2019 Jurors

Igor Pikayzen, violin

Award-winning Russian-American violinist Igor Pikayzen is confidently establishing himself as one of the most prodigious and in-demand soloists of his generation. Praised on four continents by critics and audiences alike for his “astounding technical ability” and a “majestically lush tone”, Igor Pikayzen “surely is at a forefront of a major musical career” (Moscow Times).

Since his concerto debut at the age of 8, with Mozart's Violin Concerto #2 and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Pikayzen has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras spanning Europe, Asia, North and South America, including the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Radio Symphony, Bucharest Philharmonic, State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Milano Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonica Nacional de Chile, Filharmonica di Bacau, Izmir Symphony Orchestra, Bialystok Philharmonic, Stamford Symphony, Czestochowa Philharmonic, Lima Chamber Orchestra, Tbilisi Opera Orchestra, Antalya State Symphony, Yokohama Sinfonietta and countless others. In the last two seasons alone, he has given debuts and returned to Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City, Tchaikovsky Hall and Minor Hall in Moscow, Teatro Llago in Frutillar, Congreso Nacional in Santiago, President Hall in Ankara, Flagey and Le Bozar in Brussels, Le Bourget in Montreal, Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City and Cadogan Hall in London, to name just a few.

Pikayzen's 2017-18 season includes debuts and return engagements under the batons of Gürer Aykal, Łukasz Borowicz, Emil Tabakov, Enrique Batiz, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Lior Shambadal, Jerzy Salwarowski, Daniel Huppert, Roman Revueltas, Vakhtang Matchavariani, Christopher Lyndon-Gee and Hobart Earle. A frequent guest at some of the most prestigious chamber music festivals and series in the world, Pikayzen regularly appears at Verbier Festival in Switzerland, Napa Valley Festival in California, Semanas Musicales de Frutillar in Chile, Night Serenades Festival in Georgia, New York's Bargemusic and 92nd Street Y.

A dedicated recording artist, Pikayzen's live performances and recordings have been broadcast on WQXR and RTVi (USA) Kultura (Russia) RTBF (Belgium) CBC (Canada) Radio Kultura (Poland) RadioSwiss Classic (Switzerland) Imedi (Georgia) TRT3 (Turkey) Beethoven Radio (Chile)as well as MediciTV and ViolinChannel. His extensive discography demonstrates his incredible versatility as an artist, and includes his debut album, with virtuoso works of Saint-Saëns, Ysaÿe, Paganini, and Wieniawski on the ProArte label, as well as live recordings of the Glazunov and Matchavariani violin concertos, Tchaikovsky's “Souvenir de Florence” with the Russian Virtuosi of Europe for Orchid Classics and “On My Journey now”; a recording of spirituals with the acclaimed baritone Lester Lynch for Pentatone Classics. A champion of new and under-performed composers, Pikayzen's recording of the Henri Marteau clarinet quintet with the Phoenix Ensemble has been met with critical acclaim; 2018 sees the release of the Brahms and Elliot Carter clarinet quintets for Navona/Naxos.

Grandson of the legendary Soviet violinist Viktor Pikayzen, Igor was born in Moscow, Russia. After receiving his Bachelor's Degree from Juilliard, as well as a Master's Degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music, he is currently completing his DMA at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he holds the coveted position of Enhanced Chancellor Fellow and is on the violin faculty of Brooklyn Conservatory. Pikayzen is the 1st prize winner of the 2015 Edition of the International Violin Competition Luis Sigall in Viña del Mar, Chile as well as the Wronski International Violin Competition in Warsaw, in addition to being a silver medalist at the Szeryng and Kloster-Schöntal international violin competitions. A native of Moscow, Mr. Pikayzen shares his time between New York and Westport, CT, where he launched an annual summer music festival, Edelio.

ADRIAN DAUROV, cello

Adrina Daurov is a versatile cellist, who performs on world-famous concert stages including Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Madison Square Garden, and the General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters, ranging from classical solo recitals to playing shows with the likes of Alicia Keys, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Josh Groban, Burt Bacharach, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Sarah Brightman and the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Ros. Most recently, Adrian has collaborated with the Swedish folk-rock band First Aid Kit, and also toured with the cello rock band Break of Reality.

After studying at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, Adrian received the Jerome L. Greene Scholarship to study at the Juilliard School with the renowned cello pedagogues Andre Emelianoff and David Soyer, where he completed his Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Since 2007 Adrian was also appointed the principal cellist of The Chamber Orchestra of New York, and a year later formed his own group - the award-winning Voxare Quartet, with which he toured for several seasons. Adrian's cello playing was heard and broadcast on several radio stations and TV channels like WNYC, WQXR and NTV-America and popular American TV shows such as Regis & Kelly Live, Good Morning America, Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Adrian made his New York solo debut at Merkin Hall at Lincoln Center and performed as a soloist with The Chamber Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Daurov is an avid chamber musician and performs as a duo with pianist Spencer Myer. The duo performed at the Smithsonian Museum, The Embassy Series in D.C., as well as at many other established institutions. In 2016, he joined the distinguished United Nations Chamber Music Society, performing several times each season in and around the World Headquarters building.

In recent season, Mr Daurov has been seen performing as a soloist with the Kalamazoo Symphony, Bozeman Symphony, Altoona Symphony, Westerville Symphony, Massapequa Philharmonic and Ridgefield Symphony, and other orchestras. Among the upcoming highlights is the performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Three Meditations from MASS for Cello and Orchestra with the Dayton Philharmonic and Maestro John Mauceri, in celebration of composer’s 100th Birthday.

Daurov' s playing is featured on two recent albums released by the Naxos label, in works by NYC composers Mohammed Fairouz and Grigory Smirnov.

