ROBERT SHANNON - Director
Robert Shannon has presented solo recitals, ensemble concerts, and masterclasses throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia. His repertoire ranges from Bach to Adams, and he has been especially noted for his penetrating interpretations of recent American music. He has commissioned and premiered works by John Harbison, Charles Wuorinen, Carla Bley, and Steven Dembski, among others. His recent recordings of sonatas by Charles Ives on Bridge Records have received rave reviews worldwide. His recordings of Ives' complete works for violin and piano, and works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Crumb, are also available on Bridge Records.
Shannon has performed regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Festival Tibor Varga in Switzerland, the Sacramento Festival of American Music, and as guest artist with the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players. In recent seasons, he has appeared in London, Paris, Glasgow, Rome, Stuttgart, New York, San Francisco, Columbia (South America), and Taiwan.
He is professor of piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, director of the Division of Keyboard Studies, and director and founder of the Oberlin International Piano Festival and Competition. He joined the Oberlin faculty in 1976.
Canadian pianist Angela Cheng is one of her country's national treasures. In addition to regular guest appearances with most every orchestra in Canada, she has performed with the orchestras of Buffalo, Colorado, Houston, Indianapolis, Saint Louis, San Diego, Utah, and others. Cheng has worked extensively with the great musician-pedagogue Menahem Pressler.
At the invitation of Pinchas Zukerman, in 2009, Cheng toured China with the Zukerman ChamberPlayers and subsequent seasons have included tours in the United States, Europe, and South America. Cheng's debut recording of two Mozart concerti with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra received glowing reviews. Other CDs include Clara Schumann's Concerto with JoAnn Falletta and the Women's Philharmonic for Koch International; for CBC Records, Spanish concerti with Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic, Shostakovich concerti with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Radio Orchestra. Cheng has recorded a solo disc of works by Clara and Robert Schumann, and an all-Chopin CD released by Universal Music Canada.
Cheng was a gold medalist of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, and the first Canadian to win the Montreal International Piano Competition.
Prior to her appointment to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1999, she was on faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Alvin Chow has appeared throughout North America and in Asia as orchestral soloist and recitalist. He has performed extensively in duo-piano recitals with his wife, Angela Cheng, and his twin brother, Alan.
A native of Miami, Florida, he graduated as co-valedictorian at the University of Maryland, where he was a student of Nelita True. Chow received the Victor Herbert Prize in Piano upon graduation from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Sascha Gorodnitzki, and held the Joseph Battista Memorial Scholarship at Indiana University as a student of Menahem Pressler.
Chow received top prizes in the University of Maryland International Piano Competition and the New York Piano Teachers Congress International Piano Competition. He has performed in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Weill Recital Hall in New York City, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.
He has presented masterclasses and lectures throughout the United States and abroad. He chairs the piano department at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Dan Zhaoyi is a distinguished professor at the Shenzhen Arts School and the president of Piano Art Institute Sichuan Conservatory of Music. He graduated from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and furthered his piano study in Beijing during the 1950s and 1960s.
During more than 40 years of piano teaching, Zhaoyi has taught a group of talented young pianists. Among them are Li Yundi, Chen Sa, and Zhang Haochen. These students have won such competitions as the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Leeds International Piano Competition, and Van Cliburn Competition.
Since 2000, Zhaoyi’s students Zuo Zhang, He Qizhen, Xue Xiaoqiu, Pan linzi,Gu Jingdan, Xu Qi, and others have won numerous awards and prizes from international competitions. Among them are the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Netherlands, China Shanghai International Piano Competition, Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists, Russian International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Xiamen, Horowitz International Piano Competition, and the Prokofiev International Piano Competition.
His students have won dozens of prizes in domestic piano competitions: 21 students have won 59 prizes in international piano competitions, and 52 students have finished in the top three, in which 23 students won first place.
Zhaoyi and his prize-winning students have toured in many cities in China and have performed in the Year of Chinese and French Culture in France, Festival of China in the United States, the European Piano Teachers Association Annual Conference in Portugal, and others. In recent years, he has organized his students to hold charity performances and donate proceeds to poverty-stricken communities and those devastated by natural disasters.
Zhaoyi also attaches great importance to the theoretical research of playing and teaching, and has compiled and published many thesis, monographs and teaching materials. In 2011, his theory works were published in Dan Zhaoyi Piano Paper Album.
He has won various national and provincial prizes such as the National Advanced Cultural Worker, the Qu Yongxi Excellent Music Education Award of the Ministry of Culture, Chinese Art Vocational Education Excellent Teacher Award, and the Excellent Teacher Award in Sichuan, Guangdong, Shenzhen.
