COMPETITION JURY 2012
Ian Hobson, Chair, United Kingdom/United States
Ian Hobson is a musician of tremendous versatility who has earned an international reputation as a pianist, conductor and teacher. Born in England, Mr. Hobson studied music at the Royal Academy of Music and Cambridge and Yale Universities.
His international career was launched in 1981, when he won First Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, having already garnered silver medals at both the Artur Rubinstein and Vienna-Beethoven competitions. His teachers have included Sidney Harrison, Ward Davenny, Claude Frank, and Menahem Pressler. During the last several seasons, his engagements have included appearances at New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and recitals in the United States, England and Italy. Major orchestras of the world with which Ian Hobson has appeared include the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, and the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Houston. He is in demand as a conductor, particularly for performances in which he doubles as piano soloist and as an opera conductor.
He has made over 35 recordings for such labels as EMI, Hyperion, BMG/Catalyst, Arabesque, and Albany/Troy and for his own recently-founded label, Zypher. His recordings include the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Sonatas, all of the Brahms Variations for Piano, as well as Rachmaninoff’s Seventeen Etudes-Tableaux and Twenty-four Preludes, Bach’s Goldberg Variations and contemporary works written for him by Ridout, Lees, Liptak, and Gardner. Recently, Mr. Hobson recorded the complete works of Chopin for Zephyr, in Warsaw. This is a 16-CD edition which will be released in 2009 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth the following year.
Ian Hobson is Professor of Music at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and Artistic Director of the University’s Summer Festival. He is a much sought-after judge for both national and international competitions.
Pianist Jane Coop, one of Canada’s most prominent and distinguished artists, has toured extensively throughout North America, Asia and Europe, performing in such halls as Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center, Roy Thomson Hall, Salle Gaveau, the Singapore Cultural Center and the Bolshoi Hall of St. Petersburg. She has collaborated with the principal orchestras of Canada, as well as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the Seattle and Portland Symphonies, the Hong Kong Symphony and the Radio Orchestras of Bavaria and Holland, in some forty concerti.
Having performed recently with the Toronto Symphony, Tokyo Ensemble and CBC Radio Orchestra, this season she gives concerts in Vancouver, Victoria, Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Tuscany, as well as in smaller but equally important centers, playing solo, chamber music and concerto repertoire. Ms. Coop has received international praise for her 14 releases on the Skylark, CBC and Centaur labels in repertoire ranging from Bach to Barber.
Jane Coop is Professor of Piano and Chamber Music and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She is a regular artist at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Blue Hill, Maine, performing with members of the Juilliard Quartet and other eminent musicians. Ms. Coop has collaborated with international artists at chamber music festivals in Canada, Europe, the USA and Japan, over the past thirty years.
Jane Coop and Antonio Lysy have performed the Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Cello in several international festivals, and plan to record them in the near future.
Tong-Il Han has performed with many of the world’s finest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Scottish National Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Monte Carlo Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Polish Radio National Orchestra, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Russian National Symphony, among many others.
Han had already enjoyed an impressive career when he was named the First Prize winner of the 24th International Leventritt Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall by Leonard Bernstein, the chairman of the international jury. He is also the recipient of the Marjorie Meriwether Post Award. Mr. Han began his early musical training with his father at the age of four. In 1954, he was accepted to the Juilliard School, where he studied with Rhosina Lhevinne and Ilona Kabos, graduating with Bachelor of Music and Master of Science degrees.
The list of Han’s recordings include 24 Preludes, 4 Ballades and 4 Scherzos by Chopin. He also has recorded works of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Schumann, and Liszt. The CD, “The Kennedy White House Concert” was released, on which Han performed Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz. In the spring of 2004, he recorded a new CD in Rome, Italy for Arcadia label.
Tong-Il Han has taught at Indiana University, Illinois State University, University of North Texas, and Boston University. Presently, he is Professor of Music and Dean of the College of Music at the University of Ulsan, Korea and Guest-Professor at Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima, Japan. As the artistic director of Tong-Il Han Piano Institute, he has held summer piano festivals in London, Budapest, Boston, Honolulu, Vancouver, Seoul, Pebble Beach, and Hiroshima, among other places. He extended his musical creativity to Thailand as Artistic Director of Chiang Mai Music Festival in February 2006.
