School of Music

University of Florida International Piano Festival

Alvin Chow
Guest Artist Teacher

Alvin Chow has appeared throughout North America and in Asia as orchestral soloist and recitalist.  In addition, 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 summa cum laude and Co-Valedictorian (with his brother) at the University of Maryland, where he was a student of Nelita True.  Mr. 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.

Mr. Chow has won First Prize in numerous competitions such as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Young Soloists Competition, the National Symphony Young Soloists Competition and the Indiana University Concerto Competition, as well as prizes in the University of Maryland International Piano Competition, the New York Piano Teachers Congress International Piano Competition, and the MTNA Collegiate Artists Competition.            

Mr. Chow has been presented as recitalist in such cities as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Vienna, Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Detroit, Houston and Miami, and has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Pan-Asia Symphony in Hong Kong, Shanghai Philharmonic, and the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, among others. He has also been Convention Artist for the state MTNA conferences in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee.  In 2011, a CD of music for 4 and 6 hands, recorded with Angela Cheng and Alan Chow, was released by Arioso Classics.  It features music by Brahms, Dvorak, Ravel, Milhaud, Corigliano and Copland.

Mr. Chow has presented numerous master classes and lectures throughout the United States and abroad, including the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Taichung University in Taiwan, Colburn School in Los Angeles, Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, University of Michigan, University of Texas, and Northwestern University among many others.   He has been invited to perform and teach at numerous summer festivals, including the Shanghai Piano Festival and Institute, Banff Piano Master Classes, Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, International Institute for Young Musicians, Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, North Coast Piano Festival, Strings in the Mountains Music Festival, Texas Music Festival Piano Institute, Music Festival of Arkansas, Adamant Music School, Southeastern Piano Festival, New Orleans International Piano Festival, Credo Chamber Music Festival and Cooper Piano Festival at Oberlin.

He has been a member of numerous competitions juries, including the New Orleans International Piano Competition, Iowa International Piano Competition, MTNA National Competitions, Sorantin Young Artist Competition, Chicago International Duo Piano Competition, International Piano e-Competition, Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Crescendo Music Awards, Eastman Young Artists International Competition, and the Cooper International Piano Competition at Oberlin.

Mr. Chow was the first Fulbright College Visiting Artist in Piano at the University of Arkansas, and later taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Since 1999, he has been a member of the artist faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  From 2011-14 he was the Ruth Strickland Gardner Professor of Music, and continues as Chair of the Piano Department.  Most recently, Mr. Chow was awarded Oberlin’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2016-17 academic year.

Lori Sims
Guest Artist Teacher

The American pianist, Lori Sims, began her studies with her parents, and as a teen studied with Larry Graham at the University of Colorado. She obtained her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Peabody Conservatory as a student of Leon Fleisher, her Master of Music Degree from the Yale School of Music as a student of Daniel Pollack and Claude Frank, and a “Solistendiplom,” or artist diploma, from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany, as a student of Arie Vardi. She received the Gold Medal at the 1998 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, where she also won the prize for the best performance of a work by Brahms.

Her other awards include first prize co-winner of the 1994 Felix Bartholdy-Mendelssohn Competition in Berlin, Germany, winner of the 1993 American Pianists’ Association Competition with outstanding distinction from the jury, and the silver medal winner in the 1987 Kosciuszcko Foundation Chopin Competition. While a student, she was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Dean’s Prize for Most Outstanding Graduating Student at the Yale School of Music, and a Deutsche Akedemische Austauschdienst two-year fellowship from the Federal Republic of Germany.

Lori Sims has performed throughout North America, Europe, and China including engagements with the NordDeutscheRadio Orchester in Hannover, the Israel Philharmonic OrchestraIndianapolis Symphony OrchestraUtah Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Chamber Orchestra, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Rockford Symphony and Kalamazoo Symphony. Her 2000 Alice Tully Hall recital debut in New York received critical acclaim from Bernard Holland in the New York Times. She has made nine appearances at the prestigious Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, where she has been featured as solo-recitalist, master-class artist, and chamber artist.

