Preliminary, Semi-final and Final Round Juries
Evelyne Brancart is Professor of Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington where she was chair of the piano department from August 2001 to January 2011. Previous teaching positions include The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Rice University in Houston, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Aspen Summer Music School (where she innovated a seminar devoted to Chopin and Liszt Etudes), and recently at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
Evelyne Brancart communicates her knowledge of piano playing and its repertoire with intensity and passion. She has tremendous success amongst pianists, piano teachers, piano students, amateur musicians, and music lovers through recitals, conferences, master classes, and workshops. Workshop topics include “The Hand as a Source of Inspiration”(on Chopin Etudes), “Deconstruction for Reconstruction” (Reflections on J. S. Bach), “Chez Chopin”, live recording of Chopin’s Twenty-Four Etudes accompanied by twenty-four original cooking recipes (released by Delos), and “The Art of Playing the Piano” an integral piano playing/teaching method (weeklong seminar/workshop).
Professor Brancart was born in Belgium where she studied ten years with the great Spanish master Eduardo del Pueyo and later with Maria Curcio, Leon Fleisher, and Menahem Pressler. She was a prize winner in many international competitions including Queen Elisabeth-Belgium, (where she returned as a judge in 1999), Montreal, Viotti-Italy, Munich (with cellist Anthony Ross), and the Gina Bachauer Piano Competition in Salt Lake City. She made her debut in Alice Tully Hall in 1982 with a much-noted performance of Frédéric Chopin’s Twenty-Four Etudes and Johannes Brahms’s Paganini Variations.
Evelyne Brancart is very involved in Chamber Music. Between 1986 and 1990 she was a member of the Seraphim Trio and later appeared with artists including Joshua Bell, Atar Arad, Jeremy Denk, Miriam Fried, Frederico Agostini, Gary Hoffman, Peter Stumpf, Tony Ross, Arnold Steinhardt, Pacifica, and Orion String Quartet, amongst many others.
More recently Professor Brancart has presented recitals, master classes, and seminars in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Taiwan, Chile, Ireland, as well Virginia, New York, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, and Miami.
Frederic Chiu’s intriguing piano-playing and teaching springs from a diverse set of experiences and interests: his Asian/American/European background, his musical training, and an early and ongoing exploration of artificial intelligence and human psychology, especially the body-mind-heart connection.
With over twenty compact discs on the market, his repertoire includes the complete work of Serge Prokofiev as well as popular classics of Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, and others, and lesser known masterpieces of Felix Mendelssohn and Gioachino Rossini, with a special place for the piano transcription. Many have been singled out, such as “Record of the Year” by Stereo Review, “Top 10 recordings” by the New Yorker, with raves from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. His most recent recordings demonstrate his wide range: Ludwig van Beethoven/Liszt Symphony V, Camille Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals with David Gonzalez, and Hymns and Dervishes, music by Gurdjieff/de Hartmann.
A new recording on the Yamaha Entertainment Group label, released in 2015, is a long-awaited recording of the music of Claude Debussy, along with world premieres of works by Chinese composer Gao Ping. This recording breaks new ground, introducing the first Classical recording to the YEG catalogue. The performance will be released in Audio CD, DVD and DisklavierTV formats.
Frederic Chiu has toured in Europe and the United States with the Orchestre de Bretagne and Stefan Sanderling. He has played with the Hartford Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, Estonia National Symphony, China National Symphony, the FOSJE Orquesta in Ecuador, among others. In recital he performs in the world’s most prestigious halls including the Berlin Philharmonic, Kioi and Suntory Halls in Tokyo, Lincoln Center in New York, and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Mr. Chiu’s musical partners include Joshua Bell, Pierre Amoyal, Elmar Oliveira, Gary Hoffman, David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, and the St. Lawrence, Shanghai, and Daedalus string quartets.
Frederic Chiu recently premiered Edgar Meyer’s Concert Piece with Joshua Bell. He has worked with many composers, including George Crumb, Frederick Rzewsky, Bright Sheng, Gao Ping, and David Benoit.
Mr. Chiu was the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Petscheck Award of the Juilliard School, and was a fellow of the American Pianist Association. He was also the “non-winner” of the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition, where his elimination from the finals caused an uproar in the press.