Lora Tchekoratova, piano

Bulgarian pianist Lora Tchekoratova has appeared as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. At age 21 she won first prize at the Washington International Competition for pianists, where she was also awarded the audience prize, and the prize for the youngest finalist. Subsequently, Ms. Tchekoratova made her debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She also made recital appearances at the Phillips Collection (broadcast over WGTS-FM) as well as in Alexandria, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York. Thereafter, she became a sought-after soloist, recitalist and teacher, frequently performing in major venue throughout the world. During the 2015/2016 Season, Ms. Tchekoratova is engaged to perform as soloist and chamber musician in New York, Toronto, Miami, Boston, St. Thomas, Chicago as well as in Europe.

As an active advocate for new music, Ms. Tchekoratova has premiered numerous contemporary works by American and Bulgarian composers. Currently, she is co-chair of the Executive Board of Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York, a concert series, dedicated to the presentation of music and musicians from Bulgaria. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Fund, the Puffin Foundation, the Arthur Foundation and the Kittredge Fund have all awarded her grants for the presentation of lesser-known music from her country. In addition, she has presented Bulgarian music on tour with her husband, represented by the organization World Artists Experiences in Washington, D.C. She has appeared at many festivals for new music, such as Focus, Summergarden, and Piano Century at the Juilliard Theater, MoMA, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Recently Tchekoratova performed at the American Composers' Festival in New York's Symphony Space, and the Keys to the Future festival for new and recent piano music in New York.

Lora Tchekoratova is a dedicated chamber musician. She frequently performs with her husband, violinist Georgy Valtchev. During the past season they presented a series of concerts in Maryland, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. She also appears regularly in various chamber music programs with members of the New World Symphony, where she was a fellow for two seasons under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. These collaborations led her to performances in Miami (at the Lincoln Theater,) Palm Beach (Kravis Center,) New York (Union Club), as well as on tours in Boston, Long Island; and abroad in Prague, Rome, and Monte Carlo. She has also been a featured artist at many international festivals, including Kuhmo Nuori Musikii in Finland; Lappland Festspel and Bastad Festspel in Sweden; Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill, Maine; Apolonia, and Sofia Music Weeks in Bulgaria.

Lora Tchekoratova began her piano studies at age four and gave her first recital five years later at the State Music School in Sofia, Bulgaria. At age eighteen, she continued her studies at The Juilliard School in New York City, where she received her Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees as a student of Seymour Lipkin. Other teachers include Lydia Kuteva, Vessela Marinova, Prof. Jenny Zaharieva, and Oxana Yablonskaya. Currently she serves on the faculties of Mannes Prep, the 92nd Street Y School of Music in New York, and the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Institute in Blue Hill, Maine. She has made numerous recordings for Radio and Television in Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland, and the US. Her CD recordings for Gega New have been received with worldwide critical acclaim.

Mary Thorne, voice

Soprano Mary Thorne has been praised as an “engaging soloist, bright and agile.” Highlights from recent seasons include joining New York City Opera in Aleko/Pagliacci at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater and appearing as the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd with Theater 2020 which earned an Innovative Theatre Award nomination for Outstanding Ensemble. Mary also recently debuted the role of Ines in the American premiere production of Donizetti’s La Zingara.

Frequently heard in Mozart roles, Mary sang Queen of the Night in Amore Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, presented by WQXR at The Greene Space. She performed the role of Pamina in Hubbard Hall Opera Theater’s Die Zauberflöte and opened Amato Opera’s final season as Despina in Così fan tutte. She has also sung Susanna, Barbarina, Blondchen, Papagena, and Mademoiselle Silberklang, with New York companies Bronx Opera, Opera Company of Brooklyn, and New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble.

As a concert soloist, Mary has appeared with the New York Choral Society Summer Sings in Orff’s Carmina Burana and with the West Village Chorale Summer Sings in Fauré’s Requiem and Haydn’s Missa in Tempore Belli. She has performed with the Simon Sinfonietta of Cape Cod in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Haydn’s Missa Sanctae Caeciliae. New York City concert appearances include a solo recital on Trinity Wall Street’s Concerts at One series, soloist at Weill Hall with New York Lyric Opera, and first soprano soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Richmond Choral Society. This season Mary joins Philomusica of New Jersey as the soprano soloist in Poulenc’s Gloria.

Originally from Washington State, Mary received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in voice from the City University of New York Graduate Center and holds a Master of Music degree from Mannes School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Mary teaches voice and musicianship at The Diller-Quaile School of Music and maintains a private voice studio. She has trained in Dalcroze Eurhythmics and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Guild of Musical Artists.


Jessica Aura Taskov, flute

Described as "exquisite" by the South Florida Classica Review, Flutist and native New Yorker, Jessica Aura Taskov is an active orchestral player and chamber musician. 2018/19 engagements include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, Nashville Symphony, Principal Flute with DCINY (Distinguished Concerts International), Principal Flute of the New England Symphonic Ensemble, Reading Symphony in PA, New York Concert Artists, and a broadway tour of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” among others. She has been a soloist with the New Jersey Philharmonic, Ensemble 212, the Purchase Camerata, and was a first prize winner of the 2013 Alexander and Buono International Flute Competition. Other orchestral experience includes performances with the Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Seraphic Fire, Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Munchner Symphoniker, and others. Summer festivals include Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival, Glimmerglass Festival, Interlochen, and Orford. Most recent recording was “Lines of Color” recorded live at the Jazz Standard in NYC and released on Blue Note records in 2015 and was nominated for a Grammy. Ms. Taskov is on faculty of the Center for Preparatory Studies in Music at Queens College.