Judges of Professional Group

Michael Shinn

          Michael Shinn joined Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2017 as dean of music. In this capacity, he oversees Music Division faculty, students, and curriculum development.

          Shinn’s diverse career in music reflects his deep passion for performance, education, entrepreneurship, and innovation in the arts. Prior to this appointment, Shinn was chair of keyboard studies at The Juilliard School, where he taught piano, chamber music, piano pedagogy, and keyboard skills for both pianists and conductors. He also served as senior advisor for educational and artistic programs at Juilliard Global Ventures, where he was the professor for Juilliard’s first online course, Juilliard Piano Class: Sharpen Your Artistry.

          Based on the belief that musicians must successfully communicate through spoken word in addition to performance, Shinn launched the Speaking from the Stage initiative at Juilliard, which prepares—and requires—students to speak to their audiences at their graduation recitals. As a spokesperson for the arts, Shinn has presented about the future of arts education and the role of the arts in society at SXSW EDU and the Pebble Beach Authors and Ideas Festival.

          Shinn has designed innovative lectures and courses on a variety of subjects, focusing largely on his specialty, the music of Franz Liszt. In 2011, he was the artistic director of the Liszt Festival at Juilliard, a series of lecture-recitals celebrating the composer’s bicentennial.

          Shinn and his wife, Jessica, founded and direct the pianoSonoma Music Festival, a unique festival that brings together artists in residence and adult musicians of all backgrounds to collaborate and perform in  Sonoma County, California. As duo pianists and Yamaha Artists, they regularly perform throughout the United States.

         Shinn is also a marathon runner and triathlete.

Michael Lewin

             Michael Lewin is one of America’s most active and popular concert pianists, bringing charisma, emotive intensity, and high-wire virtuosity to audiences in over 30 countries. His career was launched with victories in the Franz Liszt International Competition, the American Pianists Association Award and the William Kapell International Piano Competition. His numerous recordings have won a Grammy Award and a Round Glass Music Award.

             Lewin’s orchestral appearances include the Netherlands Philharmonic, Cairo Symphony, China National Radio Orchestra, Bucharest Philharmonic, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, State Symphony of Greece, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops, and the Phoenix, Indianapolis, Miami, North Carolina, West Virginia, Nevada, New Orleans, Colorado, Guadalajara, and Puerto Rico Symphonies. Recital appearances include New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, Hong Kong’s City Hall Theatre, Holland’s Muziekcentrum, Moscow’s Great Hall, the Athens Megaron, the National Gallery of Art, the Ravinia and Spoleto Festivals and on PBS Television. His extensive repertoire includes over 40 piano concertos, with particular interest in the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and American and Latin American composers.

             Mr. Lewin’s recordings include 2 discs of Debussy, “Beau Soir” and “Starry Night,” “Piano Phantoms,” “If I Were a Bird,” the complete piano music of Charles Griffes, Scarlatti Sonatas, “Michael Lewin plays Liszt,” “A Russian Piano Recital,” "Bamboula!" piano music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and the Bolcom Violin Sonatas with Irina Muresanu. They are available on Naxos, Centaur and Sono Luminus.

             Michael Lewin is Professor of Piano at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and Director of Classical Music for Ethos Music in China. He gives master classes worldwide, directs the Boston Conservatory Piano Masters Series and has mentored many prize-winning pianists. He is a Juilliard School graduate and a Steinway Artist. His own teachers included Leon Fleisher, Yvonne Lefebure, Adele Marcus and Irwin Freundlich.

Jonathan Bass

             Pianist Jonathan Bass appears frequently throughout the United States as soloist and chamber musician.  He has performed with numerous orchestras, including the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall on four occasions, and the North Carolina Symphony at the Appalachian Summer Music Festival. He has been featured on many radio programs throughout the country, including National Public Radio’s ‘Performance Today’, and his solo and chamber music recordings have received high acclaim from Gramophone Magazine. A Steinway Artist, Bass gave his New York debut at Weill Recital Hall as the First Prize winner in the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition (1993). He performs frequently at Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall in Boston, and at Tanglewood.  Internationally, he has performed in China, Israel, Japan, Poland, Spain, and Russia.