Monique Duphil made her debut at 15, performing Mendelssohn's G minor Piano Concerto with Orchestre de la Société des Concerts (now Orchestre de París), and soon earned prizes in four international competitions, including the Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
She has performed in more than 2,000 recitals, chamber music, and concerts with orchestras worldwide. The duo she formed in 1976 with her husband, Jay Humeston, formerly the Hong Kong Philharmonic's principal cellist, was highly successful in America, Europe, and throughout Asia.
Duphil has partnered with many renowned artists: Henryk Szeryng, Ruggiero Ricci, Karl Leister, Pierre Fournier, Regis Pasquier, Gerard Poulet, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Hermann Baumann, Cho-Liang Lin, Michel Debost, and Alex Klein. She has played with the Chester, Portland, St. Petersburg, Haydn, Vienna Philharmonic, Musikverein and the American String Quartets, as well as the Salzburg Mozarteum Trío. In recognition of her spectacular debut in the United States with the Philadelphia Orchestra, substituting on a few hour's notice for cellist M. Rostropovich, Duphil was reengaged by Eugene Ormandy to appear with him four more times.
Duphil was on the faculty of the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, and senior lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist College before being appointed a professor of pianoforte at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in 1994. She has given masterclasses in many countries, particularly in Asia, where she is regularly invited to hold piano seminars, and is invited to serve on the juries of international piano competitions.
Duphil has recorded for the Polydor, Avila, Telefunken, Marco Polo and Naxos labels.
Pianist and cellist Christopher Elton has received highest honors in his studies of both instruments at London's Royal Academy of Music. He was a prizewinner in several British and international piano competitions and continued his studies with Maria Curcio-Diamand, playing and broadcasting regularly both as a soloist and in chamber music.
Elton has gained widespread recognition for the successes of his students. Many have won international awards, including first prizes in the Van Cliburn and London World International Piano competitions, as well as in Jaen, Newport, Dudley, and New Orleans. One of his students has been a prizewinner in each of three recent concurrent Leeds International Piano competitions.
Elton has served on juries for competitions in his native United Kingdom, and in Russia (Tchaikovsky), China, Ireland, Italy (Busoni), Austria, Germany, Japan, Romania, Taiwan, and the United States. He is currently head of keyboard at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he was elected a fellow in 1983. In 2012 he will also serve on the Dublin, Ettlingen, and Leeds International Competition juries.
American pianist Thomas Hecht received an invitation to Singapore in 2003 as the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory’s founding head of piano studies. For nearly three decades, he has concertized internationally as concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He is part of the acclaimed duo-piano team Hecht & Shapiro, winners of the ARD Munich International Two Piano Competition and USA National Duo Piano Competition.
He was the former head of piano studies and artist-in-residence at the School of Music at Victoria University in New Zealand. Before that, he served as professor of piano and artist-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Hecht has performed in many of the world's cultural centres, appearing with such leading orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Artsakh Symphony Orchestra, and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Career highlights include performances at the Lincoln Center in New York, Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and solo recitals in Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Germany, South Africa, and throughout all the major centres of Australia and New Zealand.
He has performed over a dozen different concerti while living overseas. Among the most recent of these was the Asian premiere of Thomas Ades’ Concerto conciso and summer performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in Armenia, Australia, and at the International Piano Pedagogy Conference in Taiwan.
Hecht is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he won first prize in the concerto competition and the Kaufmann Award for excellence in chamber music. He pursued graduate studies at the Peabody Institute as a student of Leon Fleisher. The young pianist's abilities soon led him to become his mentor’s teaching assistant, an honor that Fleisher—one of the great pianists of our time—had never before bestowed on any pianist. Other teachers have included Peter Takács, Leonard Shure, Lee Luvisi, Ann Schein, and Detlef Kraus. Peabody recently presented Hecht with its Young Maestro Award, honoring alumni who have distinguished themselves in their performing careers.
Hecht also enjoys a reputation as one of the leading teachers of his generation, having produced many first prizewinners in solo and two piano competitions throughout the United States, Europe, and Australasia. His Singaporean protégé, Abigail Sin, was the first Southeast Asian pianist named a Young Steinway Artist. He served as visiting professor at the Peabody Institute under the auspices of the first YST-Peabody faculty exchange program.
He has represented the United States, New Zealand, and Singapore on jury panels of the Gina Bachauer, Geneva, Isangyun, Ibiza and Paralympic International Piano competitions in addition to the national piano competitions of Japan, Thailand, Australia, and South Africa. He continues to be in demand for masterclasses, summer festivals, workshops, and pedagogy conferences throughout the world. Hecht is a Steinway Artist and records for the Azica, Elysium, and Atoll labels.
Irish pianist John O’Conor has been gathering wonderful reviews for his masterly playing for over 40 years. Having studied in his native Dublin, in Vienna with Dieter Weber, and being tutored by the legendary Wilhelm Kempff, his unanimous first prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973 opened the door to a career that has brought him all around the world.
