Melinda Lee Masur
Lauded for her “impeccable technique and artistic interpretation” [The Columbian], pianist Melinda Lee Masur has performed on all three stages of Carnegie Hall, at London's Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, the Berliner Philharmonie, at the Ravinia Festival, Festival Les Muséiques Basel and in Boston’s Symphony Hall. As chamber musician, Masur has performed with such artists as Augustin Hadelich, Alban Gerhardt, Fanny Clamagirand, Adrian Brendel and Thomas Quasthoff. She is pianist and founding member of The Lee Trio, celebrated worldwide for its “gripping immediacy and freshness” and "rich palette of tone colours" [The Strad]. The Trio has given world, American and European premieres of piano trios by composers including Uljas Pulkkis, Nathaniel Stookey, Philip Lasser, Jane Antonia Cornish, Laurence Rosenthal & Sylvie Bodorova and garnered awards such as the Recording Prize at the Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition in Finland and the Gotthard-Schierse-Stiftung grant in Berlin.
A graduate of Harvard University and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, Germany, Melinda is the Director of Piano Chamber Music at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Together with her husband, Ken-David Masur, she is Artistic Director of the Chelsea Music Festival, an annual summer music festival in New York City praised by The New York Times as a “gem of a series” and frequently featured amongst its Best Classical picks of the season.
Melinda Lee Masur is a Steinway Artist.
Elvin S. Rodríguez
Elvin S. Rodríguez is currently Professor of Music and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at La Sierra University. Dr. Rodríguez has performed in many solo and chamber recitals, and has presented at local, state, and national workshops and conferences in the areas of keyboard pedagogy, Baroque keyboard performance practice, efficient practice and optimal learning techniques, improvisation for beginners, and the integration of music technology in the piano curriculum. Dr. Rodríguez has worked with regional, state, national and international prize winning pianists of all ages, including Music Teachers’ Association of California Young Artists Guild winners, and is a frequent adjudicator and lecturer for advanced and professional adjudications and competitions, as well as music education seminars and workshops. His students have been accepted at top music schools nationally, including The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, The Mannes School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Northwestern, and USC Thornton School of Music.
Recent performances include numerous chamber and collaborative recitals such as, Addinsell’s Warsaw Piano Concerto with the Redlands Symphony, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the La Sierra University Wind Ensemble, solo recitals and master classes, as well as curriculum development consultant in Chile, S.A. on two separate tours, and chamber music collaborations with master teachers and performers of the Montecito International Music Festival and with members of the LA Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, and Madison Symphony Orchestras. Dr. Rodríguez has also held master classes and a solo recital in Port of Spain, Trinidad and has been the featured master class clinician at the Thousand Oaks, Hammered! Master Class series. Dr. Rodriguez also participated as judge and chair of the keyboard judging panel, and master clinician, for the 2nd Hong Kong Music Festival and 2015 Competition, a wonderful international competition and festival that featured over 700 piano contestants. This year, Dr. Rodriguez was promoted to festival managing director for the Montecito International Music Festival.
Dr. Rodríguez received his BM and MM in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and later received an Ed.M. and Ed.D. in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He has studied with Rhona Hodgen, Earle Voorhies, Constance Keene, Dr. Mark Silverman, and Dr. Robert Pace. Dr. Rodríguez has received many awards and won many competitions, including the prestigious Young Artist Guild membership given by the Music Teachers’ Association of California, and received the distinction of Promising Young Artist from the national ARTS organization. Dr. Rodríguez is also organist at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. Dr. Rodríguez resides in Riverside with his wife.
Grammy Award Winner and Metropolitan Opera star, Victoria Livengood, has been hailed as “one of the leading singer-actresses of her generation!”
Victoria skyrocketed onto the opera scene as a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, going on to make her critically acclaimed Met debut in Verdi’s “Louisa Miller” in 1991. The North Carolina native has become known for her dynamic portrayals in more than 125 Met performances, including the title role of “Carmen!”
Ms. Livengood has sung over 100 different roles with opera companies throughout North America, South America, Europe, Canada and Asia, emphasizing her prolific versatility throughout a career that spans nearly 4 decades. Internationally, she has sung with opera companies including Barcelona, Madrid, Salzburg, Buenos Aires, Taipei, Las Palmas, Monte Carlo, Nice, Tel Aviv, Matsumoto, Seoul, Santiago, Cologne, Vancouver, Montreal and at Italy’s Spoleto Festival.
Nevertheless, it is in America that this Dixie Diva has primarily based her career, having sung leading roles with the companies of Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Washington DC, Seattle, Houston and with the New York City Opera!
Also in demand as a concert artist, Victoria’s credits are no less dazzling, having performed at Carnegie Hall on ten separate occasions including as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem and in a Streetcar Named Desire, opposite Renee Fleming!
Still, an active performer, the 2021-22 season will see her return to Opera Omaha for Eugene Onegin and in 2022-23, she will make her Michigan Opera Theater debut in Faust and return to Omaha for Le Nozze di Figaro.
