Gary Graffman has been a major figure in the music world since his debut with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of eighteen. For the next three decades, he toured almost continuously, playing the most demanding works in the piano literature.
His numerous recordings with the orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, and Chicago under such conductors as Bernstein, Ormandy, Szell, and Mehta include concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Brahms, Chopin, and Beethoven; they are still regarded as touchstones. In 1979, however, an injury to his right hand limited Mr. Graffman’s concertizing to the small body of repertoire for left hand alone. Since then seven new works have been commissioned for him, and he continues to have an active performing career.
Mr. Graffman’s association with the Curtis Institute of Music began in 1936, when he was accepted, at the age of seven, to study with Isabelle Vengerova. He graduated in 1946. In 1980, following his performance-reducing injury, he joined the Curtis piano faculty.
From 1986 through May 2006, he served as director of Curtis, as well as president from 1995 to 2006.
Declared a “first-class talent” and praised for her “poetic use of color and confidently expressive phrasing” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), the distinguished Taiwanese-American pianist CHING-YUN HU is recognized and acclaimed worldwide for her dazzling technique, deeply probing musicality, and directly communicative performance style.
Ching-Yun Hu’s concert career has flourished with a host of engagements on five continents after winning the top prize at the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she was also awarded the Audience Favorite Prize. Immediately after, she was engaged for a seven-city tour across Israel and a special invitation from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on only a week’s notice. A year later, she won the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York City.
Ching-Yun Hu’s 2018–2019 season highlights include performances in Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Beijing and Bogotá. She gives the Asia premiere of Red Cliff, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Yiu-kwong Chung and the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan, following the concerto’s world premiere with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Dirk Brosse. She is heard in return engagements with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor. She returns to Colombia for a residence at the Festival Internacional de Piano en Ibaque, as well as an eight-city tour of China – “Ching-Yun Hu’s Silk Road Project”.
During 2017–2018 season, Ching-Yun Hu performed Rachmaninoff across the world, accompanied by the new release of her all-Rachmaninoff album. Recitals took her to Steinway Hall in NY, Miami Music Festival, Distinguished Artists in Santa Cruz, Taipei National Concert Hall, National University of Bogotá, and Altmark Festspiele in Germany. She performed Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and Xieman Philharmonic Orchestra. Her performances were broadcasted by NBC News, CINE-TV, WRTI Radio, and news media in Taiwan and China.
Ching-Yun Hu made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. She has appeared at prestigious concert halls across the globe, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Aspen Music Festival, Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, Salle Cortot, Concertgebouw, Herkulesaal Munich, Klavier-Ruhr Festival, Oper Frankfurt, Franz Liszt Academy of Music (Budapest), Duszniki International Chopin Piano Festival and Rubinstein Philharmonic Hall (Poland), Tel Aviv Opera House, Taipei 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 released her latest solo album, “Ching-Yun Hu: Rachmaninoff”, in Spring of 2018. A collaboration with Philadelphia’s WRTI radio, her album received critical acclaims. The Pianist Magazine gave it 5 stars and proclaimed it “essential listening for Rachmaninoff admirers.” An avid Chopin interpreter, her 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 CAG Records. She recorded for the BMop Sound with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project for Jeremy Gill’s work, released in the fall of 2017.
A native of Taipei, Ms. Hu made her concerto debut at the age of 13 on a tour in Japan and Taiwan. One year later, she moved to the United States to continue her musical studies at The Juilliard School, working with Herbert Stessin. She worked with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and received additional guidance from Karl-Heinz Kammerling in Germany.
In addition to performing, Ms. Hu is a keen advocate for the promotion of classical music. She founded the Yun-Hsiang International Music Festival in Taipei in 2012, and the Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy (PYPA) in 2013. Now onto it’s 7th year, PYPA has blossomed into one of the most highly-anticipated summer piano festivals on the East Coast encompassing intensive master classes and public concerts featuring internationally celebrated pianists. The accompanying guest lecture series led by music industry executives offers insight to students and the local community.
