2018 Festival Faculty
Christopher Guzman, Associate Professor of Piano at Penn State University (USA)
Vivian Li, Associate Professor of Piano at Xinghai Conservatory of Music (China)
Zhe Li, Head of Piano Department and Professor at Shenyang Conservatory of Music (China)
Marina Lomazov, Professor of Piano the Eastman School of Music (USA)
Nathanael May, Associate Professor of Piano at Missouri Western State University (USA)
Joseph Rackers, Associate Professor of Piano at the University of South Carolina (USA)
Thomas Rosenkranz, Associate Professor of Piano at the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University (USA)
Lucas Wong, Concert Artist (China/Canada)
Xiaofeng Wu, Associate Professor of Piano at Nanjing Normal University and Founder of Wu Artists (China)
Pianist Christopher Guzman regularly performs for audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia, as soloist and chamber musician. He is a multiple prizewinner in many international competitions, including the Walter M. Naumburg Competition, the Seoul International Music Competition and the Isang Yun Competition of South Korea. Recently, Mr. Guzman garnered the grand prize and several special prizes at the 10th Concours International de Piano d’Orléans of Orléans, France. As a result, he regularly travels to France to perform in Paris and throughout the Loire Valley. His CD of German and Austrian music from the past one hundred years, Vienne et après, is available on the Tessitures label.
Mr. Guzman’s career has brought him to such venues as Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and others. He performs regularly with some of the world’s most exciting soloists including Ilya Gringolts, Antoine Tamestit, David Fray, and Jeremy Denk, among others. He continually performs with members of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He appears regularly on the New York Philharmonic’s chamber music series “Philharmonic Ensembles.”
Mr. Guzman’s performances showcase a broad range of styles, from Baroque to the avant-garde. He continues to collaborate with many of the nation’s preeminent new music ensembles; his performances have included world premieres by Donald Martino, Nico Muhly, and Paul Schoenfield. The New York Times hailed his performance of Christopher Theofanidis’s Statues as “coiled” and “explosive.”
Born in Texas, Christopher Guzman began studying piano at age nine and violoncello two years later. He worked primarily with Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald at the Juilliard School, Anton Nel at the University of Texas at Austin, and the late Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory. He is currently Associate Professor of Piano at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit christopherguzman.net.
Li Zhe, Professor and Chair of the Piano Department at Shenyang Conservatory of Music, pianist, earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, is member of Liszt Society of the U.S., a contract artist of Boesendorfer, a chief member of the Chinese Musicians Association, Piano Branch, a chief member of Musicians Association in Liaoning Province, vice chairman of Liaoning Youth Association, routine member of Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese Liaoning Province, managing director of the Reunion of Returned Chinese from Europe and America, vice chairman of Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese Shenyang, member of the CPPCC(Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference).
Dr. Li graduated from the Affiliated Middle School of Shenyang Conservatory of Music in 1989 and from Shenyang Conservatory of Music in 1993. She studied successively with Professor Yuqing Cui and Zhenggang Lin. In 1995, Li went to the U.S. for further study and studied successively with such distinguished artists as Jośe Feghali, Krassimira Jordan, and Fernando Laires and earned the Artist Diploma in Piano at Texas Christian University, in Texas. She also earned a Master of Music in Piano Performance at Baylor University in Texas, and a Piano Certificate and Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Literature at Eastman School of Music. Due to her outstanding performance, she was honored with the title of “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” by the U.S. Government one year after she arrived there. In 2015, Dr. Li was nominated as a candidate of High-end Talents of Liaoning Province. In September of the same year, Dr. Li released her solo album Title of Album—a live version, with the help of China Record Company, Shanghai Branch.
Dr. Li enjoys a dynamic performing and teaching career that has taken her to international destinations in the U.S., Austria, Oman, the Dubai of United Arab Emirates, and Italy as well as to Taiwan. Dr. Li has also been invited to serve as a judge for many piano competitions both at home and in the Asian-Pacific Region. She has been engaged in teaching music and has written a number of articles published in core journals at the national and provincial level and has undertaken several research projects at the provincial level. Some of her students have won prizes in important domestic and international competitions.