Both of her alma maters, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, have honored her with their Distinguished Alumni awards. Dr. Livengood also holds honorary doctorate degrees from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and from Jacksonville University. Victoria is an inductee into the North Carolina Musicians Hall of Fame, alongside such greats as Andy Griffith and James Taylor.
“Miss Vickie” is in demand for her highly acclaimed Master Classes across the globe, has a private voice studio of over 100 students in North Carolina and in New York City and has served on the voice faculty at the Pocono Mountains Music Festival, the National University in Bogota, Colombia, at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy and at the Angels Vocal Art Institute at California State University in Los Angeles. She also serves frequently as a judge for the Metropolitan Opera Laffont competition across the country, giving back to the program that launched her illustrious career.
Victoria’s extensive discography, including her Grammy winning performance with the LA Opera and Philharmonic and her Grammy nominated performance with the London Symphony, as well as her upcoming itinerary can be viewed on her official website at www.victorialivengood.com.
Prof. CHEN Nannan
Member of China Musicians Association (Vocal Category);
Member of China Society of Western Music History;
Professor/ Master Supervisor in Pop Singing and Vocal Music;
Served as Dean of music school at university under the Education Ministry of China;
Vice Chairman of prefectural and municipal musicians’ association;
Judge of Examination at Art Education Joint and Music Competitions in All levels.
Have been engaged in vocal music teaching for more than 30 years, Prof. CHEN mainly teaches in pop singing and musical theatres. While teaching, Prof. CHEN also published academic articles and music works, and set up research projects. Students under the tutelage of Prof. CHEN have won awards from competitions in all levels, and a number of them were admitted to major conservatory of music around the world.
Mickey Yi Zhang
A seasoned pianist, music director and Associate Professor in vocal coach with the Department of Musical Theatre, Shanghai Conservatory of Music since 2007, NYU Shanghai since 2015 and Duke Kunshan University since 2021, Mickey Yi Zhang also retains a distinguished background in classical music.
Having won numerous awards and special citations along the way. He is invited as a guest emcee for a Musical Theatre program at Shanghai Classical Radio Channel of FM 94.7. His Sina V-logs (Chinese Twitter) about Musical Theatre have received more than 100,000 followers and likes.
Music Direction Intensive, Goodspeed Musicals
Visiting Scholar, NYU Steinhardt Department of Music
Master’s Degree, Piano Pedagogy, Shanghai Conservatory of Music
Bachelor’s Degree, Music: Piano Performance, Xia’men University
Mary C. Irwin
Violinist Mary C Irwin has a long family heritage of amateur pianists and violinists, starting piano lessons with her aunt at age 4; she is the first of her family to have a career as a professional violinist, which began when she was invited to play in her local symphony at age 15. Ms. Irwin has a B. Mus with Distinction in Performance from Converse University School of Music and an M. Mus from Northwestern University. Her principal teachers were Jerrie Lucktenberg, James Ceasar and Myron Kartmann; with additional work with Marge Pardee and Josef Gingold. Throughout her schooling, Ms. Irwin won numerous competitions to play concertos with orchestras, including the Brevard Music Center; but her primary ambition was to be a symphony player. She played with the Greenville and Wichita Symphonies, was concertmaster at the 1980 Spoleto Festival, and principal 2nd violinist of the Knoxville Symphony before winning a position with the Columbus Symphony in 1986. In 1998, Ms. Irwin joined the faculty of the newly established Masterworks Festival, serving as concertmaster, soloist, teacher and orchestral strings coordinator, a position which she continues to hold today. In 2011, she left Columbus, OH to return to her hometown of Spartanburg, SC, where she was promptly hired as concertmaster of the Hendersonville Symphony and also guest concertmaster of the Brevard Philharmonic. In addition to her symphonic career, Ms. Irwin has performed continuously throughout her career as a recitalist and chamber musician in China, Japan, Europe and many venues across the United States. Her piano trio played in Alice Tully Hall; and she was a regular member of the Quattro Corde String quartet for 8 years.
Ms. Irwin also has a great passion for teaching; in the last 25 years, she has helped many students reach a professional skill level; among them is Jeffrey Myers, the first violinist of the internationally acclaimed Calidore string quartet. In 2017, she founded the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra, a mentoring orchestra which pairs exceptional local high school students with professional musicians in three concerts per year, and features students as concerto soloists.
Chinese violinist active in both solo and chamber music stages, she is currently an instructor on violin faculty at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, and serves as a member of the Violin Society of Chinese Musicians Association.
Ms. He was born in Beijing and started playing violin at age of 5. She was admitted in the Middle School affiliated to Central Conservatory of Music in 2000. Her teachers include Jin Ming, Lin Yaoji and Tong Weidong. She was awarded top prizes in a bunch of competitions, including the Second Prize in the Youth Division of the 9th National Youth Violin Competition, the Second Place at The 12th Chinese Golden Bell Award for Music, the First Place in the Youth Division of the 2011 Hong Kong International Violin Competition, and the Fourth Prize in the 2012 8th Seoul International Music Competition.
