Artists Faculty

University of Northern Colorado Piano Faculty

Jerome Lowenthal, Professor of Piano, Julliard School of Music

The American pianist, Jerome Lowenthal, studied with Olga Samaroff-Stokowski in his native Philadelphia, William Kapell and Eduard Steuermann at the Juilliard School in New York, and Alfred Cortot at the École Normale de Musique de Paris in Paris, France. Mmeanwhile he travelled annually to Los Angeles for coachings with Artur Rubinstein. After winning prizes in three international competitions (Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy in 1957; Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels in 1960; and Darmstadt International Chopin Piano Competition), he moved to Jerusalem where, for three years, he played, taught and lectured.

Jerome Lowenthal made his debut at 13 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Returning to the USA from Jerusalem in 1963, he made his debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, playing Béla Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2. Since then, he has performed more-or-less everywhere, from the Aleutians to Zagreb. Conductors with whom he has appeared as soloist include Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yuri Temirkanov, and Leonard Slatkin, as well as such giants of the past as Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Pierre Monteux and Leopold Stokowski. He has performed in a large number of chamber music festivals and collaborated in concerts with violinist Itzhak Perlman (playing sonatas), cellist Nathaniel Rosen, and pianists Ronit Amir (his late wife), Ursula Oppens, and Carmel Lowenthal (his daughter), as well as quintets with the Lark Quartet, Avalon Quartet, and Shanghai Quartet.

Jerome Lowenthal is recognized as a specialist of Franz Liszt, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Béla Bartók, and more generally of virtuoso and late romantic music. His recordings include piano concertos by F. Liszt with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the complete Tchaikovsky concerto cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra. He has an extensive repertoire, including 63 performed piano concerti, and is the dedicatee of many new works and has unearthed some rare romantic piano works, such as the F. Liszt’s Third Piano Concerto edited by his former student Jay Rosenblatt. He continues to fascinate audiences, who find in his playing a youthful intensity and an eloquence born of life-experience. He is a virtuoso of the fingers and the emotions.

Jerome Lowenthal has recorded for numerous record labels, including RCA, Columbia, and Arabesque, and is in the process of recording the complete Années de Pèlerinage of F. Liszt for Bridge Records. He has recently recorded the L.v. Beethoven's Fourth Concerto with cadenzas by eleven different composers. His other recordings include concerti by Tschaikovsky and F. Liszt, solo works by Sinding and B. Bartók, and chamber-music by Arensky and Taneyev.

Jerome Lowenthal is a professor of piano at the Juilliard School in New York since 1991, where he was also chair of the piano department. Additionally, Lowenthal is on the faculty at Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California since 1970. He has worked with an extraordinary number of gifted pianists, whom he encourages to understand the music they play in a wide aesthetic and cultural perspective and to project it with the freedom which that perspective allows. Beside, he gives master-classes in North America, Europe, and Asia, He is a frequent judge in international piano competitions, such as the Cliburn, Tschaikowsky, Rubinstein, Horowitz, and Bachauer piano competitions, to name a few.. Lowenthal recently received an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Ory Shihor, Founding Dean, Colburn Music Academy
Professor of Piano, Colburn Conservatory

Ory Shihor is an award-winning pianist, educator, arts administrator and entrepreneur. As an educator and arts administrator, he was the founding Dean of the Colburn Music Academy recognizing the need to support highly talented, pre-college-age students who seek to continue their music studies at a conservatory level. Mr. Shihor was the creator and director of Colburn Piano Festival, which attracts applicants from around the world to its two-week summer immersion program.

As a teacher, Mr. Shihor currently serves on the piano faculty of the Colburn Conservatory. His students have won top prizes in numerous international competitions such as Naumburg (US), Hilton Head (US), Piano Campus (France), James Mottram (UK), Paloma O’Shea Santander (Spain), Böesendorfer and Yamaha USASU (US), Virginia Waring (US), Aspen Music Festival (US), Mondavi (US) and Long Thibaud Crespin (France). Students of Mr. Shihor are also regularly featured on prominent radio programs such as From the Top (National Public Radio) and Performance Today (Minnesota Public Radio). Read more about Ory Shihor’s Student Success and Testimonials.

