Born in the Soviet Union, Faina Lushtak began studying piano and composition at the age of six. She graduated from the Stoliarsky School for Musically Gifted Children in Odessa, Ukraine under the instruction of her mother and later earned degrees in piano performance and composition from the Moscow Tchaikowsky Conservatory. Her teachers were the distinguished Eleonora Levinson, Genrietta Mirvis and Yakov Zak in piano, and Tikhon Khrennikov in composition. She later became a faculty member of the Moscow Conservatory until emigrating to the United Stales. She is currently Professor of Music at the Newcomb Music Department of Tulane University, where she heads the piano division, holds the Downman Chair, and is the music director of Tulane's Concert Piano Series and Tulane Piano Trio. Professor Lushtak is on the faculty of the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy.
The lyricism and romanticism of Ms. Lushtak's performances have brought her love and affection of audience and critical acclaim. Since her debut at the age of ten, Ms. Lushtak's performances have inspired audiences throughout her native Russia as well as those in Western Europe, Canada and the United States.
She has performed under the batons of Klauspeter Seibel, William Henry Curry, Maxim Shostakovich, Alfred Savia, John Paul, and Larry Cullison. She has also been featured in numerous solo recitals, including Lincoln Center and in major cities throughout this country. Ms. Lushtak can be heard on the Centaur label performing the works of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin. In October, 2004, Centaur Records will release her new CD featuring Fryderyk Chopin's Mazurkas.
Prof. Lushtak makes frequent guest artist appearances and conducts master classes on university campuses such as Emory University, San Francisco Conservatory, Oberlin College, Baylor University, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas. Ms. Lushtak performs as a guest artist for state conventions and festivals including Pro Mozart Society in Atlanta, The Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition Festival and Piano Month in Utah. She participated as a judge in the New Orleans International Piano Competition, Shreveport Symphony Nena Wideman Piano Competition, The Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition, The Canadian National Music Competition and Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition and Festival.
As a composer, Faina Lushtak has written works for chamber groups, voice, and violin, but her main focus has been on music for her first love, the piano. Her music has been performed in the USSR, United States and Western Europe. Ms. Lushtak's compositions were chosen for the LMTA piano tournaments and the New Orleans International Piano Competition. Her music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes Publishers LTD. (London), The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (London), Willis Publishing Co.(USA) and by Marsile Music Co. (New Orleans). Commenting on Ms. Lushtak's own Sonata in C, the New York Times described it as "a striking, eclectic essay... that embodied hints of jazz and a touch of bittersweet Russian humor."
A dedicated teacher, who is highly regarded for her master classes, she has presented master classes throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Ms. Lushtak's students have participated successfully at local, state, regional, national and international competitions and festivals. In 1989 one of her students became the youngest ever to participate in the Van Cliburn Festival in Fort Worth, Texas.
Prof. Lushtak is Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and active participant in the following professional associations: Music Teachers National Association; National Guild of Piano Teachers and New Orleans Music Teachers Association. Ms. Lushtak is currently under the Albert Kay Concert Artist Management. Albert Kay Associates, Inc.
At the very fore of American pianists, critics and audiences have unanimously hailed the distinctive and compelling performances of pianist Steven Spooner describing him as “a pianist in the tradition that many believe died with the likes of Horowitz, Arrau, Bolet, Cziffra, and Wild. His talent, to my ears, is easily the equal of most major pianists of today and far superior to a large number of those “most exciting and dynamic pianists of their generation” (FANFARE MAGAZINE).
Passionately devoted to the recital as a platform for innovation, he has been engaged and often re-engaged at prestigious venues such as the Salle Cortot in Paris, the Shanghai Concert Hall, Budapest’s Great Hall of the Liszt Academy, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Rome’s Santa Cecilia, and Singapore’s Esplanade. During the past seasons he has daringly reinvented the solo recital by allowing audiences to vote on the spot for one of five programs he has prepared and like golden age pianists, his programs often feature his own glittering arrangements and compositions.
In 2016 he released a monumental project of 16 CDs honoring his heroes of the Russian School called Dedications. This mammoth project was met with enormous critical acclaim from all over the globe. His enthusiasm for new music has produced an ongoing collaboration with renowned Deutsche Grammophon composer, Mohammed Fairouz (commissioned by the ROKI Foundation) to premiere and record several of his works during the next few seasons. Steven is currently the co-star, along with his wife Jung, of their internet-based show about all things piano, A Life of Music.