Frederic Chiu is also committed to expanding the place of classical music. He has created unusual collaborations with personalities outside the world of Classical music, such as the Shakespearean actor Brian Bedford and psychologist/writer/clown Howard Buten. He worked with the hip-hop artist Socalled in the Messiaen Remix project. He does extensive work with children through concert/lectures for schools, and has brought classical music to places where it is rarely heard. Currently, he is performing with David Gonzalez in the classics Peter and the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals, transcribed for solo piano and narrator. He is also running a multi-year project called Classical Smackdown, in which audiences vote for their favorite composers (ClassicalSmackdown.com)
Deeper Piano Studies, Frederic Chiu’s innovative workshop program, brings together pianists from around the world to study aspects of piano playing usually left uncovered. Articles in Piano Today and the New York Times have featured his original approach to learning and performing that draws on ancient traditions of philosophy and meditation combined with the most recent discoveries in psychology and acoustic sciences, using non-traditional techniques such as cooking and learning without using the instrument. Frederic Chiu has been invited to many prestigious music schools and conservatories to present his DPS program, including the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Mannes College, The Banff Centre, Cornell University, Indiana University’s Jacob Music School, and major conservatories in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Shenyang, and Wuhan. He has been guest artist at many state and national teachers’ conferences.
Hailed for his passionate and virtuosic piano playing by the East Hampton Star, Belgian pianist Stijn De Cock maintains an active musical career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teaching artist in the United States and abroad. His playing has been described as “alternating between the stormy and sublime, while getting to the heart of the music” and was praised for its ability to create “a most compelling musical narrative (Amalfi Festival concert review).”
In recent years, Dr. De Cock’s concert seasons have included concerts on four continents, from the United States to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Including the current season, Dr. De Cock will have appeared in Kenya, China (Hong Kong), Taiwan, Italy, France, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Spain in solo, chamber, and collaborative capacities
As a sought after teaching artist, Dr. De Cock has presented master classes and lecture-recitals in Naples, Amalfi, and Maiori, at the Amalfi Coast International Music and Arts Festival in Italy, the Charles University in Prague, the Pardubice Conservatory in the Czech Republic, Tangaza College and the Conservatoire de Kenya in Nairobi, Kenya, Wah Yan College and Lasalle College in Hong Kong, China, and Tunghai University in Taiwan. Dr. De Cock has taught and held faculty positions at the State University of New York Fredonia, the University of Michigan, Schoolcraft College, and Albion College. He presently serves on the piano faculty of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.
Acclaimed for the heartfelt intensity and technical mastery of his playing, pianist Joseph Kalichstein enthralls audiences throughout the United States and Europe, winning equal praise as orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.
With his diverse repertoire of works ranging from Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms to 20th-century works by Bartok, Prokofiev and others, Mr. Kalichstein has collaborated with such celebrated conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Lawrence Foster, Zubin Mehta, Andre Previn, Leonard Slatkin, Edo de Waart, David Zinman and the late George Szell and Erich Leinsdorf. He has performed with the world’s greatest orchestras.
A favorite of New York concertgoers, Mr. Kalichstein has appeared in several recitals on Carnegie Hall’s “Keyboard Virtuosi” series. His two CD releases include music of Schumann and Brahms (on Koch International) and of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schubert (“The Romantic Piano”, on Audiofon Records).
Joseph Kalichstein is a founding member of the famed Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson piano trio, celebrating its 35<sup>th</sup> anniversary in 2012. The Trio continues to play in major music capitals as well as on all the great university concert series. Its current recording project is a 4-CD Brahms Cycle. Mr. Kalichstein is also a frequent guest pianist with the world’s most beloved string quartets and serves as the Chamber Music Advisor to the Kennedy Center and is the Artistic Director of the Center’s Fortas Chamber Music Concerts while he continues to hold the inaugural Chamber Music Chair at the Juilliard School.
Born in Tel Aviv, he came to the United States in 1962. His principal teachers included Joshua Shor in Israel and Edward Steuermann and Ilona Kabos at The Juilliard School. Prior to winning the 1969 Leventritt Award, he had won the Young Concert Artists Auditions, and as a result he gave a heralded New York recital debut, followed by an invitation from Leonard Bernstein to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the New York Philharmonic in a nationally televised concert on CBS.
Ursula Oppens has long been recognized as the leading champion of contemporary American piano music. In addition, her original and perceptive readings of other music, old and new, have earned her a place among the elect of today’s performing musicians.