            Collaborative highlights include guest appearances with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and recitals with violinist Joseph Silverstein. As the pianist and a founding member of the Walden Chamber Players (1997), he has performed on a variety of chamber music series and residencies across the United States and Canada and recorded three CDs. He has also given numerous performances with many presents and past members of the Boston Symphony, including his wife, violinist Tatiana Dimitriades, who partners with him in the Boston Duo. As orchestral keyboardist, he has performed with the BSO on two European Festival Tours under conductors Seiji Ozawa and Bernard Haitink.

            Among the awards he has received are First Prize in the American Pianists Association Beethoven Fellowship Competition (1989), First Prize in the American National Chopin Competition (1984), First Prize in the National Arts Club Competition (1983), Second Prize in the Washington International Competition (1993), Second Prize in the Young Keyboard Artists Competition (1983), and the Bronze Medal and Mozart Prize at the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition (1987).

          Bass studied at the Juilliard School Pre-College with Richard Fabre, and later received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Juilliard as a student of Adele Marcus and Sascha Gorodnitzki. He also studied in Russia at the Moscow Conservatory, and at Oberlin College. He has a Doctor of Music degree from the Indiana University School of Music, where he studied with, and was teaching assistant to, Menahem Pressler.

         Jonathan Bass is a Professor of Piano at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where he has been on the faculty since 1993. He was Chair of the Piano Department from 2008 to 2015 and Chair of the Piano Department at Boston University from 2006 to 2008. He has been on the piano faculty of the Preparatory School of New England Conservatory since 1994, and he also serves on the faculty of the Walnut Hill

School. His students have won many competition prizes, and he has given numerous master classes throughout the country.

Dmitry Rachmanov

           Dr. Dmitry Rachmanov is the Chair of Keyboard Studies at California State University, Northridge.  A sought-after performer, master class clinician, adjudicator and lecturer, Dr. Rachmanov has served on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music and Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and was an invited guest artist/lecturer/clinician at The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Shanghai and Beijing Central Conservatories.

           Rachmano has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, London's Barbican and South Bank Centres, at venues in Europe and Asia, and has collaborated as a soloist with the Ukraine National Symphony, National Orchestra of Porto and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, among others.  He has recorded for Naxos, Parma, Master Musicians and Vista Vera labels.

          An active member of the American Liszt Society, Dmitry Rachmanov served as the Artistic Director of the 2016 ALS Festival “Liszt and Russia” hosted by Cal State Northridge. He is the president of the society’s Southern California chapter.

          A proponent of Russian repertoire, Rachmanov gave the US premiere of Boris Pasternak's Piano Sonata, broadcast by the NPR, and his recital "The Art of the 19th Century Russian Character Piece" was noted by the New York Times for "considerable color and focus" he brought to each work. He is a founding member of the Scriabin Society of America; his April 2014 Scriabin program at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, part of the world recital tour commemorating Scriabin’s 100th memorial anniversary, was described as “a ‘poem of ecstasy’ in every sense: giant in conception, quantity, quality, execution, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity” by the New York Concert Review.

          Dr. Rachmanov is a graduate of The Juilliard School (BM& MM) and Manhattan School of Music (DMA). His teachers include Nadia Reisenberg, Arkady Aronov, Alexander Eydelman and Ada Traub.  He is a recipient of numerous awards, among them being named Jerome Richfield Memorial Scholar at CSUN and receiving an  “Outstanding CAPMT Member State Recognition Award” by California Association of Professional Music Teachers. In 2018 Dr. Rachmanov was selected as the 2018-19 Academic Affairs Research Fellow in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication at CSUN. In January 2019 he was a Co-Director of the ChamberFest @ CSUN Festival. In the summer of 2019 he was a resident at the Brahmshouse in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Joanne Polk 

              Pianist Joanne Polk was catapulted into the public eye with her recordings of the complete piano works of American composer Amy Beach (1867-1944) on the Arabesque Recordings label. Ms. Polk celebrated the centennial of Beach’s Piano Concerto by giving the work its London premiere with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican Center under the baton of Paul Goodwin. A few days later, Ms. Polk performed the Piano Concerto with the Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco with conductor Apo Hsu in a performance described as “brilliant” by critic Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle. He went on to describe Ms. Polk’s performance as, “an enormously vital, imaginative reading. Her playing was expansive in the opening movement, brittle and keen in the delightful scherzo. She brought a light touch to the foreshortened slow movement and fearless technical penache to the showy conclusion.”

