|Baruch Meir, Chairman
Pianist Baruch Meir has performed extensively in Austria, China, England, France, Israel, Portugal, Serbia and throughout the United States. Meir has recently presented recitals at the Börsendorfer Saal, Vienna, Austria; Nixon Library; Bauman Auditorium, Newberg, Ore. (Bösendorfer Concert Series), Dixon Hall, New Orleans; Wise Auditorium, Jerusalem, Israel; Bates Recital Hall, Austin, Texas; Murphy Hall, Los Angeles and at the Toujours Mozart Festival in Salzburg, Austria. An associate professor of piano at the Arizona State University School of Music in the Herberger Institute, Meir maintains a busy teaching schedule in addition to his international concert career. In demand as a master class clinician, Meir toured Korea’s most pretigious music schools and universities including Seoul National University, Yonsei, Kookmin, Hanyang, Sunhwa, Kyoungbook and Seoul Arts High School. In addition, he toured at Shanghai Conservatory in China, the middle school affiliated with the conservatory in 2005 and 2007, the Music Academy in Vienna, the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, the Manhattan School of Music and various conservatories and universities in the United States.
A native of Israel, Meir is a summa cum laude graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, where he earned bachelor and master degrees in piano performance. He holds the Artist Diploma from the Royal College of Music in London and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from ASU. His teachers include Rachel Gordon, Valter Aufheuser, Pnina Salzman, Michael Bugoslavsky, Irina Zaritskaya and Robert Hamilton. Meir’s distinctions include the American-Israel Cultural Foundation Awards, the British Council fellowship, 1st place at the Klatzkin Competition for contemporary piano music and the ASU concerto competition, and additional awards in piano competitions worldwide. Meir is the founder, president and artistic director of the Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competitions that he organized through partnerships between the Arizona Young Artist Committee, the ASU School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the Bösendorfer and Yamaha piano companies, Arizona Piano Gallery and the Phoenix Symphony.
At Arizona State University, Meir maintains a class of outstanding pianists from all over the world. His students were awarded more than 50 prizes in various competitions within the past several years, including the Schmindbauer International Competition, Yamaha USasu International Senior and Junior Competition for Young Pianists, Young Concert Artist International Competition, Washington International Piano Artists Competition, and others.
Baruch Meir is one of only 65 artists worldwide named Bösendorfer Concert Artist since the founding of the company in 1828.
“…Baruch Meir is an exceptional artist. He did a beautiful performance of my piano work entitled 'A Little Suite for Christmas,' which was distinguished by deep musical insights and consummate technical skill. It was certainly one of the very finest performances this work of mine has ever received.” – George Crumb, composer; 1968 Pulitzer Prize in Music; 2001 Grammy award; 2004 Musical America Composer of the Year.
Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She began her first piano lessons at the age of five with Vincenzo Scaramuzza. Considered a child prodigy, she soon performed in public. In 1955, she moved to Europe and continued her studies in London, Vienna and in Switzerland with Bruno Seidlhofer, Friedrich Gulda, Nikita Magaloff, Madeleine Lipatti and Stefan Askenase. In 1957, she won the Bolzano and Geneva Piano competitions and in 1965 the Warsaw International Chopin Competition. Since then, she has been one of the most prominent pianists in the world both in popularity and ability.
Martha Argerich has been rated highly for her performance of the virtuoso piano literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her large repertoire includes Bach and Bartok, Beethoven and Messiaen, as well as Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Franck, Prokofiev, Stravinski, Shostakovitch, and Tchaikovski.
Though she is permanently invited by the most prestigious orchestras, conductors and music festivals in Europe, Japan and America, chamber music takes a significant part of her musical life. She regularly plays and records with pianists Nelson Friere and Alexandre Rabinovitch, cellist Mischa Maisky and violinist Gidon Kremer. “This harmony within a group of people gives me a strong and peaceful feeling.”
Martha Argerich has recorded for EMI, Sony, Philips, Teldec, DGG and many of her performances were broadcast on television worldwide. She has received many awards: Grammies for Bartok and Prokofiev Concertos, Gramophon’s Artist of the Year, Best Piano Concerto Recording of the Year for Chopin concertos,“Choc of the Mode de la Musique” for her Amsterdam recital, Künstler des Jahres Deutscher Schallplatten Kritik, Grammy for Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” with Mikhael Pletnev and a Grammy for Beethoven’s Concerts 2 and 3 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Claudio Abbado (DGG/Best Instrumental Soloist Performance), Sunday Times’ Record of the Year and BBC Music Magazine Award for her Shostakovitch recording (EMI 2007).
