2015 Sejong Music Competition Judges

Primary and Elementary divisions: Yumy Lee Kim | Mary Rose Norell
Junior and Senior divisions: Silvan Negrutiu | Sung Hoon Mo | Rochelle Sennet
Primary and Elementary divisions: Yoorhi Choi | Angelica Lundberg
Junior and Senior divisions: Olga Kaler | Nelson Lee | MingHuan Xu


Yumy Lee Kim

piano primary and elementary

Born and raised in Germany, Korean pianist Yumy Lee Kim made her debut with the Hamburger Sinfonietta at the age of 15 at the Laeiszhalle Hamburg. After winning several competitions, such as Steinway & Sons, German Teachers Association and Jugend Musiziert, she appeared at various German TV and radio stations (Radio Hamburg, NDR 3). At the age of 16, she was accepted at the prestigious preparatory division of the University of Music in Luebeck, where she continued her musical studies. After receiving her diplomas there in piano performance as well as in piano education and her performance certificate, she started her doctoral degree at the Yonsei University in Korea, where she also taught at the renowned Yewon Arts Highschool. After her marriage, she followed her husband to Chicago where she received a DMA degree in Piano Performance at Northwestern University as a scholarship recipient of the Dorothy L. Pound Award. Yumy Lee Kim performed as a soloist with the Hamburger Sinfonietta, Hildesheim Philharmonie and Ahrensburg Youth Orchestra and performed in Germany, Spain, Hungary, Swiss, Denmark, South Korea and the U.S. She is also an active chamber musician and presented her dissertation “La Folia in Selected Piano Music” recently at the International Symposium of Yangbian University in China. Being a devoted educator as well, she currently serves as a faculty member at DePaul University (CMD), and adjudicates and co-chairs at several competitions in the Chicago area.

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Mary Rose Norell

piano primary and elementary

Pianist and Indiana native Mary Rose Norell has developed a vibrant performance career at home and abroad, concertizing in such venues as Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall and Chicago’s Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, St. Anne’s College at Oxford University (England), and Troldhaugen in Bergen (Norway). Mary Rose has soloed with numerous ensembles, including the Northwestern Summer Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Maple City Chamber Orchestra, and the Elkhart County Symphony Orchestra. The Chicago Tribune favorably reviewed her performances of Modest Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with Blair Thomas Puppetry in Chicago’s Millennium Park, writing: “Pictures…played live and beautifully by Mary Rose Jordan on a Steinway in the center of the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.”

Active as a chamber musician, Mary Rose performs regularly with her husband Luke as the Norell Piano Duo, and collaborates often with vocalists and other instrumentalists. Most recently, Mary Rose shared the stage with one of the eminent Grieg interpreters, Norwegian bass-baritone Njål Sparbo, in “The Songs of Edvard Grieg,” a lecture-concert at Goshen College. Among her awards are 2nd prize at the Young Artist Competition of the 2015 Grieg Festival in Florida, and top prize in the Illinois Music Teacher's National Association competition.

Currently serving as Director of the Goshen College Community School of the Arts, Dr. Norell also teaches private and group piano lessons. In the summer, she teaches for the University of Northwestern (Minn.) Piano Institute, and during the year, she accompanies the Goshen Community Chorale. Mary Rose is a founding board member of the Edvard Grieg Society of America, an exciting new venture to promote the life and works of Edvard Grieg.

Mary Rose began her piano studies with Marvin Blickenstaff, later studying with Emile Naoumoff at Indiana University, where she received her B.M. “With Distinction” with a French minor, and her M.M. with an emphasis in German. She completed her Doctorate in Piano Performance with James Giles at Northwestern University, graduating as a member of Pi Kappa Lambda.


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Silvan Negrutiu

piano junior and senior

Romanian pianist Silvan Negrutiu has given solo and chamber music performances across Europe, in the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan, and has given concerto performances with orchestras in Romania, Ireland, Spain, and the U.S. He is a laureate of numerous international competitions, including the "Roma 2000" and Salerno "Beethoven e i classici" in Italy; the "Seiler" in Sofia, Bulgaria; the “Feis Ceoil” in Dublin, Ireland; and the "Konzerteum" in Pireas, Greece. He performed as soloist with prestigious orchestras such as Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra, Alicante Philharmonic Orchestra, Romanian National George Enescu Philharmonic, and Dublin Symphony Orchestra. Some of his concerts have included live television and radio broadcasts.

Mr. Negrutiu obtained his Master Degree Diploma in 2009 with First Class Honours at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Dublin City University in Ireland and the graduate diploma in 2007 at the National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania. In Dublin he studied with pianists John O’Conor and Reamonn Keary, and held the position of piano instructor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music for three years. His principal teachers in Romania were Prof. Magda St?nescu and Viniciu Moroianu; he has also advanced his studies with Lory Wallfisch, Fabio Bidini, Irina Morozova, Richard Goode, Klaus Hellwig, and Peter Frankl.