Chang earned her Master’s Degree four years after receiving a bachelor’s degree from the Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing) in 2010. Meanwhile she was awarded a full scholarship to attend New York’s Meadowmount School of Music from 2010 through 2012.
He Chang recently obtained her Graduate Certificate at USC’s Thornton School of Music under the tutelage of Professor Midori Goto. She received the distinguished baroque music scholarship established by the Colburn school for two years and received the best chamber musician award at the Thornton School of Music.
During her study at USC, Chang also served as first violin player for the USC Thornton Symphony, and served as concertmaster in the first concert of 2017 Fall season under the direction of Carl St.Clair.
Outside school, Ms. He has joined her teacher Midori on tours in Mexico and Sri Lanka and gave a series of free concerts and recitals to local communities.
Ms. He has participated and performed in numerus masterclasses with Joseph Silverstein, Boris Kushnir, Vadim Repin, Oilivier Charlier, Lawrence Dutton, Qian Zhou. Conductors under whose direction Chang has played include Chung Chi-Yong, Uwe Grodd, Lin Daye, He Rong, Carl St.Clair, Jose Serebrier, and Yoav Talmi.
In recent years, Ms. He’s students have won prizes in a number of competitions such as the China’s National Youth Violin Competition, the Second Hong Kong International Music Festival, and the Hummingbird Music Festival Chamber Music Competition.
Violist Gina Coletti was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Musical travels have brought her to China, Japan, Israel, Europe, and throughout North America. In her home city of Los Angeles, Ms. Coletti has performed with the LA Philharmonic, LA Opera, LA Master Chorale, served as principal of the Mozart Chamber Orchestra and on numerous movie scores, commercials, and television appearances. She has performed alongside popular icons from, Prince, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood and Bruno Mars. As a chamber musician she has participated in festivals such as the Camerata Deia in Spain, St. Barts Music Festival in the French West Indies, Tucson Chamber Music Festival, Sunflower Music Festival, the Dilijan Chamber Music Series, and with the Synergy Ensemble in Los Angeles.
A dedicated educator, Ms. Coletti is Chair of the Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute and teaches viola at the Colburn School of Performing Arts and Academy. She recently joined the faculty at Azusa Pacifc University as viola professor. Her students have gone on to pursue further education at such institutions as Juilliard, New England Conservatory, Eastmann, Rice, USC, UCLA, Harvard, and Yale and have garnered regional and national awards. In 2020 her students placed first, second and third in the American String Teachers Association California State Solo Competition. She has guided students in Young Arts as Finalists and all the way through the highest honor, the Presidential Scholarship in the Arts. Ms. Coletti is on faculty at Idyllwild Arts and has served on the faculties of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and at summer courses in Prague (Ameropa International Music Festival) and Italy (Adriatic Chamber Festival).
She is founder of ViolaFest Los Angeles which over its 15-year annual run has brought together over 1600 student violists for an inspirational and educational day devoted to the viola (www.socalviolasociety.org). As past president and current vice president of the Southern California Viola Society she advocates for equal acccess to excellent education for young viola players. In 2007 she was an honoree for Los Angeles Music Week for her musical contributions to the community and was honored by the City of Los Angeles in the City Hall Chambers.
Ms. Coletti received a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Stanford University. She was a recipient of Stanford University’s Golden Medal in the Humanities for the highest excellence in music. Her primary teachers have been Heidi Castleman, Misha Amory, and Ben Simon.
Ms. Coletti is married to violist Paul Coletti and they have two daughters, Olivia and Julia.
Cellist Yin Xiong was appointed by Music Director David Robertson to the cello section of the St. Louis Symphony at the start of the 2016/2017 season.
Yin was awarded notable prestigious prizes from an early age, including the 4th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians as well as top prizes at the 4th and 5th National Cello Competition of China. She won the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts concerto competition for an unprecedented consecutive five years.
As a soloist, Yin made her debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra at age 17 under conductor Edo de Waart. She has also collaborated with conductors János Fürst, François-Xavier Roth, and Alexander Shelley.
An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Yin was strongly influenced by her parents, themselves both professional cellists. As a member of the Academy String Quartet, she served as a representative of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and gave concerts regularly in Asia and Europe. As part of the Hong Kong based cello ensemble, Cellistra, Yin presented concerts and community engagement activities throughout Asia. She was the founding cellist of the Hsin Trio, with whom she gave the American debut of the Toshio Hosokawa’s Piano Trio, was featured in the Juilliard Open Studio, and gave concerts across the United States and China.