Since 1998 she is the artistic director of the Beppu Festival in Japan. In 1999, she created the International Piano Competition and Festival Martha Argerich in Buenos Aires and in June 2002 the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, Switzerland.
Martha Argerich has received numerous distinctions:
Sergei Babayan began his career in the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom by winning several consecutive first prizes in prestigious international competitions including the Cleveland, Hamamatsu and Scottish international piano competitions. Babayan performed with major orchestras throughout the world including the Mariinsky Theatre, London Symphony, Cleveland, Baltimore, Detroit, BBC Scottish and New World orchestras, the Warsaw Philharmonic and the Orchestre Nationale de Lille.
A student of such legendary teachers and musicians as Vera Gornostayeva, Lev Naumov, Mikhail Pletnev and Lev Vlasenko in the Moscow Conservatory, Babayan was one of the first pianists after the collapse of the former USSR to be able to compete without government sponsorship.
His unusual and imaginative recital programming has always elicited interest and praise. His artistic personality is a rare combination of emotional explosiveness and sensitivity, staggering virtuosity and immediacy.
Babayan is an enthusiastic advocate of new music and he has an immense repertoire. Sergei Babayan’s deep interest and love for the music of Bach has led him to study more recently with Helmuth Rilling. Always in search of the new, Babayan studied conducting in order to deepen his understanding of the orchestra and to be able to study and perform some of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries that particularly interests him. His concerto repertoire is constantly growing – at this point he has performed 54 different concertos.
Babayan has made several highly praised recordings for EMC, Connoisseur Society and Pro Piano labels. His recordings of Scarlatti, Ligeti, Messiaen, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Schubert, Liszt, Vine, Respighi and Prokofiev garnered high acclaims including a “critic’s choice” in The New York Times praising Babayan’s “extraordinary technique and ability to play densely harmonized works with illuminating transparency and a daunting measure of control.” American Record Guide joins in these accolades praising his “phenomenal level of color and imagination.” About the recording of Scarlatti Sonatas American Guide says of his recording of Scarlatti: “It can stand proudly beside that of Horowitz…”
Babayan appeared in numerous major music festivals in France, Germany, UK, Poland, Spain, and the United States. His concerts have been broadcast by WQXR, WCLV, Radio France, Polish Radio and Television, BBCTV and NHK Satellite Television and Medici TV.
Highlights of this season were recitals in Victoria Hall in Geneva, Switzerland; the performances of the Third Concerto of Rachmaninov; and the First Concerto of Beethoven with Valery Gergiev at the Mariinsky Theatre in addition to performances at the Théâtre des Champs–Élysées in Paris and Medici TV broadcast of the Prokofiev’s 6th piano concerto with Valery Gergiev and the Orchestra of Mariinsky Theatre.
Internationally respected pianist and recording artist, Robert Hamilton has been enthusiastically reviewed by two chief music critics for The New York Times. Harold C. Schonberg, who also authored The Great Pianists, wrote: “He is a very fine artist. All of Hamilton’s playing has color and sensitivity…one of the best of the million or so around.” And Donal J. Henahan reported: “It was an enthralling listening experience. We must hear this major piano talent again, and soon!”
Hamilton studied at Indiana University with the first winner of the coveted Levintritt award, Sidney Foster. He graduated summa cum laude. A move to New York City brought studies with Dora Zaslavsky of the Manhattan School, coaching from legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz, and a host of monetary awards from the Rockefeller Fund and U.S. State Department, launching a strong career and the winning of five major international competitions.
Hamilton has made countless tours of four continents, appearing in most music capitals. His engagements have included the Chicago, National, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Grant Park, Chautauqua and S.O.D.R.E symphony orchestras. Hamilton has been heard over the national and international networks NPR, ABC, BBC London, Voice of America, Armed Forces Network, DRS Zurich and Radio Warsaw. He has also recorded for Phillips, Orion, Summit and Soundset recording companies. Reviewing a recent release in 2011, the All Music Guide wrote: “Magnificent virtuosity in combination with effortless control and hair-raising bravura make his performances absolutely irresistible. Each piece moves inevitably and ineluctably to the next, and the aesthetic whole is much more than the sum of its brilliant parts. A flatout fabulous record.” Regarding his recent Mozart CD, The American Record Guide reviewer stated: “I never expected to hear anyone play Mozart so sensitively in this day and age. Almost unbelievable beauty…the perfect recording of Mozart’s piano music.”
