Introducing Faculty of 2018
- Peter Takacs
Hailed by the New York Times as “a marvelous pianist,” Peter Takács has performed widely, receiving critical and audience acclaim for his penetrating and communicative musical interpretations. Takács was born in Bucharest, Romania, and started his musical studies before his fourth birthday. After his debut recital at age 7, he was a frequent recitalist in his native city until his parents’ request for immigration to the West, at which point all his studies and performances were banned. He continued studying clandestinely with his piano teacher until his family was finally allowed to immigrate to France, where, at age 14, he was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris.
Upon Takács arrival in the United States, his outstanding musical talents continued to be recognized with full scholarships to Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, and a three-year fellowship for doctoral studies at the Peabody Conservatory, where he completed his artistic training with renowned pianist Leon Fleisher.
Takács has received numerous prizes and awards for his performances, including first prize in the William Kapell International Competition, the C.D. Jackson Award for Excellence in Chamber Music at the Tanglewood Music Center, and a solo recitalist grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His performances have been hailed by audiences and the press for their penetrating intellectual insight as well as for their emotional urgency and communicativeness.
Takács has performed as guest soloist with major orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, as well as at important summer festivals such as Tanglewood, Music Mountain, Chautauqua Institution, ARIA International, Schlern Music Festival in the Italian Alps, Tel Hai International Master Classes in Israel, and Sweden’s Helsingborg Festival. Since 2008, he has been a member of the faculty at the Montecito Summer Music Festival in Santa Barbara, California. He has performed and recorded the cycle of 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, which were released on the Cambria label to critical acclaim in 2011.
Takács’ success as a teacher is attested to by the accomplishments of his students, who have won top prizes in competitions in the United States, Canada, Europe, and South Africa. They have been accepted at major graduate schools such as the Curtis Institute, Juilliard School, and Peabody Conservatory, among many others. Takács has given master classes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has been a jury member at prestigious national and international competitions such as the San Antonio International Keyboard Competition, the Canadian National Competition, the Cleveland International Piano Competition, and the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. He Takács has taught piano at Oberlin since 1976.
- Pawel Checinski
Born in Lodz, Poland, Pawel Checinski (Pah-vel Hen-chin-ski) began piano studies at the age of six. He received the Master of Arts degree with honors from the Music Academy in Warsaw. In l971, Mr. Checinski was awarded a Fulbright Grant by the U.S. Department of State to continue his studies at The Juilliard School where he earned both a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He also studied with Leon Fleisher and Aube Tzerko. For several years he worked extensively under the guidance of his mentor, the legendary Claudio Arrau.
Mr. Checinski has been successful in numerous international competitions. He has been a prize winner and has received special awards in competitions in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Australia, the United States, and Brazil. He has been praised for his incisive interpretations of contemporary Polish music, particularly that of Karol Szymanowski, for which he received the Szymanowski Medal from Poland.
Pawel Checinski made his first major appearance outside of Poland at the Moscow Conservatory. His reputation as an outstanding and highly original interpreter of the music of Chopin secured his premiere performance in the West, which took place at the Wigmore Hall in London, England. His U.S. debut occurred at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York, which led to performances in places such as Lincoln Center in New York, Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre and Orchestra Hall.
An influential teacher, Mr. Checinski’s teaching history includes positions at the Pennsylvania State University, the University of British Columbia, Columbia College (SC), and Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (Artist-in-Residence). He has conducted master classes in the United States, Poland, Canada, and across Asia.
Pawel Checinski has frequently performed recitals devoted entirely to the music of one composer. These recitals presented the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Ravel, Scriabin, Szymanowski, and Prokofiev. He has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras. His repertoire with orchestra includes Beethoven’s five piano concerti, all of Chopin’s works for piano and orchestra, Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Szymanowski’s Symphonie Concertante, and other concerti of many composers.
In the spring of 2017, Mr. Checinski appeared at the University of Chicago in a performance of the Grazyna Bacewicz Piano Quintet as part of the “Contempo” series. He also recently performed an all Chopin recital in Seatle and a solo concert in Philadelphia.
