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                     2021 Jury


Ignat Solzhenitsyn

           Recognized as one of today's most gifted artists, and enjoying an active career as both conductor and pianist, Ignat Solzhenitsyn's lyrical and poignant interpretations have won him critical acclaim throughout the world.

           In 2019–20 Mr. Solzhenitsyn returns to the Bolshoi Theatre to lead La Clemenza di Tito and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, both of which he conducted at their production premieres. He also returns to the National Philharmonic of Russia, leads the London Chamber Orchestra in Hong Kong, appears at Music@Menlo, and gives solo recitals in Rome, Madrid, and St. Petersburg.

           Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Ignat Solzhenitsyn is much in demand as a guest conductor, having recently led the symphonies of Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Phoenix, Seattle, and Toronto, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Czech National Symphony, as well as many of the major orchestras in Russia including the Mariinsky Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, and the Moscow Symphony.  He has partnered with such world-renowned soloists as Richard Goode, Gary Graffman, Steven Isserlis, Gidon Kremer, Sylvia McNair, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Garrick Ohlsson, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Mitsuko Uchida.

           In recent seasons, his extensive touring schedule in the United States and Europe has included concerto performances with numerous major orchestras, including those of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, Los Angeles, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, Montreal, Toronto, London, Paris, Israel, and Sydney, and collaborations with such distinguished conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, James Conlon, James DePreist, Charles Dutoit, Lawrence Foster, Valery Gergiev, Krzysztof Penderecki, André Previn, Mstislav Rostropovich, Gerard Schwarz, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Maxim Shostakovich, Yuri Temirkanov, and David Zinman.  In addition to his recital appearances in the United States at New York’s 92nd Street Y, Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, St. Paul's Ordway Theatre, Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium, Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall, San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, and many others from coast to coast, Mr. Solzhenitsyn has also given numerous recitals in Europe and the Far East in such major musical centers as London, Milan, Zurich, Moscow, Tokyo, and Sydney.

           An avid chamber musician, Mr. Solzhenitsyn has collaborated with the Emerson, Borodin, Brentano, and St. Petersburg String Quartets, and in a four-hand recital with Mitsuko Uchida.  He has frequently appeared at international festivals, including Salzburg, Evian, Ludwigsburg, Caramoor, Ojai, Marlboro, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Moscow’s famed December Evenings.

           A winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Ignat Solzhenitsyn serves on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music. He has been featured on many radio and television specials, including CBS Sunday Morning and ABC’s Nightline.  Born in Moscow, Mr. Solzhenitsyn resides in New York City.

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Aaron Wunsch 

           Pianist Aaron Wunsch enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer, presenter, and educator.  He has performed on concert stages throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, including in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Duke’s Hall in London, at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and as a soloist with symphonies in the US and China. Lauded for his “masterful” chamber music performances (Hartford Courant), he has appeared at the Norfolk, Bowdoin, Sarasota, Great Lakes, and Yellow Barn chamber music festivals, collaborating in performance with cellist Lynn Harrell, clarinetists Charles Neidich and Anthony McGill, violinists Miranda Cuckson and Jennifer Koh, and the Miró and Parker Quartets, among others.  He has worked closely with many renowned composers, including Thomas Adès, Nico Muhly, and Kaija Saariaho, and has performed new works by Saariaho and John Adams during Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music. 

           He studied at Yale University (B.A., cum laude), the Mozarteum in Salzburg (Fulbright Fellowship), and at the Juilliard School (M.M. and D.M.A.). He was formerly Assistant Professor of Piano at William Paterson University and is currently the Director of Keyboard Studies and Piano Curriculum at Juilliard, where he teaches piano literature, graduate studies, chamber music, and directs Juilliard PianoScope, the Piano Department’s performance series. He gives piano masterclasses and lectures at conservatories and universities in the U. S., Europe, and Asia, and he was a 2010 Visiting Professor at Shanghai Normal University. His awards for written work in musicology include the Henry Hart Rice Prize and the Richard F. French Prize. His principal teachers in piano included Peter Frankl, Karlheinz Kämmerling, and Robert McDonald, and he also worked with Andras Schiff, Jerome Lowenthal, and Claude Frank; his history and theory studies were with Allen Forte, Robert Morgan, L. Michael Griffel, and Maynard Solomon.

