2023 Sejong Music Competition Judges Profile

2023 Sejong Music Competition Judges

Final Round Judges: Kyung-sun Lee | Timothy Lees | Dmitri Pogorelov
First Round Judges:: Rachel Lee Priday | Lauren Roth

Final Round Judges: Kathlyn Brown | Caloline Hong | David Kalhous
First Round Judges - Senior Division: Samuel Gingher | Meeyoun Park  
First Round Judges - Junior Division: Yoshiko Arahata | Natalie Landowski 
First Round Judges - Elementary Division: Youn Jung Cha | Michael Finlay 

Kyung-sun Lee

violin final round

Korean leading violinist Kyung Sun Lee has captured numerous prizes including Tchaikovsky Competition(1994), Queen Elizabeth Competition(1993), Washington International Competition(1991) and the Montreal International Competition(1991).

After becoming Assistant Professor of Violin at the Oberlin Conservatory in the fall of 2001, then Associate Professor at the University of Houston in the fall of 2006, she has been Professor at Seoul National University since 2009 to 2022. She has taught for two summers at the Aspen Music Festival, and has been invited to play the Seattle and the Marlboro Chamber Music Festivals. Lee has been invited as a faculty at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Heifetz International Institute in 2022. Lee is a former member of the acclaimed KumHo/Asiana String Quartet, with whom she toured worldwide. In recent years she has also been in demand as a judge of violin competitions including the International Tibor Junior Competition in Switzerland, Singapore International Competition and the Johaim International Competition in Hannover, Germany.

Kyung Sun Lee studied at Seoul National University, Peabody Conservatory, and Juilliard. Her teachers have included Sylvia Rosenberg, Robert Mann and Dorothy Delay.

She plays a Joseph Guarnerius violin dating from 1723 and she is the artistic director of Changwon International Chamber Music Festival and Seoul Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

From January 2023 Kyung Sun Lee has been named the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin Studies at Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University.


back to top

Timothy Lees

violin final round

Timothy Lees, violinist, enjoys an exciting and eclectic career. Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2018, Mr. Lees has performed regularly as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. Since his arrival in Cincinnati as Concertmaster in 1998, he has also been appointed as an esteemed member of the violin faculty of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where he serves a vital, dual role as teacher and private coach in preparing students in developing their orchestral audition skills. A member of the Sarasota Festival faculty since 2004, and the Recontres Musicales Internationales des Graves in Bordeaux, France, Mr. Lees has also served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School where he performed as Concertmaster of both the Aspen Chamber Symphony and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.

In his Carnegie Hall, New York debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra his performance of Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben was hailed by Strings Magazine: “the display of egotism is almost redeemed by the soaring melodies and the famous bravura violin solo, played with spectacular virtuosity by concertmaster Timothy Lees.” From Bach to Bartok, Mr. Lees’ flexibility and command of the solo violin repertoire is evident through his numerous solo appearances with the Cincinnati Symphony as well as on many other stages throughout North America. As a recitalist, he has been featured in solo recitals in cities throughout the United States such as Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Diego and at festivals including Sarasota, Spoleto, Sebago-Long Lake, Mainly Mozart Festivals, and in Europe at the Recontres Musicales Internationales des Graves in Bordeaux, France.

An avid and highly sought-after chamber musician, Mr. Lees frequently has collaborated with the world’s most prominent artists including Maxim Vangerov, Jaime Laredo, Joseph Silverstein, Yefim Bronfman, Ida Kavafian, Peter Wiley, among many others. Additionally, he has appeared in performances as guest artist with members of the St. Lawrence, Pacifica, and Jupiter Quartets. Mr. Lees has also been featured regularly in chamber music on well-established series including the Linton Music Series, CCM Faculty Artist Series, Oberlin Conservatory Series, Concert Nova, as well as appearances on Aspen Music Festival Faculty Artists Series, and Spoleto Festival Series. His performances have been broadcast on NPR Performance Today, WFMT (Chicago Public Radio), NHK Radio (Japan), WGUC (Cincinnati Public Radio), KAJX (Aspen Public Radio), (WMEA) Maine Public Radio, and WFSU (Florida Public Radio). Mr. Lees has been recorded on Telarc, Bridge Records, and Fanfare Cincinnati labels.