As an orchestral musician, Yin received her first job at the age of 20, joining the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, at the same time performing regularly with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Yin has also served as the principal cellist of the Hong Kong Academy Orchestra, the Oberlin Orchestra, and was co-principal of the Juilliard Orchestra. She was the principal cellist of the Pacific Music Festival from 2006-2009 where she had the privilege to work with conductors Valery Gergiev, Riccardo Muti, Christoph Eschenbach and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Yin was a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival and School where she was part of the Finckel–Wu Han Chamber Music Studio Program. Other festivals include the Kronberg Academy in Germany, Kneisel Hall, Banff Chamber Music Residency, and the Taos School of Music.
As a dedicated music educator and advocator, Yin served as a faculty member of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Macau Youth Orchestra. She was also a teaching assistant for Professor Darrett Adkins at the Oberlin Conservatory.
Born in Shanghai, China, Yin attended the Shanghai Conservatory, and attended the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts on a full scholarship to study with Professor Ray Wang. She holds a Professional Diploma with Distinction from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and an Artist Diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory. She recently graduated from the accelerated Bachelor and Master of Music degree program at the Juilliard School where she studied with Darrett Adkins and Joel Krosnick. Besides playing the cello, Yin also enjoys playing the baroque cello and viola da gamba. She took secondary lessons with Catharina Meints at the Oberlin Conservatory and Phoebe Carrai at the Juilliard School.
Dr. Darkson Magrinelli
Dr. Darkson Magrinelli is the Director of Winds and Percussion Programs as well as Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Azusa Pacific University in California. Magrinelli is also Professor at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Magrinelli was 2nd/Bass Clarinetist with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra for four seasons. Brazilian clarinetist, Magrinelli holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also earned his Master of Music degree and Artist Certificate from Azusa Pacific University and Bachelors degree from the University of Rio Grande do Sul. In addition to teaching at Shaw University, East Tennessee State University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Magrinelli has also performed and taught in masterclasses and lessons with regarded clarinetists in Uruguay, Ecuador, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, and more! Additionally, Dr. Magrinelli has performed concertos with various orchestras in Brazil and the United States. Darkson Magrinelli, a trained under the tutelage of Michele Zukovsky, Kelly Burke, Diego Grendene, has also worked with Jennifer Showalter, Burt Hara and Yehuda Gilad. Furthermore, Dr. Magrinelli is an artist for the Art House Alliance in Syracuse, NY, and a Selmer-Paris Performing Artist, playing exclusively with Selmer Privilège clarinet.
Chinese renowned Top-level National Conductor of the Shanghai Opera House,
Adjunct Professor and Master Supervisor at Shanghai Conservatory of Music,
Adjunct Professor in the School of Music at Shanghai University,
Adjunct Professor in the School of Music at Shanghai Normal University,
The President of Shanghai Institute of Instrumental Conducting,
Evaluation Expert of the National Art Fund,
Expert of the “Elegant Art on Campus” lecture group of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China
Mr. Lin graduated from the Department of Composition and Conducting at Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1983 under the tutelage of Professor HUANG Xiaotong, a Chinese renowned conducting educator. Since 1992, Mr. Lin has awarded the "Special Government Allowance" issued by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
Mr. Lin has conducted the Saarland State Theater Orchestra and the Nordhausen Symphony Orchestra in Germany, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in Japan, the China Symphony Orchestra, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan.
As an opera conductor, Mr. Lin presented the premiere of world-famous operas such as Turandot, Così fan tutte and La belle Hélène in China. He directed the Chinese opera The Savage Land in Germany and Switzerland. In addition, he has conducted operas: La Boheme, Eugene Onegin, Die Fledermaus, Tosca, Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, L’elisir d’amore, Rigolletto, La Traviata, Falstaff, Die lustige Witwe as well as the Chinese operas Ms. JIANG Zhuyun, The King of Chu and The Savage Land. Mr. Lin also conducted a lot of Chinese and western ballet, such as Giselle, Swan Lake and The Qin Dynasty.
Mr. Lin has visited and performed all over the world in a number of countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Poland, Austria, Thailand, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Singapore, Russia, the United States, and other regions such as Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Mr. Lin also has won a bunch of awards in the Shanghai International Art Festival and "Shanghai Spring" International Music Festival. In 2000, he won the Best Conductor Award of the "Ninth International Wind Music Festival" in Rybnik, Poland, the “Top Ten Worker Artist” in Shanghai, and Shanghai Excellent Art Educator. Since 1995, he has been credited in the "Who's Who in the World" published by international celebrity centers such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. In 1999, he was selected by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League in the Dictionary of Chinese Outstanding Contemporary Youth.
Christopher Russell, M.M.
Christopher Russell is Associate Professor and Chair of the Music Performance department at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in Southern California. He is conductor of the APU Symphony Orchestra and leads their graduate instrumental conducting program. The Los Angeles Times called him “a forcefully dramatic conductor with a strong technique”. The Herald Times said Russell's performance “both tamed and enticed the orchestra to create a texture at once controlled and impassioned”.