Mr. Checinski’s extensive performing career has spanned five continents including the countries of Poland, Hungary, England, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Soviet Union, Brazil, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, the Republic of China, Canada, and the United States. This international exposure has afforded him with what he considers to be the invaluable opportunity of communicating with people of diverse national and cultural backgrounds through his music.
Pawel Checinski is a Steinway Artist.
- Patrick Lechner
Austrian Pianist Patrick Lechner studied in Salzburg, Munich and Vienna. Among his teachers were Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Thomas Böckheler and Awadagin Pratt. He holds a Doctoral degree from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he received a full scholarship. He worked extensively with Zoltan Kocsis, Mikhail Voskressensky, Emanuel Ax, Michel Béroff, Philippe Entremont, Richard Goode and Peter Feuchtwanger, and participated in the selective International Piano Academy of Sergei Babayan in Cleveland and the Beethoven-masterclass of the Wilhelm-Kempff-Stiftung in Positano with John O’ Conor.
He is a prize winner in several international competitions, the Joseph-Dichler Competition in
Vienna/Austria, the Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford/USA, the Münchner Klavierpodium in Munich/Germany, the Concerto Competition in Cincinnati/USA. In addition, he won the Bösendorfer Scholarship of the Austrian Music Universities and the “Great Steinway Prize” in Munich.
Patrick Lechner frequently concertizes throughout Europe, the USA, Korea and China. He collaborated with prominent musicians, such as the conductors Martin Wettges, Maxim Heller, Aik Khai Pung, the violinists Kai Gleusteen, Ekatherina Frolova (Vienna Philharmonic), Korbinian Altenberger (concertmaster of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), the Cellist Vladan Koci and the Tenor Erkan Aki.
Worldwide performance venues include Alte Kongresshalle Munich, Laeisz Hall Hamburg, Nikolaisaal Potsdam, Passionskirche Berlin, Steinway-Haus Munich, Great City Hall Innsbruck, Gasteig Philharmonie Munich, St.Martin-in-the-Fields London, Great Hall Mozarteum Salzburg, Große LMU-Aula München, Austrian National Library Vienna, Ehrbar Hall Vienna, Corbett Auditorium Cincinnati, Citizen Hall Daegu, Suseong ArtPia Daegu, Kumho Art Hall Seoul, Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall, Guotai Art Center Chongqing, Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, etc. He also appeared at major Music festivals like the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Pianopalooza Cincinnati, Münchner Klavier-Festival and others. His performances were broadcast by major Radio and TV stations (ORF Austria, Hunan TV China).
Lechner is a sought-after pedagogue and was appointed professor at the Tyrolean State Conservatory, the Yeungnam University in South Korea, Hunan First Normal University and Chengdu University in China. His students won several top awards at the competitions “Jugend musiziert” and “Prima la musica” in Austria and Germany, and continue their studies at prestigious institutes such as the Juilliard School in New York and the University Mozarteum Salzburg.
Patrick Lechner regularly holds master classes in Europe and Asia, among them at the music festival „Allegro Vivo“ and the International piano festival “Young Pianists Worldwide” in Vienna. He is in high demand as a jury member in competitions worldwide, often for the major German competition „Jugend musiziert“, for the Melbourne International Youth Competition, the Brahms International Piano Competition, the preliminaries for the “Rome International Piano Competition”. Besides a full concert and teaching schedule Patrick Lechner currently serves as president of EPTA China (European Piano Teachers Association, China branch) and artistic director of the annual Chengdu International Music Week.
- Cheng Wai
Graduating early from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, she later obtained a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music. At Yale University, she obtained her master’s degree and artist diploma and finished with her doctoral degree from New York State University at Stony Brook. Her principal teachers include Gilbert Kalish, Claude Frank, Seymour Lipkin, John Winther, Gabriel Kwok and Ling Yuan.
From the concert halls of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center in the U.S.A. to the National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing Concert Hall, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Harbin Grand Theatre, and Hong Kong Cultural Centre in China and more, Dr. Cheng Wai’s music travels beyond borders and has echoed all around the world, sharing her message of cultural harmony and self-empowerment.