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Lees received the coveted Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Charles Castleman. Prior to his arrival in Cincinnati, he established himself as a distinguished leader serving as Concertmaster of the internationally renowned Spoleto Festival, the Pittsburgh, New Jersey, and the Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestras. The expertise he has cultivated in his own command of solo, chamber music, and orchestral literature is shared, not only by his addition to violin faculty of CCM, but also through master classes presented nationally and internationally at Universities, Conservatories, and festivals including CCM, Indiana University, Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Beijing Central Conservatory, Sookmyung Women’s University, Yeungnam University, Korea National University of Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, College of Charleston, University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University, Ohio University, Biola University, Cincinnati Young Artists Festival, and many others. Prof. Lees’ versatility in teaching effectiveness is evidenced by a consistent and strong track record of students claiming competition prizes as well as winning positions in major symphony orchestras.

Mr. Lees performs on a J. B. Vuillaume violin c. 1845


back to top

Dmitri Pogorelov

violin final round

Critically acclaimed violinist Dmitri Pogorelov is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, and orchestra leader.

A seasoned orchestral performer, Mr. Pogorelov currently serves as Acting Assistant Concertmaster with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. He has worked under Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez, Sir Mark Elder, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Larry Rachleff, and Esa-Pekka Salonen as Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony’s Civic Orchestra. Dmitri serves as Concertmaster of Lancaster Festival Orchestra (OH), and Associate Concertmaster of the Peninsula Music Festival (WI). He was a member of the Phoenix Symphony violin section until 2019.

An in-demand chamber musician, Mr. Pogorelov has served as First Violinist with the Kontras Quartet. He also performed with members of Vermeer, Avalon, Miami, Amernet, Spektral, and the Fine Arts string quartets, the Lincoln Trio, Eighth Blackbird Ensemble, as well as principal players of the leading American and European orchestras.

As a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra concertmaster Dmitri has performed at the Chicago Symphony Center, the Ravinia Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the National Gallery of Art, Paul Hall (Juilliard School), the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall (New England Conservatory), Yehudi Menuhin Forum (Bern, Switzerland), and has also been featured on CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, WBEZ and WFMT Chicago. Dmitri has collaborated with renowned jazz and bluegrass artists – Branford Marsalis, the Kruger Brothers, and Steve Martin, performing on the main stages of Telluride, Rocky Grass, Merlefest and IBMA festivals.

Dmitri can be heard on recordings of chamber music by Gunther Schuller, Yehudi Wyner, Eric Ewazen, Kevin Volans, Dan Visconti, and Jens Krüger.

Dr. Pogorelov holds degrees in music performance from Northwestern (DMA), DePaul (MM), and Lynn (BM) universities, having studied with Gerardo Ribeiro, Ilya Kaler, Elmar Oliveira, and Sergiu Schwartz.


back to top

Rachel Lee Priday

violin first round

A consistently exciting artist, renowned globally for her spectacular technique, sumptuous sound, deeply probing musicianship, and “irresistible panache” (Chicago Tribune), violinist RACHEL LEE PRIDAY has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, among them the Chicago, Houston, National, Pacific, St. Louis and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, Boston Pops Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Germany’s Staatskapelle Berlin. Her distinguished recital appearances have brought her to eminent venues, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival and Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series, Paris’s Musée du Louvre, Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and Switzerland’s Verbier Festival.

Passionately committed to new music and creating enriching community and global connections, Rachel Lee Priday’s wide-ranging repertoire and multidisciplinary collaborations reflect a deep fascination with literary and cultural narratives. Her work as soloist with the Asia / America New Music Institute promoted cultural exchange between Asia and the Americas, combining premiere performances with educational outreach in the US, China, and Vietnam. She has premiered and commissioned works by composers including Matthew Aucoin, Christopher Cerrone, Gabriella Smith, Timo Andres, Leilehua Lanzilotti, Cristina Spinei, Melia Watras, and Paul Wiancko. In 2022, she premiered a new Violin Concerto, “Kuyén,” written for her by Miguel Farías, which depicts the Moon in Mapuche mythology, with the UC Davis Symphony at the Mondavi Center.