In 2015, he founded Piano Talent, Inc, which offers online and in-person training for highly gifted pre-college piano students. In 2017, the company introduced the Piano Talent Performance Academy, an elite performance training program based in Los Angeles.

Mr. Shihor has conducted master classes in many leading music conservatories and universities including Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Lynn University, Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Shanghai Conservatory (China), Beijing Central Conservatory (China) and Seoul National University (Korea). Mr. Shihor served on the juries of the 2012 James Mottram International Piano Competition (UK), the 2016 Arthur Rubinstein Junior Piano Competition (China) and the 2017 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition.

As a soloist, Mr. Shihor is a winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, a prize winner of the Ninth Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition and the first prize winner of the Washington International Piano Competition.

Mr. Shihor’s performances include recitals at the Kennedy Center and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., as well as at the 92nd Street Y and the Frick Collection in New York City. His other appearances have included the Ravinia Music Festival, the Newport Music Festival and the Chautauqua Music Festival in addition to recitals across North America. In eight critically acclaimed concerts in Los Angeles, Mr. Shihor performed Beethoven’s entire 32-sonata cycle. Among his extended engagements with orchestras, Mr. Shihor appeared as the featured guest soloist with the Liège Royal Philharmonic of Belgium on its 15-concert North American tour, under music director Pierre Bartholomée. His international concerts have included appearances in Germany, Korea, Spain, Israel and the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Mr. Shihor was a recipient of America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarships from the age of 12. At 15, he came to the United States to study with Jorge Bolet at the Curtis Institute of Music and later graduated from the Juilliard School in New York, where he received the prestigious Gina Bachauer Prize. He earned his Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. His other teachers have included Emanuel Krasovsky, John Perry and Russell Sherman. In January 2018, Mr. Shihor’s play, ‘Last Thoughts: Schubert’s Final Works’, written by Hershey Felder, will debut at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Thomas Hecht, Head of Piano Department and Professor of Piano, Singapore National University

A native of Baltimore, pianist Thomas Hecht immigrated to Singapore as one of the original “pioneers” of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, founded in 2003 as joint collaboration with the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently the Head of Piano Department at the Conservatory and was the former Head of Piano Studies and Artist-In-Residence at the School of Music at Victoria University in New Zealand. Prior to that, he served for many years as Professor of Piano and Artist-In-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music (USA).

Dr. Hecht enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading teachers of his generation, having produced a multitude of first prizewinners in solo and two piano competitions throughout the United States, Europe and Australasia. He has given master classes at renowned institutions such as the Royal Academy, Royal Northern and Royal Welsh Colleges of Music, the Paris, Eastman, Oberlin, Peabody, Sydney, Beijing and Sichuan Conservatories and the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts. He recently served as Visiting Professor at the Peabody Institute under the auspices of the first YST-Peabody faculty exchange programme, while other guest residency invitations have included the Conservatoire de Paris, Guildhall College of Music & Drama the University of Trossingen and the Western Australia Academy for the Performing Arts.

His highly sought after piano class, which has nurtured young talents for over twenty five years on three continents-- has produced concerto soloists with the Singapore, New Zealand, Christchurch, Lamont, Lima, Kaunas, Artsakh and Peabody Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland, Philippines, Singapore and Dnipropetrovsk Philharmonic Orchestras, the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, the Melbourne and Wellington Youth Orchestras, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Singapore Festival Orchestra and Orchestra of the Music Makers.

Throughout his career he has represented USA, New Zealand and Singapore on jury panels of the Gina Bachauer, Geneva, Isangyun, Ibiza and Paralympic International Piano Competitions in addition to the national piano competitions of Japan, Thailand, Australia, South Africa and the United States. He receives regular invitations to summer piano festivals, including performances in Sydney, Beijing, Wellington, Lausanne, Chethams, Taichung, Bavaria, Artsakh and Brasov (where he is Honorary Professor of Piano at the University of Transylvania), and continues to be in demand for workshops and pedagogy conferences throughout the world.