A piano professor in the ASU School of Music, Hamilton’s students have also won many prizes and awards. They have appeared with the Indianapolis, Wichita, Phoenix, Hudson Valley, London Westminster Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonie d’Avignon, Kammerorchester Dusseldorf, Pazardjik National, Sydney, Nagoya Gakuen Philharmonic and Korea symphonies. Featured in the book, The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the USA, Hamilton served as artistic director for the London Piano Festival during the 1990s. Since 2000, he has joined forces with Vladimir Feltsman and a distinguished group of prominent international pianists each July for PianoSummer in New York.
Born in South Korea, pianist Choong-Mo Kang was the winner of the Dong-A Competition in Korea, the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition, and the Louise D. McMahon Competition. Kang has won plaudits from critics around the world for his acclaimed performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Korea’s leading orchestras. His poetic intensity and confident simplicity of talent captured audiences in his performances at Carnegie Weill Hall, The Sydney Opera House, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and in London and Oxford. His honorary performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Russia’s revered pianist Tatiana Nikolaeva’s death received noteworthy commendations. His 2008 recital in the Chopin Festival in Duszniki was received by an enthusiastic standing ovation. He and his wife, Hae-Jeon Lee, perform as duo pianists.
Few undertakings are as inspiring as pianist Choong-Mo Kang’s five-year endeavor to master and perform J.S Bach’s entire works for the keyboard. His utter absorption in the task of musical expression and his novel interpretations of Bach’s compositions are invaluable contributions to classical music. His devotion is an emblem of uncompromising musical integrity and none would dispute such a designation.
His recordings include Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Inventions and Sinfonias, and “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” The great pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher has claimed Kang’s Goldberg Variations as “a quite spectacular performance. A notable addition to the Goldberg discography.”
A graduate of Seoul National University, he received his master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory and his Artist’s Diploma from Peabody Conservatory. While pursuing his DMA degree at Peabody Conservatory, he was appointed as a member of the Peabody piano faculty.
In 1993, he returned to Korea in order to serve as an eminent faculty member of the Korea National University of Arts, where he has trained and cultivated young talented pianists who have won many international competitions. His students have been prizewinners in prominent competitions such as Queen Elisabeth in Belgium, Leeds, Gina Bachauer, Porto, Juenesses Musicales in Belgrade, Epinal, Shanghai, Hamamatsu and Dublin. It is noteworthy that Kang had three of his students among the six finalists in Hamamatsu Competition in 2009, and then again three of his students among the 12 finalists in Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2010.
He has been invited to be on the jury for prestigious international competitions such as Chopin in Warsaw, Cleveland, Dublin, Shanghai, Sendai, Sydney, Bach Competition in Leipzig and many more. He has served as an artistic director of the Euro Music Festival and Academy in Leipzig, as well as a faculty member at the Aspen Music Festival and the Ishikawa Music Festival in Japan.
Kang is a full time faculty member at the Juilliard School and a visiting professor at Toho Gakuen School of Music and Showa University in Tokyo.
Russian-Israeli Pianist Yanina Kudlik was the winner of the National Soviet Union piano competition. Kudlik received her musical education in the Odessa Stolyarsky Special Music School with Professor Kovalendo, at the Russian Gnesin Academy of Music in Moscow with professors Brumberg and Tropp and at the Moscow Conservatory for post graduate studies with renowned pianist Dimitri Bashkirov.
Following her winning of the USSR competition, Kudlik performed throughout the Soviet Union playing more then 100 recitals and as soloist with different orchestras throughout Russia. Her repertoire includes more than 25 piano concertos which she played under conductors Neeme Järvi, Vassily Sinaisky, Peter Lilie, and Valery Raevsky. However, she was not given permission by the Russian government to expand her career beyond the country’s borders.
In 1990, Kudlik immigrated to Israel with her family where she established herself as one of Israel’s most active concert pianists. She performed with such orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Raanana Symphony and Haifa Symphony. She has made numerous radio and television recordings and regularly gives solo recitals in Israel and abroad. Kudlik is the founder of Sounds of Excellence, a regional piano competition in Israel, and of the national Psanter Letamid piano competition. She also founded the Millennium Festival with world-renowned violinist Maxim Vengerov.
Yanina Kudlik is a member of the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society and she served as coordinator of the Jury for the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master competitions in Tel Aviv. She is the artistic director and founder of Israel's annual national piano competition, Piano Forever, since 2008. For the past 17 years, she has served as the manager of the subscription concert series, Viva la Piano.
Kudlik is chair of the piano department at Ashdod Conservatory in Israel. In addition to her work as a teacher, she serves on a variety of music and art committees in Israel. She is a member of the Cultural Board of Ministry of Culture and Sport of Israel, and the director of the classical music programs at the new Performance Art Center in Ashdod.