Wha Kyung Byun was born and educated in Korea, where she won several major competitions and was chosen as one of the most talented young artists in the country. After she made her debut recital at the age of fifteen, she appeared as soloist with major orchestras and performed throughout her homeland. She graduated from Seoul National University and was awarded the Presidential Gold Medal. Since coming to the United States, Byun studied piano at the New England Conservatory of Music with Russell Sherman and chamber music with Rudolf Kolisch. Her playing has been described by Richard Dyer as “rapturous” and “poetic.”
Since 1979 she has taught at the New England Conservatory and dedicated herself to helping numerous students in their development as both musicians and human beings. She is the first recipient from the piano faculty to have received the prestigious Lesser Award, which is given to the most distinguished faculty at the NEC. Also, she was the first recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award from the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts. In 2013 she received the Jean Stackhouse award for excellence in teaching.
She is widely renowned as one of the most successful teachers in America. Over the years, her students have been prize winners in major national and international competitions.
Declared a “…first-class talent…” and praised for her “…poetic use of color and confidently expressive phrasing…” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), the distinguished Taiwanese pianist CHING-YUN HU is recognized and acclaimed world-wide for her dazzling technique, deeply probing musicality and directly communicative performance style.
Apart from her nomination to the 5th International German Piano Award (2015), Ching-Yun Hu was named a winner of the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. In 2008, she captured the top prize and the Audience Favorite Prize at the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, resulting in a seven-city tour across Israel and a special invitation from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #1 on only a week’s notice. Subsequently, her career has flourished with a host of engagements on five continents.
Highlights of Ching-Yun Hu’s season include debuts with the Bozeman, Wyoming and Topeka Symphony Orchestras (Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1, Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2), South Korea’s Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra (Prokofiev Concerto No. 3) and Brazil’s Orquestra Petrobras Sinfônica in Rio De Janeiro (Chopin Concerto No. 1). Scheduled return performances include the Taipei Chinese Orchestra (Fazil Say’s Piano Concerto No. 3, “Silence of Anatolia”) at the Macau International Music Festival, New York’s Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra (Grieg Piano Concerto), Brazil’s Orquestra Filarmônica do Espírito Santo (Beethoven Concerto No. 5). Many solo recitals and chamber music collaborations throughout the world including a recital tour throughout the U.S.A, Taiwan and China, a return recital to Budapest and gala concert with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Jeffrey Kahane.
Ching-Yun Hu made her debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. She has also been guest soloist with the Aspen Concert Orchestra, New York Concerti Sinfonietta, Philadelphia’s Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Delaware, DuPage (IL), Midland (MI), Mississippi Northwest Arkansas and Wyoming, while abroad she has appeared with the Israel Chamber Orchestra, England’s Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, Portugal’s Orquestra do Algarve, Brazil’s Orquestra Filarmônica do Espírito Santo, Orquestra do Curitiba, Orquestra Petrobras Sinfônica and Orquestra Experimental de Repertorio, South Africa’s Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, China’s Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra and Taiwan’s Taipei Chinese Orchestra and Evergreen Symphony Orchestra. She has also toured with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.
Recent recitals have included programs at New York City’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Alice Tully Hall, Washington, DC’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Aspen Music Festival, London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, Paris’ Salle Cortot, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Munich’s Herkulesaal, Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Poland’s Chopin International Festival and Rubinstein Philharmonic Hall (Lodz), Tel Aviv’s Opera House, Taipei’s National Concert Hall and Japan’s Osaka Hall. Ms. Hu is also a frequent guest artist at distinguished music festivals throughout the world.
Ching-Yun Hu’s debut recording, an all-Chopin CD released in 2011 on the Taiwanese label ArchiMusic, won Taiwan’s 2012 Golden Melody Award for Best Classical Album of the Year. The fall of 2013 saw the release of her second CD – music of Granados, Mozart and Ravel – on the CAG Records and Sony Music Taiwan labels.
A native of Taipei, Ching-Yun Hu made her concerto debut at the age of 13 with the Poland Capella Cracoriensis Chamber Orchestra on tour in Asia. One year later, she moved to the United States to continue her musical studies at The Juilliard School in New York City, working principally with Sergei Babayan and Karl-Heinz Kammerling. She also studied chamber music with Joseph Kalichstein and Seymour Lipkin, and received additional guidance from Richard Goode and Murray Perahia.
In 2008, Ching-Yun Hu was awarded an honorary prize from Taiwan’s Minister of Culture, recognizing her artistic achievements to date. In addition to performing, Ms. Hu is a keen advocate for the promotion of classical music. She founded the bi-annual Yun-Hsiang International Music Festival (www.yunhsiang.org ) and the Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy at the Curtis Institute of Music, inviting to both some of the most sought-after artists from around the globe to perform at prestigious concert halls in Taipei and Philadelphia and to work with aspiring young musicians on their way to professional careers.