Silvan Negrutiu has been a frequent attendee and performer at international music festivals such as the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, Mannes College of Music in New York, the “George Enescu” Music Festival in Bucharest, Romania, the International Holland Music Sessions in Bergen NH, Holland, and the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. In September 2008, Silvan was one of the seven international pianists accepted for the prestigious Beethoven Course in Positano, Italy, organised by the “Wilhelm Kempff” Cultural Foundation. He is the recipient of the 2009 Gaiety Bursary in Dublin, the Romanian Government Bursary for Advanced Studies Abroad in 2007, the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research Award of Excellence in 2002, and the 2001 Eugen Barbu Award for excellence in performing activity. He is also a member of the Performing Creation Union of the Romanian Musicians. In 2013, Silvan was honored with the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges distinction.

Mr. Negrutiu has just completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance degree at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, under the guidance of internationally acclaimed pianist and pedagogue John O'Conor. At Shenandoah he was a Piano Teaching Assistant since 2010. This summer, Silvan Negrutiu will move to Decatur, Illinois, where he will start his new position as Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Millikin University.

Recently, Silvan performed recitals at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts; Katzin Concert Hall–Arizona State University (Phoenix, Arizona); Concert Hall–University of Music and Theatre (Tallinn, Estonia); George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia); Benedict Music Tent and Harris Hall (Aspen, Colorado); the Anderson House in Washington, D.C.; the T?rgu-Mure? Philharmonic (Romania), as part of The Musical Days Festival; had his solo debut with Dublin Symphony Orchestra in Ireland, performing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto; and performed the world première of American composer Zack Stanton’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble, with the Shenandoah Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Mr. Negrutiu is presented as part of the European Month of Culture.

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Sung Hoon Mo

piano junior and senior

Pianist Sung Hoon Mo has concertized extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, as well as giving master classes and lectures in such schools as Sewanee Music Festival and the National Conservatory of Music at Guatemala City.

He studied at the Peabody Conservatory, the Indiana University, and the Eastman School of Music, recently revisiting Indiana University with his performance of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz. His teachers and coaches include James Tocco, Leon Fleisher, and Emanuel Ax. He has also worked extensively with the American String Quartet and Robert McDonald at Taos School of Music, Tokyo String Quartet at the Quartet Program, and the Cleveland Quartet at Eastman School of Music. He was featured on PBS and has been heard in many radio stations, including WQXR in New York City as a winner of the Bergen Philharmonic Concerto Competition.

He shares passion for chamber music with number of musicians, recently performing Franck and Shostakovich Quintets with the members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has also toured throughout Germany with violinist Victor Tretjakov and violist Yuri Bashmet. Other collaborative artists include violinist Charles Castleman, and cellists Pieter Wispelwey, performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto.

He is currently on the faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music.

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Rochelle Sennet

piano junior and senior

B.M. (piano performance), San Francisco Conservatory of Music; M.M. (piano performance), University of Michigan; Artist Diploma (piano performance), Texas Christian University; D.M.A. (piano), University of Illinois.

Dr. Rochelle Sennet is rapidly establishing herself as a well-known performer, teacher, and scholar. Her recital programs showcase her versatility at the keyboard, with frequent performances of works by Bach, Beethoven, and African American composers such as H. Leslie Adams, Adolphus Hailstork, and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer George Walker. When she was a doctoral student, she was chosen to perform John Corigliano's Etude Fantasy at the U of I's Corigliano Concert, with the composer in attendance. She has also served on the piano faculty at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp since 2006, and has made guest appearances at the American Festival for the Arts in Beaumont, Texas. Her research interests include the study of American music, and she has interviewed well-known music historians and composers. Her dissertation, entitledAfrican American Composers and the Piano Concerto, highlights her pursuits.

Dr. Sennet has won numerous competitions. In 2006, she was co-winner for the Krannert Center Debut Artist Competition. In 2002, she was a national finalist for the MTNA Collegiate piano competition. As winner of the 2001-2002 MTNA/TMTA Competition, she performed a Mozart concerto with the orchestra of the famed Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts at the TMTA Convention in Corpus Christi, TX. She has also performed John Corigliano's Piano Concerto with the University Philharmonia Orchestra, Beethoven's Concerto No. 2 with the Sewanee Festival Orchestra, the Barber Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra, and Beethoven's Concerto No. 1 with the Lamar University Chamber Orchestra.