Steven has served as guest artist-in-residence at Paris Conservatory Summer Sessions and has been appointed to the Artist Faculty of the Colburn Music Academy, Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Musicfest Perugia, the International Institute for Young Musicians, the Adam Gyorgy Castle Academy in Budapest, and even his own Steven Spooner Inspire Festival in Singapore.
Steven is increasingly in demand for his masterclasses at major music institutions all over the world such as the Paris Conservatory, Milan Conservatory, Liszt Academy of Music, and the Shanghai and Beijing Conservatories and in America at Rice, Indiana, Colburn, Oberlin, and many others. Steven serves on the piano faculty at the University of Kansas and is the winner of the 2014 Scholarly Achievement Award given to faculty members who enhance the university’s international reputation.
A dedicated and caring teacher of students from around the world, Steven’s pupils have been named winners of multiple prizes at important international and national piano competitions and enjoy performing careers of their own. Steven Spooner is a Steinway Artist.
Pianist Jay Hershberger has played throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His domestic performances include the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Library of Congress. He has also been frequent guest artist at the Great Romantics Music Festival in Canada. In years past he performed in Europe, including the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in southern Italy and the South Bohemia Music Festival in the Czech Republic. Recent tours have included major cities in China, and at music festivals in Scotland and Italy.
He is a founding member of Excelsior! Trio, a chamber group that performs an eclectic mix of classical, folk, jazz, and fusion. Excelsior! Trio tours extensively in the US and in Europe. Jay is currently Professor of Piano at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. His undergraduate students regularly win competitions and have been accepted into prestigious graduate schools in piano performance and pedagogy, many with teaching assistantships.
An active adjudicator, Hershberger has judged for the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the Phoenix Young Artist Competition, the San Angelo Symphony Sorantin Awards, the Lee Biennial Competition, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Young Artist Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association. He is vice president of the American Liszt Society. His first compact disc recording, featuring works by Franz Liszt was featured on Michael Barone’s New Releases radio program on Minnesota Public Radio.
Daniel Paul Horn
An active and versatile pianist, Daniel Paul Horn is Professor of Piano and Chair of Keyboard Studies at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, where he was honored with a 2009 Senior Academic Achievement Award for sustained excellence in scholarship. As a solo recitalist, he has appeared at colleges and universities throughout North America, at the American Liszt Society Festival, and in live broadcasts over WFMT-FM, on its Pianoforte Foundation Fazioli Salon Series and 2010 Beethoven Piano Sonata series. As a concerto soloist, he has performed with various Midwestern orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; in 2015, he made his European orchestral debut with the Sarajevo Philharmonic, performing Lumen by Wheaton alumnus Jacob Bancks. An avid chamber musician, he regularly collaborates with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With the MasterWorks Ensemble, he has played in Bermuda and at the 2010 Beijing Modern Music Festival; in addition, he has performed with the Ying String Quartet, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, cellist Stephen Balderston, pianist Alexander Djordjevic, and Guarneri Quartet violinist John Dalley.
He also works with noted singers. Working with living composers, he has premiered music by George Arasimowicz, Jacob Bancks, Delvyn Case, David M. Gordon, Neal Harnly, Patrick Kavanaugh, Daniel Kellogg, and Max Raimi.
As an early keyboardist, he was harpsichordist in performances of Handel’s Messiah under the baton of John Nelson, and has twice performed on the Historical Piano Concert series at the Frederick Collection in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. In 1997, he recorded the critically praised disc for Titanic Records on an 1829 Graf fortepiano, and in 2010 released Sehnsucht: Music of Robert Schumann; he also recorded for the Centaur label with CSO cellist Donald Moline, and for the Canadian Music Centre with soprano Carolyn Hart.
A Detroit native, Horn studied at Peabody with Walter Hautzig, and at Juilliard, where he studied with Martin Canin and Felix Galimir, and earned his doctorate. He has also coached with Jerome Lowenthal, Ann Schein, Joseph Bloch, Roy Howat, and Menahem Pressler, for whom he twice served as a guest assistant at Indiana University. In addition to his duties at Wheaton, he has been a faculty artist at the Sewanee, Adamant, Blue Mountain, and MasterWorks summer festivals.
The Russian pianist, Victoria Mushkatkol, made her concert debut with the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of ten. After graduating from Kiev Music School for Gifted Children, she went on to study at the St Petersburg Conservatory with Professor Vladimir Nielsen, one of Russia's most eminent piano teachers, graduating from the Conservatory with the highest honours. After moving to the USA, she continued her education and received her Master of Music degree at University of Illinois. Victoria Mushkatkol soon established herself as an international performer, appearing in recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Europe and Pacific Asia. Equally at home performing for the Royal Family of Thailand in Bangkok or in Communist China, her travels have taken her to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Thailand and Brunei as well as to Spain, Czech Republic and Holland.