Brilliant technique and a distinct musical personality partially describe the outstanding artistic ability of internationally acclaimed pianist Susan Starr.
A native of Philadelphia – where she continues to reside, Susan began her studies with Eleanor Sokoloff at age four. She made her performance debut in 1948 at the age of six with the Philadelphia Orchestra, an engagement that at the time, set a record as the youngest soloist to ever have appeared with a major orchestra.
At seven, she entered the prestigious Curtis Institute continuing her studies with Sokoloff. At 15, she became a student of Rudolf Serkin until her graduation in 1961. A Silver Medalist in the 1962 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Ms. Starr has played to packed houses and critical acclaim throughout the world.
She has performed with the world’s most prestigious orchestras including countless occasions with the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony and the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, among numerous others.
The many eminent conductors who have chosen Susan Starr as soloist throughout her career include Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Fiedler, Robert Shaw, Sir Neville Mariner, Otto Werner Mueller, Maxim Shostakovich, Ghennady Rozhdestvensky, Maxim Shostakovich Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Leonard Slatkin, Joseph Silverstein, Charles Dutoit, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
Internationally, Susan Starr has appeared in recital and with the major orchestras throughout Russia, Asia, Europe and South America. She continues to be in great demand as a judge in both national and international piano competitions.
Erik T. Tawaststjerna
Erik T. Tawaststjerna began his musical education in Helsinki and received degrees from the Vienna Music Academy, where he studied with Dieter Weber, and at the Juilliard School, where his teacher was Sascha Gorodnitzki. He also holds a doctorate from New York University where he studied under the guidance of Eugene List, and has since given concerts around the world. He played the first Finnish performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety in 1981, and in 1990, was invited to perform for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Akasaka Palace in Tokyo.
Mr. Tawaststjerna has made numerous recordings, among them a series of the complete piano music by Jean Sibelius on the BIS label. He has been teaching at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he was appointed full professor of piano and head of piano studies in 1986. He is co-director of the biennial Espoo International Piano Festival near Helsinki, and has served on the juries of prestigious international piano competitions worldwide, including: International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, AXA Dublin International Piano Competition and International Music Competition Maria Canals. He has given master classes at the Guildhall School of Music in London, University of the Arts in Berlin, Tokyo College of Music, and the Vienna University for Music. He was named Professor of the Year 2006 by the Finnish Professors’ League.
Alan Walker is Professor Emeritus of Music at McMaster University, Canada. Before settling in North America he was on the staff of the Music Division of the British Broadcasting Corporation in London. He has broadcast for the BBC, for the CBC, and for CJRT – FM (Toronto), and gives regular public lectures on the music of the Romantic Era, a period in which he specializes. His thirteen published books include A Study in Musical Analysis, An Anatomy of Musical Criticism, and symposia on Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt.
Dr. Walker recently finished a three-volume, prize winning biography of Franz Liszt, published by Alfred A. Knopf (New York), and Faber & Faber (London), a project which took him twenty-five years to complete, and for which the President of Hungary bestowed on him the medal Pro Cultura Hungarica. The biography also received the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize, presented by HRH The Duke of Kent in London.
Time Magazine hailed the biography as “a textured portrait of Liszt and his times without rival”. The Wall Street Journal called it “The definitive work to which all subsequent Liszt biographies will aspire.” The Washington Post selected it as a Book of the Year.
Two other books have meanwhile followed. The first is called The Death of Franz Liszt (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY). It describes the last ten days of the composer’s life in Bayreuth. Based on eye-witness accounts, and the unpublished diary of a pupil, it tells a harrowing story of the final illness, medical malpractice, family neglect, and a callous disregard of Liszt’s final wishes. Walker’s latest book, Reflections on Liszt (Cornell University Press) is a sequel to the 3-volume biography, and deals with certain topics in greater depth than the biography itself could accommodate. These include Liszt’s myriad connections with Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann; his work as a teacher and editor of the music of others; and his published writings. The book ends with An Open Letter to Franz Liszt, which the Times Literary Supplement called “an affectionate and stylized farewell from a biographer to a great subject.”