             The first recording in the Beach series, by the still waters, received the 1998 INDIE award for best solo recording. Empress of Night, the fifth volume of Ms. Polk’s survey of Beach’s piano works, includes the Piano Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra, Paul Goodwin conducting. The sixth volume of the series, Morning Glories, joins Ms. Polk with the Lark Quartet in three outstanding chamber music works by Amy Beach. Two all-Beach performances at Merkin Concert Hall, which featured Joanne Polk and the Lark Quartet, were applauded by the New York Times, as they deemed Polk’s performances “polished and assured.” The American Record Guide reported, “Polk and the Larks played their hearts out. We in the audience shouted ourselves hoarse with gratitude.”

             Prior to recording the complete piano music of Amy Beach, Ms. Polk recorded Completely Clara: Lieder by Clara Wieck Schumann, her debut CD for Arabesque Recording, featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Korliss Uecker. This CD was selected as a “Best of the Year” recording by The Seattle Times and was featured on Performance Today on New York Public Radio. Ms. Polk’s CD for Albany Records, Callisto, features the solo piano music of Judith Lang Zaimont. Her CD titled Songs of Amy Beach, recorded with baritone Patrick Mason for Bridge Records, was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2010, Ms. Polk’s two-CD set of solo piano music by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Songs for Pianofore, was released on the Newport Classic label. Ms. Polk’s solo piano CD, titled Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, was released in June, 2012 on the Bridge Records label.

             In September, 2014, Ms. Polk’s CD titled The Flatterer, solo piano music of French Romantic composer Cécile Chaminade, was released on the Steinway and Sons Label. The CD was a “Pick of the Week” on New York’s classical radio station WQXR, and debuted at number 1 on the Classical Billboard Chart. In September, 2017, Joanne Polk’s CD, Gershwin & Wild, was released on the Steinway and Sons Label and features Earl Wild’s transcriptions of Gershwin songs, as well as Wild’s Piano Sonata. American Record Guide called Ms. Polk’s playing on this CD, “plush and dreamily attractive…” In December, 2014, Joanne Polk was named as one of Musical America’s Top 30 Professionals of the Year in an article titled, 
www.gocaamusic.com “Profiles in Courage.” Ms. Polk’s profile focused on her work promoting the music of women composers. 

             Ms. Polk received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees from The Juilliard School, and her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Manhattan School of Music. She has given master classes at many summer festivals and universities across the country, including Summit Music Festival, New York Summer Music Festival, Montclair State University, Kutztown University, and at the University of Minnesota. In August 2012, Ms. Polk was one of three directors launching Manhattan in the Mountains, a three-week summer music festival in the Catskill Mountains, devoted to chamber music, solo performing, and community engagement. 

           Ms. Polk recently completed a five-city, three-week concert and master class tour of Taiwan and China. As well, in 2019, two of Ms. Polk’s CDs were included on New York City’s classical radio station WQXR’s Essential Piano Recordings. Ms. Polk is a member of the piano faculty of Manhattan School of Music, and is an exclusive Steinway artist. 

James P Liu 

Guest Conductor 

            Acclaimed as one of the most outstanding conductors in China today, James P. Liu has achievements throughout Europe and America. Based in China and Italy, Liu was recently selected as one of the best Chinese conductors at the15th Anniversary Gala Concert China Philharmonic Orchestra.

            Mr. Liu has been guest conductor with Numberger Symphoniker Orchestra (Germany), Duisburger Philharmoniker (Germany) Aachen Symphony Orchestra (Germany) Thuringer Symphoniker (Germany), Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), The Cyprus State Symphony Orchestra, Poland Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra, Poland National Youth Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (Israel), Oita Symphony Orchestra (Japan), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Tuscia Opera Festival (accepting three invitation to appear as principal guest conductor) (Italy), Normandy Music Festival (France), The Mexico State Symphony Orchestra (Mexico), Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra (USA), Lamont Symphony Orchestra (USA), Pueblo Symphony Orchestra (USA), China Philharmonic Orchestra, Evergreen Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan), GangNeung Symphony Orchestra (Korea), China Philharmonic Orchestra, Tianjin Symphony Orchestra, XiaMen Philharmonic Orchestra and Sichuan Symphony Orchestra (China).