Guest conducting appearances include the MasterWorks Festival in Ohio and Indiana, the Orquestra Sinfônica Heliópolis in São Paulo, Brazil, the International Orchestra Festival and the Yellow River Symphony in Zhengzhou, China, the Harbin Symphony, and the Shenzhen City Philharmonic. He has also conducted at Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and prestigious concert halls in London, Vienna, Prague, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg. Russell was on the jury for the final round of the 4th and 5th Hong Kong International Music Festival.
As a music lecturer, he is a regular pre-concert speaker for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has also presented lectures for the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Symphony. Internationally, he presented lectures at the openings of two new theaters in China: the Florence Culture and Arts Exchange Center in Dalian and the Sound of the Phoenix Theater in Qingdao. For the LA Phil, he has interviewed many famous classical artists including Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jaap van Zweden, Emanuel Ax, Leila Josefowicz, and John Adams.
Russell’s musical interest also extends to performing rarely-heard older music including the U.S. or California premieres of many works from the early and mid-20th century including music by Havergal Brian, Rued Langgaard, Bohuslav Martinu, and Allan Pettersson. An advocate for conducting American music abroad, he conducted the Australian and Brazilian premieres of Ives’ 2nd Symphony and the Russian premiere of Peter Mennin’s Symphony No. 5. Russell conducted the world premiere of the Symphony in A composed in 1878 by Leopold Damrosch with the APU Symphony. They recorded an all-Damrosch disc which was internationally released on the British record label Toccata Classics.
For over 20 years until 2019, he conducted the Orange County School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra where he regularly received accolades for the orchestra’s quality and adventurous programming. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers has awarded him their prestigious Award for Programming of Contemporary Music for youth orchestras on ten occasions. Seven of those times, he was awarded first place in the United States.
Fung Ho, violinist, served as Concertmaster for the West L.A. Symphony Orchestra from 1992-2001 and was Concertmaster for the Burbank Chamber Orchestra (now Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra) from 1992-97. He is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Olympia Philharmonic Orchestra and Olympia Youth Orchestra. He has also guest-conducted concerts being held at the University of Southern California (USC). World premieres of works by Darren Bloom, Hong Diep, Amanda Harberg, Dr. John M. Kennedy, Dr. Daniel Kessner, Frank Ezra Levy and Masatoshi Mitsumoto were also given to his credit in conducting different orchestras in venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Zipper Hall. Mr. Ho moved to Los Angeles in 1984 from New York City where he served as Concertmaster for both the Brooklyn Chamber and Queens Philharmonic Orchestras. He has also given solo and chamber music recitals in New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Minnesota.
Besides keeping a busy schedule performing, Mr. Ho also maintains a studio of young and talented students. He was President of the Los Angeles Section of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and also served as President of the West San Gabriel Valley Branch of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC). Mr. Ho holds a Master’s Degree of Music in Violin Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York where he studied with the late Carroll Glenn. Later on, in Los Angeles, he researched pedagogy and repertoire with the late Noumi Fischer. Besides his degrees in music, Mr. Ho also holds a MS degree in Hematology and BS degree in Biology.
Currently, Fung Ho is on the violin faculty of Azusa Pacific University as well as string and chamber music faculty of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). Previously, he was on the violin/viola and orchestra faculty at Cal State Univ. Los Angeles (CSULA) for the past 15 years. Mr. Ho has also served on the faculty of the International Institute for Young Musicians (IIYM) at KU Lawrence and UC Santa Barbara during the summers for 8 years. This year will also mark one of his many annual involvements in teaching at the Cal State Fullerton Violin Camp in the summers.
In the summer of 2001, he was invited by the Music Office of the Hong Kong Government to be the guest conductor at the Hong Kong Youth Music Camp and a concert with the Hong Kong Youth String Orchestra was presented at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on July 29, 2001, receiving critical acclaim. On March 8, 2008, under the direction of Mr. Ho, the Olympia Youth Orchestra performed in Walt Disney Concert Hall as a result of being selected as one of the Youth Orchestra Partners of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. In the summer of 2013, Mr. Ho led a successful 5 city concert tour throughout China with a chamber orchestra comprised of members of the Olympia Youth Orchestra. In Spring of 2016, he also led an elite group of students from the Olympia Youth Orchestra (Olympia Chamber Society) on a tour in China and Hong Kong, well received by local audiences.
Mr. Ho was invited as one of the adjudicators at the Hong Kong International Music Festival Music Competition Finals in previous years. He has also given masterclasses in the US as well as Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Singapore. Many of his violin/viola students have gone on to further their musical studies in music conservatories all over the country. In 2020, Mr. Ho was recognized as the Outstanding Studio Teacher of the Year by the California Chapter/Los Angeles Section of the American String Teachers Association.
John Burdett, Ed.D.