As one of Hong Kong’s most versatile and renowned pianists, she is active both as soloist and chamber musician. She has collaborated with numerous distinguished artists, including violinists: Lu Si-qing, Li Chuan-yun, Jue Yao, and Mira Wang Zheng-rong; clarinettiste: Florent Héau; cellist Wang Jian and Chu Yi- bing; singers such as Wai Song (tenor), Huang Ying and Ke Luwa (sopranos), Zhang Qiu Lin and Gordon Feng (altos); and conductors: Augustin Dumay, Gustave Meier, Lawrence Smith, Samuel Wong, Yip Wing-sie, Zheng Xiao Ying, Mak Ka-lok, Hu Yong Yan, Yan Hui Chang etc. to name a few. She is also the founding member of the Metropolitan Trio and JW Piano Duo, further uniting the classical musicians’ community as they introduce a new adaptation of classical music to the new century together.
Dr. Cheng Wai is the first Hong Kong pianist to perform in the Harbin Grand Theatre and one of the special guest pianists in the 2016 project, Huaxia Qinying, in China. She has been invited to be part of the faculty of the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy the summer of 2015, as well as at the Vianden International chamber Music Festival that following August. In addition, she is also a frequent abjudicator in numerous local and international competitions.
Today, Dr. Cheng Wai is the founder of the Cheng Wai Piano Institute and the chairlady of the Central Conservatory of Music (HK) Foundation, and teaches at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Having recently finished her 2017 “Dessiner la Musique, Cheng Wai Piano Recital China Tour” to celebrate the 20 th anniversary of Hong Kong SAR’s establishment, Dr. Cheng Wai continues to play the duet of the East and West, bringing classical music back to life, and inspiring its new generation as she shares her music and story.
- Aviram Reichert
Aviram Reichert – acclaimed for his deeply intelligent interpretations, phenomenal technique and ravishing tone – won the Bronze Medal at the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1997, after having won several major competitions in the Far East, France and Germany. Today, Reichert is a frequent soloist with the leading orchestras in his native country, Israel, including the Israel Philharmonic, Haifa Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony. His prize-winning participation in competitions in Japan and Korea brought him numerous concert engagements in the Far East where he has been earning immense applause for 15 years, performing with the Tokyo Symphony, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the NHK Symphony, the Korean Symphony orchestra, and the Daegu Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the National Symphony of the Dominican Republic, the major orchestras in South Africa, and numerous orchestras in the United States. Conductors he has worked with include the late Sergiu Commissiona, James Conlon, Peter Bay, James De Priest, Leslie Dunner, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, David Lockington, Ken-ichiro Kobayashi, Emmanuel Krivine, Meir Minsky, Leon Botstein, Kevin Rhodes, Barry Wordsworth, Guillermo Figueroa, Michele Carulli, and Kim Daejim.
Aviram’s past season includes performances of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the Tacoma Symphony, and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on Theme of Paganini with the Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra. After a performance of Manuel de Falla’s evocative Nights in the Gardens of Spain with the Grand Rapids Symphony under the baton of David Lockington, Reichert was described as “a big player with all the tension of a coiled spring suddenly unsprung….he has heft and he has poetry.” He also performed recently as guest pianist with New York’s renowned Sejong Soloists, toured with the celebrated Korean cellist,Young Hoon Song, playing the two Brahms Cello Sonatas, and was the soloist in Beethoven’s Concerto No.3 and the Gershwin Concerto in F at the prestigious Seoul Arts Center. In July 2011, Aviram once again took part in the chamber music program at Durango’s Music in the Mountains festival, where he was resident pianist for eight years, and played Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra. In October 2011, Aviram was a guest artist of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center’s JAAMM Festival (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music) in a recital at Denver’s Newman Center performing Beethoven Sonatas and the Brahms Piano Quintet with the Colorado
In recital, Reichert has performed throughout the United States, Israel, South Africa, the Far East and in Europe, where an appearance at the Herkules-Saal in Munich elicited an enthusiastic ovation and high critical praise. Festival performances include the Ruhr and Epinal Music Festivals, Tokyo Summer Festival, Bear Valley, CA, Durango and Steamboat Springs, CO, Ravinia Festival, the Fontana and the Gilmore Keyboard Festivals. A fine chamber musician, he has collaborated with artists such as Anne Akiko Meyers, Maya Beiser, Guy Braunstein, Yuri Gandelsman, Vadim Gluzman, Dylana Jenson, Bill Purcell and Philippe Quint.