Highlights of Ms. Oppens’ 2015/16 season include recitals at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, Northwestern University, The University of Maryland, New York’s Bargemusic, and at the Ascoli Piceno Festival in Italy. In addition, Ms. Oppens returns to Music Mountain for a performance with the Cassatt Quartet in September 2015 and is the featured artist along with the International Contemporary Ensemble in a residency celebrating composer Christian Wolff at Dartmouth College in October. A prolific and critically acclaimed recording artist with four Grammy nominations, Ms. Oppens recent releases include a new recording of Frederic Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never Be Defeated”; a collaboration with Meredith Monk, “Piano Songs”; the Grammy-nominated “Winging It: Piano Music of John Corigliano;” and Oppens Plays Carter, a recording of the complete piano works of Elliott Carter.
Over the years, Ms. Oppens has premiered works by such leading composers as John Adams, Luciano Berio, William Bolcom, Anthony Braxton, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Anthony Davis, John Harbison, Julius Hemphill, Laura Kaminsky, Tania Leon, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Harold Meltzer, Meredith Monk, Conlon Nancarrow, Tobias Picker, Bernard Rands, Frederic Rzewski, Allen Shawn, Alvin Singleton, Joan Tower, Lois V Vierk, Amy Williams, Christian Wolff, Amnon Wolman, and Charles Wuorinen.
As an orchestral guest soloist, Ms. Oppens has performed with virtually all of the world’s major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), and the orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. Abroad, she has appeared with such ensembles as the Berlin Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Deutsche Symphonie, the Scottish BBC, and the London Philharmonic Orchestras. Ms. Oppens is also an avid chamber musician and has performed with the Arditti, Cassatt, JACK, Juilliard, and Pacifica quartets, among other chamber ensembles.
Ursula Oppens is a Distinguished Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. From 1994 through the end of the 2007-08 academic year she served as John Evans Distinguished Professor of Music at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. In addition, Ms. Oppens has served as a juror for many international competitions, such as the Concert Artists Guild, Young Concert Artists, Young Pianists Foundation (Amsterdam), and Cincinnati Piano World Competition. Ms. Oppens lives in New York City.
Hailed by the New York Times as “a marvelous pianist,” Peter Takács has performed widely, receiving critical and audience acclaim for his penetrating and communicative musical interpretations.
Mr. Takács was born in Bucuresti, Romania and started his musical studies before his fourth birthday. After his debut recital at age seven, he was a frequent recitalist in his native city until his parents’ request for emigration to the West, at which point all his studies and performances were banned. He continued studying clandestinely with his piano teacher until his family was finally allowed to emigrate to France, where, at age fourteen, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National de Paris.
Upon his arrival in the United States, his outstanding musical talents continued to be recognized with full scholarships to Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, and a three-year fellowship for doctoral studies at the Peabody Conservatory, where he completed his artistic training with renowned pianist Leon Fleisher.
Mr. Takács has received numerous prizes and awards for his performances, including First Prize in the William Kapell International Competition, the C.D. Jackson Award for Excellence in Chamber Music at the Tanglewood Music Center, and a Solo Recitalist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His performances have been hailed by audiences and the press for their penetrating intellectual insight as well as for emotional urgency and communicativeness.
Mr. Takács has performed as guest soloist with major orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, as well as at important summer festivals such as Tanglewood, Music Mountain, Chautauqua Institution, ARIA International, Schlern Music Festival in the Italian Alps, Tel Hai International Master Classes in Israel, Sweden’s Helsingborg Festival, and Musicfest Perugia 2014. Since 2008, he has been a member of the faculty at the Montecito Summer Music Festival in Santa Barbara, CA. He has performed and recorded the cycle of thirty-two Beethoven Piano Sonatas, which were released on the CAMBRIA label in July 2011. In fall 2015, he will present a series of three recitals at Carnegie Hall-Weill Recital Hall entitled “The Beethoven Experience.”
Mr. Takács’ success as a teacher is attested to by his students’ accomplishments, who have won top prizes in competitions in the United States, Canada, Europe, and South Africa. They have been accepted at major graduate schools such as the Curtis Institute, Juilliard School, and Peabody Conservatory, among many others. Mr. Takács has given master classes in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and has been a jury member at prestigious national and international competitions such as San Antonio International Keyboard Competition (twice), Canadian National Competition (three times), Cleveland International Piano Competition, and Hilton Head International Piano Competition. Mr. Takács is Professor of Piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he has been teaching since 1976.