Dr. John Burdett is an Associate Professor in the Azusa Pacific University School of Music where he serves as Director of Music Education and Wind Ensemble conductor. His duties include facilitating the music education program, and teaching graduate students pursuing the Master of Music in Conducting and the Master of Music in Music Education degrees. Under his leadership, the APU Wind Ensemble have presented acclaimed performances at the 2018 California All State Music Education Conference and Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association conference and been part of commissioning notable composers including Bill Connor, Dana Wilson, David Biedenbender, Gary Kuo and John Mackey. Their recording of choral compositions set for wind band by Sir John Rutter, Z. Randall Stroope and Kevin Memley, have been utilized by music publishers such as TRN and Imagine Publishing as source recordings for conductors and teachers throughout the world. Most recently, as a leading member of the California Wind Band Commission Consortium, the Wind Ensemble commissioned and premiered RISE by acclaimed contemporary composer Adam Schoenberg.
Dr. Burdett completed music education and conducting degrees at Azusa Pacific University and California State University, Los Angeles before earning the Doctorate of Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as a teaching assistant in the Music Education and Band Divisions. In addition to his dissertation research into the experiences of students with hearing loss in instrumental music, John’s research interests include the performance practice of symphonic compositions with LatinX stylistic influences, the psychosocial components of conducting, the democratization of decision making in large concert ensembles, and increasing accessibility to music education for marginalized student populations. He is fortunate to have had extensive conducting study with Dr. Abel Ramirez, Prof. James F. Keene, and Dr. Roby George, in addition to masterclass study with Donald Hunsberger, Col. Timothy Foley and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Dr. Burdett conducts, performs on saxophone, and records throughout the Los Angeles area and has toured in the United States and Japan with a variety of classical, jazz and commercial ensembles. He has published and presented his research at European and American conferences, including the International Society for Music Education, Spirituality and Music Education, and California Music Educators Association and contributed to the Peter Lang (Oxford) series. Dr. Burdett has conducted regional and state honor bands and orchestras in Texas and California, and serves as lead adjudicator with the Music Center of Los Angeles Spotlight Awards Classical Instrumental Division.
In his efforts to support the pursuits of instrumental music teachers and their students, Dr. Burdett co-founded both the California Wind Band Commission Consortium and the Arcadia Music and Arts Symposium. Every summer, the Arcadia Symposium is home to over 400 student musicians and instrumental teachers from various backgrounds and specialties, keen to learn from creative and forward-thinking pedagogues, conductors, philosophers, and performers in discussion and presentation, all aimed at invigorating music education in California and beyond.
Chinese renowned Mezzo-soprano, Master Supervisor, Vocal Professor of School of Music at Shanghai Normal University, former opera actor at Shanghai Opera House, Top-level National Actor.
As an opera actor, Ms. Yang has acted important roles in more than ten Chinese and western operas as well as a bunch of art songs in Chinese, Italian, French and German with world-famous conductors, directors and opera actors around the world.
Aa a vocal professor, Ms. Yang emphasizes on both artistic practice and teaching research. She was the first person who founded the course of “Operatic Ensembles” in the school of Music at normal universities in China, which was a major breakthrough in the setting of normal curriculum.
In recent years, Professor Yang has published three albums of “Operatic Ensembles,” which domestically filled up the gap in vocal pedagogy in China. These three albums have been the teaching materials for the course of “Operatic Ensembles” initiated and hosted by her. The course of “Operatic Ensembles” also has been rated as Extraordinary Courses.
As a pedagogy researcher, Professor Yang has published the thesis titled “Several Contradictions in Music Performance”. She also participated in the seminar of the Vocal Music Academic Committee of the Education Branch of Chinese Education Society, served as the editor-in-chief of “Selected Works of Vocal Music as Textbooks for Higher Education” published by Shanghai Education Publishing House.
In addition, Professor Yang also served as a jury member of the first Bergonzi International Vocal Competition, the National Normal Vocal Music Competition, the CCTV Young Singer’s Grand Prix Competition, “Shanghai’s Spring” Bel Canto, and Chinese Golden Bell Award for Music.
Professor Yang has taught outstanding students who have won a number of awards in professional and international vocal competitions. Those students have won prizes in the 18th Rolando Nico Rossi International Vocal Competition in Italy, places of top ten in the first Bergonzi International Vocal Competition (Shanghai Division), prizes of top ten in the Bel Canto in Chinese Golden Bell Award for Music (Shanghai Division). There was a large amount of her students have been awarded in National University Musicology (Teacher Education) Vocal Music Graduate Singing Invitational Competition, the CCTV Young Singers Grand Pix Competition (Shanghai and Yangtze River sections), as well as major awards in the Bel Canto group of professional vocal music competitions at the level of nation and province such as "Pearl River Caesarburg Piano” National College Music Education Professional Vocal Competition.
Éva Polgár, D.M.A
Éva Polgár is a sought-after recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, educator, and adjudicator. Beyond her devotion to performing traditional piano repertoire, her creative personality particularly shines through her work in contemporary music and multidisciplinary arts. Her interest in the fusion of the arts has developed into an extensive collaboration with visual artist Sándor Vály. Their albums of experimental music inspired by literature and visual arts are released under Ektro Records and broadcast on Finnish national radio. Born and raised in Hungary, Polgár’s dedication to Hungarian culture has led her to specialize in the music of Franz Liszt and Béla Bartók. Her interpretation of Liszt’s piano works was praised by Liszt scholar Alan Walker as “A stunning performance! A real artist!”