Recent season highlights have included a duo recital with composer/pianist Timo Andres in Seattle and for the Phillips Collection, exploring the through-lines of American twentieth and twenty-first century violin and piano works, and a third tour of South Africa, where she appeared in recital and performed the José White Lafitte Concerto with the Johannesburg and Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonics. Upcoming and recent concerto engagements include the Portland Symphony, Springfield (MO) Symphony, Pensacola Symphony, Symphony San Jose, South Carolina Philharmonic, and Bangor Symphony.

Since making her orchestral debut at the Aspen Music Festival in 1997, Rachel has performed with numerous orchestras across the United States, including the Colorado Symphony, Alabama, Knoxville, Rockford, Annapolis, and New York Youth Symphonies. In Europe and in Asia, she has appeared at the Moritzburg Festival in Germany and with orchestras in Graz, Austria, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea, where she performed with the KBS Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic and Russian State Symphony Orchestra on tour. She has toured South Africa extensively, and has given recitals in the United Kingdom at the Universities of Birmingham and Cambridge.

Rachel Lee Priday began her violin studies at the age of four in Chicago, after she saw the sheep puppet Lamb Chop pretend to play the violin in “Lamb Chop’s Play-Along.” Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York City to study with the iconic pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School. Her teachers and mentors include Itzhak Perlman, Catherine Cho, Won-Bin Yim, Robert Mann, and Miriam Fried. She holds a B.A. degree in English from Harvard University and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory. Since 2019, she serves on the faculty of University of Washington School of Music in Seattle as Assistant Professor of Violin.

Rachel Lee Priday has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Strad, Los Angeles Times and Family Circle. Her performances have been broadcast on major media outlets in the United States, Germany, Korea, South Africa and Brazil, including a televised concert in Rio de Janeiro, numerous appearances on Chicago’s WFMT and American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” She has also been featured on BBC Radio 3, the Disney Channel, “Fiddling for the Future” and “American Masters” on PBS, and the Grammy Awards. She performs on a Giuseppe Guarneri violin (“filius Andreae”).


back to top

Lauren Roth

violin first round

Lauren Rustad Roth is concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona. Prior to these positions, she was concertmaster of the Canton Symphony. Ms. Roth earned a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of William Preucil, and she was accepted into his prestigious Concertmaster Academy. She was a substitute with The Cleveland Orchestra and a member of the Cleveland Pops orchestra.

A native of Seattle, Ms. Roth received a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian studies from the University of Washington. She was a student of Professor Ron Patterson. During that time, she served as concertmaster of the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, Thalia Symphony, and Marrowstone Festival Orchestra. She also attended the Tanglewood Music Center and received the Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize.

Ms. Roth has performed as a soloist and concertmaster with orchestras around the world. Highlights include performing the Mendelssohn and Sibelius violin concertos in the Czech Republic, solo engagements with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and guest concertmaster appearances with the Jacksonville Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic. She enjoys performing with the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, a gathering of concertmasters and principal players from around the country. A dedicated teacher, Ms. Roth supports the violin studio at the University of Arizona giving instruction in performance, pedagogy, and orchestral repertoire. She has spent summers as a faculty member of the Prague Summer Nights Festival, the Marrowstone Music Festival, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Camp, and Carnegie Hall’s New York Orchestra Seminar program. In the summer of 2021, she was a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.

Outside of music, Ms. Roth enjoys playing and watching sports, spending time with her nieces and nephews, and she recently completed her first marathon.


back to top

Kathryn Brown

piano final round

Kathryn Brown has performed around the globe as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. She is widely hailed for her interpretations from Mozart to Gershwin, as well as her premieres of the New Music of today. She gave her New York Recital Debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and has also appeared in concert at New York’s 92nd Street Y. She has been featured on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, Cleveland’s Severance Hall as well as the German Embassy, the Philips Collection, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. International highlights include concerts at Prague’s Rudolfinum Hall, the University of London, and the National Theatre in Ghana, Africa. She has appeared on Columbia Artists’ Community Concert Series and performed an extensive tour of Sweden, Africa and Estonia as winner of the United States Information Agency (USIA) Artistic Ambassadour Program. A recipient of the Darius Milhaud Prize and Louis Sudler Prize for the Arts, Kathryn Brown is an advocate of contemporary music and has recorded and premiered works by Gian-Carlo Menotti, Keith Fitch, David Tcimpidis, Margaret Brouwer, Michael Hersch and Matthias Pinscher.

