Ran Dank, University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music
Israeli pianist Ran Dank has been hailed as a "superb pianist... absolutely splendid: dashing, impetuous and full of imagination" by the Washington Post. A favorite of New York audiences, Dank performs in New York City's most notable venues to frequent critical acclaim by the New York Times. In recent seasons, he has been heard in recitals in Town Hall and Symphony Space. As a soloist, he has performed Prokofiev's Second Concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Alice Tully Hall and Tobias Picker's Keys to the City at Columbia University. In September of 2013 he and fellow CCM faculty member Soyeon Kate Lee performed the world premiere of Fredric Rzewski's Four Hands at (le) Poisson Rouge to a glowing review by the New York Times.
Dank's other recent performance highlights include recitals at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Washington Performing Arts Society at the Kennedy Center, the Chopin Festival in Warsaw, Finland's Mantta Festival and performances of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts' piano concerto with the Mobile Symphony. His recent chamber music performances include appearances at the Santa Fe, Great Lakes, Maverick, Seattle, Montreal, Tokyo Chanel and Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festivals. Last season, Dank returned to his native Israel for a double-bill concert featuring Liszt's Concerto No.1 and Totentanz with the Jerusalem Symphony. His upcoming engagements include a performance at the prestigious Ravinia Festival, recitals in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and a return engagement with the Kansas City Symphony.
A recipient of numerous honors, Dank won a coveted place on the Young Concert Artists' roster in 2009 and subsequently made his New York recital debut. He is a laureate of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, where he also won the Bach Prize, the Naumburg and Sydney International Piano Competitions, and was the First Prize winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.
In addition to concertizing and academic posts, Dank established a series of concerts with his wife, pianist Soyeon Kate Lee. Dubbed "Music by the Glass," this series is held in a New York So-Ho art gallery, where young professionals mix and mingle with performing artists, who play solo pieces and chamber works. The performances are accompanied by sweet and savory treats paired with wines by the glass. Learn more about these popular events by visiting www.musicbytheglass.com.
Michael Lewin, Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music
Michael Lewin, one of America's most eminent and esteemed concert pianists, joined the Conservatory in 1990 and is the founder and artistic director of the acclaimed Boston Conservatory Piano Masters Series. A Steinway Artist, Lewin's active international career has taken him to more than 30 countries for recitals, major music festivals, PBS television broadcasts, and orchestral performances of a repertoire of 40 concertos with numerous symphony orchestras. His orchestral engagements include the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic, Bucharest Philharmonic, China National Orchestra, Cairo Symphony, State Symphony of Athens, 13 concerts with the Boston Pops, and the symphonies of Phoenix, Indianapolis, Puerto Rico, Miami, Colorado, and North Carolina.
Lewin's awards include a Grammy (2014), third prize in the Franz Liszt International Competition (1986), first prize in the Kapell International Competition (1983), and the American Pianists Association Fellowship Award (1982). His Billboard classical chart-topping and award-winning discography includes 14 solo recordings for the Naxos, Centaur, and Sono Luminus labels, featuring the music of Scarlatti, Griffes, Gottschalk, Bolcom, Debussy, Liszt, and others. He is a devoted chamber musician, and many contemporary composers have written new works for him. Critics have lauded his "immense technique and ability" (New York Times) and "dazzling music-making" (Gramophone, England), calling him "a poet and a virtuoso" (De Telegraaf, Amsterdam) with "profound understanding and a deeply heartfelt voice" (Pravda, Moscow) and applauding his "passion and precision" (Washington Post).
Lewin earned a B.M. and M.M. from the Juilliard School, with additional studies with Leon Fleisher and in France with Yvonne Lefébure. A highly sought-after teacher, he has taught many prize-winning and successful pianists, gives master classes worldwide, and is a frequent international competition judge.