Victoria Mushkatkol has collaborated with eminent musicians such as the violinist Evgeny Bushkov, the cellists Karen Buranskas and André Emelianoff, the Leontovich, Veronika, and Amernet String Quartets. Public radio stations in California, Illinois and Michigan have broadcast her performances.
An internationally established teacher, Victoria Mushkatkol has taught at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Oberlin Conservatory. She has performed at, and taught in numerous summer festivals, including the Puigcerda International Festival in Spain, Festival Soesterberg in Netherlands, Taiwan Music Festival in Taipei, Hamptons' Pianofest in New York and Juilliard-in-Korea Summer Festival Casual Classics. She has also presented master-classes throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Mushkatkol has taught many talented students who have won national and international competitions, and who have gone on to study at the most prestigious music institutions, and have now become leading musicians of their generation. She currently resides in New York and is on the faculty of Juilliard’s Pre-College Division.
Young pianist Mei Li holds a doctorate in piano performance and piano literature from the University of Kansas. She was born in Chengdu, China into a musical family. She studied piano at the age of five and taught under the auspices of the famous Chinese piano pedagogue, Zhaoyi Dan. At the age of twelve, she entered the affiliated middle school of Sichuan Conservatory of Music and continued her rigorous and professional piano study. After graduating from Sichuan Conservatory of Music, Dr. Li obtained a full scholarship from the University of Northern Illinois the in United States and teaching under the direction of American pianist Professor William Goldenberg. After gaining a master's degree in piano performance and exploring the virtuoso repertoire, Dr. Li earned her DMA degree from the University of Kansas. She studied piano performance from famous American professors Jack Weinrock and concert artist Steven Spooner, and studied piano pedagogy methods from the famous American piano teaching expert, Scott McBride Smith. Dr. Li has won important awards at five separate international piano competitions, including the International IBLA Music Competition in Italy and the International Virtuoso Grand Prize Competition.
As an active pianist and soloist in China, Dr. Li performed at major venues as the Hong Kong Concert Hall, Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall, and Shenzhen Concert Hall. In the United States, Dr. Li was invited to perform as a soloist at the World Conference on Women in Chicago, the renowned Chicago Cultural Center, and Carnegie hall in New York City. She, along with her distinguished chamber partners were invited to perform in many concert halls and schools in the United States and received much critical praise. Dr. Mei Li has recently been invited to perform and give master classes in Mexico, and at the North American Liszt Society Festival. Mei Li is a member of the American Liszt Society and serves on the board of the KU American Liszt Society Chapter. She has written her doctoral research on the works of late Liszt under the direction of distinguished Liszt authority, Alan Walker.
Massimiliano Baggio was born in Naples in 1961. He studied at the Conservatorio 'G. Verdi' of Milan where he graduated with full marks cum laude.He continued his advanced musical studies with Sergio Fiorentino, attending master classes at Città di Castello with Antonio Ballista and at Fiesole with Maureen Jones and Dario de Rosa.
Since 1975, he has played in piano duo with Cristina Frosini performing in hundreds of concerts, orchestral recitals radio and television recordings for RAI and WDR, and recordings for Sarx Records. They are the only artists, in Italy, to have ever performed the complete works of Franz Schubert for piano four hands.Together they have won many international awards, including the 'Gian Battista Viotti International Music Competition 1982' in Vercelli and the 1986 International Competition 'Concorso Sergio Lorenzi' in Trieste.
In 1996 they made their debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan where they were again invited for a recital in 1999.In 2000 the musical magazine 'Amadeus' published a CD in which they play music by Franz Schubert for piano duo.
Currently they are playing for the most important musical societies in Italy including the 'Settimane Musicali di Stresa ', the' Istituzione Universitaria dei Concerti 'in Rome, the' Festival dei due Mondi 'in Spoleto, the' Società dei Concerti 'and the' Grande Orchestra Sinfonica 'G. Verdi' in Milan, the 'GOG' in Genoa, the 'Unione Musicale' in Turin, the 'Amici della Musica' in Palermo, along with many others. Recently, they have played in Berlin, Stockholm, Seoul and USA.
Massimiliano Baggio is a professor at the Conservatorio of Milan, and regularly conducts advanced master classes for piano duo. Recently he has been invited by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater of Vilnius, the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst of Stuttgart, the Iceland Academy of the Arts of Reykjavik, the Kansas University School of Music, the John J. Cali School of Music - Montclair State University, NJ, the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana of Lugano, the Conservatorio Superior de Musica de La Coruña, the Sunhwa Arts School and the Sungshin University of Seoul.