Professor Hecht is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the Peabody Institute where he was a student of Leon Fleisher and his teaching assistant, an honor which Fleisher - one of the great pianists of our time - had never before bestowed on any pianist.

Jinha Park, Piano Faculty at Sookmyung University, Korea

“Pianist Jinha Park demonstrated ample dexterity, velocity and accuracy in Chopin's Piano Concerto in F Minor.” San Antonio Express News “The artist retraced the emotional routes of the composer and with her skillful hands she leads us through the overwhelming emotions and impulsive passions and feelings of the great musician.” by El Caribe (Santo Domingo)

Jinha Park stands today on the verge of a major career as a concert pianist, having engaged in numerous demanding and broadening preparatory steps in the last 20 years. Her studies have taken her from Korea to Texas to Baltimore to Germany; her competition experience has provided her with a keen sense of challenge and accomplishment, and her life experiences teaching, performing and even volunteering have given her a humanity and heart that clearly shows in her playing.

Dr. Park began her piano studies at the age of six and gave her public debut at fourteen. Her education has been arts-based, beginning with the Sunhwa Arts High School in her native country and ending at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Conservatory in the U.S. Her teachers have included such names as Philippe Entremont, Marina Lomazov, Elisenda Fabregas, Marian Hahn, HyungBae Kim, and Kook-In Son. She has also studied under Yong-Hi Moon, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Ann Schein, John Perry and Leon Fleisher.

Jinha Park has won major piano competitions including the Burgos International Music Competition, the Vienna Allegro Vivo International Chamber Music Competition, TMTA (Texas Music Teacher’s Association) solo and concerto competitions, the Etude and Baltimore Music Club competitions, the University of Texas San Antonio Concerto & Aria Competition and several others. She has been a prize winner in yet other competitions such as the Chosun Newspaper’s competition, the Choon-Chu National Piano Competition in Korea.

Dr. Park has participated in numerous summer festivals such as the Burgos International Music Festival (2011), Paris International Music Festival (2009,2010), Bowdoin Music Festival (2001, 03), the Aspen Music Festival (2000) and the Brevard Music Center (1999,2004). She has given recitals in Korea, the U.S., and Europe.

Jinha Park performed with numerous orchestras including National Symphony of Dominican Republic, Craiova Oltenia Orchestra(Romania), Timosoara Orchestra(Romania), Vienna CMS Chamber Orchestra(Austria), Alicante Symphony Orchestra(Spain), Brunesis Orchestra(Czech Republic), University of Texas Orchestra (USA), and Festival Philharmonic Orchestra(Korea), and Sunhwa Orchestra(Korea).

Dr. Park is currently a lecturer at Sookmyung Women’s University, Chungnam National University, Sunhwa Arts High School and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College. She is the director of Music Fest Perugia in Seoul, Korea.

Michael Chertock, Chair of Piano Department and Professor of Piano, University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music

Pianist Michael Chertock made his debut at the age of 17, performing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with conductor Andrew Litton. He has collaborated with noted conductors such as James Conlon, Jaime Laredo, Keith Lockhart, Erich Kunzel and Bob Bernhardt. Chertock has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Naples and Indianapolis, among others. His 2003 performance on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Petrouchka with Paavo Järvi turned in rave reviews in Gramophone and American Record Guide. Chertock made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1999 with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, performing Duke Ellington’s New World A’Comin’. In 1994, Chertock released his first CD on the Telarc label, a collection of his original arrangements of music from movies entitled Cinematic Piano. Since then, he has recorded three more discs one the Telarc label.