Born into a family of artists, Chinese-Canadian pianist Dr. Vivian Li began her career at the age of five with her debut at Guangzhou’s Friendship Opera House and has gone on to steadily build a career as one of China’s most respected young musicians. She currently serves as Associate Professor of Piano at Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, China.
Dr. Li began her studies at the age of four under the tutelage of her father, renowned Chinese pianist Qi Li and supervision of her mother, renowned Chinese classical ballerina Xianping Su. After a period of study at Xinghai Consevatory’s Affiliated Middle School, Dr. Li immigrated to Toronto, Canada where she completed high school and her Artist Diploma from Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music. Following this, she was accepted with full scholarship to Oberlin Conservatory where she did her undergraduate studies with the esteemed French pianist, Monique Duphil, herself a student of Marguerite Long. Upon graduation, she was awarded Oberlin’s prestigious William R. Abate award given to the finest the pianist of each graduating class. She proceeded to finish her studies with Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Houston under the guidance of Horacio Gutierrez and Nancy Weems. During her school years, she received considerable additional guidance in masterclass from Dmitry Bashkirov, Anton Kuerti, Abbey Simon, Christopher Elton and Stanislav Iudenitch. She also distinguished herself in numerous competitions including prizes in Canada’s International Stepping Stone Competition, the Grace Welsh International Piano Competition and San Antonio International Competition and in concerts including one performance of Ravel’s G major piano concerto which left the revered pianist Abbey Simon exclaiming, “She played like my friends of the old generation past.”
In 2005, Dr. Li returned to her childhood home of Guangzhou to join the piano faculty of Xinghai Conservatory. Her students routinely go on to study in major conservatories across the world and take prizes in important competitions nationwide and abroad. She is also highly sought after as an adjudicator in major Chinese piano competitions and as a regular contributor to China’s premier piano magazine Piano Artistry.
Dr. Li maintains an active concert schedule of solo, chamber and concerto performances both in China and abroad.
Praised by critics as “a diva of the piano” (The Salt Lake City Tribune), “a mesmerizing risk-taker” (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), and “simply spectacular” (Chicago International Music Foundation) Ukrainian-American pianist Marina Lomazov has established herself as one of the most passionate and charismatic performers on the concert scene today. Following prizes in the Cleveland International Piano Competition, William Kapell International Piano Competition, Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Ms. Lomazov has given performances throughout North America, South America, China, South Korea, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Japan and in nearly all of the fifty states in the U.S.
Marina Lomazov has given major debuts in New York (Weill-Carnegie Hall) Boston (Symphony Hall), Chicago (Dame Myra Hess Concert Series), Los Angeles (Museum of Art), Shanghai (City Theater) and Kiev (Kiev International Music Festival). She has performed as soloist with the Boston Pops, Rochester Philharmonic, Eastman Philharmonia, Chernigov Philharmonic (Ukraine), KUG Orchester Graz (Austria), Bollington Festival Orchestra (England), Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Brevard Festival Orchestra and ten performances with the South Carolina Philharmonic, to name a few. New York Times chief music critic Anthony Tommasini describes a recent New York performance as “dazzling” and Talk Magazine Shanghai describes her performances as “a dramatic blend of boldness and wit”. Marina Lomazov is a Steinway Artist.
In recent seasons, Lomazov has performed extensively in China, including concerts in Shenyang, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Qingdao and Yingkou. She is a frequent guest at music festivals in the U.S. and abroad, including Hamamatsu, Chautauqua, Brevard, Eastman, Burgos (Spain), Sulzbach-Rosenberg (Germany) and Varna (Bulgaria), among others. She has recorded for the Albany, Centaur and Innova labels and American Record Guide praised her recent recording of piano works by Rodion Shchedrin for its “breathtaking virtuosity”. She has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”, the “Bravo” cable channel and WNYC’s “Young Artist Showcase” and her recordings have been broadcast more than 100 times by WNYC and WQXR in New York, WFMT in Chicago and WBGH in Boston.
Before immigrating to the United States in 1990, Marina studied at the Kiev Conservatory where she became the youngest First Prize Winner at the all- Kiev Piano Competition. Ms. Lomazov holds degrees from the Juilliard School and the Eastman School of Music, the latter bestowing upon her the highly coveted Artist’s Certificate – an honor the institution had not given a pianist for nearly two decades. Her principal teachers include Natalya Antonova, Jerome Lowenthal and Barry Snyder. Also active as a chamber musician, Lomazov has performed widely as a member of the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo. The duo garnered significant attention as Second Prize winners at the Sixth Biennial Ellis Competition for Duo Pianists (2005), the only national duo piano competition in the United States at that time. As advocates of modern repertoire for duo piano, they have given premieres of numerous works across the United States, including several works written specifically for them.