           He is Artistic Director of both the acclaimed Music Mondays concert series in New York City and Co-Artistic Director of the Skaneateles Festival, in the Finger Lakes.

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Matthew Odell

           The American pianist Matthew Odell began his studies at the age of 10 and has since won acclaim for performances of a wide range of repertoire as a solo recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician.  He has been hailed as “excellent” by the New York Times and “brilliant ... playing with total commitment and real abandon” by Gramophone.  Highlights of past concert seasons include such diverse projects as Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles... with David Robertson and the Juilliard Orchestra for the reopening of Alice Tully Hall, a performance in the New York Philharmonic’s Stravinsky Festival, and a tour of concerts, lectures, and masterclasses in England, France, and Spain.  Recent concerts have featured the complete solo piano works of Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, John Adams, and Michel Merlet.  

           In addition to performances in Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and the 92nd Street Y in New York, Mr. Odell has appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, and at venues in Boston, Chicago, Miami, Paris, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Taipei, and Helsinki.  He has also performed at the Aspen Music Festival, the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, New York’s Focus! Festival, the La Gesse Festival in Toulouse, France, Nuits musicales and Concerts du cloître in Nice, France, and the Rohm International Music Festival in Kyoto, Japan.  

           A passionate advocate of the music of our time, Mr. Odell frequently premieres works written for him. He has performed contemporary repertoire with the New Juilliard Ensemble, AXIOM, Peabody Camerata, and the American Art Song Festival, a group he founded in 2004.  He has worked with many prominent composers, including Pierre Boulez, John Corigliano, Ned Rorem, Mark Adamo, Michel Merlet, and Robert Aldridge.    His debut album Connections: The Piano Music of Olivier Messiaen and his Students was recently released on Albany Records.

           Mr. Odell’s special love of the art song repertoire has resulted in many recitals with singers from around the world, including the British bass-baritone John Shirley-Quirk and members of the Metropolitan Opera.   For five years he served on the coaching faculty of the Académie Internationale d’été in Nice, France, and he has performed in the Marilyn Horne Foundations’s festival The Song Continues at Carnegie Hall.  At Lincoln Center, he has presented a tribute to baritone Pierre Bernac as well as the complete songs of Barber and Duparc.  He is a founding member of The Hampton Trio and Acacia and has collaborated with a wide array of musicians, including clarinetist Charles Neidich and pianist Peter Hill.

           Mr. Odell currently teaches at The Juilliard School and frequently presents masterclasses, workshops, and lectures at professional conferences and universities throughout the U.S and Europe.   In May 2010 he graduated with a doctoral degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Margo Garrett, Jonathan Feldman, and Brian Zeger.  He studied further with Marian Hahn at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, graduating Pi Kappa Lambda with both a master of music degree and a graduate performance diploma in piano performance and with Laurence Morton at Bob Jones University.  He also worked with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and with Ann Schein at the Aspen Music School.  

           For more information, visit

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Mika Sasaki

           Pianist Mika Sasaki is an imaginative and versatile soloist, chamber musician, and educator whose performances and teaching have taken her to the U.K., Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and throughout the U.S. Her debut album, Obsidian: Mika Sasaki plays Clara Schumann, released on Yarlung Records in 2016, was highly acclaimed by the Online Merker as “illuminat[ing] the artistic inspiration and creative exchange between three Romantic souls,” Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. Her playing has been broadcasted on WQXR, WFMT, KQAC, and Radio Sweden, and she has performed concertos with the Sinfonia of Cambridge (U.K.), New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, 92Y Orchestra, and more recently with the InterSchool Symphony Orchestra of New York.

           Dr. Sasaki has won awards at the Peabody Conservatory, Soleil Music Competition in Tokyo, All Japan Classical Music Competition, and the NJSO Young Artists Audition. Her festival appearances include Music@Menlo, Tanglewood, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, pianoSonoma, Taos, Yellow Barn, Aspen, Focus!, Icicle Creek, Rushmore, SoundWaves (Omaha), Mannes Beethoven Institute, Caramoor, Shandelee, Weekend of Chamber Music, and Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the pianist of Ensemble Mélange and frequently concertizes with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston, Manhattan Chamber Players, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, and with her duo partners. She is an artist faculty member at Music@Menlo’s Young Performers Program and the Charles Ives Music Festival at the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra during the summer.