In addition to Dr. Tamás Ungár and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Swanlund Professor of Piano Ian Hobson, Dr. Sennet's previous teachers have included Logan Skelton, Mack McCray, the late Dr. John Paul, Hugh E. Thompson, Sr., and the late Hazel Ruben. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association, College Music Society, the Center for Black Music Research, Society for American Music, and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

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Yoorhi Choi

violin primary and elementary

Yoorhi Choi has recognized as remarkable virtuosity, extraordinary, and distinctive musicality. Choi is an active soloist and chamber musician in the United States and South Korea. She is top prizewinner of numerous competitions including Kingsville International Competition, Artists International Competition, Young Artists Competition, Korean Times Competition, and Thavis competition. Recipient of full scholarship, Choi holds Bachelor and Master's degree from The Juilliard School where she studied with Dorothy Delay, Hyo Kang, and David Chan. She also holds Artists Diploma from Yale University and is currently doctoral candidate (ABD) at Northwestern University under Professor Blair Milton where she teaches undergraduate students as a Teaching Assistant. Choi came to the United States in 1999 when she started studying with Dorothy Delay and Catherine Cho. Admitted as a full-scholarship student at The Juilliard School, she has performed on the prestigious stages of Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, Carnegie-Weill Hall, Seoul Arts Center, and The Juilliard School as a soloist and chamber musician. Choi has worked with great coaches such as Tokyo String Quartet, Toby Appel, Jacob Lateiner, Rohan DeSilva, Earl Carlyss, Nicholas Mann, Shoko Aki, and Jonathan Feldman. As an orchestral musician, Ms. Choi is a member of Peninsula Music Festival, guest artist of Symphonie Song, Seoul Philharmonic, and New Haven Symphony. Addition to teaching undergraduate students at Northwestern University, Choi has given Masterclass at universities including University of Central Missouri and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is a member of Stellio Trio; they are based in Chicago and perform regularly.

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Angelica Lundberg

violin primary and elementary

Angelica Lundberg is currently the Assistant Principal 2nd Violin for the Fox Valley Symphony and was previously a member with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She has also appeared with such groups as Kansas, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Contours, and plays regularly with The Vic Ferrari Band.

Angelica began violin lessons at age 6, inspired by her grandfather, who played the violin among other instruments. She holds a Masters degree in Performance & Literature from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana and a Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. While at UWO, she won the music department's Concerto Competition in 2004 and 2006.

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Olga Kaler

violin junior and senior

Praised by critics for her "deep, soulful sound" and "powerful, enchanting renditions", Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler toured three continents as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra member, combining performing and teaching careers with equal success. She joined the applied violin faculty of DePaul University School of Music in 2004 and currently serves as Associate Professor of Violin.

Kaler holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Northwestern University Bienen School of Music and previous degrees from the New England Conservatory of Boston, the Moscow State Conservatory in Russia and the Stolyarsky Special Music School for Gifted Children in Odessa, Ukraine. Most influential teachers include Professors Almita Vamos, Nelli Shkolnikova, Benjamin Mordkovich, Naoum Latinsky, Inna Gaukhman and James Buswell.

Described as "THE BOOK" and "the Bible for Violinists" by the leading pedagogues in the country, Dr. Kaler’s Scale System for Reluctant Scale Enthusiasts met with enthusiastic reception from string players worldwide.

Teachers throughout the country use Kaler’s method book, An Effective Method for Teaching and Studying Violin Technique, as a pedagogical aid and a textbook for the String Pedagogy classes at their conservatories.

Olga Kaler received numerous awards as a performer, including the Special Prize at the Rodolfo Lipitzer International Competition, 1st Prizes at the Northwestern and Thaviu-Isaacs Competitions, and more.

Kaler’s orchestral engagements include the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as well as the leadership positions with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ars Viva Orchestra, the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra, and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

Currently a member of the World Orchestra for Peace under the direction of Valery Gergiev, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra of NY and The Chicago Ensemble, Olga Kaler appeared as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician and artist-teacher at Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine, Skaneateles Music festival in NY, Montreal Festival in Canada, Steamboat Springs Chamber Festival in Colorado, and Athens Music Festival in Greece, Villa Musica and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals in Germany. Kaler appeared on the worlds legendary concert stages, such as the Carnegie Hall of New York, Moscow Conservatory Great Hall, the Albert Hall of London, Berlin Philharmonie Hall, to name a few. She is highly sought out as an artist-teacher, a national and international competition judge and a chamber musician, frequently sharing the stage with today's leading artists.