Ching-Yun Hu serves on the piano faculty of the Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance at Philadelphia’s Temple University. She is a visiting professor at the Shenzhen Arts School and an honorary artist of the Henan Cultural Center in China. Ching-Yun Hu is a Steinway Artist. www.chingyunhu.com
Winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Paul Schenly has been a soloist with major United States orchestras. Mr. Schenly appeared in the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center, the Royal Concertgebouw, Royal Albert Hall and in acclaimed recitals at Carnegie Hall. He has performed with many of the world’s leading conductors including Cristoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Erich Leinsdorf, Christoph von Dohnányi, Zubin Mehta.
Born in Munich, Mr. Schenly lived in South America before coming to the U.S. at age five. He earned a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Victor Babin. He later served as the chairman of the internationally-renown piano department at the Cleveland Institute for over 25 years and is now Faculty Emeritus.
Mr. Schenly has served on the juries of several national and international competitions and his students have won many national and international prizes. He is also on the advisory board of the American Pianists Foundation and on the nominating committee for the Gilmore Piano Foundation. Mr. Schenly is Artistic Director of the Cleveland International Piano Competition and is the Founder/Director of Pianofest in the Hamptons.
Edinburgh native Christopher Elton is professor emeritus of the Royal Academy of Music in London—a position awarded him in 2011, following 24 years of service as head of keyboard. His international recognition has come largely as a result of his students’ successes. Many have won prizes in major international competitions, including the Cliburn, Tchaikovsky, Leeds, Shanghai, and Munich (ARD), and several are now recording artists with major concert careers.
Mr. Elton is in demand as a teacher and jury member internationally. He has given master classes in the Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia and served on the juries of Moscow Tchaikovsky, Leeds, and others. As an adjudicator, he has worked both in festivals and on television in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Hong Kong.
A competitor prizewinner himself, Mr. Elton also studied at the Royal Academy, where he achieved the unusual distinction of the highest performing award, the Dip. RAM, on both piano and cello.
Pianist Yoheved Kaplinsky was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. She was a prizewinner at the J.S. Bach International Competition in Washington, D.C. She has made numerous appearances in recitals, playing chamber music, and with orchestras, as well as on radio and television in Israel and the U.S. She has given frequent lectures and master classes throughout the U.S., Israel, and Korea. Ms. Kaplinsky has performed and taught at programs including the Bowdoin Summer festival, Aspen Music Festival, and Pianofest in the Hamptons. She has served as an adjudicator for international competitions including the Van Cliburn, Cleveland, Arthur Rubinstein, Dublin and Tchaikovsky. In 2003 she was awarded the Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition award.
Ms. Kaplinsky received bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees from Julliard where she studied with Irwin Freundlich and Dorothy Taubman. She has been on the faculty of the Julliard School since 1993 and chair of the piano department since 1997.
Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden was only 16 years old when he was proclaimed winner of the 1964 Queen Elisabeth International Musical Competition. He is one of the youngest laureates ever elected. This precious distinction marks the start of a brilliant career that has taken him to the most beautiful venues in the world and the most famous festivals.
An outstanding soloist, he is acclaimed from New York to Tokyo. He is also a wonderful chamber musician, admired by his peers, who performs with top Belgian and international partners. Sensitive, attentive and always attentive to others, his chamber music concerts are a feast for the ear and the sight.
Currently, he is a professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel. In 2004 he was named as the artistic director of the Eduardo Del Pueyo Music Center.
Yaron Kohlberg, a native of Jerusalem, Israel, is among today’s top Israeli pianists. In 2018 he was named as the President of the Cleveland International Piano Competition in which he was the silver medalist in 2007.
Mr. Kolhberg holds a graduate degree from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music of Tel Aviv University where he studied with Luisa Yoffe, Eitan Globerson and Arie Vardi. He has performed in major venues in forty countries over the globe including Carnegie Hall in New York, UN Hall in Geneva, Asahi Hall in tokho, Beethovenhalle in Bonne, Forbidden City in Beijing, and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Mr. Kohlberg is a winner of over ten international prizes and performed to critical acclaim. Mr. Kohlberg speaks six languages including Mandarin. He has served on juries of international competitions in the United States, China, Mexico, and Israel.
