Pianist Diane Birr has collaborated with numerous vocalists and instrumentalists in recitals and master classes throughout the United States, and in Russia, Australia, Canada, France, Scotland, Austria, England and Norway. Dr. Birr has served as an official accompanist for the Music Teachers National Association’s (MTNA) national competitions, the International Double Reed Society Conference, the International Horn Society Conference and the International Trombone Festival. She is a frequently featured as pianist on the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra Chamber Music Series in Ithaca, NY and is currently a member of the Troica trio, which released its first CD entitled Troica - music for trumpet, saxophone and piano in 2010. From 1998-2004 Birr served on the faculty of International Workshops, a two-week music and arts festival held in various locations around the world, performing in recitals with faculty members, as well as coaching chamber music.
Birr holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Accompanying and Chamber Music from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Jean Barr. Dr. Birr has been an active member of MTNA for many years, serving in several roles including NYSMTA President, MTNA Eastern Division Director and as a member of the MTNA national Board of Directors. Birr is Professor of Piano at Ithaca College School of Music in Ithaca, NY, where she teaches courses in collaborative piano, private piano and class piano, as well as coaches chamber music.
Pianist Andrew Cooperstock performs widely as soloist and chamber musician and has appeared throughout six continents and in most of the fifty states, including performances at New York's Alice Tully, Merkin, and Weill concert halls, Greenwich Village’s (le) Poisson Rouge, Brooklyn’s BargeMusic, and at the United Nations. He has been featured in recitals and concerto appearances at the Chautauqua, Brevard, and Round Top international music festivals, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Hong Kong’s Hell Hot! New Music Festival, and in London, Beijing, Accra, Kiev, Canberra, Lima, and Geneva, on NPR, Radio France, and the BBC. Winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Competition, he has since served as juror for numerous international competitions in the U. S. and China. With violinist William Terwilliger, as the award-winning Opus Two, Cooperstock has recorded the complete works for piano and violin by Aaron Copland and performed them worldwide. Opus Two’s recording of Leonard Bernstein, for Naxos, features new arrangements by legendary Broadway music director Eric Stern and collaborations with Broadway actress-singer Marin Mazzie. The duo's newest CD, George Gershwin: Music for Violin and Piano, features the premiere recordings of Heifetz's arrangement of An American in Paris and a new suite from the MGM musical Girl Crazy. Cooperstock has also performed with the Takács and Ying Quartets, Trio Contraste, the Dorian Quintet, and the Colorado Chamber Players. A graduate of the Juilliard School and the Cincinnati and Peabody Conservatories, Dr. Cooperstock studied with Abbey Simon, David Bar-Illan, Walter Hautzig, and Samuel Sanders. Currently, he is Chair of the Keyboard Departments at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Rocky Ridge Music Center and faculty member at the Vianden International Music Festival in Luxembourg. He is a Steinway artist.
Sergio Gallo - piano (Adult Piano Seminar)
Sergio Gallo joined Georgia State University in fall 2006, having previously served as faculty at the University of North Dakota and Millikin University. Dr. Gallo received his degrees from the Conservatoire Européen de Musique in Paris (Diplôme d'Excellence), the Franz Liszt Academy of Budapest, Hungary, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Master of Music and Artist Diploma) and the University of California (DMA). He has performed with orchestras throughout the Americas and in Turkey, as well as for Radio France and Radio Cultura. Recently, Dr. Gallo performed and taught in several countries in Asia and Europe, as well as in major cities in the United States and in his home country, Brazil. In addition, he has served as the adjudicator for the International Piano Performance Examinations in Taiwan.
Dr. Gallo is the winner of concerto competitions of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the University of California Symphony. He has received a grant from the Henry Cowell Incentive Funds at the American Music Center in New York, NY, and has toured North Dakota with a Challenge America Fast-Track Review Grant award from the National Endowments for the Arts.
Sergio Gallo is a Bosendorfer artist and records for the Eroica label. His recordings have been reviewed by Gramophone Magazine and American Record Guide.
Pianist Larry Graham’s superb performances have garnered acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Winner of the coveted “Prize of the Public” by overwhelming vote at the Queen Elizabeth Concours in 1975, Graham was also the top-ranked American in this, the oldest, most prestigious and grueling of all international competitions. Le Soir of Brussels lauded Graham’s popularity as “significant and encouraging”, hailing the exceptional musicality, charm, and genuine feeling that accompanied his masterful playing. Other international successes followed as in 1977 at the Arthur Rubinstein competition in Tel Aviv. In 1986, he closed out his brilliant competitive career with First Prize at the McMahan international Music Competition.