Ms. Lomazov is Ira McKissick Koger Professor of Piano at the University of South Carolina where she is Founder and Artistic Director of the Southeastern Piano Festival. She has served as jury member for the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Eastman International Piano Competition, Minnesota International Piano e-Competition, National Federation Biennial Young Artist Auditions and is a National Panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts, the organization that nominates Presidential Scholars in the arts. Beginning in August, 2018, Lomazov will serve as Professor of Piano at the Eastman School of Music.
Hailed as an “American Virtuoso” (Audiophile Audition), “enormous power and intelligent, instinctive interpretation” (Spoleto Today), and “simply dazzling” (The State), pianist Joseph Rackers has performed for enthusiastic audiences in New York, Chicago, Kiev, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Rome, Shanghai, Seoul and Washington D.C., at venues across Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine and extensively throughout the United States. His performances around the world include the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, Shanghai and Sichuan Conservatories of Music and Yantai International Music Festival, Kiev International Music Festival, Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival, Seoul International Piano Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, Indiana University Piano Festival, American Liszt Society Festival, Varna International Piano Festival and Society of Composers International Conference, to name a few. Gramophone writes “the results are consistently compelling…as if Rackers response were primarily to his relationship with the composer as some sort of kindred spirit”.
Joseph Rackers is an International Steinway Artist and serves on the artist faculty of the Perugia International Music Festival in Italy, Burgos International Music Festival in Spain, Texas State International Piano Festival and Southeastern Piano Festival in the United States. His recordings as soloist, collaborative pianist and producer are available on the MSR Classics, Navona, Centaur, Equilibrium and Beauport Classics labels and his performances have been broadcast on radio and television across the United States and Europe. His recent solo release with MSR Classics was widely recognized by the press; “…highly expressive…committed to letting the composer’s voice—as he hears it—come through” (American Record Guide), “compelling power, rhythmic persuasiveness…consummate style…complete mastery” (Audio Society).
Rackers is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. His principal teachers were Natalya Antonova and Raymond Herbert with additional study or masterclasses with Julian Martin, Misha Dichter and Blanca Uribe, among others. Also active as a chamber musician, he has performed widely as a member of the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo. The duo garnered significant attention as the Second Prize Winners of the Sixth Ellis Competition for Duo Pianists, the only national duo piano competition in the United States at that time. As advocates of modern repertoire for piano duo, they have given premieres of numerous works across the United States, including several works written specifically for them.
A devoted teacher, Rackers has taught at the Eastman School of Music and was awarded the school’s annual prize for Excellence in Teaching. He has given masterclasses at Indiana University, University of Michigan, Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival, UCLA, Sichuan Conservatory and University of Colorado among others. His students have been prizewinners in numerous national and international piano competitions. Rackers is Associate Professor of Piano and Chair of the Piano Department at the University of South Carolina School of Music where he teaches an international class of pianists and serves as Co-Director of the Southeastern Piano Festival, one of the premiere venues in the United States for the training of young pianists and presentation of distinguished artists in concert. He is in demand as a jury member for national and international piano competitions, including the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, National Federation Biennial Young Artist Awards, Pepsico National Concerto Competition and Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.
Pianist Xiaofeng Wu, the guest performer of APEC (Beijing, 2014) General Conference, has been commented by ABC.es as “simply prodigious…is surely on the roster of the first class performers from his immense country—China”. His recordings of Chopin solo works have been distributed by the iPhone App Chopin Project®. His solo concerts have been highly recognized and reviewed by music critics, numerous publications and media releases including ABC, YAHOO, Radio Clasica, Pravda, Politica, OpusMusica, El Mundo and many others. The Spanish newspaper, La Lanza, described Wu as “one of the most reputable pianists at an international scale.”