Pierre van der Westhuizen, Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, is a seasoned arts administrator, concert pianist and academic. A native of South Africa, van der Westhuizen earned his Bachelor of Music from Northwest University in Potchefstroom, South Africa and Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He and his wife, Sophié, held teaching posts in piano at Heidelberg University in Ohio, where they developed a piano competition and festival over their six-year tenure.
Founder and Artistic Director InPulse Creatives, LLC, Cindy Hwang is an experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Special Events, Talent Management, Mandarin, and Event Planning. Strong professional with a Master’s degree focused in Media Ecology from New York University. InPulse Creatives, LLC. It is a Performing Arts & Entertainment agency focused on business development and touring efforts in the Middle East and Far East. Previously, she worked for Cadenza Artists, LLC as Director of Booking for Asia Pacific and the Middle East region after working for 10 years as the West Coast and Asia Pacific agent for Concert Artists Guild (CAG).
Prior to joining CAG, Cindy worked at CAMI (Columbia Artists Management), where she co-produced Tan Dun’s workshop and panel discussion leading up to the premiere of “The Map” and she coordinated and brought a delegate of presenters to attend the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco which resulted in a North America tour.. Cindy received her B.A. in Music Business and M.A. in Music Ecology from New York University.
Jonathan Eifert is an entrepreneur in digital marketing. As Founder and Creative Director of Gold Sound Media LLC, he oversees an array of projects throughout the United States for companies and nonprofits looking to transform their image and become known by others.
He began his career in the music industry working in publicity and management on both sides of the Atlantic—Philadelphia (Astral) and London (IMG Artists). In New York, he launched a startup public relations firm specializing in transforming brands of organizations and emerging celebrities. This soon expanded into a creative agency—Gold Sound Media.
Jonathan founded the media brand Classical Post, an online music and lifestyle magazine providing insightful essays and exclusive interviews with leading artists in classical music.
Now with over 10 years of professional experience, Jonathan is an associate member of the Grammy Recording Academy and board member of Living the Classical Life.
Jonathan holds a Master of Arts degree in cultural policy and management from City, University of London—specializing in marketing—and a Bachelor of Music degree from Cairn University.
Jie Yuan is regarded as one of the most successful young pianists in China. He has been listed as “Top Ten Chinese Pianists” by China Central Television and was praised by The New York Times, noting “his perfect technical and musicality no doubt make him a leader in this generation of pianists.” He has won prizes in the Cliburn, Busoni, Casagrande, Bechstein, Shanghai, Hamamatsu, Crescendo, Seattle and Hong Kong international piano competitions. He has given concerts throughout five continents in over 40 countries and regions, nearly 500 cities. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Wiener Musikverein, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in China, has also worked with the New York Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, and nearly a hundred other orchestras.
Jie is a recipient of the prestigious Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School and has been appointed as the National Arts Youth Ambassador of China by China State Council. He presently holds positions in three major conservatories in China: the Chair of Piano Department at Harbin Conservatory of Music, the Vice President and Chair of Piano Department at JiLin University of Arts, as well as the Vice President at Hangzhou Liangzhu International Arts Academy. He is also the artistic director of four international festivals: Hangzhou Festival, Harbin Festival, Lanzhou Festival and China International Piano Festival. He is also the Image Ambassador of Hong Kong Piano Music Society,Image Ambassador of China – South Korea International Arts Festival, and Image Ambassador of Beijing University Love Foundation.
Bonnie Slobodien is Founder and President of Allegro Music Consultants, a presenter and champion of young classical musicians to audiences in the Philadelphia area in the United States. She holds degrees from the Hartt School of Music and the Pennsylvania State University. She was the Director of Education and Outreach for Astral Artists where she developed award winning programs serving schools and underserved communities.
A winner of the prestigious Yale University School of Music Distinguished Music Educator Award, Ms. Slobodien has served as mentor to many artists who have launched careers on music stages throughout the world.