Larry Graham has subsequently played over 35 different concerti in performances with orchestras both here and abroad; There have been numerous solo engagements as well. After hearing him, Paul Hume of the Washington Post declared that Mr. Graham “…will emerge as one of the finest of our new generation of pianists.” His mastery of the repertoire encompasses a full range of piano works from Bach through Stravinsky. Mr. Graham avoids both the hyper-emotional theatricality, and the “authentic” sterility that are currently in vogue. “No formula can ever replace sincere and discerning music-making”, he comments.
In addition to his activities as a soloist, Graham has also performed extensively with chamber music ensembles along with such artists as Gil Shaham, Arnold Steinhardt, and Ransom Wilson. He has also appeared with the Guarneri, Takacs, and Tokyo string quartets. For eleven years, Larry Graham was the pianist for the highly acclaimed Pablo Casals Trio, the only ensemble that Mr. Casals personally lent his name to.
Larry Graham received his training at the Juilliard School in New York as scholarship student of Rosina Lhevinne and Martin Canin. Early successes in piano competitions such as the Kosciusko, Bloch and G.B.Dealey resulted in his debut with Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1965. In 1969 Mr. Graham won the Concert Artists auditions which led to his debut at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall. As a teacher, Mr. Graham has had abundant distinction, his students having competed successfully at local, state and international levels. For 25 years he was Professor of piano at the University of Colorado and continues working with gifted pre-college students.
Larry balances his love of teaching and performing with an active outdoors life. An avid runner, backpacker, and rock climber, he recently completed the ascent of all fifty-four 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado. In 1984, Mr. Graham was the subject of a national PBS documentary that explored the relationship between the two very diverse disciplines that he has pursued.
The Hammonds made their debut as a duo in 1991 at the V Latin-American Music Festival in Caracas, Venezuela. The Hammonds have played at the IX Contemporary Music Festival in Alicante, Spain and in the Chamber Music series at the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. They have toured Argentina repeatedly, playing in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Cordoba and Concepcion. The Duo has given many performances as recitalists and with orchestra in the United States, Venezuela, Spain and Argentina.
Fred Hammond, born in Venezuela, received his Bachelor and Master of Music from The Julliard School. He is currently teaching piano at the Young Pianists Program of the Indiana University and IUPUI Music Academy. He has played in Spain, France, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and the United States. Marina Berretta-Hammond, born in Argentina, graduated from the National Conservatory of Music and in 1992 received a Master of Music at Indiana University where she is on the adjunct faculty.
Keiko Haneda received her Master of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Kunitachi College of Music and did post–graduate study at Hochschule für Musik und darstenllende Kunst in Wien, Austria. She has performed in the United States and Japan as a soloist. She also has collaborated with numerous instrumentalists and vocalists in recitals. She has taught and performed with young musicians who have earned numerous awards and honors from competitions and have been performing in concerts and festivals in the United States and in Europe.
Keiko has studied with Professor Kazuko Aoki who was a student of Arthur Schnabel, Professor Max Egger who was a former juror of the Geneva International Piano Competition and Professor Paul Badura-Skoda in Vienna in Austria. She has taken piano lessons with Jörg Demus, Detlef Klaus, Beveridge Webster, Vladimir Ashkenazy and others, and harpsichord lessons with Professor Edward Parmentier.
Dr. Nathan Hess has appeared throughout the United States and Europe in solo, chamber, and concerto settings. He has soloed with the Erie Philharmonic, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Manassas Symphony Orchestra, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, York Symphony Orchestra, and Ithaca College Chamber Orchestra, among others. Recent guest recital appearances and masterclasses have included Bowling Green State University, Penn State University, SUNY Fredonia, Buffalo State College, and the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Pittsburgh.
Hess holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude, from James Madison University, where he was named a Presser Scholar. His major teachers have included Elisabeth Pridonoff and Eric Ruple, and he has performed in masterclasses for such luminaries as John Browning, James Tocco, and Emanuele Arciuli.
An advocate of chamber music, he has performed in chamber music settings with members of orchestras such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and Buffalo Philharmonic. His chamber music coaches have included Sandra Rivers, Jane Coop, Ronald Copes, Seymour Lipkin, Jan Vogler, Kenneth Griffiths, Lee Fiser, and eighth blackbird. Hess has also acted as orchestral pianist with the Erie Philharmonic and Binghamton Philharmonic.