Reichert can be heard on a Harmonia Mundi CD featuring highlights of his prize-winning solo performance at the Van Cliburn Competition, a Jerusalem Music Center label (JMC) featuring two Schubert Sonatas, and Mozart concerti with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra under the baton of Mischa Semanitzky. He has recorded Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for Piano and Brass quintet with the Spectrum Brass Quintet, released on CD in 2009.
In addition to his busy performing career, Reichert is a sought-after teacher who is frequently invited to conduct master-classes in Japan, Korea, South Africa, Israel and the United States. From 2001-2008 he held the positions of Associate Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. He is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Seoul National University, College of Music.
Aviram Reichert, a Steinway artist, studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv with Professor Arie Vardi.
- Phoenix Park-Kim
Phoenix Park-Kim is an active soloist and avid chamber musician whose performances have taken her throughout the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Spain, and Russia. She has won prizes at national and international competitions including first place at the Miami Concerto Competition (Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43), Jefferson City Concerto Competition (Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 21), Kansas City Philharmonia Concerto Competition (Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”), and was a finalist at the Liszt-Garrison International Piano Competition. She has been featured as a soloist with the Korean Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra, Atlantida Symphony Orchestra (Spain), and the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra among others.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Phoenix began playing the piano at the age of five and gave her first public performance at seven years old. She graduated from Yonsei University in Seoul, with a B.M. in piano performance and a B.A. in English Language and Literature. She completed her graduate work at Miami University (M.M.) and at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Conservatory of Music (D.M.A.) under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Weirich and served as his teaching assistant. She has given performances in various music festivals such as the Aspen Summer Music Festival, Piano Texas, ARIA International Summer Academy, Summer Music School in Siena, Italy, and Wiener Meisterkurse in Vienna Austria. She is dedicated to providing more exposure to musical compositions that are less known. In this endeavor, she was awarded the Lilly research grant and also received special congressional recognition by U.S. Rep. Karen Bass. She has been heard on public radio in Indianapolis, IN, Toledo, OH, Ann Arbor, MI, Urbana, IL, Richmond, VA, Princeton, NJ, Madrid, Spain and Ontario Canada.
She is an avid chamber musician and enjoys collaborating with other performers. She is currently a member of Duo Dolce and Soprani Compagni. Her recent performances include a recital at Carnegie Hall where she was invited to join the roster of Distinguished Concerts International New York.
Phoenix often serves as an adjudicator for auditions and competitions and has given numerous master classes, presentations and lecture-recitals at national and international conferences such as College Music Society, Indiana Music Teachers Association, & American Educational Research Association. Her recent CD “Deep River,” a collection of Classical works by African American composers, was released under the MSR Classics label. Her other recordings are also available on cdbaby.com and iTunes.
Phoenix is currently a Professor of Music at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.
Russian pianist Tatiana Gorbunova is an active soloist, teacher, and chamber musician. Recent performances include solo, lecture recitals, and masterclasses in Tampa, Florida; Canton and Kent, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Raleigh, North Carolina; Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Florida. Her past performances include the Nizhny Novgorod State Conservatory, Nizhny Novgorod Musical College, the Mayakovsky Library, and Toledo Museum of Arts in Ohio. This coming season, she will give solo concerts and masterclasses in Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Alabama. In the summer 2018 she will be a featured performer and a piano faculty at the Midsummer Piano Retreat in Prague Festival.
Tatiana’s recent awards include first prize in the Chapman-Neesen graduate solo piano competition at Florida State University, a Tallahassee Music Guild scholarship, and a ProMusica grant with a special scholarship to attend Brevard Music Festival. In the Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition, she was awarded with a performance broadcasted on the Bowling Green radio and television network; she was also featured on WFSQ in “Performance Today” with Dan McDonald; and she won the prize at the 44th Annual Competition in Music Performance in Bowling Green, Ohio, to perform the Schumann Concerto with the Bowling Green State Philharmonic in February 2011. While studying in Russia, Tatiana became one of the winners in the All-Russia Chamber Music Competitions in Sizran.
