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.
Chung-Hsi Hsieh, piano
Pianist Chung-Hsi Hsieh has performed solo recitals in numerous cities in United States and Asia, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, as well as in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang, Taipei and Tainan. He has also made solo appearances with Interlochen Arts Academy Symphony Orchestra, Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, and Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. As an avid chamber musician, he often collaborates with principles from BSO, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, and members of A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, as well as Iris String Quartet and members of Amphion String QuartetAfter winning the Junior Division of the National Music Competition in Taiwan, Mr. Hsieh pursued his music career in the United States, winning top prizes in the Wideman Concerto Competition in Shreveport Louisiana, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan Concerto Competition, Taiwan International Chopin Competition, Miami International Competition, and Corpus Christi Piano Competition. He was a performing artist in the Irving Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival.
Chung-Hsi Hsieh received his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers, State University of New Jersey under the guidance of Susan Starr and Douglas Lundeen. He received his MA and BA from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Seymour Lipkin. He has taught in the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, China, and will join Bravo International Music Academy in San Diego in summer 2016.
Irina Morozova, piano
Music critics the world over continue to praise pianist Irina Morozova as a “truly gifted artist who plays with exceptional intelligence, refined musicality, virtual flawlessness of technique, and an impeccable sense of style”. Irina Morozova made her New York debut with a solo recital at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1996 after winning the Artists International Auditions. Critics raved, “Morozova possesses astonishing beauty of sound and power of ideas… she is the sort of pianist who can turn a simple phrase into magic.” Since then Irina Morozova has given numerous solo recitals throughout the U.S., Germany, Russia, Chile, China, and Australia. She has made solo appearances with Berlin Radio Symphony, the South Carolina Symphony, Irving Symphony Orchestra, and the New American Chamber Orchestra, among others. A passionate chamber music player, she has performed with Saint-Petersburg Quartet, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera orchestras. Irina Morozova’s performances were broadcast on Russian radio and TV, KPAC (Texas), WFMT (Chicago), ABC (Australia), BBC, and featured in the Film America’s “Music in the 20th Century” TV series. Ms. Morozova has participated for many years in the International Keyboard and Institute Festival in New York, the Cremona International Music Academy in Italy, and the InterHarmony festival in Germany/Italy. She presented master classes and workshops around the world and adjudicated numerous international and national competitions.
Irina Morozova was a top prize-winner of the New Orleans, the Frinna Awerbuch, and the San Antonio International Piano Competitions. Her CD of virtuoso transcriptions of Gershwin works, including a unique recording of the solo version of Concerto in F, was recently released by Samum Publishing.
Born to a musical family, Irina Morozova began her musical studies at the Leningrad Special Music School for Gifted Children and graduated with honors from the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music where her major teacher was Galina Orlovskaya. Studying with Prof. Vladimir Shakin at the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory, she performed in the major concert halls of Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and many other cities in the former Soviet Union.
Ms. Morozova received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Dr. Arkady Aronov and where she is a Piano Associate faculty. Since 1996 she has been on the faculties of Mannes College of Music and the Special Music School at Kaufman Center in New York.
Tereza Lee Kirkhum, piano
Born in Brazil and raised in Chicago, Tereza Lee started playing the piano when she was nine. At age 16, she was awarded a scholarship at the Merit School of Music to study with Edna Koren and Sylvia Wang. As first prize winner of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition, she appeared as a soloist with the CSO, performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1. In New York, she has appeared as a soloist at Steinway Hall, Barge Music, and Lincoln Center. Tereza performed with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra after winning a school-wide competition, the first freshman in the school’s history to do so. She graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, under the instruction of Nina Svetlanova. Tereza Lee performed her Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall on May 17th, 2009 – a concert presented by Artists International Presentations, as part of its annual solo competition.
Tereza is also a DREAM Act activist, and one of her many dreams is to share her passion for music through education. She is a teaching fellow at the Manhattan School of Music and a faculty member at MSM Sunday.