Ching-Yun Hu serves on the piano faculty of the Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance at Philadelphia’s Temple University.
On the occasion of his early participation in the Van Cliburn International Competition, were he won the Special Award for Artistic Potential at age 19, the music critic of The Dallas Morning News stated that Russian-American pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine “played Brahms’ Op. 117 Intermezzi more beautifully, more movingly, than I’ve ever heard them. At once sad, tender and noble, this was playing of heart-stopping intimacy and elegance.” Since then he went on to win top prizes in more than 20 international competitions, including the Naumburg, Cleveland, Montreal, New Orleans, Iturbi in Valencia, Maria Canals in Barcelona and Arthur Rubinstein in Tel-Aviv. He also won the Astral Artists’ 2009 National Auditions. Alex has performed as soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra of the Czech Republic, the Israel Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Radiotelevision Orchestra of Spain, among many other orchestras around the world. Highlights of the upcoming season include Mr. Moutouzkine’s performances and master classes at 8th Beijing International Piano Festival, Forum Musicae in Madrid, Euro Music Festival and Academy in Halle (Germany), International Piano Festival in Havana, Piano Festival in Tel Aviv, and performance of complete solo piano works of Sergei Rachmaninoff at the Carnegie Room series in NY. Alexandre Moutouzkine holds a Master’s degree and post-graduate degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky. He holds undergraduate degrees from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover and Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Music Academy. Most recently Alexandre received a “Distinguished Alamni Award” from Manhattan School of Music and was appointed its faculty member in September 2013.
Pianist HaeSun Paik has been hailed as a “sensitive and thinking musician first and an awesome technician second” (Los Angeles Times), with a “big and individual personality” (New York Times), whose performances are “a wonder – elastic, mercurial, charged with meaning, surprising” (Boston Globe). Having won top prizes at international piano competitions including the Queen Elisabeth, Leeds, William Kapell, and the Tchaikovsky, Ms. Paik has performed concerts around the world in solo recitals, concerti with orchestra, and as a chamber musician.
HaeSun Paik has appeared as a soloist under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev, Sir Simon Rattle, Vassily Sinaisky, Dmitri Kitaenko, Stanislav Skrovaczewski, and Myung Whun Chung. She has performed with the Boston Symphony, National Symphony, London Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Radio France Philharmonic, KBS Symphony, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Osaka Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Belgium National Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, and the Russian National Orchestra, among many others.
Ms. Paik has appeared frequently in recital at prestigious venues throughout the U.S. including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center and Jordan Hall in Boston. Her international tours have brought her to major concert halls around the globe. She has appeared at numerous international music festivals including the Beethoven Festival in Munich, Radio France Festival in Montpellier, Courchevel Music Festival in France, Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, Orford Music Festival in Canada, International Keyboard Institute & Festival in New York, PianoSummer at New Paltz (New York), and the Busan Music Festival in Korea.
A superb collaborative artist, Ms. Paik has performed with many distinguished artists including cellists Anner Bylsma and Mischa Maisky, violist Nobuko Imai, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. Her recent recording with cellist Laurence Lesser of the complete works by Beethoven for cello and piano has been released by Bridge Records. Her debut and subsequent solo recordings can be heard on the EMI label.
One of the most sought after pedagogical influences in Korea, Ms. Paikwas the youngest pianist of her generation to be appointed as a music professor at Seoul National University, where she taught for ten years. She will join the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music in the fall of 2013. She is Artist-in-Residence at Catholic University of Daegu and serves as the Artistic Director of the Busan Music Festival in Korea. She gives master classes at institutions and festivals worldwide and has served as a juror in many international competitions including the Bosendorfer, the Cleveland and the Honens international piano competitions.
HaeSun Paik’s artistic development has been influenced by her studies with Russell Sherman and Wha Kyung Byun, and through her studies at the International Piano Foundation in Lake Como (Italy) where she worked with international artists including Alicia de Larrocha, Karl Urlich Schnabel, Rosalyn Tureck, and Alexis Weissenberg.
An eloquent communicator both on and off the concert stage, legendary pianist Russell Sherman continues to garner accolades from critics and audiences alike for his grace, imagination and poetry. The New York Times calls him “one of the best pianists in this or any other country.” As the author of a highly acclaimed book Piano Pieces (a rhapsodic compilation of vignettes and personal anecdotes from Mr. Sherman’s life experiences as a pianist and teacher), Russell Sherman has been praised not only as an ingenious virtuoso but also as an insightful master.