             Since his WPO tenure, he implemented a plan for musician exchanges with the Duisburger Philharmoniker Orchestra of Germany, the Oita Symphony Orchestra of Japan, Poland National Youth Symphony Orchestra, Italian Tuscia Opera Festival. He successfully conducted joint concerts resulting in high appreciation by government and media for promoting foreign exchange through the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra. 

​            Recently, he recorded composer An-lun Huang’s works with Russian Philharmonic Orchestra and Russian National Choir. In May 2018, he conducted Russian Philharmonic Orchestra again completing the second CD at Moscow.

​            James P. Liu, of Singapore nationality, was appointed Music Director of the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra at the invitation of the Wuhan City Municipal Culture Bureau (China) in 2004. 

JAMES P. LIU (cont’d)

           As the first Formal Music Director, and the Chief Conductor, he re-built the orchestra to professional status and programmed 80 concerts that year becoming ‘the’ professional orchestra in today’s Central China. In June 2011, he founded Wuhan International Piano Festival where he remains as Artist Director.  During his first-year tenure, Liu led the WPO on the first overseas tour to Oita, Japan along with launching the inaugural core concert season.  In 2009, he conducted the WPO at the 9th Asia Symphony Week in Tokyo Japan and WPO was the only Orchestra from China has received high praise from Japanese media.  Mr. Liu also led the orchestra touring at 13 cities in China 2011 and 2017 WPO touring at 8 cities in China under China Poly Arts Management.  In 2016, he led the WPO in a tour of Europe with tremendous success in Italy and France.

​            He was a Scholar in the Conducting Faculty at the College of Music of Michigan State University (USA). He is also the principal guest conductor of Pueblo Symphony Orchestra of Colorado (USA). In 2016, he was invited by University of Denver (USA) as conducting adjunct professor and guest conductor of Lamont Symphony Orchestra. Recently he was appointed the Artist Director of Globe Outstanding Chinese Artist Association. He was a judge of GOCAA internatioanl piano competition grand final and the international piano competition in TaiWan finals as well.  

            Mr. Liu has been awarded a variety of honours.  He received "Excellent Music Contribution" awarded by the Japanese Association 2001.  In 2005 he received the "Special Contribution in Culture" from the Wuhan Municipal Culture Bureau and the "Chime Bells Award" by the Hubei Provincial Government in 2006.  He was listed as one of ten foreign experts for his contributions in economy and culture of Hubei, China.  In 2010, he was given the Wuhan Culture Contribution Award from the city government. In 2010, he was named as one of the ten "The Province Culture Fashion Elite" by the Radio Film and TV Bureau of Hubei Province. In 2011, he received the Wuhan Municipal Government’s “Yellow Crane Friendship Prize” as one of the best foreign experts who contributed to Wuhan City. He also received the “Special Contribution in Culture “by Wuhan’s Propaganda Department, March 2012.  In 2016 he was the only candidate in the cultural sector selected by the Wuhan Government to enter the City of Wuhan “Yellow Crane Talents Plan”.

            Mr. Liu studied music at Utrecht Conservatorium (Hongeschoolvoor de Kunsten Utrecht) in Holland and Michigan State University in America. He studied with Leon Gregorian, Gustav Meier, and Larry Rachlleff.

Alvin Zhu

          Heralded as “dazzling,” and “displaying his own versatility and exquisite control of his instrument” by Butler Eagle, and “imaginative and masterful” by Taicang Daily, Chinese-American pianist and Steinway Artist, Alvin Zhu is recognized internationally for insightful, engaging, and emotionally penetrative playing. His artistry has led to acclaimed performances throughout four continents including North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia.