Polgár has toured the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Her latest concerto performances have included appearances with conductors Horst Förster at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Tamás Vásáry at the Danube Palace in Budapest, and David Jacobs at the University of Oregon. Her Carnegie Hall debut on November 24, 2020, with violinist Kristóf Baráti and clarinetist Bence Szepesi was praised by the New York press. Other recent chamber music concerts at the Bothnia Biennale festival in Seinäjoki, Finland, and at the Hungarian Radio Hall in Budapest, Hungary, featured music of Brahms, Debussy, Bartók, and Bernstein. An avid promoter of contemporary music, Polgár actively collaborates with composers. She is currently preparing for the world premiere of Andrew S. Lloyd’s new set of piano preludes, commissioned by the Barlow Endowment, at the University of Texas at San Antonio in September of 2021.
A graduate of the Franz Liszt University and the Sibelius Academy, Polgár earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of North Texas (UNT). She has won top prizes in competitions including the 2012 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition (LAILC). Co-directors since 2017, Katherine Hickey’s and Éva Polgár’s intent is to ensure the successful continuation of LAILC as well as to foster young musicians in the early stages of their professional careers. To support her endeavors in mentoring rising talents and promoting the musical heritage of Franz Liszt, the Hungarian Academy of Arts has awarded her a three-year grant to design a series of twenty-nine concerts in Austria, Hungary, and the U.S. between September of 2020 and August of 2023.
A committed educator and adjudicator, she has taught masterclasses, presented at festivals, and adjudicated competitions such as the LAILC, the Bogotá International Piano Festival, and the Tulsa University Summer Piano Academy. After holding teaching positions at UNT and at Texas Woman’s University, Polgár has joined the piano faculty at Azusa Pacific University in California. Besides her teaching appointment, she is elected member of Board of Directors at the Southern California Chapter and the national organization of the American Liszt Society. www.evapolgar.com
Xiao Chen, D.M.A.
Chinese-born pianist Xiao Chen is currently on faculty at Mount Saint Mary’s University, having served as Lecturer in Piano Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2019. A dedicated pedagogue, Ms. Chen founded and directed the Los Angeles Young Virtuoso International Music Festival, with the objective of providing performance and educative opportunities for students from all over the world.
Ms. Chen is actively engaged as both a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., China, and Europe, having performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Fischer Center for Performing Arts, and Shanghai Concert Hall. Her performances have been well received by many; New York Concert Review praised her that “she has a strong interest in communicating, and that urge is apparent in performances of expressiveness and purposefulness”, while Shanghai Youth Daily said, “her energetic and breathtaking performance impressed the audience”.
Ms. Chen is the recipient of several prizes; awards include The American Prize, Frances Walton Competition, Carmel Music Society Piano Competition, The Muse International Competition, ‘London’ Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition, and Steinway & Sons International Youth Piano Competition. As the winner of the Frances Walton Competition in 2017, she played a concert tour across Washington State, during which she gave recitals and was aired live on Classical KING FM 98.1. Furthermore, Ms. Chen has served as a jury member in many piano competitions, including the New West Symphony Piano Competition in Los Angeles, "Pearl River Keyserburg" International Youth Piano Competition, and Hainan Airline Piano Competition. As a recording artist, Ms. Chen has recorded for Yamaha’s Disklavier Educational Network and the Scott Joplin Piano Works Archive.
Ms. Chen has been invited to perform in a number of music festivals, including the Morningside Bridge Summer Festival, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Pianofest Summer Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Manchester Music Festival, and Italy Perugia Music Fest. Over the years, she has worked with esteemed pianists and artists such as Gary Graffman, Seymour Lipkin, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Richard Goode, Peter Frankl, Claude Frank, Wu Han, Gloria Cheng, Ann Schein, Paul Schenly, Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, Joseph Lin, Neal Stulberg, Antonio Lysy, Movses Pogossian, and the Shanghai Quartet.
Additionally, Ms. Chen has participated as an educator on occasions. She has collaborated with Bard Conservatory US-China Music Institute and created a new piano course for young students and beginners in China. In 2017, She partook in an outreach tour in Washington State that spanned over 20 schools, teaching and performing for more than 2000 students. Her role as an educator also extends to online course. She has published many online courses for piano performance practice which are distributed on major Chinese educational platforms. In addition, Ms. Chen has been invited to present lectures at UCLA, and give talks and concerts as a recurring guest at the Santa Monica College.
Ms. Chen attended Bard College as a double major, receiving her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance under Melvin Chen from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Language and Literature from Bard College. She furthered her studies at The Juilliard School in New York under Jerome Lowenthal, obtaining her Master of Music degree. Most recently, Ms. Chen received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UCLA under the tutelage of Inna Faliks.