Kathryn Brown has performed extensively as a chamber musician. Pianist and cofounder of the Myriad Chamber Players, (a seventeen-member ensemble comprised of musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra and international soloists), Ms. Brown’s chamber music credits also include performances at the Marlboro Music Festival in collaborations with members of the Guarneri String Quartet and Beaux Arts Trio. She has also performed with the Cavani String Quartet, members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Players and The Verdehr Trio. She was featured with Dmitri Ashkenazy on Ravinia’s Rising Stars series and has collaborated with many musicians from the world’s leading orchestras. Brown also performed at Carnegie Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra as orchestral keyboardist under the baton of Christoph von Dohnanyi. She has been featured on the British Broadcasting Network, the PBS Artistry of... series, Chicago’s WFMT Radio,and NPR’s Performance Today. Brown’s discography includes releases on the Telarc, New World, Albany and Crystal labels. An accomplished singer and recitalist, Kathryn Brown’s performance highlights include premieres at Severance Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as feature roles at the Aspen Music Festival and Tanglewood Music Center.

Kathryn Brown currently serves as Head of the Keyboard Division at The Cleveland Institute of Music.


back to top

Caloline Hong

piano final round

Caroline Hong, professor of piano, and executive and artistic director of the Franz Liszt (U.S.) International Piano Festival and Competition (hosted by The Ohio State University School of Music), received her training from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (BM, scholarship student, performance honors), The Juilliard School (MM), and Indiana University (DM) where she also served as an associate instructor for theory and secondary piano. She has served on faculty for the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Piano Festival, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Summer Piano Academy, Vianden International Festival and School (Luxembourg), Longwood University, and was the first female faculty member at the Piano at Peabody Roads Scholar summer program (2005). She has served as a jury member for Mid Atlantic Artists USArtists International, Aarhus International Piano Competition (Denmark), Pianale International Piano Academy and Competition, Los Angeles International Liszt Piano Competition, Bartok-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition (U.S.), Princeton Symphony Orchestra International Piano Competition, and International Young Artists Concerto (of which she is currently on the Jury Alumni Board). She has appeared as soloist with the Utah Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Indiana University Philharmonic, West Texas Symphony, as well as Chicago Civic Orchestra, among others. Her teachers include Martin Canin, Jerome Lowenthal, Sergei Babayan, Dmitrii Paperno, Ann Schein, Karen Shaw, M. Deitzer and Fernando Laires; and Claude Frank, John Browning, Leon Fleisher, Gyorgy Sebok, and Menahem Pressler as master class teachers. Her first teacher, with whom she began study of piano at age two, was her mother.

Hailed for her “expressive and powerful playing,” “formidable technique,” as well as her “keen sense of lyricism and the classical style,” Korean-American pianist Caroline Hong continues to flourish in her career as an internationally active soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, master class teacher, lecturer, adjudicator and recording artist. Pulitzer Prize and Academy award-winning composer John Corigliano referred to her as “one of the greatest pianists I have ever heard” after a performance of his Etude Fantasy (1976). Critics wrote that it was “breathtaking” and “hard to imagine a better performance.” Favorably reviewed by American Record Guide, she has recorded for Mark Records and Fleur de Son, further establishing herself as an eloquent interpreter of contemporary piano music. As a chamber musician, she has performed with many fine artist groups including the Vermeer String Quartet and the Dorian Wind Quintet, and toured extensively with the late Charles Wetherbee as Duo Viardot under management with Great Lakes Performing Artists Associates. Currently, Hong is listed on the artist roster of Price Attractions.