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Nelson Lee

violin junior and senior

Nelson Lee is first violinist of the Jupiter String Quartet (www.jupiterquartet.com) which has performed extensively throughout North America and abroad. One of the leading ensembles of its generation, the quartet has been heard at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and Sejong Hall in Seoul. In recent years, the quartet has won first prize at the Eighth International Banff String Quartet Competition, Young Concert Artists Competition, and Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. The quartet has been a member of Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society Two program and received the 2008 Avery Fisher Career Grant as well as Chamber Music America's Cleveland Quartet Award in 2007. The quartet is currently in residence at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

As a soloist, Nelson has appeared with the Cleveland Institute Symphony Orchestra, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony, and Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. He also performs regularly with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, a conductorless string orchestra comprised of soloists, chamber musicians, and orchestral musicians from around the country. ECCO (www.eastcoastchamberochestra.com) has been heard to great acclaim at the Kennedy Center, New York's Town Hall, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society among others. The group just released their debut CD on EOne records featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and an arrangement of Geminiani's La Follia by Michi Wiancko. Nelson has had the opportunity to collaborate with such artists as David Shifrin, Joel Krosnick, Paul Katz, James Dunham, Roger Tapping, Michael Tree, Peter Wiley, Ida Kavafian, Wu Han, Gilbert Kalish, Bob McDonald, Jeremy Denk, and Menahem Pressler. He has performed with the Boston Chamber Music Society and has also been heard with the Park City Chamber Music Society and at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival.

An active and devoted teacher, Nelson has given masterclasses at numerous institutions and festivals around the country including the Oberlin Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern University, Boston Conservatory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aspen Music Festival, Madeline Island Music Camp, and Music at Menlo. He also served as a teaching assistant to Donald Weilerstein while attending the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Nelson comes from a family of musicians. His parents are both pianists (his father also a conductor) and his twin sisters Andrea and Alicia play the cello and clarinet. He is married to Denise Djokic, cellist, with whom he collaborates often.

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MingHuan Xu

violin junior and senior

A multi-faceted performer with unique communicative abilities, MingHuan Xu has delighted audiences with her passion, effortless technique, sensitivity and charisma. Her versatility allows her to perform an eclectic mix of musical styles ranging from the standard works to avant-garde contemporary repertoire. She has performed extensively as a concerto soloist, duo-recitalist and chamber musician throughout five continents.

Ms. Xu’s latest recital and chamber music performances have brought her to prominent American venues including Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Her Carnegie Hall debut was featured on Voice of America, a weekly television show viewed by millions of people in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2010 she performed recitals and taught master classes in China: at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Her South American debut in 2006 brought her to the Festival Musica Nova in Brazil and the Festival Encuentros in Argentina. Her numerous performances have included live radio broadcasts on National Public Radio (NPR), WFMT (Chicago) and CBC (Canada) Radio.

Recent festival and concert series appearances also include Chamber Music North (MI), the Colours of Music Festival (ON), Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts (Chicago), Hawaii’s Ebb & Flow Arts Concert Series, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival (CA), the SoundaXis Festival (ON), the X-Avant Festival (ON), and the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival (WA). She has performed with such chamber musicians as Colin Carr, Eugene Drucker, Ilya Kaler, Ani Kavafian, the Pacific String Quartet and the St. Petersburg String Quartet. She also tours extensively and internationally as a part of Duo Diorama (with her husband, pianist Winston Choi) and as a member of Pivot Chamber Soloists.

As a dedicated champion of contemporary music Ms. Xu believes fervently in the importance and relevance of the music of our times. She has closely collaborated with William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Gunther Schuller and Bright Sheng on performances of their music. She was recently awarded a Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America for a new work by Huang Ruo for her to premiere in late 2012 and beyond. She has also commissioned and premiered over 40 works by composers such as Marcos Balter, Burton Beerman, George Flynn, M. William Karlins, Felipe Lara, Jacques Lenot, George Lewis, John Melby, Robert Morris, Robert Pollock, Daniel Weymouth, Amy Williams, Jay Alan Yim, and Mischa Zupko. Her passions involve multi-disciplinary projects, which also include collaborations with dance, electronic media, poetry and visual arts. She is a member of Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, one of the most original and important new music groups active today. Other new music series and groups she has appeared with include Contempo, Eighth Blackbird, MusicNOW and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.

At the age of 18, she made her New York debut as a soloist with the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra, and since then has soloed with orchestras such as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra. Her recent guest concertmaster stints include the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony in Virginia, the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra in Wisconsin and the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra.

At the age of six, Ms. Xu made her recital debut in Beijing and at the age of eleven, she won the 1st Prize at the Beijing Young Artists Competition. Her many competition successes also include being winner of Artists International Presentations Auditions, grand prize winner of the International Young Artist Competition of Midland-Odessa, and finalist of the Concert Artist Guild competition in New York. She was also one of the inaugural recipients of the Banff Centre’s Rolston Fellowships in Music.

Ms. Xu’s studies were at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, the Interlochen Arts Academy, Northwestern University and Stony Brook University. Her principal teachers were Julia Bushkova, Victor Danchenko, Almita Vamos, Pamela Frank and Ani Kavafian. Now an accomplished and devoted teacher, Ms. Xu taught at Grand Valley State University before moving to Chicago, where she is now an Artist-Faculty member at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. She also coaches chamber music for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Xu plays on a 1758 Nicolas Gagliano violin.

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