Xiaofeng Wu received critical acclaims on the stages of the major piano concourses such as Géza Anda (Zurich), Maj Lind (Helsinki) and Vianna da Motta (Lisbon). He first came to international attention when he won the First Prize in the 10th Guerrero Foundation International Piano Competition (Madrid). Thereafter, he continued to garner the First Prize at the Society of American Musicians Piano Competition (Chicago). For his exceptional contribution to the classical music as one of the leading musicians of his generation, the Mu Phi Epsilon International Foundation awarded him the Mabel Henderson Memorial Prize. In 2008, Wu received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan.
Xiaofeng Wu is heard as a soloist and collaborative pianist in the United States, China, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Serbia. From the Chopin Festival and Liszt Festival in Florida to the Beijing APEC conference (2014), Wu has been featured as the solo artist and received standing ovations upon his performances. In recent years, Wu’s performing itinerary spans from the US to China cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hongkong and Nanjing, etc.
In addition to the active performing career, Xiaofeng Wu is involved in many important piano pedagogical activities in China, Europe and the United States. With his recruitment, many excellent young musicians have achieved awards in competitions and successes in admissions to conservatories and music colleges in China and USA. Recognized as an outstanding sought after piano educator, Wu receives invitations to give master classes in The ACIMF Piano Elite Class (Wuhan), Nanjing University of the Arts, Puertollano Conservatory of Music, East Tennessee State University, etc., as well as to serve on the juror panel of the Ameri-China International Music Foundation Piano Audition (2010), Jiangsu Virtuoso Piano Competition (2010, 2012, 2014), 83rd Society of American Musicians Competition (2008, Chicago) and the Michigan Taiwanese American Organization Music Festival (2009, Canton).
Currently Wu is associate professor of piano and Adviser of Graduate Study in Pädagogische Universität Nanjing through the National Elite Program. Besides working with piano major students for performance issues, Wu also promotes score authentications in association with Henle Verlag, Wiener Urtext and Peters Editions. Xiaofeng Wu is the founder of The Wu Artists (Nanjing-China).
Canadian pianist Lucas Wong is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, pedagogue, and répétiteur. His repertoire covers harpsichord, piano, and extended keyboard techniques. His CD Scherzando Piano (Titanic Records) features music by Debussy and Chabrier. His work includes scholarly writing, music adjudication, and a cross-discipline research project on software algorithms for piano reduction. His essay "Humour in Late Debussy" was published in The Musical Times. He gave a Debussy lecture at the Juilliard School.
Lucas Wong has performed in many prestigious international venues, including Carnegie Hall, CBC Vancouver, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Seoul’s Sejong Center, and the University of Hong Kong Grand Hall. As a soloist, he has appeared with orchestras. On tour, Wong has played rarely performed pieces, such as Liszt-Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and George Crumb's Makrokosmos. He founded Mostly Debussy, a multi-year lecture-recital series, including commissioning three distinguished composers to write a new solo piano cycle to be dedicated to Debussy in 2018 (the 100th anniversary of his passing).
As a chamber musician, Lucas Wong has performed with world-renowned artists such as Joseph Alessi, Soovin Kim, Susanne Mentzer, Frank Morelli, David Shifrin, and Fei Song. A versatile partner for both instrumentalists and vocalists, he is also a superb vocal coach and assistant conductor. Wong has been on the roster of the New York City Opera, SongFest, OPERA America, the Opera Theater of Connecticut, and the Hugo Kauder Society. He has been the official accompanist for auditions in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Music Academy of the West, and iSing!Suzhou. He is the founding artistic director of Liederfest, an innovative art song festival in Suzhou, China.
As an educator and administrator, Lucas Wong was a founding faculty member at the Soochow University School of Music (China), where he served as piano professor and coordinator for chamber music, collaborative piano, and staff accompanists. He established a fresh approach to the school’s functional keyboard course and developed comprehensive curricula for chamber music and collaborative arts. He maintains guest teaching positions at top institutions across Asia, such as Seoul National University, Peking University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, UCSI University Institute of Music, and Xinghai Conservatory of Music.
Lucas Wong began his early training at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia (B.Mus.) and Yale School of Music (M.M., M.M.A., D.M.A.). His key mentors include Boris Berman, Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Michael Friedmann, Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, Warren Jones, Julian Martin, Edward Parker, Tak Poon, Rena Sharon, and Robert Silverman. He holds a Post-Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship from Bard College Conservatory of Music. He has been generously supported by the Début Competition (Canada), the Marilyn Horne Foundation, the Yale School of Music Alumni Association, and the Vancouver Foundation. He earned his ARCT Teacher’s diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, for which he received a Gold Medal, the conservatory’s highest honor.