           She is an alumna of the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University (B.M., M.M.), Ensemble Connect—a two-year fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and Weill Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education—and The Juilliard School (D.M.A.), where she was awarded the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship as a graduate who demonstrated outstanding artistry and achievement in leadership, entrepreneurship, and breadth of engagement.

           Based in New York City, Dr. Sasaki is a faculty member at Juilliard, where she teaches piano, chamber music, and keyboard skills courses in the Evening Division, and Piano Topics and keyboard skills for pianists in the College Division.


Fangfang  Pan

           Ms. Fanfan Pang is the chairman of the Global Outstanding Chinese Artists Association, an extraordinary piano educator who immigrated to the United States with an EB1-A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) Visa, Associate member of Grammy, the guest lecturer of the Xinghai Concert Hall ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) graded-exam lecture series. The founder and education director of Guangzhou Yayun-Poly Music & Art Studio.

            Judges of the Zhongsin International Music Competition (Singapore), the Chopin International Piano Competition for Young Pianists (preliminary, quarter-final), and many other major piano competitions. Moreover, Ms. Fangfang Pan successfully introduced major music events from Hong Kong and Macau into China mainland, which has made great contributions to the music education of China mainland as well as the cultural exchange between special administrative regions and the mainland.  

            After her immigration to America, Ms. Fangfang Pan participated as a judge in multiple major art competitions, she was also the Director of Juries of the composition contest of the San Francisco International New-concept Filmfest, and the Artistic Director of America-Asia Art Group. At the same time, she established the Global Outstanding Chinese Artists Association which is based in San Francisco, and the GOCAA International Piano Competition (GIPC), as well as the GOCAA International Vocal Competition (GIVC) and the GOCAA International  Strings Competition (GISC). As the founder and chairman of GOCAA and the International music Competitions, Ms. Fangfang Pan has led numerous rising young talents from all over the world showing their talents in music on many different stages world-widely. Hundreds of these young talented pianists’ recitals and concerto concerts were held, giving each of them great opportunities to become a better and more mature artist.

           Due to the success of the GOCAA International Piano Competition (America Division), July 29th is announced as GOCAA Day by the Mayor of San Mateo, America. Additionally, Ms. Fangfang Pan has been awarded Outstanding Contribution Awards several times from different cities.

           Ms. Fangfang Pan has been performing with a couple of excellent musicians in duo forms, such as Ms. Anna Maria Mendieta, the principal harpist with the Sacramento Philharmonic; Mr. Matthew Linaman, cello professor from the Pre-college of San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Time Gramophone Concert Series they performed through cities from America, Canada to China has been awarded Outstanding Artists Awards and reported by major media like World Daily, Singtao Daily, News for Chines e, Sino Television,,, G&E AM1510 Radio, etc. 


Lorenz Gamma

           Violinist Lorenz Gamma has a varied career as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and teacher. He is the founder and artistic director of the Borromeo Music Festival  ( in Switzerland. The festival consists of a two-week summer course for advanced string and piano students and hosts faculty members from many internationally renowned music schools such as the New England Conservatory,  Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, the Royal Academy of  Music, Oberlin Conservatory, and many others.  

           Mr. Gamma spent three years concertizing full-time with the Amar Quartet, with performances in many of Europe’s most important chamber music venues, including the  Tonhalle in Zurich, the Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Residenz in Munich, the Cologne  Philharmonic, as well as many other venues in cities such as London, Paris, New York, etc.  With his quartet, he won the Millennium Award at the 2000 London International String  Quartet Competition and several other prizes. 

Prior to his activity with the quartet, Mr. Gamma served as concertmaster of the  Northwest Sinfonietta in Seattle and as principal of the Zurich Opera orchestra. As a  soloist Mr. Gamma has performed over twenty different concertos by Bach, Beethoven,  Berg, Brahms, Bruch, Gubaidulina, Lutoslawski, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Piazzolla,  Rubinstein, Schumann, Spohr, Tartini, Vivaldi, and Wieniawski.  