He has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, l'Orchestre National de France, the NHK Orchestra in Japan and the Atlanta, Cleveland, San Francisco, Dallas, Montreal, and Detroit symphonies in North America. He has given concerts in many of the world's most famous halls including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Dvorak Hall in Prague, and the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo.
He enjoys collaborating in Lieder recitals and performing chamber music with many instrumentalists and ensembles such as the Cleveland, Tokyo, Vanbrugh, Vermeer, Takacs, Vogler, and Ying quartets.
O'Conor, a Steinway Artist, first gained widespread attention in the United States in 1986 with the release of his first volume of Beethoven Sonatas on the Telarc label. He has recorded the complete Sonatas, which were issued as a box set in 1994. O'Conor has made more than 20 recordings for Telarc, including the complete Beethoven Bagatelles and Mozart Concertos with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has also recorded the complete Nocturnes, Sonatas, and Concertos of the Irish Composer John Field.
In 2007 and 2008, he recorded the complete Piano Concertos of Beethoven with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andreas Delfs.
O'Conor is regarded as one of the most important piano teachers in the world today. He is distinguished artist in residence, professor of music, and chair of the piano division at Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia. He also will join the faculty of the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in September 2014. He is visiting professor at Showa University in Japan and continues to teach at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin.
Haewon Song is a member of the acclaimed Oberlin Trio along with Oberlin faculty David Bowlin, violin, and Amir Eldan, cello. An internationally recognized artist and pedagogue, Song has performed and taught at top venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Her frequent appearances include concerto performances with the KBS Orchestra in Seoul, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and such Oberlin conservatory ensembles as the Chamber Orchestra, College Community Strings, and Wind Ensemble. She often performs in duo piano recitals with her husband and fellow Oberlin faculty member Robert Shannon.
Song has appeared in Mexico's Cervantino Festival, the All-American Music Festival in Stuttgart, Grand Teton Music Festival, Aria Festival, Canada's Institute of Musical Arts, Festival de Nice in France, the Oberlin Summer Piano Festival, and the Tonghai Music Festival in Taiwan.
A native of South Korea, Song attended the Toho School in Tokyo, the Peabody Preparatory School, and the Juilliard School, where her major teachers were Julian Martin, Martin Canin and Shuku Iwasaki. She has taught at Tunghai University in Taiwan, Kyung Won University in Seoul, and has been a member of the Oberlin piano department since 1991.
Many of her students have won major prizes in national and international competitions including MTNA Nationals, Wideman, Kingsville, Oberlin International Piano, Walgreen, World, and Corpus Christie, and regularly appear with significant orchestras in the United States and Asia.
Pianist Peter Takács has performed widely, receiving critical and audience acclaim for his penetrating and communicative musical interpretations. Having started piano lessons in his native Bucharest before his fourth birthday, Takács pursued his studies at the Central Music School in Bucharest, the Paris Conservatory, and Northwestern University. He completed his artistic training at the Peabody Institute with renowned American pianist and teacher Leon Fleisher.
Takács’ exceptional talents have been recognized with a First Prize in the William Kapell International Piano Competition, the Jackson Award for Excellence in Chamber Music at the Tanglewood Music Center, and a Solo Recitalist grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is sought-after as a performer, chamber musician, teacher, and lecturer.
He has performed and recorded the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Sonatas, which the Cambria Master Recordings label released in July 2011 to critical acclaim. Takács is professor of piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he has been teaching since 1976.
Concert pianist Nancy Weems has performed extensively in the United States and in Europe, Asia, Mexico, Central America, and the former Soviet Union. Selected as a United States Artistic Ambassador, Weems represented the United States in three international concert tours, and presented a solo debut recital at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Weems has appeared as guest artist with numerous orchestras, and has given masterclasses in conservatories in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the West Indies. Weems was an exchange professor and guest performer at the Royal Academy of Music in London; at Sungshin Women's University in Seoul, Korea; and in 2008, for the Kuala Lumpur International Master Classes in Malaysia. She has recorded for the Albany and the Bay Cities labels. The recording Classical Hollywood was nominated for a Grammy award in 1990. In addition, she has been featured on the recordings of American composers Arnold Rosner and Chris Theofanidis.
Weems is the Madison Endowed Professor of Piano and coordinator of the keyboard area at the University of Houston Moores School of Music in Houston, Texas. Her students have won top awards in numerous state, national, and international piano competitions. Many of her current and former students are now professional performers and teachers worldwide. Weems was named the Outstanding Collegiate Teacher of the Year in 1991 by the Texas Music Teachers Association, received a University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award in 1995, and was named the Moores School of Music Faculty of the Year in 2004.
She regularly presents lectures, recitals, and teacher workshops and has been a featured Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) convention artist for the states of New York, Washington, Minnesota, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Texas. In addition, Weems has been a frequent presenter at the MTNA convention and the World Piano Pedagogy conferences.