Since November 2016 he has been appointed Associate Dean of the Conservatorio 'G. Verdi' of Milan. For nearly thirty years he has been responsible for the musical activities of the Società Umanitaria of Milan. In 2000 he conducted musical broadcasting programs for RAI RadioTre.
Described as a “supremely nuanced” (Gramophone), “remarkable baritone” (Opera News), Chris Thompson is an international artist noted for compelling performances on stage and in the concert hall. He has performed leading lyric baritone roles ranging from Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia to the title role in Elijah to Carl Magnus in A Little Night Music. A frequent recitalist, Chris’s numerous performances of Schubert’s Winterreise with acclaimed concert pianist Steven Spooner, have generated excitement throughout the country.
A strong advocate of new music, Chris made his Carnegie Hall debut singing Posh, a song cycle by composer Mohammed Fairouz. The premiere performance of MSU colleague Michael F. Murray’s song cycle, Neutral Tones, at the Parma New Music Festival was received enthusiastically. Chris has appeared in several world premieres including Guest from the Future (Lincoln Center), The Scrimshaw Violin (92nd Street Y), Box and Cox (University of Utah) and Hester Prynne at Death (Mercantile Library, NYC). In addition, Chris made his Off-Broadway debut in Fermat’s Last Tango. His performances have been featured on recording labels such as: Naxos, Original Cast Recordings, Albany Records, Koch-Schwann, and Novana Records.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Kansas, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), Loyola University (New Orleans), and Kansas State University. Chris is a devoted teacher with successful singers winning competitions, singing at major summer programs, and performing leading roles as young professionals. He presently serves as Coordinator of Vocal Studies at Missouri State University and is past-president of Ozark NATS.
Polish, lyric tenor, Andrzej Stec sings as much in opera as in concert around United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.“The animal magnetism is completely riveting whenever Stec is on stage” –summons –Daniel Hathaway. Cleveland Classical.Granted a warm and vibrant voice recollecting that of his celebrated predecessor Jan Kiepura for the charisma and the beauty of interpretation, Andrzej Stec devoted himself to classical singing after years spent in theatre and dance. An Ambassador of Stalowa Wola, his native city in Poland, as well as a Doctor of Music from l’Université de Montréal where he specialized in French repertoire, he is the first prize winner of Marchella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition 2012.
Disciple of the greatest tenors of our times such as Kazimierz Pustelak, Corneliu Fanateanu, Neil Schicoff, Vinson Cole, Nicola Martinucci, Claus Ansjö, Andrzej Stec performs operatic roles ranging from early music to current creations: Lucano (Monteverdi), Eros (“Diane au bois” cr.2012) and Pelléas (Debussy), Nadir and Don José (Bizet), Roméo (Gounod), Arturo (Bellini), Duke, Alfredo and Fenton (Verdi), Barinkay and Alfred (Johann Strauss), Orphée (Offenbach), Mozart roles: Tamino, Don Ottavio etc…
Shepherd (Szymanowski’s “King Roger”,), Tom (Stravinsky), Doctor (Lee Hoiby’s “A Month in the Country”), Gabriel (Sylvain Cook’s “Évangéline”cr. 2013), Prométhée (Pierre Michaud’s “Le Rêve de Grégoire” cr. 2014).
Hailed as a soloist in Missa Solemnis, Carmina Burana, in Bach’s Cantatas or while singing Berlioz’s “Les Nuits d’Été”, Andrzej Stec is equally esteemed for his recitals of Art Songs. The wide musical spectrum expands as consequence of the artists love for languages and poetry. Polyglot fascinated by other cultures, Andrzej Stec easily establishes contact with his public around the globe be it in Italian, French, Spanish, German, Russian or Polish… Celebrating his Polish roots with a recording of 19 Chopin songs, Andrzej Stec has produced under the ARTIA label: “Chopin from Stalowa Wola”(2013).His frequent appearances with summer festivals (Aspen, Chautauqua OH, Chautauqua NY, La Roche d’Hys, Villecroze, ICAV) propelled artist to many prestigious and diplomatic venues, as well as conservatories around the globe where he presents Master Classes of “Polish Contemporary Art Song” as well as French music “Refinement and Color” (China -Shenyang Conservatory, Poland -Krakow Academy, U.S.A -Northern Illinois University, etc.) Andrzej Stec sang with Montreal Intercultural Orchestra, Montreal Canadian Chamber Orchestra, Shenyang Conservatory Orchestra, LaMuse Romanian.
