2019 Sejong Music Competition Judges
Junior and Senior divisions: Elena Abend | Chee Hyeon Choi | Kay Kim
Primary and Elementary divisions: Susan Chou | Eunjin Lee
Junior and Senior divisions: Soh-Hyun Park Altino | Gerardo Ribeiro | Marie Wang
Primary and Elementary divisions: Yerim Lee | Cara Schlecker
Venezuelan born pianist Elena Abend, has performed recitals and chamber concerts as well as toured and recorded with major orchestras of her country. As a recipient of the William Schuman Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music, Ms. Abend received her Bachelor and Master degrees from the Juilliard School. Performances have taken her to venues such as Royal Festival Hall’s Purcell Room and London’s Wigmore Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Academy of Music with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Toulouse Conservatoire, Theatre Luxembourg, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., Chicago Cultural Center, Merkin Concert Hall in New York, the Atlanta Historical Society, the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Teatro Municipal, Teatro Nacional and Teatro Teresa Carren~o in Venezuela. More performances include Ravinia and Marlboro Music Festivals, live broadcasts on Philadelphia’s WFLN, The Dame Myra Hess Concert Series on Chicago’s WFMT and Wisconsin Public Radio at the Chazen Museum in Madison.
An avid chamber music collaborator Ms. Abend has performed with Frankly Music, Present Music, Chamber Music Milwaukee, Yolanda Marculescu Vocal Arts Series, UWM Faculty Artist Series, Milwaukee Musaik, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and with the Fine Arts and Philomusica Quartets. Other performances include “Four Seasons” Series in Berkley, California, “Classical Progressions” at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, and recently at the “Musicales de Montsoreau” in France. Locally she has been heard in recitals at the Polish Center of Milwaukee, UW-Madison, the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green, and as soloist with the Green Bay Symphony, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra.
She has recorded for Albany Records and Avie label, as well as recording and editing projects for Hal Leonard’s G. Schirmer Instrumental Library and Schirmer Performance Piano Editions. Ms. Abend is currently Chair of Piano area at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, faculty at Lakeside Chamber Music Workshop and the Collaborative Piano Institute.
Chee Hyeon Choi is a piano faculty at Bradley University, Vice President of the Illinois Music Teachers Association, and a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. She has appeared at various venues for solo and ensemble concerts. She gave her solo concerto performances with the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra and the Bradley Symphony Orchestra, as well as featured at Krannert Performing Art Center with Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra. She also performed for the Evening of Bach Keyboard Concerti as part of the Iben Arts Series, College Music Society National conference, Candlelight Concert series in Peoria, Duo piano concerts at Illinois Wesleyan University, Music Teachers National Association Group Piano/Pedagogy Forum in Oberlin, 176 Duo Piano recitals in Korea, the Bradley Community Chorus 60th Anniversary Concert, Bradley Symphony Orchestra, and the Excursion Concert Series in Lawrenceville, GA.
Dr. Choi was the adjudicator for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) East Central Division competition and the Federation of Music Clubs. She presented at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, Association for Technology in Music Instruction National conference, Improvisations Symposium in Cedarville University, the College Music Society Great Lakes Chapter, the Korea Pedagogy Conference in Seoul, and the Illinois Music Teachers Association Annual conventions. She has given workshops and masterclasses at Central Michigan University and Midland Music Teachers Association and has been a discussant at the MTNA Group Piano Symposiums. She has been invited to give a presentation at the Music Teachers National Association National Conference in Chicago in March 2020.
Originally from Seoul, Korea, Choi completed her doctoral degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in Piano and Piano Literature. She was a faculty at Millikin University, served as the UIUC Piano Lab Program Coordinator, and has been on the faculty of the Illinois Summer Youth Music camps. Dr. Choi founded the Bradley University Summer Piano Camp in 2014 and has continued to direct the program.
As an active chamber musician, pianist Kay Kim enjoys concertizing domestically and internationally each season. She performed in recitals with the members of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Paris Opera Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Musicians, the recipients of Stradivari Society Award, as well as with the faculties of the Juilliard School, Northwestern University and Indiana University among others. She has been one of the pianists of Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s conductor’s rehearsals for over a decade working with many distinguished conductors including Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Mafred Hoeneck and Stéphane Denève and performed in CSO’s subscription concerts conceived by Pierre Boulez.