Caroline Hong made her debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall as a winner of the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition. She is a Distinguished Performer of the Palm Beach International Piano Competition, Winner of the Society of American Musicians, the Bach Festival of Southern California, Chicago Civic Orchestra Soloist Competition, and semifinalist in UNISA International Piano Competition and Concert Artists Guild. She was a contestant at numerous other international competitions including the Van Cliburn International Audition, Robert Casadesus, William Kapell, American Pianists Association. She been featured in Symphony Center under the baton of the late Michael Morgan and numerous radio broadcasts worldwide including at the Sergei Babayan International Piano Academy, Robert Sherman’s “Young Artists Showcase” (New York Times Radio), and South Afrikaans radio. She is a Steinway Artist, a 2022–2023 recipient of the Steinway Top Teacher Award, serves as president of the American Liszt Society Ohio Chapter, and is on the Board of Directors of the American Liszt Society. Other professional affiliations include the Columbus Symphony Orchestra where she holds the Reinberger Chair.


back to top

David Kalhous

piano final round

Pianist David Kalhous has gained recognition and critical acclaim in the United States and Europe for his wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous programming spanning more than three centuries. He has appeared as a soloist with Prague Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic, and Chamber Philharmonia Pardubice. As a recitalist and a chamber musician, he performed to critical acclaim at the Prague Spring Festival, Gilmore Keyboard Festival, Krumlov Festival, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Music Series, and Czech Radio's Live Rising Stars Series.

In New York City, he appears at Bargemusic, Symphony Center, Spectrum and Czech Center NYC; in Chicago, at PianoForte Foundation, Ganz Hall and Constellation.

David Kalhous regularly performs, lectures, and teaches masterclasses at leading universities and conservatories around the world, and his interest in new music has resulted in collaboration with many composers who have dedicated works to him. He has performed with Fonema Consort in Chicago and Konvergence Ensemble in Prague. David Kalhous has appeared on Czech Radio and Television, on WFMT Chicago, and has written, produced, and hosted programs devoted to piano music for Prague’s Classic FM Radio. His recordings of can be heard on the Neos and ArcoDiva labels.

David Kalhous holds a doctorate from Northwestern University, where he studied with Ursula Oppens. He attended Prague Conservatoire, Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Rubin Academy of Music at Tel-Aviv University and Yale University, and worked with pianists Jaroslav Čermák, Paul Badura Skoda, Emil Leichner, Victor Derevianko, David Northington, and Peter Frankl. He also worked with Jerome Lowenthal at the Music Academy of the West.

David Kalhous is an Associate Professor of Piano at Florida State University College of Music. He is the Artistic Director of the annual Prague Piano Festival. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York City. For more information, please visit davidkalhous.com and praguepiano.org.


back to top

Samuel Gingher

piano senior first round

Dr. Samuel Gingher currently serves as Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy at East Carolina University, with previous faculty appointments at Northern Arizona University, Millikin University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bradley University. His research interests include classical piano improvisation pedagogy and the discovery and performance of rare masterworks. Dr. Gingher’s world-premiere recordings of piano trios by Carl Czerny (with Sun-Young Shin and Benjamin Hayek) and four-hand piano fantasies (with Pei-I Wang) can be heard on the Naxos label.

Dr. Gingher has been the winner of several competitions and recipient of many awards, including the Krannert Debut Artist Award, first prize in Brevard Music Festival’s International Solo Piano Competition, first prize in WVU’s Intersection between Jazz and Classical solo piano festival competition, the 21st Century Piano Commission Competition at UIUC, and concerto competition winner at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra Young Artist’s concerto competition in Georgia, to highlight a few. He has performed and taught in piano and chamber music festivals in North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, California, Arizona, West Virginia, Austria and Switzerland, and has played in a variety of new music, chamber and jazz groups. Dr. Gingher is an active member of MTNA and has served as a clinician and adjudicator for ISMTA conferences in Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico and North Carolina.

Dr. Gingher has additional experience as a composer, arranger and free-lance audio engineer, having served as producer for albums on the Naxos, Centaur, Albany and Pacific Media labels. Sam holds a DMA in Piano Performance and Literature, MM in Piano Pedagogy and MM in Piano Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and BM in Piano Performance from UNC-Chapel Hill. His former piano teachers include Timothy Ehlen, Thomas Otten, Edmund Paolantonio and Constance Kotis.


back to top

Meeyoun Park

piano senior first round

Pianist Meeyoun Park has received critical acclaim throughout the United States and abroad as both a soloist and collaborator, having performed in significant venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center. A highly sought-after collaborative pianist, her musical versatility has led to associations with the Korean National Opera Company, the Indiana University Opera Theater, the Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition, as well as many internationally known artists. As a duo partner with her husband, pianist Matthew Gianforte, Park has been a guest performer at festivals, artist series, conferences, and at universities across the country, and in 2019, the duo made a concert tour of eastern China.