Mr. Sherman has performed with such major orchestras as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s (with whom he performed the five Beethoven concertos), Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. Abroad, Mr. Sherman has played in the major cities of Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Korea, China and South America.
In recital, Russell Sherman has appeared on Carnegie Hall’s Keyboard Virtuoso Series, California’s Ambassador Foundation Series, the Distinguished Artists Series at New York’s Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y, and the Bank of Boston Celebrity Series. He has performed at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Jordan Hall, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.
Additionally, he has appeared at the Ravinia Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, the Mostly Mozart Festival and the Wolf Trap Festival, as well as recitals at Spain’s Santander Festival and Germany’s Ruhr Triennale Festival. In January 2010, he collaborated with Mark Morris Dance Group alongside Minsoo Sohn and the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music in the Boston premiere of Mozart Dances presented by Celebrity Series of Boston.
Mr. Sherman is a prolific recording artist. He has recorded the five Beethoven concertos with the Czech Philharmonic and the Monadnock Festival Orchestra, and the complete Beethoven sonatas, recorded as five dual-CD sets (each having been released individually and as a complete set). The entire Beethoven sonatas project has been called “a set for the ages” by Bernard Jacobson in Fanfare. This makes Mr. Sherman the first American pianist to have recorded all of the sonatas and concertos of Beethoven. His earlier recording of Liszt’s Transcendental Études was critically acclaimed: Anthony Tommasini in a 1999 New York Times piece said, “Several impressive recordings of Liszt’s ‘Transcendental Études’ prove that these audaciously difficult works are actually playable and triumphantly pianistic. But none make Liszt’s visionary understanding of what the piano could do more palpable and exciting than Russell Sherman’s extraordinary 1990 recording.” Mr. Sherman has also recorded Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35 and Fantasies, Op. 116, Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Op. 28, Schubert’s Sonata in D major, D. 850 and Sonata in B-flat major, D. 960, both Grieg and Schumann concertos and works by Liszt, including the B minor Sonata, Don Juan Fantasy, and transcriptions. He has also recorded Mozart’s two concertos in minor keys plus solo fantasies with the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music under Craig Smith. Additional recordings include a GM Recording CD, “Premieres & Commissions,” in which he performs contemporary repertoire by Schoenberg, Schuller, Helps, Perle and Shapey. Except for Schoenberg’s Six Piano Pieces, he has personally premiered and commissioned all of these works. Mr. Sherman’s releases on Avie Records include a CD of Debussy’s Estampes, Images Book II and Préludes Book II, a DVD of his live performance of the Liszt Études d’exécution transcendante, and most recently, the complete Chopin Mazurkas. Mr. Sherman has also performed and recorded the complete sonatas of Mozart, the Bach English Suites and the complete piano works of Schoenberg. Russell Sherman was born in 1930 and educated in New York, beginning piano studies at age six. By age eleven, Mr. Sherman was studying with Eduard Steuermann, a pupil and friend of Ferruccio Busoni and Arnold Schoenberg. Sherman graduated from Columbia University at age nineteen with a degree in the humanities. He was Visiting Professor at Harvard University and is currently a Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory. Sherman continues to explore, and to merit the title “a thinking man’s virtuoso.”
Ms. Zvi is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv and Mannes College, NY. As a pianist, she gave recitals and played with orchestras, in Israel, Europe and the USA; recorded for radio stations in Israel, Saarbrücken, Berlin, Stuttgart and the BBC London and has toured Canada, Alaska, Europe, and the USA.
Idith’s “off-stage” career commenced as a Music Producer at the National Classical Radio Station of Israel, where she served for over 35 years. Her love of music and her desire to spread this passion led Idith to pursue executive positions. Concurrently to her work at the radio, in 1985, Ms. Zvi originated a 14-day festival in the north of Israel: “Upper Galilee Chamber Music Days” in Kibbutz Kfar Blum, where she presided as Artistic Director and Producer for 10 consecutive years.
The success of this festival, earned Idith with the “Special Distinction Prize” by the America-Israel Culture Foundation, an honor she repeated when receiving a special prize for the broadcasts of the Arthur Rubinstein Competition.
In 1991 – 1992, as Musical Advisor of the Israel Festival, Idith organized and directed the “Mozart Picnic”, commemorating Mozart’s 200th.
In 1995, Idith proceeded to take the role of General Director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, a position she held until 2000.
Today, apart from her position as the Director of the Rubinstein Competition, Ms. Zvi is a faculty member of the Buchman-Mehta Music School at the Tel Aviv University.
She teaches Chamber Music and Piano Performance Class – tutoring young pianists on the art of performance, by receiving constructive criticism and analyzing their performances.
Idit Zvi is frequently invited to judge at international piano competitions as well as to teach master classes, worldwide.