Ms. Kim was heard on WFMT radio broadcasts performing in the company’s 40th Anniversary Celebration as well as First Monday Series by Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, the Rush Hour Concert series, Impromptu and Jewel Box Series and has presented recitals and performances in major venues such as Bennett Gordon Hall Series at Ravinia Festival, Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project, Carnegie Weill Hall and the Grant Park Music Festival. She also has appeared in CBS Early Show performing with violinist Itzhak Perlman. As a former member of a musical ambassador group Trio Chicago and Friends, Ms. Kim traveled to over 20 countries presenting a comprehensive array of American music since 2006. Her chamber music performances can be heard in recordings on Summit Records and MSR Classics as well as a number of independent productions.
Ms. Kim teaches accompanying at Northeastern Illinois University. Her previous teaching and staff pianist positions include the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, the Jacob School of Music at Indiana University and the Juilliard School during the academic year and The Perlman Music Program, Music in the Marche in Italy and Alessi Seminar during the summer.
A native of South Korea, Ms. Kim attended Seoul National University for her undergraduate study and University of Michigan for her graduate degrees. She holds a doctoral degree in piano performance from Northwestern University.
Susan Chou was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She immigrated to the United States when she was sixteen and completed her bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at Northwestern University. During her studies at Northwestern, she was greatly inspired by her piano teacher Professor Alan Chow and hence decided to pursue her career in piano. After graduation, she was awarded a full scholarship to study with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she completed her master’s and doctorate degrees. In addition to participating in masterclasses by Yoheved Kaplinsky, Nelita True and Jerome Lowenthal, she has worked with musicians such as Cliff Colnot, Julian Martin, Miriam Fried, Sylvia Wang and Victor Yampolsky.
Dr. Chou has given numerous solo recitals and appeared as a soloist with the Good Samaritan Symphony Orchestra, IU Student Orchestra, IU University Orchestra, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, Symphony of the Mountains, and Taipei Symphony Orchestra. Recently she and Mr. Pressler performed the Mozart Concerto for Two Pianos with the Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra. She enjoys playing collaborative recitals, and some of her partners include Robin Scott, violinist of the Ying Quartet; Andrew Ling, principle violist of Hong Kong Philharmonic; and Min Kyun Kim, concertmaster of the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Between 2010 and 2019, she traveled extensively as an American cultural ambassador to teach and perform with Trio Chicago and Friends, founded by Elliott Golub and Marlou Johnston; Turkey, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Cambodia, Marshall Islands, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Chile and the United Arab Emirates were among the nations toured.
Dr. Chou is a devoted teacher in Chicago Northshore area. She currently serves as Assistant Professor in Music and Coordinator of Piano Studies at North Central College. She also teaches at Loyola University Chicago and Music Institute of Chicago, while maintaining a private piano studio of over 30 young students. Her students have been accepted to prestigious music programs such as Indiana University and Northwestern University, won prizes at Walgreen Concerto Competition and participated in Fischoff National Chamber Competition.
During her free time, Susan enjoys hiking, playing the violin, photography, salsa dancing and spending time with her friends and family.
Eunjin Lee received her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With a strong background in pedagogical studies, Dr. Lee has expanded her research interest to Dalcroze Education and the Suzuki method, studying and presenting at national and international workshops, including the Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in Minnesota, the Yale Graduate Music Symposium and the Illinois State Music Teachers Association’s annual conference. She earned the Dalcroze™ Certificate and is now pursuing Dalcroze™ License. She has been an active office member of the MTNA’s local chapter and serves as a national board member of the Dalcroze Society of America. She taught graduate piano pedagogy courses as the coordinator of the UIUC’s Piano Laboratory Program. She has been invited as a guest lecturer/clinician for piano and Dalcroze group classes to children and adults of all ages in universities and summer festivals, including Illinois Summer Youth Music and PhoenixPhest, Northern Illinois University, Hope College and Andrews University. Her piano students have been winning local and state competitions and accepted to esteemed music programs such as the Peabody Conservatory, the San Franciso Conservatory of Music, the Aspen Music Festival and Brevard Festival.
Active as a soloist and chamber musician, Dr. Lee has performed at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall; at the Krannert Center in Champaign, Illinois; the Nice Conservatoire, France; and at major concerts halls in Korea including Kumho Art Hall and Sejong Center. Featured as a soloist with both the UIUC Symphony and the New Music Ensemble, she also performed as a collaborative pianist with music faculty members at UIUC.
Violinist Soh-Hyun Park Altino is highly regarded as a gifted teacher and a versatile performer of solo and chamber music. Her concert engagements have taken her to Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Korea, Venezuela, and throughout the United States. Praised for her “poise and precision,” she has appeared as soloist with the Memphis Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Jackson Symphony, Peabody Concert Orchestra, Masterworks Festival Orchestra, Sinfonica de Campinas in Campos do Jordão, Festival Virtuosi Orquestra in Recife, and Suwon Philharmonic in Seoul among others. She has collaborated with renowned artists such as Monique Duphil, Oleh Krysa, Laurie Smukler, Suren Bagratuni, Daniel Shapiro, and Jasper de Waal in festivals such as Duxbury Music Festival, Masterworks Festival, Brevard Music Center, and in the Memphis Chamber Music Society concert series.
Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music in 2015, Soh-Hyun served on the faculty at the University of Memphis for fourteen years. During her tenure at Memphis, she frequently performed as a member of the resident ensemble, Ceruti Quartet, and presented recitals and educational programs throughout the U.S. as well as at the National Assembly in Seoul, Korea and Teatro Santa Isabel in Recife, Brazil. The quartet’s recording of the Debussy Quartet released in 2013 was hailed by Gramophone for its “physically emotional power.” As an enthusiastic supporter of new music, she has enjoyed working closely with composers such as Steven Mackey, Margaret Brouwer, James Mobberley, and Kamran Ince, and her CD recording, En Voyage: Music for Violin and Cello, released in 2017, includes a commissioned work by Paul Desenne, which was premiered by Soh-Hyun and her cellist husband, Leonardo Altino.
As a dedicated teacher, Soh-Hyun directed the String Intensive Study Program at Masterworks Festival for eleven summers, taught through international projects such as Nuevo Mundo Academy in Venezuela, Fabrica de Musica and eMasterclass in Brazil, and Festival y Escuela Internacional de Musica in Colombia, and presented violin master classes at universities nationally and internationally. Her experiences and insights gained from overuse injuries as a student have served as one of the major factors that inspire her passion and inquisitiveness for teaching. She is an advocate of continuing education for performers and teachers, and she regularly presents professional development sessions and clinics for violin teachers and their students. While her former students are national competition prizewinners and members of professional orchestras, a great many of them are devoted teachers at colleges and string programs across the country. Soh-Hyun was named the 2018 recipient of the Phillip R. Certain-Gary D. Sandefur Distinguished Faculty Award at UW-Madison for outstanding teaching.
A native of Korea, Soh-Hyun grew up in a musical family and studied with Young-Mi Cho. At age sixteen, she came to the U.S. and studied with Violaine Melançon at the Peabody Institute where she was also given intensive training in chamber music and music theory, and she was a participant at Yellow Barn, Kneisel Hall, Tanglewood, Aspen, and Sarasota Music Festival. Her major chamber music coaches include Anne Epperson and the members of the Peabody Trio and the Juilliard, Concord, Cavani, and Cleveland Quartets. Soh-Hyun completed her bachelor’s, master’s and the doctor of musical arts degrees in violin performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was a student and teaching assistant to Donald Weilerstein. She resides in Madison with her husband Leonardo and son David.
Gerardo Ribeiro has appeared throughout the world as featured soloist with major orchestras including the Philadelphia and Gulbenkian Orchestras, the Montreal, Dallas, Lucerne, Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, Cali and Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestras, the Zagreb, Antwerp and Lisbon Philharmonics, the Taiwan, Beijing, Belgian and Portuguese National Orchestras, the radio orchestras of Paris (O.R.T.F.), Lisbon, Hilversum (Holland) and North Germany (Hannover), and other leading ensembles. With acclaimed recitals at New York City’s most prestigious venues - Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the Metropolitan Museum - Mr. Ribeiro has also appeared at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and is well known in major European, South American and Far Eastern concert halls. Recent performances include the Walton Violin Concerto with the National Orchestra of Portugal in Lisbon, and the Sibelius Concerto with the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra in China.
Also an active chamber musician, he has served as Artistic Director of the International Chamber Music Institute in Munich and has collaborated with distinguished musicians at the Marlboro and Lucerne Music Festivals, as well as with members of the Vermeer Quartet and the Dorian Wind Quintet. Between 2003 and 2008 he toured as a member of The Meadowmount Trio.
Beginning violin studies at age 4, Mr. Ribeiro went on to earn soloist diplomas with honors at both the Porto and Lucerne Conservatories, later attending The Julliard School where he studied with Ivan Galamian, Paul Makanovitzky and Felix Galimir. His numerous awards in prestigious international competitions such as the Paganini and Montreal, include first prizes at the Vanna da Motta in Lisbon, and the Maria Canals in Barcelona.
Mr. Ribeiro records for the EMA and RCA labels, having released several concerto CDs; his RCA recordings include the Brahms Violin Concerto and Double Concerto, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Radio Orchestras of Hannover and Berlin, as well as the violin sonatas of Beethoven and Brahms.