As a festival producer, concert organizer, recording artist, consultant, educator, and performing pianist, Nathanael May seeks to open doors for young pianists in the competitive music world. Noted for ‘quicksilver grace’ (Fanfare) and ‘highly developed, extremely differentiated touch’ (Fuldaer Zeitung), Nathanael has performed on three continents and was named the2012 overall winner of the American Prize for solo piano. As a founding member of the Strung Out Trio (with violin and guitar), he has commissioned many works, receiving a 2011 International Barlow Foundation Grant for a trio by German microtonal composer Michael Quell. SOT gave the American premiere of this work as a featured ensemble at the 2013 College Music Society national conference in Boston.
Nathanael is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the soundSCAPE Composition And Performance Exchange; a festival dedicated to the promotion of music by emerging composers and performers. Since its inception in 2005, soundSCAPE has attracted 240 participants from 30-plus countries, resulting in the creation of over 200 new works.
He has presented research on modern piano music at the Euro Mediterranean Music Conference (Cyprus), World Piano Conference (Serbia), Composition in the 21st Century Conference (Dublin), and the International Festival for Artistic Innovation (Leeds). He is in demand as an adjudicator throughout the United States, and has given solo and chamber master classes at Harvard University, University of Florida, Isidor Bajic Conservatory in Novi Sad Serbia, Bursa State Conservatory in Turkey, and the Conservatory of Music and Drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology, among others. For his work in fostering student opportunities in the arts, Nathanael was awarded the 2012 Dr. James Scanlon Service-Leader Award by the MWSU Foundation, and the 2011 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award from his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Nathanael’s training reflects an array of influences; among his mentors are pianists Jack Winerock, Rebecca Penneys, Jerry Bramblett, Karen Boe, and Myung Hee Chung. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (MM) and the University of Kansas (DMA). In addition to these institutions, Nathanael has taught at Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta, North Cyprus, Hochstein School of Music in Rochester, New York, and at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. He resides in St. Joseph, Missouri with his wife, pianist Michelle Rautmann and their four children, and teaches as an assistant professor of piano and piano pedagogy at Missouri Western State University.
Thomas Rosenkranz was the recipient of the Classical Fellowship Award from the American Pianists Association and has performed throughout the world. His repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary music, often including improvisation into his performances. He enjoys a musical life as a soloist, professor, chamber musician and festival organizer and is currently an associate professor of piano at the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University in Ohio (USA).
He is a former Cultural Ambassador sponsored by the U.S. State Department and has been a visiting artist at numerous international festivals including New Music Week (Shanghai), Hong Kong Modern Academy, MusicArte (Panama) and the International Festival of Carthage (Tunisia). He has been a soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony, Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra (China) and the National Orchestra (Lebanon). He has completed three concert tours of China including performances at the Shanghai Concert Hall and Beijing's National Concert Hall.
His recent solo release Toward the Curve on Oberlin Records features works for piano and electronics along side his solo improvisations. Other recordings include the premiere recording of Paul Lansky’s Textures with Hammer/Klavier for Bridge Records, a disc of contemporary music for piano and flute with flutist, Conor Nelson entitled, Nataraja on New Focus Records, and a new recording of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians with Ensemble Signal on the Harmoni Mundi Label.
Also in demand for his teaching, he has given masterclasses and has been presented in residencies throughout North America and Asia including the Shanghai Conservatory, Sichuan Conservatory, Xinghai Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, University of California at San Diego, Princeton University and New York University. Since 2006 he has been on the faculty on the soundSCAPE Festival in Italy where he teaches courses on contemporary music and improvisation. In 2015 he co-founded the Maccagno Piano Days Festival and Competition. He has served on the jury for the Shanghai Piano Open Competition, Spring Festival Competition of Shanghai as well as the Oberlin International Festival Competition.
He studied with Robert Shannon at the Oberlin Conservatory, Yvonne Loriod in Paris and with Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music where he earned a masters, performers certificate, and a doctorate in music performance.