Dahye Choi, Seoul National University
As a concertizing pianist, teacher, radio host and a concert series director, Dr. Choi has been active in many different scenes of classical music. From young age, she studied with great professors Gilbert Kalish, Elizabeth & Eugene Pridonoff and Hyung Joon Chang, as well as won competitions such as San Antonio International, Lima Young Artist and KBS Symphony Audition. Also garnered national awards and scholarship fundings such as ARCO rising young artist sponsored by Korean Goverment Ministry of Culture, Young Artist award from Keumho Culture Foundation and many more, she gained recognition as one of the most prominent young musicians in Korea. From 2010 she had been hosting for five years a nation wide radio show where she interviewed hundreds of musicians from all over the world, made research on many different topics in the classical music genre which gradually built up her career networking classical music scenes to the general public. She has been invited by many international courses such as Victoria Conservatory summer music camps in Canada, Northeast Piano Festival and Gulangyu Spring festival in China and DMZ international music Festival in Korea. Dr. Choi also teaches greatly successful talents in South Korea, many of them are first prize winners at prestigious competitions such as Dinu Lipatti International Competition for Young Artist in Romania, Young Chang International Competition and Keumho Foundation Prodigy award in Korea.
She is currently teaching at Seoul National University as well as running a Salon Concert Series in the 'Next Stage' music hall (Seoul, Korea) where she serves as a cultural activist for the community.
Changxin Guan, China Conservatory of Music
As one of the laureates of the 1992 National Piano Competition of China under the instruction of Prof. Yang Jun, Guan Chang-xin was invited to give performances representing China in the 1993 Tokyo International Young Artist Festival. His success led to a nation-wide concert tour, including appearances with orchestra and multi-disciplinary collaborations.
Born into a musical family in Guangzhou , Guan Chang-xin began studying piano, ear training, and music theory from his mother. His early teachers also included Chen Hua-yi, Zhao Bi-shan, Wu Zheng-wen, Pan Xing-hua, and Ying Shi-zhen. Mr. Guan studied at the Guangzhou Xing-hai Conservatory of Music, and later was selected to study in Beijing at the Central Conservatory of Music where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees of Art in piano performance under the instruction of Prof. Li Hui-li and Prof. Yang Jun.
Moving to the United States for further study, Mr. Guan entered the Music School of Texas Christian University with scholarship and served as Departmental Artistic Assistant. He studied with Dr. Tamás Ungár, a renowned professor and the Executive Director of PianoTexas International Academy & Festival where Mr. Guan served as Staff Accompanist of the Concerto Competition. After winning the 8th Martin Memorial Piano Competition, Mr. Guan earned another master's degree in piano performance.
Not only is Mr. Guan a gifted soloist, he is also an enthusiastic chamber musician. As an experienced instructor, Mr. Guan has been invited to teach and perform at different music institutions and give master classes and lectures both in China and the U.S. Mr. Guan is currently an associate professor of piano and Foreign Exchange Coordinator at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing .
South African pianist Justin Krawitz joins the University of Northern Colorado in the Fall of 2014 as Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy.
Previously, Dr. Krawitz has served on the faculties of the University of Cape Town, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Luther College (Iowa), and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Michigan).
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." Krawitz has performed with orchestras in his native South Africa and in the US, and has recorded for Czech Radio.
Dr. Krawitz is an active clinician, with regular invitations to give masterclasses at music schools from North Carolina to Serbia. He has presented lectures and workshops in the US and abroad, such as at the 32nd International EPTA Conference (Ljubljana), the 2010 ISMTA Conference (DeKalb, IL) and the 2nd World Piano Conference (Novi Sad). His research interests include finger substitution on the piano and Czech piano music of the 20th century. He has been published in the EPTA Piano Journal and the ISSTIP Journal Tension in Performance, and he is an editor of the periodical Martinu Revue. Krawitz is an external collaborator of the Bohuslav Martinu Institute in Prague and a board member of the International Martinu 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 Fellow at UCT's South African College of Music from 2012-2014.
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.
As a vocal coach and pianist Dr. Van Schalkwyk has served on the music staff of the Santa Fe Opera, the Arizona Opera, the American Institute of Musical Studies' summer program for singers in Austria, the Utah Opera, and the Opera in the Ozarks. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Northern Colorado he was an instructor, coach, and collaborative artist at Southern Utah University.
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 more than thirty orchestras across the U.S., Europe and Asia, including the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and China National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, to name a few.
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 served on jury panels of many national and international piano competitions around the world, including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, 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.