Prior to joining the Northwestern University faculty as Professor of Violin, Mr Ribeiro was Associate Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music. He has served on the faculty of the Meadowmount School of Music since 2004 and is also on the faculties of Midwest Young Artists and the Music Institute of Chicago. He is currently Co-chair of Music Performance and Coordinator of Strings at the Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University Mr. Ribeiro has been decorated by the President of Portugal as Commander of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator.
Canadian violinist Marie Wang is a founding member of the Avalon String Quartet, which has captured top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild and the Munich ARD international competitions. The quartet has been invited to perform at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie & Weill Halls, Alice Tully, 92nd St Y, Herculessaal (Munich),and the Library of Congress, among others. She also has appeared at festivals such as Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, La Jolla, Ravinia, Bath, and Aldeburgh. Marie has collaborated with artists such as Gilbert Kalish, Juilliard and Pacifica Quartets and members of the Emerson Quartet. Her recordings with the quartet can be found on Cedille Records, Albany Records and on Channel Classics.
Ms. Wang received a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from McGill University, (Mauricio Fuks), and a master’s degree in performance from Northern Illinois University, (Mathias Tacke and Shmuel Ashkenasi). She also holds an Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School in Quartet Studies while she served as a teaching assistant to the Juilliard Quartet as a part of the Lisa Arnold Graduate Quartet Residency. Prior to her appointment at NIU, she was an Artist in Residence at Indiana University South Bend.
Yerim Lee, a native of Seoul, South Korea began studying violin at the age of eight and is now a passionate solo, chamber, and orchestral performer. Growing up in Philadelphia, she has performed as a soloist with Temple University Orchestra, Indiana University Orchestra, Northwestern University Philharmonia, and various orchestras in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey regions. She has held concertmaster positions in the Indiana University Orchestras, Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She has been invited to play as a guest musician in orchestras such as Elgin Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and Richmond Symphony.
In addition to orchestra performance, she also enjoys playing in chamber groups. She has collaborated and coached under members of the Pacifica Quartet, Dover Quartet, Ying Quartet, Eric Kim, and Jorja Fleezanis.
Notable teachers include Jaime Laredo, Alexander Kerr, and Desiree Ruhstrat.
She is currently a member at the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Violinist Cara Schlecker is an avid performer and teacher throughout the Chicagoland area. She is a former Member of The Civic Orchestra of Chicago and an alumnae of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and University of Michigan where she studied under St. Louis Symphony Concertmaster, David Halen. In addition to serving as concertmaster and soloist with the Star Gate Orchestra, she has enjoyed playing with the Glendale and Macon Pops orchestras, Chicago Holiday Pops, as well as the Ann Arbor Symphony.
Ms. Schlecker has performed internationally and made her Lincoln Center debut in 2012. She has had the pleasure of performing several times at both the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse and Le Poisson Rouge. Additionally, Ms. Schlecker has performed several chapter recitals on behalf of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In January 2018, The University of Michigan’s Duderstadt Center and Gershwin Initiative released Ms. Schlecker’s video recording of Igor Frolov’s Concert Fantasia on Themes from Gershwin’s Opera Porgy and Bess, op.19. She has appeared on Chicago’s classical station WFMT radio’s “Introductions.” Ms. Schlecker was featured in the PBS special, “A Grand Mercer Christmas” with the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. Additionally, she is a featured artist on a collaborative recording of voice and violin, “Beloved,” with tenor, Christian Ketter, available on iTunes and Amazon. Ms. Schlecker has performed with popular artists such as country-star Jo Dee Messina, The “Ten Tenors” of Broadway, actor/comedian Martin Short, to name a few. She performed on with Rod Stewart in his 2015 National Tour “Another Country.” Most recently, she toured with R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Robert McDuffie, and Chuck Leavell of the Allman Brothers
and Rolling Stones. She has participated in master classes and studied under artists such as: Ruggiero Ricci; Alice Schoenfeld; Shmuel Ashkenasi; Christopher O'Riley; Chee-Yun Kim; Robert McDuffie; Emerson String Quartet; St. Lawrence String Quartet; Brentano String Quartet; Cavani String Quartet and Orion String Quartet among others. She has also been a Fellow at the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, she was also a past participant in the Monticito International Music Festival; Foulger International Music Festival; and the Innsbrook Institute Music Academy & Festival. She has played under the baton of conductors Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Michael Stern, Ken-David Masur, Nicholas Kraemer, among others.
Ms. Schlecker completed her Suzuki Teacher training at The University of Michigan. A former Suzuki student herself, she has a passion for helping students find satisfaction and confidence in music making, as well as enjoyment in the performance of their instrument. Ms. Schlecker was on faculty at the former Sherwood Conservatory at Columbia College is currently on faculty at Triton College.