For five years Hess chaired the piano program at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts in Erie, teaching piano to some of the state's most talented pre-college students. He performed in and produced a set of recordings for the textbook Harmony in Context, published by McGraw-Hill and written by Miguel Roig-Francoli. In addition to teaching and performing, Dr. Hess is active in Music Teachers National Association and also adjudicates frequently throughout the region and East Coast. Currently he is Assistant Professor of Piano at Ithaca College and teaches in the College's Summer Piano Institute held each July. He can be heard on the Centaur label in a recording with flutist Susan Royal.
Romanian-born pianist Eli Kalman has performed extensively in Romania, Israel, Germany, Hungary, Japan, United States and Canada. Hailing from Romania and Israel, he was the recipient of the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship for Excellence at UW-Madison. His lifelong passion for chamber music has been featured in performances at the Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, “San Francisco Performances,” “Tuesday Evening Concert Series” in Virginia, at the Sylvia Adalman Artist Recital Series at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, on the Emmanuel Music-Schumann Chamber Series in Boston, the Connoisseur Series at Wichita State University, Myra Hess Series in Chicago and many other venues. He was an enthusiastic artist-in-residence at the Chamber Music Festival at Banff, Canada and for five years a guest artist at the Token Creek Festival. Recent solo and chamber appearances have also featured him as a soloist with the Water City Chamber Orchestra and on numerous live broadcast recitals on “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” on WPR and from WFMT Chicago. As a recording artist, he offers the works for solo piano and cello and piano by Erwin Junger (2001) and Robert Schumann’s Sonatas for Violin and Piano with violinist Rose Mary Harbison (2006). His latest recording entitled “The Jewish Soul” is with cellist Amit Peled from the Peabody Institute and it was released on Centaur Records in 2009.
Dr. Kalman spends his summer as piano faculty at the Young Artist Seminars at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Colorado where he shares with many students his passion for music with the greatness of a unique natural setting at 9000 feet altitude. Since 2006 he serves as Professor of Piano at University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. Prior to his appointment at UW-Oshkosh he has been on the piano faculty at the Center of Arts, Mizra and the association “Maestro” based in Israel and prior on the faculty at the Lyceum of Arts, Baia Mare in Romania.
SoYoung Lee - piano (YAS, Adult Piano Seminar)
SoYoung Lee, Music Director at Rocky Ridge Music Center, received her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. An award winning pianist and a Regents Scholar, she is a recipient of the Ernő Dohnányi Piano Prize, Gwendolyn Koldofsky Accompanying Fellowship and the Corwin Composition Award. SoYoung is involved with a number of music and dance projects including Bach2Brazil and In the Mist chamber ballets in collaboration with choreographer and former Balanchine dancer Viki Psihoyos, a multi-disc recording project of Schumann with pianist Sergio Gallo and baritone Daniel Ihasz. She has held director positions at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory Adult Education & Preparatory Department, Millikin University Preparatory Division and the Boulder Arts Academy & Boulder Ballet. SoYoung served on the music faculty at Millikin, State University of New York, Fredonia and was a visiting Piano Pedagogy faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She attended the University of Birmingham and the Birmingham School of Music in England, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Santa Barbara on a full music scholarship. SoYoung is equally at home as a performing artist, teacher, producer, and an arts advocate.
James Welch serves on the faculty at the State University of New York at Fredonia as a collaborative pianist and instructor of class piano. He has accompanied for students and faculty on various instrumental juries and recitals, the accompanying and vocal coaching of the mainstage musicals, and various master classes. International experiences have included the Lyric Arts performing ensembles’ tour of the Marche region of Italy in collaboration with the Postacchini String Quartet, and master classes at the Conservatorio G.B. Pergolesi (Fermo, Italy) with Tenor, Giuseppe Sabatini.
During the summer seasons James has served on the faculties for the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp (Interlochen, MI), The New York State Summer School of the Arts Choral Program (Fredonia, NY) and the Rocky Ridge Summer Music Festival (Estes Park, CO), as an accompanist for instrumentalists and vocalists on repertoire including art songs, opera, musical theater, choral, jazz, pop, and instrumental.
As a soloist, James was a Second Prize winner of the 2007 Bradshaw and Bouno International Piano Competition (New York, NY), and has appeared in master classes and performed at SUNY Fredonia (Fredonia, NY), SUNY Buffalo (Buffalo, NY), East Carolina University (Greenville, NC), Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD), Portland, Oregon, and Ambialet, France.
James holds a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Performer’s Certificate from SUNY Fredonia. He has spent the past two summers studying piano with Paul Roberts from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, at his summer festival in Ambialet, France.
A Rocky Ridge Day