Menahem Pressler (Chair)

Grammy-nominated pianist Menahem Pressler has led a long and distinguished career. Pressler began his international concert performances in 1946 when he won first prize at the Debussy Piano Competition held in San Francisco, CA. This auspicious debut was quickly followed by a North American concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1955, Pressler co-founded one of the world's most enduring and widely acclaimed chamber music ensembles, the Beaux Arts Trio, which has won many coveted honors and awards. Pressler, who frequently appears in recitals and as a guest artist with chamber ensembles, has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris and the Orchestre National de Belgique. He holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Music at Indiana University and also has received Honorary Doctorates from the North Carolina School of Fine Arts and the University of Nebraska. In addition to four Grammy nominations and numerous awards and titles, Pressler has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from London's Gramaphone Magazine and the "Ehrenurkunde" award from the german critics, which honors Pressler's 40-plus years of being the standard by which chamber music is measured.

Dmitri Bashkirov

Known to the musical world since 1956 when he was awarded the "GrandPrix" at the Marguerite Long Competition in Paris, France, Dmitri Bashkirov has led a distinguished and remarkable music career. Born in Tiflis, Georgia, Bashkirov studied with Anastasia Wirsaladze before moving to Moscow to study with the famous Russian pianist Alexander Goldenweiser. After his Paris success, Bashkirov established himself as one of Russia's most outstanding pianists. Bashkirov has performed with numerous acclaimed international orchestras and conductors. From 1965 to 1972, Bashkirov, together with violinist Bezrohdny and cellist Khomitser, formed one of the U.S.S.R.'s most important chamber ensembles. Bashkirov's performance career was temporarily suspended in 1980 when authorities of the former Soviet Union refused to allow him to appear in the West. Eight years later, Bashkirov resumed his performance career and also began giving master classes around the world. Today, he is a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, is Titular Professor at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid and Professor at the International Piano Foundation at Lake Como, Italy.

Gyorgy Sandor

Acknowledged as one of the world's leading masters of great virtuoso playing, Gyorgy Sandor's career has spanned six continents through six decades and has brought this celebrated pianist the highest critical acclaim both in the concert field and as a recording artist. Sandor graduated from the Liszt Academy in Budapest where he studied piano under Bartok and composition under Kodaly. Of Sandor's numerous world premieres, the most significant are major works by Bartok, including Dance Suite, which was adapted for piano and revised by Bartok for its Carnegie Hall world premiere in January, 1945. A year later, Sandor presented Bartok's 3rd Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy. In 1975, he presented his piano version of Bartok's Sonata for Solo Violin as well as the Intermezzo Interrotto from the Concerto for Orchestra. A Grand Prix du Disque winner for his first recording of the entire piano output of Bartok, Sandor also has recorded all of the piano works by Prokofieff and Kodaly as well as a wide selection of works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, de Falla and Debussy. In 1995 CBS/Sony released Sandor's new recording of Bartok's own piano versions of his Concerto for Orchestra, the Dance Suite and his Petite Suite, as well as the entire solo piano repertory of Bartok. Sandor is the author of the book On Piano Playing, which has been translated into Italian, Polish and Chinese.


Sontraud Speidel

Sontraud Speidel, who won the J.S. Bach International Piano Competition in Washington D.C. at the age of 18, is a prolific performer and recording artist. Speidel, who has given recitals in both solo and chamber music, has performed with orchestras throughout Europe, North and South America, Israel and Asia. The first performer to record the piano works of Fanny Hensel, Speidel has recorded over 20 CDs. Her recording of all works for two pianos by Max Reger, together with Evelinde Trenkner, won the first prize of "Audiophile Reference" in the solo instrument category. Awarded the Silver Cross for special cultural achievement by the city of Vienna, Speidel's teachers include Branka Musulin, Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, Géza Anda and Stefan Askenase. Sontraud Speidel currently serves as Professor of Piano at the State Music University of Karlsruhe, Germany. Speidel also is the music director of the Clavissimo Piano Festival in Seoul, Korea. Speidel regularly conducts master courses in Austria, Greece, Israel, Brazil and Korea, and has served as a jurist for many international piano competitions.

Maria Tipo

Maria Tipo, whose first recording for the Ricordi label was hailed by Newsweek magazine as "the most spectacular album of the year" and whose recording of piano sonatas by Clementi for Fonit Cetra is a collector's item, began her illustrious career at the age of four. Taught first by her mother, Ersilia Cavallo, and later receiving master classes from Alfredo Casella and Guido Agosti, Tipo won first prize at the International Piano Competition in Geneva at the age of seventeen. Soon after, she was performing around the world with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the London Symphony, the Orchestre de Paris and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The recipient of numerous awards, Tipo continues to record for EMI, winning the "Diapason d'Or" for her recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations and Eighteen Scarlatti Sonatas. Tipo also is a dedicated educator, teaching master classes at the Gubbio Festival and the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, having served as a professor at the Conservatories of Bolzano and of Florence. Today, Maria Tipo is frequently invited to judge major international competitions.

Dubravka Tomsic

The brilliant Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomsic gave her first public recital at the age of five and has since established herself as one of the world's finest artists. In fact, Tomsic has given more than 3,500 performances throughout Europe, Australia, North America, Mexico, Russia, Asia and Eastern Europe. Her more than 70 recordings of recital works and concerti have added to her worldwide acclaim. Tomsic has performed at prestigious international festivals in Dubrovnik, Vienna, Prague, Naples, Paris, Mexico City, Joliette, Newport (R.I.), and at Mostly Mozart in New York City, as well as Tanglewood. She serves as a juror for many international piano competitions, including the Van Cliburn International Competition, the Leeds International Piano Competition and the Beethoven International Piano Competition. Tomsic, who studied at the Ljubljana Academy and The Juilliard School of Music, as well as privately with Artur Rubinstein, makes her home in Ljubljana, Slovenia where she is a professor at the Ljubljana Academy of Music.

Liqing Yang
Composer, Pianist/China

Liqing Yang has composed many works for Western and Chinese orchestra, chamber ensemble, percussion ensemble and film soundtracks. A graduate from the Composition Department of the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, Yang received Ph.D.s from the Solistenklasse for composition and Ausbildungsklasse for piano in the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Hanover, Germany. Yang has served as a guest professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and also has lectured at more than 20 universities and music colleges in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and the United States. An accomplished composer and author, Yang has written four books, including Evolution of Style and History of Orchestration, and On Post-Modernism in Contemporary Western Music. His main orchestrations include Four Poems from the Tang Dynasty for mezzo-soprano, piano and percussion; the symphonic ballade Grievances at Wujiang for pipa and orchestra; Festival Overture for orchestra; the film music for Red Cherry and a quintet called Meditation for traditional Chinese instruments. Yang's music has been performed by many Chinese and foreign performing art ensembles around the world as well as at international music festivals including the Hanover Music Festival in Germany. Yang's name is included in The Specialists of Chinese Higher Education, The Famous Figures of Overseas Chinese in Literature and Art, and The New Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

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