Ms. Chen recently released her new solo album "Kaleidoscope" with Sheva Collection.
Alex Russell, D.M.A
Alex Russell began studying the violin in San Diego, California, at the age of two. He first performed on national television at the age of 11, and at 15 years old won his first professional orchestral position. During his career he has been a member of orchestras throughout California and Ohio and has worked with such conductors as James Levine, John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Neville Marriner, James Conlon, Carl St. Clair, Sergiu Comissiona, Luis Lane, and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
An avid performer of both chamber and solo music, Russell has given chamber music recitals in a dozen countries across four continents and has a performed with orchestras in Sweden, Lithuania, Ukraine, Armenia, South Korea, Canada, and throughout the U.S. He has performed on numerous occasions on local, national, and international radio and television broadcasts, and, as a recording artist, he has produced six full-length albums, selling over fifteen thousand copies to date. He is very committed to teaching: he is Assistant Professor and Director of String Studies at the College of Music and the Arts at Azusa Pacific University and has given masterclasses around the world at music schools and conservatories, including Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, Armenia, and the P. Maiboroda Music School in Zaporozhye, Ukraine.
Russell has received fellowships to study at a number of music festivals, including the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. He holds a Master's in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Kantor. He has completed his DMA in Violin Performance with Alice Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California. Russell performs on an 1865 Auguste Sebastien Philippe Bernardel violin.
Lisa Boyko joined The Cleveland Orchestra in 1991, after serving as a member of the New Orleans Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. Born in Cleveland and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Ms. Boyko studied for two years in Vienna at the Musikgymnasium and the Hochschule für Musik. In 1985, she received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), where she was a student of Robert Vernon.
Ms. Boyko has appeared as alumni soloist with the Cleveland Institute of Music Chamber Orchestra in the Cleveland premiere of Darius Milhaud’s Concertino d’été and continues to perform regularly in solo recitals and chamber music concerts. She is a faculty member at CIM and Case Western Reserve University and has taught at the Encore School for Strings in Hudson and the Masterworks Festival in Spartanburg, SC.
Ms. Boyko is active in local organizations that support and promote music and arts education, including the CIM Alumni Association, Cleveland Chamber Collective, Ohio Viola Society, and Inlet Dance Theatre. In her spare time, she is an avid traveler who also enjoys gardening, reading, and languages.
Marek Szpakiewicz, D.M.A
Polish-born cellist Marek Szpakiewicz has been described by Yo-Yo Ma as an artist whose “energy, motivation, earnestness and generosity of spirit are evident through his work.” Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano stated, “(Szpakiewicz’s) performance of my ‘Fancy on a Bach Air’ is absolutely gorgeous.”
Szpakiewicz’s work has drawn praise from critics in Europe, the United States and Japan, describing him as “a gifted player,” “with expansive vision and immense authority,” “no technical limitation,” and “a rare performer who internalizes a profound musical world within.” Polish and American radio stations have broadcasted his live performances, including the one-hour special program dedicated solely to his music on KUSC, the largest non-profit classical music station in the country. Strad Magazine comments on Szpakiewicz’s live recording of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo as “remarkably accurate realisation of the score.”
He began cello lessons at the age of six in Lublin, Poland. In his early years, he studied with Ryszard Losakiewicz and Stanislaw Firlej. He later studied with Stephen Kates at the Peabody Conservatory. Szpakiewicz completed his doctorate degree under the tutelage of Eleonore Schoenfeld at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. He also studied with such distinguished cellists as Daniil Shafran, Lynn Harrell, and Siegfried Palm.
Szpakiewicz currently teaches cello and chamber music at Azusa Pacific University, where he serves as Director of Chamber Music. His students have won top prizes at numerous international and national competitions, including International Cello Competition in Chile and the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, among others. In addition, his former students have been accepted by such schools as Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and USC Thornton School of Music.
He has also contributed his talent to film orchestration as a collaborator with Polish composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. Among the scores he has worked on, the music for the critically acclaimed movie “Finding Neverland,” received the 77th Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2005.
In 2008, Szpakiewicz earned permanent residency from the U.S. government as an “Extraordinary Ability Artist.” The title means that he has “sustained national or international acclaim and the achievements have been recognized” in his field, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In 2011, Szpakiewicz received recognition from Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich for organizing a musical event to raise relief funds for the March 11 earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. Szpakiewicz has been supporting the Soma Children’s Orchestra in Fukushima, organized by El Sistema Japan, since its inception in 2012, through various charity concerts. He also visited the orchestra in 2014 to provide musical guidance. He donated a portion of the proceeds from his debut recital in Tokyo in 2015 to the Soma Children’s Orchestra in the form of a half-sized cello. This gift will encourage younger children to join the cello section of the orchestra.
For more information on Marek Szpakiewicz: http://www.szpakiewicz.com