          As an orchestral soloist, Zhu has given performances of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Gershwin, and Rachmaninoff concertos with renowned orchestras in the United States, Canada, and Asia. Recent highlights include Mozart's Piano Concerto in d minor K. 466 with Maestro Yongyan Hu and the Baotou Symphony Orchestra at the Baotou Grand Theatre in Inner Mongolia and with Maestro Grant Cooper and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Mozart’s Concerto in C Major K. 467 with Maestro Rossen Milanov and the Chautauqua Symphony at the Chautauqua Amphitheater, and Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto with Maestro Hu and the EOS Symphony at the Beijing Concert Hall.

         Frequent recitalist and chamber musician, Zhu has appeared in prestigious venues including New York’s Alice Tully and Steinway Halls; Australia’s Sydney Opera House; China’s Beijing Concert Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall, Central Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, National Center for the Performing Arts, Tianjin, Hunan, Foshan, and Taicang Grand Theatres; Taiwan’s Soochow University; Montreal’s Palais du Congress; Italy’s Rome Stadio Olimpico; and numerous series across the United States including the “Steinway Piano Series” for the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania; “Music for Morales” in New Mexico;“Rising Stars Piano Series” at Texas State University; “PianoForte Foundation Series” in Chicago; “New Music New Haven Series” at Yale University; and “Eureka Chamber Music Series” in California. Notable appearances at summer festivals include Beijing Modern Music Festival, Juilliard’s “Focus! Festival,” Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, Music Academy of the West in California, Chautauqua Institution in New York, Texas State International Piano Festival in San Marcos, and the Tsingtao International Music Festival in China. Zhu is also a Steinway SPIRIO™ recording artist and has been featured on radio shows and television including NPR’s “From the Top” as a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, Pittsburgh’s Classical WQED, and China Central Television (CCTV).

         As a worldwide scholar and educator, Zhu has given masterclasses and lectures at China’s Steinway Hall Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Beijing; Central Conservatory of Music; Beijing-American Center at the United States Embassy; Hunan Grand Theatre in Changsha; Taicang Cultural Center in Taicang; Open College-Conservatory in Foshan; Canada’s Li Delun Foundation and the Steinway Gallery of Toronto; Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Mellon and Slippery Rock Universities in Pittsburgh; New York’s Juilliard School in Manhattan; and Connecticut’s Yale University in New Haven. Zhu, a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Research Scholarship in 2017  as a “Foreign Expert Researcher” at the Central Conservatory of Music, has undertaken the first biography of his late- grandfather Zhu Gong Yi, a master pianist, pedagogue, and former Chair of the Piano Department at CCOM, whose influence and contributions have shaped music education in China ever since the 1940’s. Aside from performances and lectures across Asia, Zhu has also served on the jury for the 1st Franz Liszt International Youth Piano Competition in China (Changsha) in 2018, the 2019 Metropolitan International Piano Competition in New York City, the 2019 Steinway Youth Competition in Toronto, and the 2019 Franz Liszt International Youth Piano Competition (Shanghai).

        Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to a family and legacy of renowned musicians, Zhu began piano studies with his grandmother and mother at age four, and violin and viola studies with his father at age five. At age ten, he studied with Yeeha Chiu before attending the Juilliard School in 2009. A graduate of Juilliard’s Five-year BM/MM Accelerated Program with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky in 2014, Zhu went on to further studies after being awarded the distinguished C.V. Starr Foundation Doctoral Scholarship at Juilliard, attaining his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in 2019 under the tutelage of Dr. Kaplinsky and Professor Julian Martin. Currently, he is the youngest professor in the inaugural faculty roster of the Tianjin Juilliard School— Juilliard’s first branch campus— specializing in solo piano, chamber music, and music history in the Pre-college and Graduate divisions.

Fangfang Pan 

            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 culture exchange between special administrative regions and the mainland.  

            After her immigration to America, Ms. Fangfang Pan participated as judges 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, which gives each of them great opportunities in becoming a better and a more mature artist.

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

           Ms. Fangfang Pan has been performing with couple 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 medias like World Daily, Singtao Daily, News for Chines e, Sino Television, ChineseRadio.com, ChineseRadio.cn, G&E AM1510 Radio, etc . 

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