Sejong Cultural Society
current competition 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
2008 Sejong Music Competition

2004 Sejong Music Competition

Winners |Judges | Winners' Concert

Piano:  Inah Choi | James Giles | Abraham Stokman
Violin: Alan Heatherington | Ilya Kaler | Joyce Noh | Rami Solomonow

Inah Choi | piano
Inah Choi
Inah Choi
Faculty at Music Institute of Chicago

DMA, Peabody Conservatory of Music; MM, BM, Indiana University; student of Ellen Mack, Edward Auer, Michelle Block; master classes with John Browning, Gyorge Sebok, Gilbert Kalish; soloist with Washington Chamber Symphony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra; performances in the Peabody's Best series, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial concert series, Music in the Loft series, and the Chicago Symphony Chamber Music series; participant of Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival; winner of Grace Welsh Competition, Society of American Musicians Competition, Harrison L. Winter Competition, Baltimore Music Club Competition; performances broadcast on WJHU radio-Baltimore and WFMT Radio-Chicago.



James Giles | piano

James Giles
James Giles has earned a reputation as one of the most versatile pianists of his generation, acclaimed for the dynamic brilliance and communicative power of his playing. The 2002-03 season included solo recitals in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Tulsa, Washington, D.C., London, and Helsinki. One London critic wrote that his Wigmore Hall recital last season was "one of the most sheerly inspired piano recitals I can remember hearing for some time" and added that "with a riveting intelligence given to everything he played, it was the kind of recital you never really forget." The critic for Helsinki's main newspaper wrote that "Giles is a technically polished, elegant pianist, who is capable of drawing a natural, beautiful sound from the piano."

Dr. Giles is on the piano faculty at Northwestern University.

His website can be found at:



Abraham Stokman | piano

Abraham Stokman
Abraham Stokman was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he began his piano studies at the age of six. He came to the United States at the age of 12, when he was offered a scholarship from the Julliard School in New York City, where he obtained his bachelor's and master's degree with his teacher, Edward Steuermann. For five years, he served as a vocal coach at the Juilliard's opera department. Then in the ensuing years, he proceeded to give solo and chamber concerts at the United States and Canada. In 1969, he moved to Chicago and became the artist-in-residence and assistant professor at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University for six years, and subsequently served as chairman of the piano department at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.

Mr. Stokman has scored brilliant successes in solo recitals at the Alice Tully Hall, the Town Hall in New York City, the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Phillips Gallery in Washington, and Mandel Hall in Chicago, as well as universities across the country. He was featured as soloist with many orchestras around the country, but most notably with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For many years, he collaborated with the Steinway Company in bringing classical piano music played on a good instrument to the Chicago Public Schools. He gave piano recitals in different schools in Chicago and the Steinway Company provided a Steinway grand for the concerts. This was a huge success with school children, especially in the south side, many of whom may not have ever heard classical music. He also participated in a series of chamber music concerts with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra given throughout the Chicago area. He helped start the Mostly Music series by playing the first opening concerts for them. In the spring of 1991, he was a guest artist in the first Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he premiered "Fluxus IX" a work written for him by Ramon Zupko. On the same program, he performed "Verticals" by Shulamit Ran, who won the Pulitzer Prize that same year.

Mr. Stokman has always been a champion of contemporary music. He was a member of the Contemporary Chamber Players with Ralph Shapey for many years, and has played for CUBE through the years. He has premiered a lot of music and composers, Robert Lombardo, John Austin, Ramon Zupko, and Ernst Krenek have written works especially for him. He premiered Ramon Zupko's piano concerto, "Windsongs" with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. He performed this same concerto at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and with the American Composers Orchestra in New York's Lincoln Center.

Mr. Stokman has recorded Ramon Zupko's music for CRI, as well as a CD of twentieth century American piano music for Centaur records, featuring music of William Karlins and Howard Sandroff. He also recorded "Hyperbolea" on a CD of Music by Shulamit Ran. Other recordings include "A Kurt Weil Cabaret" with singer Martha Schalamme for MGM, and "Songs from the Magic Door" with Charles Gerber.

Mr. Stokman is currently teaching piano and improvisation at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he has founded the contemporary music series, "Music for a While" For the past ten years, this series has featured contemporary composers and their music, presented in a format that made their music more accessible to the audience. Most performers that play in this series are from the faculty of the Music Institute. Some advanced students are coached and asked to participate in these concerts. After all, they will be the future performers of modern music.




Alan Heatherington | violin

Alan Heatherington
Alan Heatherington is the Music Director of Ars Viva. Heatherington has been described by John von Rhein (Chicago Tribune) as "one of the area's finest conductors" and "a first-rate conductor [who] promises something new or unusual at almost every concert, and he does so with musicality and taste, not gimmicks." Wynne Delacoma of the Chicago Sun-Times says "Heatherington is a gifted conductor who built a reputation for presenting outstanding concerts, often with unusual repertory and always with some of the city's best musicians.