A native of Seoul, Korea, Meeyoun Park began her studies with Yunghae Chun, one of the first women in Korea to earn a doctoral degree in piano. She later attended Yonsei University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in piano performance under the tutelage of Bong-Ae Shin and Sung Yup Hwang, and continued her studies with Karen Shaw at Indiana University, where she earned the Master of Music, Performer Diploma, and Doctor of Music degrees in piano performance.

Dr. Park currently serves as Professor of Piano at Murray State University in Kentucky, where she teaches applied and class piano, collaborative piano, and collaborates with faculty and students in numerous recitals per semester. Prior to her appointment at Murray State, Dr. Park was a staff accompanist at the Oberlin Conservatory and DePauw University and served as an Associate Instructor at Indiana University. Since 2017, Dr. Park has been on the faculty of the prestigious Indiana University Summer Piano Academy, one of the nation’s leading summer programs for pre-college pianists. She regularly serves as a master class clinician and guest adjudicator in competitions across the country.


back to top

Yoshiko Arahata

piano junior first round

Praised for “possess[ing] an exacting facility at the keyboard, playing with a vibrancy not often heard…” (Rochester CITY Newspaper), Yoshiko Arahata enjoys a multifaceted musical career as a pianist, collaborative musician, educator, and composer. Top prize winner of national and international competitions including Bradshaw & Buono and Los Angeles Liszt, her upcoming performances include a solo performance at the Carnegie Hall. Arahata has performed solo and collaborative music at AmiCa Associazione musicale internazionale del Calatino (Italy), Amalfi International Piano Festival (Italy), Gijon International Piano Festival (Spain), International Piano Academy Moulin d’Andé (France), Ritos Project (Greece), Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Los Angeles), Preston Bradley Hall (Chicago), Roppongi Concert Hall (Japan), and Hong Kong Cultural Centre (Hong Kong). Her concerto appearances span from traditional works by Bach and Beethoven to contemporary ensembles with featured piano parts by Wolfgang Rihm, György Ligeti, Steve Reich, and Aaron Jay Kernis.

A sought-after collaborative and chamber musician, Arahata has performed with numerous instrumentalists and vocalists, including renowned violinist Charles Castleman, musicians from Toronto, Pittsburgh, and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras, and artists at the Garth Newel Chamber Music Festival. Through the LuminArts Cultural Grant, she presented “Music after 2000” tour featuring piano-percussion pieces with Joshua Graham. Her trio residency in Texas enabled her to present recitals and workshops in concert halls, schools, and even a prison. Additionally, she has appeared frequently on k-Mozart 105.1FM and WXXI Classical 91.5 FM.

Arahata actively performs contemporary and underrepresented music, improvises, and composes in a variety of styles and mediums, including frequent collaborations with dancers. Most recently, her composition for Odyssea, a dance-on-film in collaboration with QuickSilver Dance was premiered at the historic Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. She has presented her research at the International Society for Improvised Music Conference, NYSMTA/MTNA Symposium, Conero Piano Pedagogy Conference, and KU Asian Classical Music Initiatives Conference.

Currently, Arahata is Visiting Assistant Professor of Music (Chamber and Collaborative Music) at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She also serves on the Creative Music Making committee of the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy and is an active master class teacher and competition adjudicator. She has held diverse teaching, coaching, and ensemble directing positions at Nazareth College, SUNY Geneseo, Alfred University, Hochstein School of Music, and Eastman School of Music, where she maintained a full studio for both collegiate and community (ECMS) divisions and received the Excellence in Teaching Assistant Award. Arahata holds degrees in Piano Performance at Eastman School of Music (B.M., D.M.A.) and Northwestern University (M.M.), where she studied with Barry Snyder, Alan Chow, Enrico Elisi, and Dariusz Terefenko.


back to top

Natalie Landowski

piano Junior first round

Natalie Landowski, D.M.A., is currently the Assistant Professor of Piano and Keyboard Area Coordinator at Western Illinois University (WIU). She holds the B.M. (University of California, Irvine), M.M. (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) and D.M.A. (University of Iowa) degrees, and her primary teachers include Ksenia Nosikova, Alan Huckleberry, Reid Alexander, William Heiles and Lorna Griffitt.