Laura Goldberg, violin
Laura Jean Goldberg, violin, is a dynamic and performer and teacher, a member of the Chamber Music Faculty at The Juilliard School in the pre-college division, and curator of concert events in venues around the world. A Juilliard graduate, Ms. Goldberg has performed as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and won top prizes at the Fischoff, Coleman, and Banff International String Quartet competitions as a founding member of the Cassatt Quartet. A current board member of the Dvorak American Heritage Association and ACMP, the Chamber Music Network, Ms. Goldberg is also the director of ArtsAhimsa…music to promote nonviolence, an organization that presents concerts worldwide. Ms. Goldberg also teaches at Belvoir Terrace, a performing arts center for girls in Lenox, MA, and she directs the ArtsAhimsa Music Festival at Belvoir Terrace, a chamber music workshop for amateur chamber music players.
Heather Frank-Olsen, violin
HeatherFrank-Olsen, a native of New York City, enjoys playing with orchestras throughout the area. She has performed at Carnegie Hall and David Geffen Hall in New York and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, as well as several summers with the Aspen Music Festival. She is a member of the Grammy award winning Albany Symphony and also plays with the Allentown Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Chelsea Opera, and Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, just to name a few! She received her bachelor degree from Swarthmore College, where her principal teacher was Irving Ludwig of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She then completed her graduate studies at SUNY Purchase, where she studied with Laurie Smukler and worked with chamber music coaches Ira Weller and Julia Lichten. Heather currently resides in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
Rosemary Rossi, voice
Rosemary Rossi, is an opera singer, classical voice trainer, and piano teacher in the New York Metropolitan area. She also serves as Music Department Chair at the prestigious Ursuline School in Westchester, New York. Rosemary manages full-time vocal and piano training studios at both the Ursuline School and at her home in Bronxville, New York. Rosemary graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and obtained a Masters degree in music with specialization in opera and classical voice from Mannes College for Music. Rosemary was recently presented with the Saint Ursula Award from the Ursuline School. Her recent performance was in “La Traviata” with the New Rochelle Opera.
Cailin Sullivan, cello
Cellist Caitlin Sullivan is a chamber, orchestral, and contemporary music performer based in New York City. Recognized as having “the understanding and emotional projection of a true artist” by the New York Concert Review, Ms. Sullivan is a member of The Knights as well as Decoda, a chamber music collective recently named the first-ever affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall. As a member of Decoda, Ms. Sullivan has helped to lead educational outreach projects in South Africa and Japan, as well as curate a chamber music performance, “Line and Expression,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As a member of the Knights and frequent principal cellist for the ensemble, Ms. Sullivan has traveled extensively in the US and abroad, performing with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Bela Fleck, the Joshua Redman Quartet, and many others. She is also a member of the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis, TN, and made her debut as a soloist with that orchestra in the 2013-14 season. Ms. Sullivan has performed with other acclaimed ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, Ensemble Signal, Argento Chamber Ensemble, and the Wordless Music Orchestra, which she recently traveled with to Australia to perform the music of Max Richter.
Peter Prosser, cello
Peter Prosser has had a multilliceted career as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher, record producer and conductor. Highlights include recording the Saint-Saens, Lab and Dvorak concerti for Alabama Public Television, the Haydn D major Concerto for Kentucky Educational Television, producing CDs for the Paragon Ragtime orchestra, conducting Gypsy starring Bernadette Peters on Broadway, and conducting the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra at the Centennial Gala for the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also conducted for the American Mosaic series at Concordia College, at the Alabama Summer Music Center, and served as the associate conductor for the national tour of Stephen Sondheim’s into the Woods. More recently, he was assistant conductor for the Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles. He is former cellist of the Royale Trio and winner of the Manogue International and National Arts Club competitions. Forays into pop culture have found him working with Willie Nelson, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, appearing as solo cellist with Shirley Bassey at Carnegie Hall, at Town Hall with the late Nancy LaMott, and with Bernadette Peters at Avesy Fisher Hall. Other recordings include contemporasy solo cello works by Robert Dix and Joseph Levin, blues with Eric Clapton and B.B.King~ and a Christmas album, Annual’s Christmas with Alt (iarfiinkel and Amy Grant. Radio and television appearances include The Listening Room and Young Artist Showcase on WQXR (New Yotk), Around New York on WNYC, West Coast Weekend on KQED (San Francisco) and Saturday Night Live. A graduate of the University of Aiabama and the Manhattan School of Music, he joined the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in 1991, and is a performance associate at Hunter College.