Currently Director of Music Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Heatherington is also the Music Director of the Lake Forest Symphony and has been Music Director of Chicago Master Singers (formerly the New Oratorio Singers) since 1989. He is the Artistic Director and co-conductor with Weston Noble of the Innsbruck International Choral Festival, and he has conducted choral concerts in England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.



Ilya Kaler | violin

Ilya Kaler
The only violinist ever to win Gold Medals at all three of the world's most prestigious competitions, the Tchaikovsky, the Sibelius and the Paganini competitions, Ilya Kaler is already being compared to the likes of Heifetz and Perlman. Kaler's recordings of the Paganini Caprices have been deemed by American Record Guide to be, "in a class by themselves" combining "the perfection, passion, and phrase-sculpting of Michael Rabin with the energy, excitement, and immediacy of Jascha Heifetz." His recordings of both Paganini Concertos and Caprices, the Schumann Sonatas, both Shostakovich Concertos, the Dvorak Concerto and the Glazunov Concerto have met with equally superlative acclaim. The Washington Post unabashedly lauds him as, "a consummate musician, Kaler is in total control at all times, with a peerless mastery of his violin."

Born into a family of musicians in Moscow, Ilya Kaler showed enormous talent from an early age. At the Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory he studied under Zinaida Gilels and Yury Yankelevich. He continued his studies with Leonid Kogan and Viktor Tretyakov at the Moscow Conservatory, where he earned both master's and doctorate degrees, and graduated with the Gold Medal Award. He also studied privately with Abram Shtern in the Soviet Union and the United States.

Mr. Kaler has earned rave reviews for solo appearances with distinguished orchestras throughout the world. He has performed with the Leningrad, Moscow, and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras, the Montreal Symphony, the Danish and Berlin Radio Orchestras, and the Moscow and Zurich Chamber Orchestras, among others. His solo recitals have taken him throughout Europe, Scandinavia, East Asia, and the former Soviet Union.

In recent years, Mr. Kaler has performed with the Detroit, Baltimore, and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in the United States, and has toured Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, England, Venezuela and Japan. In Japan, he played with the New Japan Philharmonic, the Century Symphony Orchestra and the Hiroshima Symphony. Also an active chamber musician, Mr. Kaler has performed for several summers at the Newport Music Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. He was Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music, and for five years served as Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Currently, From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Kaler served as Distinguished Professor of Music (Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Violin) at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. Most recently, he has just been appointed Professor of Violin at DePaul University, School of Music in Chicago. His most recent recording for Ongaku is the Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time with Jonathan Cohler which will be released shortly.



Joyce Noh | violin

Joyce Noh
Joyce Noh, a member of CSO since 1979, started playing the violin when she was five years old and went on to win numerous competitions throughout her native Seoul Korea. She was discovered by renowned writer Pearl S. Buck, who invited the violinist to the United States in 1968 to further her studies at the New School of Music in Philadelphia with Jascha Brodsky, at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian, and chamber music studies with Felix Galimir and Robert Mann.

She joined the Baltimore Symphony in 1977 and the Chicago Symphony in 1979. In addition to television and radio broadcasts, she has appeared as a soloist with Seoul National Orchestra and given recitals in many American cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston.

She is also active as a dedicated educator, teaching young students and performing at various schools throughout Chicago area.



Rami Solomonow | violin

Rami Solomonow
Rami Solomonow is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, Israel where he studied with Oedoen Partos. He was a member of the Israel Chamber Orchestra until 1972 and received prizes in viola and chamber music from the American-Israel Foundation. In 1973 Mr. Solomonow moved to the US where he studied with Shmuel Ashkenasi at NIU. From 1974 to 1995 he served as Principal Violist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1995 he left the Opera to become a founding member of the Chicago String Quartet which was the Quartet in residence at DePaul University and Taos School of Music until 2004.

Mr. Solomonow has been a faculty member at DePaul University since 1981 and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in numerous concerts, music festivals and summer music schools in the United States, Israel, Japan and South America. Mr. Solomonow is a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and, in recent years, has performed chamber works with Menachem Pressler, Leonard Rose, Gil Shaham, Shlomo Mintz, Edgar Mayer, Christoph Eschenbach, Midori, Robert McDonald and members of the Guarneri and Julliard Quartets. He has also been a guest violist with the Vermeer, Fine Arts, Audubon and Cassatt String Quartets.

Mr. Solomonow has performed on live television and radio broadcasts and has recorded with the Vermeer Quartet, Chicago String Quartet, Chicago Chamber Musicians and as a solo violist with the DePaul Wind Ensemble. A recent recording of a Mozart chamber works for strings and winds with the Chicago Chamber Musicians has been nominated for a Grammy Award.




Home About Music Composition Writing Resources Contact

© Copyright the Sejong Cultural Society 2004-2011. All rights reserved.