Chertock has garnered numerous awards at major competitions, among them top prizes in the 1989 Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition (Brahms Division,) the 1993 St. Charles International Piano Competition, and 1991 World Piano Competition of the American Music Scholarship Association. Chertock currently serves as chair of the piano department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Lei Weng, Head of Piano Area

Steinway Artist, Dr. Lei Weng enjoys a successful international career as an accomplished pianist, a dedicated teacher, and a sought-after adjudicator and clinician. Hailed as “a colorist of exemplary control” by the New York Concert Review for his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut, he has performed at many prestigious venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Steinway Hall in New York, Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Chicago Culture Center, China’s National Center for Performing Arts, Taiwan’s National Concert Hall and Kaohsiung Cultural Center, Banff Center in Canada, Peterskirche in Vienna, Basilica di San Pietro in Italy, London’s Royal College of Music, Singapore National University, and major universities and conservatories throughout China. He has been invited to perform and teach at such music festivals as Tanglewood Music Festival, TCU Cliburn Institute, Messiaen Festival, Music Fest Perugia (Italy), Vianden Festival (Luxemburg), and Breckenridge Music Festival.

As a frequent concerto soloist, he has appeared with such conductors as Gerhardt Zimmerman, Steven Smith, Uri Segal, Robert Olson, Geoffrey Simon, Lingfen Wu, Yang Yang, Glen Cortese, Wes Kenney, and with more than thirty orchestras across the U.S., Europe and Asia, including the Symphony Orchestras of Fort Worth, Fort Collins, Beijing, Tianjin, Gimhae (Korea), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Alicante (Spain), as well as China National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and Breckinridge Music Festival Orchestra. As an avid chamber music performer, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley in Sarasota Music Festival, with the Associate Concertmaster of Chicago Symphony Orchestra Stephanie Jeong and Cleveland Institute of Music Cavani Quartet cellist Siyan Li in Rocky Ridge Music Festival, and with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Nathan Olson and the Naumburg First Prize Winner cellist David Requiro in the Breckenridge Music Festival. He has also studied and worked closely with musicians such as Emmanuel Ax, Jerome Lowenthal, James Tocco, Co-Liang Lin, Pamela Frank, Dawn Upshaw and Lucy Shelton.

A dedicated educator, Dr. Weng is the Keyboard Area Head at the University of Northern Colorado, where he was the recipient of the “College of Performing and Visual Arts Scholar of the Year”. He has been frequently invited as guest professor by major conservatories in Asia, such as China Central Conservatory and Shanghai Conservatory, and Taiwan National Normal University. His students have won top prizes in numerous national and international competitions, and have been admitted into such top schools as Julliard, Eastman, Peabody, Cleveland, New England, Cincinnati, Oberlin, and Manhattan. Weng is the also Founder and Director of the Colorado International Piano Academy and Colorado Piano Festival, two intensive summer piano programs that take place annually on the UNC Campus. Dr. Weng has been invited to serve on jury panels of many national and international piano competitions around the world, including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, International Rachmaninoff Piano Competition in Moscow (2020), Hong Kong International Music Competition, “Nuova Coppa Pianisti” International Piano Competition, China National Piano Competition, Mexico “Parnassus” National Piano Competition, and MTNA Competitions. He is the Chairman of the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation Keyboard Scholarships.

Justin Krawitz

South African pianist Justin Krawitz is Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado. Previously he has served on the faculties of the University of Cape Town, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Luther College (Iowa).

Krawitz has performed in South Africa, the United States, Canada, Argentina and in several cities across Europe. He is known for his highly considered artistic collaborations that give rise to authoritative performances of new and little-known repertoire. Following his performance of Karel Husa’s First Piano Sonata, the Pulitzer prize-winning composer wrote, “the level of his artistry and commitment is extraordinary.” His work with South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr culminated in the world premiere of a new piano sonata inside Cape Town Central Train Station as part of the public arts festival Infecting the City. His diverse performance experience has included recitals at venues such as the Chateau Kroměříž as part of the Forfest International Festival, participation in outreach concerts at the Madison Correctional Facility in Wisconsin, and work as a recording artist for Czech Radio.