As a chamber musician, Tatiana has performed with members of the Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic, Handel and Haydn Society, and Harlem Philharmonic orchestras. She was also employed at the Interlochen Center for the Arts as a collaborative pianist. She has developed interest in lesser-known chamber repertoire and recently performed the Piano Quintet by Sergei Taneyev.
Tatiana was appointed in the fall of 2016 to the piano faculty of Wallace Community College in Alabama. She teaches at the Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer. She holds degrees in piano from Nizhny Novgorod State Conservatory (Russia), Bowling Green State University, and Florida State University. Her major piano teachers
Alexey Sokolov is the I prize and Grand Prix Winner of the Yamaha Grand Prize International Piano Competition in Italy, Honorary Professor of Tianjin Conservatory, the bearer of a special diploma and UNICEF prize as the best teacher of UNICEF International Piano Competition, the winner of “Haihe Friendship” Tianjin City Award established by the city of Tianjin and “Award of Merit” of the Government of China for a major contribution to cultural achievements. Professor Alexey Sokolov graduated the oldest music University of Russia – St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Alexey Sokolov has been a professor of State Herzen Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg from 1997 till 1999 at the Department of Special Piano and later, in 1999, he was delegated by St. Petersburg Conservatory to China as an official representative of the conservatory. Since then prof. Sokolov teaches at Tianjin Conservatory. Over the years he has trained more than 40 international competition winners. Among them – 12 winners of the First Prizes on such major competitions as Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition (1995 and 2011), Ukraine; Edward Grieg Royal Competition (2007), Norway; the «Steinway» Prize International Piano Competition (2001), Beijing, China; the Asian Open International Piano Competition in Hong Kong. Prof. Sokolov published several research works and articles about piano solo performance – works devoted to L. von Beethoven and F. Schubert piano sonatas, teaching piano solo in a University as well as the training an accompanist.
Alexey Sokolov has an intensive teaching and performance activity all over the world. He performed a lot in 1993-2003 in major cities of Europe, Asia, all over Russia at such concert halls as Muzikverein L. von Beethoven hall (Vienna), Grand Philharmonic concert hall in St. Petersburg, Beijing Poly Theatre and “Forbidden city” concert halls. In 2003 professor Sokolov temporary stopped intensive concert life and focuses on pedagogical and educative activity: he is a constant jury member of great number of international piano competitions in Europe, Asia, Russia, a jury chairman and a honorary jury member of international competitions in Hong Kong and Indonesia, a jury co-chairman of the IBLA Grand Prize international competition in Italy, a member of F. Chopin international society as well as a jury member of Chopin International Piano competitions in Russia and China. Mr. Sokolov is one of the founders of the «Step to Mastery» International piano competition, St. Petersburg, Russia which is one of the most important youth competitions of Europe. He is a member of European piano teachers’ association as well. Since 2015 Prof. Sokolov is back to venues of concert halls as a concert pianist. Since 2015 Prof. Sokolov is back to venues of concert halls as a concert pianist.
Professor Sokolov offers master-classes in many cities of Europe every year. He takes part in music festivals in Australia, Austria, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Poland, Russia, S. Korea, Singapore, USA. He collaborates with such renowned piano masters as Gary Graffman, Jerome Lowenthal, Pascal Roge, Mikhail Voskresensky, Marcello Abbado, Pawel Gililov, Norma Fisher, Sergey Babayan, Arie Vardi, John Perry, Boris Slutsky, Barry Snyder. Prof. Sokolov’s students study at the most prestigious Universities of the World – Curtis Institute of music, Juilliard school, New England Conservatory, Eastman University of music, Cleveland Institute of music, New York University, Manhattan school of music, Boston University, as well as at conservatories of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Munich, Hannover, Vienna, Leipzig, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Krakow, and many others.