Prior to WIU, she served on the piano faculty at Grand View University, the University of Iowa's Pre-College Piano Conservatory, and the Nancy Cree Keyboard Learning Centers (Coralville, IA). She coordinated piano youth festivals at Grand View University and Western Illinois University, and has taught at the Illinois Summer Youth Music, and University of Iowa’s Piano Youth festivals for many years. She also adjudicates state and district-level piano competitions in Iowa and Illinois, and gave master classes at universities throughout southern California, Illinois and Wisconsin. Students from Landowski's studio at WIU have been winners and finalists in the annual WIU Concerto/ Aria competition, are currently studying in doctoral music programs, and are successful piano teachers.

An active performer, Landowski has presented solo and chamber ensemble performances at WIU, University of Iowa's Piano Sundays and Steinway Extravaganza series, and at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Upper Bay Philharmonic Society, and Irvine City Hall, as well as other venues. She attended music festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, and played in master classes given by notable artists such as Gary Graffman, Menahem Pressler, Eduardo Delgado, Kenneth Drake and Edward Parmentier.

She frequently collaborates and tours with musicologist Marian Wilson Kimber, author of The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (Univ. of Illinois Press, 2017), as Duo Red Vespa, reviving the lost art form of musical readings. They received a subvention award from the Society of American Music and grant from the University of Iowa to make a professional recording in 2021, and were featured artists for Utah State University’s, “Women, Surrealism and Abstraction” Museum of Art series in 2022. Additionally, Landowski has been involved in other projects that include presenting pedagogy workshops and lecture recitals at several regional conferences for the College Music Society, University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s 2018 Baroque Festival, 2019 MMTA convention, and 2022 ISMTA conference.


back to top

Youn Jung Cha

piano elementary first round

Younjung Cha is currently a Piano Faculty member at Cleveland Institute of Music Academy and a Piano Faculty/Coordinator of Group Piano at Case Western Reserve University. Previously, Younjung served as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Akron’s School of Music. Younjung also worked at Youngstown State University since 2021 as a member of the Piano Faculty. She taught Class Piano and served as the Interim Coordinator of Class Piano in Fall 2022. Younjung also served as a Piano Faculty Member at Saint Ambrose University from 2014 – 2021.

Her scholarly research encompasses works of German composers, particularly those of Brahms and Edward Marxsen (composition and piano teacher of Brahms). This research drives her teaching practices and she strives to inspire students to understand both composition style and piano technique of 19 th century composers.

Younjung has performed numerous concerts in the United States and South Korea to critical acclaim. She performed for the New Music tours, visiting schools including the University of Cincinnati, Indiana University / Jacobs School of Music, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri–Kansas City, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Younjung maintains an active performance schedule and was recently invited to perform in the Dame Myra Hess Afternoon Concert Series at the Chicago Cultural Center with Yun-Ting Lee, Violinist from the Cleveland Orchestra. She completed her Masters degree in Piano Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music and completed her Doctoral degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa.


back to top

Michael Finlay

piano elementary first round

Dr. Michael Finlay, an acclaimed concert pianist and chamber musician based in Chicago, is well-known for his mentorship of emerging pianists, particularly in the realm of piano technique and injury prevention. He travels globally to deliver lectures and masterclasses on these topics. Recent lecture topics include "Forearm Anatomy for Pianists," "Practicing with Arm Impulses: 3 Approaches," and "Comparing Taubman, Russian, and Durand Approaches to Piano Technique." This season, he has been invited to present at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapman University, and the 2024 International Seminar on Piano Pedagogy in Vilnius, Lithuania, among others.

Current performing projects include a video recording of the complete Beethoven violin sonata cycle with Denver-based violinist Byron Hitchcock and an all-Chopin album featuring the second and third piano sonatas and assorted shorter works, for release in 2023. He maintains an active performing schedule with recent performances in Italy, Detroit, Austin, San Antonio, Montreal, Toronto, Denver, and Atlanta. His performances have been broadcast on classical radio stations in Chicago, Austin, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Montreal.


back to top