Ellen Frohnmayer, soprano, holds the Charles Anthony Caruso Distinguished Professorship of Opera, at the Loyola University School of Music in New Orleans. Her private voice students have gone on to prestigious graduate schools, and many now have high school and college teaching jobs all over the country, as well as music therapist appointments at hospitals. Some of her students are active and successful as performers in opera, and as jazz and pop vocalists.
Mrs. Frohnmayer is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music inPhiladelphia, the Marlboro School of Music in Vermont, and Beloit College in Wisconsin. Her major teachers were Margaret Harshaw, Eudora Shepherd, Chris Macatsoris, Max Rudolf, and David Effron. Her operatic debuts were at the Central City Opera in Colorado, and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France. Fluent in German, Mrs. Frohnmayer performed 30 leading soprano roles in German and Austrian opera houses, where she met her husband, the late baritone Philip Frohnmayer. Together they sang many duet concerts all over the United States and Latin America, made CD recordings, and taught operatic singing and style at the Brevard Festival in North Carolina and the Aspen Festival in Colorado. Mrs.
Frohnmayer presented talks on vocal athleticism and vocal maintenance for choral conductors at the Southern Region ACDA conference in March of 2014.
Violinist/Associate Professor of Tianjin Conservatory of Music. Concertmaster Instructor admitted to Jilin Institute of the Arts in 1978, under the violinist and educator Professor Xu Guangrong, 1982, he graduated with honors and remained at the same institution to teach in 1983. Prof. Min went to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1985 with China's famous violin and chamber music educator Professor Ding Zhi Guang in 1986 and then transferred to the Tianjin Conservatory of Music orchestral teaching course in 2000 -2001, he was sent to the Russian Academy of St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory With the world famous violin master Professor Vladimir 阿夫契克 learning a year, not only on performance techniques but also to broaden horizons of music and teaching to reach even higher levels of mastery. After returning home on December 9, 2001 and December 18, 2001, respectively, at the University of Tianjin University Student Center, Tianjin Conservatory of Music Concert Hall successfully held two solo concerts.
In 1999, he won the first Tianjin Conservatory of Music Young and Middle-Aged Teachers Teaching Contest first prize, and won the Tianjin municipal, grade violin competition Gardener Award.
At the same time as his busy teaching schedule, he also was performing with the chief symphony orchestra as well as conducted many performances inside and outside the school. At the invitation of Beijing Knowledge Publishing House in 2000, he was the first author to write the book "Violin and Violin Music". This book is an indispensible resource for the violinist and violin teacher as well as those interested in researching the violin literature. In addition, he has published many papers such as "An Introduction to 24 Etudes and Capriccios", "The Choice of Violin Fingering" and "Patriotism in Violin Works". In 2009, he participated in the Tianjin Conservatory of Music and Tianjin Middle School of Music, "Zheng Jinlong Violin Master Class". August 2010 he sponsored and hosted the International Violin Summer Camp in Xiangfan, Hubei Province.
Cellist Cheng-Hou Lee, a native of Taiwan, received both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. He also earned a master’s degree in chamber music at Rice University, where he was a founding member of the award-winning Gotham Quartet. He was a full-scholarship student at New England Conservatory, where he received his Doctoral of Musical Art. Mr. Lee has worked with world- renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Harvey Shapiro, Janos Starker, Mistilav Rostropovich, Zara Nclsova, Paul Katz, Steven Iserlis, Raphael Wallfisch, Gary Hoffman, Tim Eddy, and members of the Juilliard, Tokyo, and Alban Berg Quartets. Cheng-Hou has won the Chi-Mei Foundation Award for Outstanding Talents, the concerto competition at the Manhattan School of Music, Tuesday Musical Club Competition in Houston and twice the National Cello Competition in Taiwan, and he has appeared on WQXR radio station in New York City, WFMT radio station in Chicago and many others in the US.
He was a recipient of a career grant from the Quanta Education Foundation, and he has made solo and chamber music appearances throughout the United States, as well as in Germany, Italy, Hong-Kong, and Taiwan.
Mr. Lee served as a teaching assistant to Paul Katz for 5 years, and he has taught or conducted master classes at schools such as University of Michigan, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware, East Carolina University, Southern Illinois University, UCLA, Wheaton College.
California State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Brigham Young University, University of Tennessee, University of Illinois Chicago, Inje University in South Korea and the Tainan Woman’s College of Arts and Technology in Taiwan. He was also a faculty member at the Main Line Chamber Music Seminar in Pennsylvania, the “House of Cello” Festival, as well as the Bay Chamber Concerts “Next Generation” Program.