           As a chamber musician, he has performed string quartets by over sixty composers, as well as the greater part of the standard chamber literature of over eighty composers.  Musicians he collaborated with include Sophia Gubaidulina, Heinz Holliger, Paul Katz,  Ronald Leonard, Thea Musgrave, Roger Reynolds, Donald McInnes, Joseph Silverstein, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and many others. 

           Mr. Gamma lives in Los Angeles and is a professor of violin at California State University Northridge (CSUN), where he also serves as head of strings and director of the chamber music program. His private and professional violin students have regularly gone on to continue their studies at such institutions as the Juilliard School, Indiana University, the  Manhattan and Eastman Schools of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Southern California, and the Colburn School in Los Angeles.  

Lorenz Gamma was born in Switzerland, where he received his initial training as a  violinist at the conservatory in Lucerne. His further studies took place in the United  States, with Franco Gulli, Steven Staryk, and Mark Kaplan.

Matthew Linaman

           A dynamic musician of the 21st century, Matthew captivates his audiences with his expressive and heartfelt performances, inspires his students with curiosity and vision and adapts both to the business and technology demands of today, running his own teaching business and producing his own recordings and music videos. 

           A Grand Prize winner of multiple competitions, he has performed in 12 countries and has been the featured soloist with many orchestras, including giving the World Premiere of the Ghostship Cello Concerto with the Oakland Symphony.

           While a student of Jean-Michel Fonteneau at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Matthew co-founded and managed the Cello Street Quartet. Dedicated to bridging gaps between audiences, their mesmerizing music took them all across the world; from local educational events to Levi's Spring Fashion Showcase in New York City. In 2014, they served as U.S Ambassadors to Hungary, Kosovo, and Russia as fellows of the U.S. Department of State's program, American Music Abroad. 

           Matthew has created successful fundraising campaigns, lectured on music entrepreneurship, presented on the TEDx Stage of San Francisco, and has been featured in several commercial recording projects. 

           Matthew is dedicated to bridging diversity and connecting humanity through innovative and inspired collaborations, music-making, and education. 


Eugene Friesen

           Four-time Grammy Award-winner Eugene Friesen is active internationally as a concert and recording artist, composer, conductor and teacher. Eugene has worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Martin Sexton, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Dar Williams, Will Ackerman, and Dream Theater.  

           Eugene's passion for improvised music has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort and with Trio Globo (Friesen, Howard Levy and Glen Velez). He appeared on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" playing with Keillor and superstar soprano Renée Fleming and has performed as a soloist at the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England; Rencontres d'Ensembles de Violoncelles in Beauvais, France; the World Cello Congress in Baltimore, Maryland; and the Rio International Cello Encounter in Rio de Janeiro.  

           A love for children and music education led Eugene to create his popular program for young audiences, CelloMan, and has fueled his work teaching new cello techniques and improvisation in the United States, Asia, Europe, Egypt, and South America.  

Recording credits include five albums of original music, more than 30 CDs with the Paul Winter Consort, and hundreds of tracks featuring his rapturous cello playing on instrumental albums, films, and television scores. 

           Eugene is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. 




Andreas Stier 

           Andreas Stier was born in Hannover(Germany) in 1952. Through his very music-loving family he received many kinds of inspirations from early childhood, piano music, chamber music, especially vocal music. Wherever he studied, in Germany, Korea, Taiwan, he joined choirs, school orchestras (violin), and was engaged in chamber music or vocal accompaniment (piano).

           In spring 1983 he graduated from Hamburg University majoring in Sinology with a Master of Arts degree.

           In summer 1983 he graduated from  HfMT (University for Music and Theatre) Hamburg, majoring in piano with the teacher’s diploma. 

           In autumn 1983 he began to teach as a professor for Piano at the HfMT Hamburg.

Within 38 years of working at the HfMT, he also taught many students from China, Korea and Taiwan, trying to bring them closer to the mentality of western music and composers. 

During the last eight years, he also taught Japanese students at a piano academy in Hamburg.

           Since 1978 Andreas Stier has been teaching private students, some of them preparing for the entrance examination to the Music University, others participating in music competitions. He has been a jury member of the official German music youth competition “Jugend Musiziert” for solo piano and piano chamber music for more than three decades. 

For Andreas Stier playing music has always been a means of communication and a wonderful chance to understand and overcome cultural distances. And so he is engaged in talking about classical music in his musical internet channel as Teacher Andy.



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