Canadian pianist Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu studies with Dang Thai Son and has performed with major ensembles including the Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Americas. A graduate of the Montreal Conservatoire, where he studied with Richard Raymond, he has also toured North America with the China NCPA Orchestra and performed in Paris at the Salle Gaveau with Orchestre Lamoureux.
Liu’s recent engagements include successive tours of China with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the Lviv National Philharmonic, which took him to venues such as the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing Concert Hall, and Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. He has won prizes at international competitions in Montreal, Sendai (Japan), Tel Aviv (Israel), and Viseu (Portugal), and was second-prize winner at the 2012 Cooper International Competition for Piano at Oberlin Conservatory.
Winner of the Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Competition, 25-year-old pianist Leonardo Pierdomenico won the 2011 Premio Venezia competition in Italy and was a semifinalist at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium.
After graduating from Luisa D’Annunzio Conservatory in his hometown of Pescara, Italy, he studied at the Fiesole School of Music. In 2017 he earned a master’s degree at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia of Rome, where he studied with Benedetto Lupo. Awarded for his artistic achievements by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in 2011, Pierdomenico has performed with many prominent orchestras and has given solo recitals in major venues in Italy, Germany, China, and the U.S.
In 2016 he was named a fellow of the Music Academy of the West, where he collaborated with renowned pianists including Jeremy Denk, Jerome Lowenthal, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Julian Martin, and Leon Fleisher. His debut recording, dedicated to Franz Liszt and released by Piano Classics, received international acclaim and was named one of Gramophone’s best new classical albums of September 2018. Pierdomenico is a professor at the Conservatorio Salerno and the Avos Project Academy in Rome.
Russian pianist Anastasia Vorotnaya began earning top prizes in regional and international piano competitions from a young age, and at 9 she was accepted into Moscow Conservatory’s Central Music School to study with Vasily Ermakov. She won the Grand Prix at Concertino Praga in 2010 and released her first CD with Czech Radio that same year.
Now 26, Vorotnaya has played in Carnegie Hall, Musikverein in Vienna, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Rudolfinum in Prague, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, and various other venues across Russia. She has given recitals in numerous Russian cities and toured internationally to Japan, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and the U.S. In 2018 she won the Public Prize at the Jeudis du Piano competition in Switzerland and first prize at Gegen den Strom in Germany, adding second prize at Juries in Competition in Salzburg, Austria, the following year.
Vorotnaya studied with Dmitri Bashkirov at Reina Sofia School of Music from 2012 to 2019, then was accepted to Park University’s International Center for Music, where she currently studies with Stanislav Ioudenitch. She has been a student at the Lake Como International Piano Academy since 2016.
2021 Oberlin-Como Students
JJ Jun Li Bui is a second-year student at Oberlin Conservatory in the studio of Dang Thai Son. Winner of the Peer Award at the 2019 Van Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition, he has also won awards at international competitions in Beijing, Hanoi (Vietnam), Aarhus (Denmark), and the U.S. Most recently, he was a prize winner at the 2019 Beijing International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Young Pianists.
In addition to solo recitals across North America and Asia, he has performed with numerous orchestras including the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Milton Philharmonic Orchestra, Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, China Central Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra, and the Guiyang Symphony Orchestra.
Bui is also an active chamber musician: His piano trio with violinist Vivian Kukiel and cellist Matthew Christakos won the 2018 Canadian Music Competition and performed during the 10-year celebration of the Royal Occasion in Toronto’s Koerner Hall.
Chinese pianist Yangrui Cai has won prizes at major national and international competitions including the 2019 Sendai International Music Competition in Japan and the 2019 Yamaha USASU International Senior Piano Competition in the U.S. After beginning his piano studies at age 4, Cai was taught by Jay Sun between the ages of 8 and 12, and by Vivian Li from age 12 until college. In 2016 he was admitted to the Xinghai Conservatory of Music with a first-place ranking in the national audition, graduating with distinction in 2019.
A third-year student at Oberlin Conservatory studying with Stanislav Ioudenitch, Cai has given solo recitals in Asia, Europe, Canada, and the U.S., and has appeared with orchestras in China, Japan, and Italy. He has attended celebrated music festivals such as Morningside Music Bridge and Tanglewood, and he has performed in master classes with Dmitri Bashkirov, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and Yoheved Kaplinsky, among others.
Pui Wang (Leo) Choi is in his fourth year at Oberlin Conservatory studying under Angela Cheng. A native of Hong Kong, Choi began playing the piano at age 5 and joined the junior music program of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) at 8. He has presented concerts in the U.S. and Hong Kong, including Oberlin’s Danenberg Honors Recital and numerous public recitals held by HKAPA.
Choi has earned prizes at various competitions throughout China including the 2016 Asian Youth Music Competition. He has studied with pianists such as Robert Levin and Jacques Rouvier at the Mozarteum, and has attended numerous music festivals. He regularly participates in master classes held by Oberlin Conservatory and Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, where he has studied with Dang Thai Son, Stanislav Ioudenitch, and Yun Lin Yang.
A native of Cuba, Daniela Jiménez Ochoa began studying the piano when she was 7 years old. She attended the Guillermo Tomás and Manuel Saumell conservatories, repeatedly earning prizes in the biannual contest Concurso Amadeo Roldán.
After immigrating to Miami in 2016, Ochoa joined the piano studio of Sahily Cánovas. In 2017 she was accepted into the New World School of the Arts to study with Ciro Foderé; later that year, she won the school’s concerto competition, performing Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2. Since then, she has received awards at numerous competitions and participated in master classes with a variety of renowned pianists.
Ochoa is an active member of the New World School of the Arts Jazz Band and Combo. In 2020 she was awarded honorable mention at Essentially Ellington and a merit award from the YoungArts Foundation. She studies classical piano performance with Peter Takács at Oberlin Conservatory.
Praised as “one of the most refined and artistic players for her age and perhaps any age” by WQXR radio station and New York Concert Review, Allison To has given solo performances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Yamaha Salon in New York. The 20-year-old pianist has also played with various orchestras across California and appeared on NPR’s From the Top.
To received the Evgeny Kissin Grand Prize at the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition and was a top laureate at the Gina Bachauer, Virginia Waring, Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU, and San Jose international piano competitions.
To is a third-year student of Stanislav Ioudenitch at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she is pursuing a double degree. Her mentors include William Naboré of the Lake Como International Piano Academy and Mary Ann Cummins from the Crossroads School. She has also worked with Russell Sherman, Wha Kyung Byun, Menahem Pressler, and Ann Schein.