburg, Rome, Monte Carlo, Berlin and Paris, his numerous solo recitals and television appearances world-wide have generated justified comparisons with the legendary giants of the piano.
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