Krawitz is an active clinician, with regular invitations to give masterclasses and pedagogical workshops at music schools from Raleigh to Reykjavik. Recent appearances as a presenter or panelist include the 2014 International EPTA Conference (Oslo), the 2013 International CMS Conference (Buenos Aires) and the 2015 National MTNA Conference (Las Vegas). Krawitz is also a sought-after adjudicator at competitions both in the U.S. and abroad. He has been published in the EPTA Piano Journal, the Czech musicological journal Opus musicum, and the ISSTIP Journal Tension in Performance, which he joins as editor in 2015. Krawitz is a contributing editor of the periodical Martinů Revue and a board member of the International Martinů Circle.

Dr. Krawitz was a Paul Collins Fellow at UW-Madison from 2006-2009, a Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellow at the University of Cape Town in 2011, and a URC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UCT’s South African College of Music from 2012-2014.

Willem van Schalkwyk

Applauded by the Salt Lake City Tribune for “maturity beyond his years” and “dizzying technical facility,” Namibian pianist Willem van Schalkwyk made his debut with the Namibia National Symphony Orchestra at age fourteen, and by the time he was sixteen he won his first international piano competition in France. Dr. Van Schalkwyk has appeared in concert throughout the United States, Europe and Southern Africa. Recent appearances with orchestra include Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in Namibia, as well as Mozart’s Concertos for two and three pianos in Utah. A regular recitalist, recent highlights include performing at the Greyton Music Festival in South Africa, and presenting a solo recital as part of the National Theatre of Namibia’s 25-year anniversary. As collaborative artist Dr. Van Schalkwyk has performed with many esteemed artists, including instrumentalists from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Utah Symphony Orchestra. He has also played for master classes presented by notable singers like Joyce DiDonato, Gabriele Lechner and Bo Skovhus.

Dr. Van Schalkwyk holds a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Brigham Young University, and he graduated from the University of North Texas with his Doctorate in Piano Performance in 2009. At UNT his primary instructors were Joseph Banowetz, Elvia Puccinelli, and Adam Wodnicki. While pursuing his graduate degrees he was the First Prize winner of the Scionti Piano Competition, and was awarded the Audience Prize at the Louisiana International Piano Competition.

Adam Piotr Żukiewicz

A native of Poland, Adam Piotr Żukiewicz has performed across Europe, United States, Canada, Japan and Brazil. His performance during the 2007 Millennium Stage Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC was broadcasted online. He has also appeared many times on TV in Poland and in Canada. Highlights of recent North American appearances include debut concerts with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonietta, Toronto Concert Orchestra and Celebrity Symphony Orchestra. Maintaining an active international career Adam Żukiewicz performs solo recitals as well as chamber music concerts with his recently founded Max Joseph Trio and other renowned instrumentalists and vocalists in USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and Poland. Highlights of recent international performances include a debut recital at the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona (March 2014) as well as a debut at the Residenztheater during the 2013 Munich Opera Festival Chamber Music Concert Series, performing a chamber music concert with Max Joseph Trio and members of the Bayerische Staatsorchester.

Competition successes include several first prizes in competitions in Poland, First Prize at the 2012 Shean Piano Competition in Canada, First Prize at the 2011 TD Canada Trust Music Competition, and Second Prize at the 13th Pacific Piano Competition in 2011 in Richmond, BC. Most recently Adam Żukiewicz became a medalist of the 2014 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona, Spain.

Enthused by sharing music, thoughts and experiences of music, Adam Żukiewicz also enjoys teaching, lecturing as well as impromptu performances and musical discussions with musicians and music lovers alike. Beyond music he takes pleasure in reading, connecting with people, sports, travel, and nature, which he finds most inspiring. Adam Żukiewicz holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Toronto and Masters of Music degree from Indiana University. He has also studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, UK, and was a music scholar at the United World College of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy. His doctoral dissertation “Chopin’s Third Piano Sonata, Op. 58: Late Style, Formal Ambiguity, and Performance Considerations” was published in 2013 by Lambert Academic Publishing.