As a chamber musician, Lori Sims has been featured at the El Paso Chamber Music Festival, Fontana Chamber Players in Kalamazoo, and with Opus 21, a chamber ensemble dedicated to the performance of more current compositions. As well, she has recorded a Robert Schumann CD with ‘cellist Natalia Khoma, and three Sonatas of William Bolcom with violinist Renata Artman Knific. Lori Sims has been at Western Michigan University since 1997. In 2003, she was named the John T. Bernhard Professor of Music at Western Michigan University, one of thirteen named chairs at the University. As an artist-teacher, she has appeared at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, at the Internationale Konzertarbeitswochen in Goslar, Germany, at Western Michigan University’s SEMINAR for high school students and at Bayview Music Festival.

Jasmin Arakawa
Festival Director

Hailed by Gramophone for her ‘characterful sparkle’, Jasmin Arakawa has performed widely in North America, Central and South America, Europe, China and Japan. A prizewinner of the Jean Françaix International Music Competition, she has been heard at Carnegie Hall, Salle Gaveau in Paris and Victoria Hall in Geneva, as well as in broadcasts of the BBC and Radio France. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Philips Symfonie Orkest in Amsterdam, Orquestra Sinfonica de Piracicaba in Brazil, and several orchestras in her native Japan. 

Other performance highlights include guest artist appearances at the Toronto Summer Festival, Ribadeo International Music Festival in Spain, Bicentenaire de Chopin in Switzerland, Scotiabank Northern Lights Music Festival in Mexico, Festival de Música de Cámarain Peru, Festival Internacional de Música Erudita de Piracicaba in Brazil, Fazioli Piano Pure Series in Chicago and Distinguished Concerts International New York. Arakawa released her debut solo album Klavierabendon MSR Classics to critical acclaim, praised by American Record Guide for her ‘rich lyricism’ and ‘supreme clarity’.

She has a special interest in Spanish repertoire, which grew out of a series of lessons with Alicia de Larrocha. As a prizewinner of the Competition in the Performance of Music from Spain and Latin America and under the sponsorship of the Spanish Embassy, she subsequently recorded solo and chamber pieces by Spanish and Latin American composers.

Arakawa has collaborated with notable artists including cellists Colin Carr and Gary Hoffman, flutists Jean Ferrandis and Marina Piccinini, clarinetist James Campbell, and the Penderecki String Quartet. In addition, she has served as Collaborative Pianist in Residence at the Banff Centre in Canada for three seasons. An advocate of new music, Arakawa has premiered and performed numerous contemporary works. Recently she released the complete works of Witold Lutosławski for violin and piano on PARMA Recordings with Canadian violinist Véronique Mathieu.

Jasmin Arakawa is a graduate of Tokyo University of the Arts. She holds Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Emile Naoumoff. A recipient of the 2016 Steinway Top Teacher Award, she has given master classes at China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Peru, Instituto Baccarelli in Brazil, and numerous universities in the United States and Canada. Having previously served at Western Illinois University and the University of South Alabama, Arakawa is Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Area Coordinator at the University of Florida, as well as Director of the Florida International Piano Festival.

[www.jasminarakawa.com]

Kevin Robert Orr
Masterclass Teacher

Concert pianist Kevin Robert Orr pursues a dynamic agenda as performer, professor, masterclass clinician, lecturer and adjudicator that has taken him to major music institutions and festivals across North America, Europe, China, South Korea and Australia.

Orr’s critically acclaimed solo recordings include the complete sonatas and ballades of Johannes Brahms, and the piano concerto and sonata of Samuel Barber. Gramophone (UK) wrote "Within four bars, I recognise that a formidable, seasoned artist is at work...two minutes into the sonata's first movement and I'm hooked by Kevin Robert Orr's huge sound, pliable command of Brahms's thick writing, bracing sense of rhythm, and generous phrasing."

Similarly, American Record Guide (USA) remarked, "This is first-rate playing, expressive and assured," and Piano News (Germany) noted: “The dramatis personae of the Allegro maestoso, portrayed through the right and left hands, are firmly and effectively directed in Orr’s intensively expressive interpretation."

A strong advocate of the music of living composers, Orr has premiered and recorded solo and ensemble works by composers Jennifer Margaret Barker, Paul Basler, Houston Dunleavy, Paul Richards, Robert Rollin, and John Weinsweig, The 2005 release of Barker’s CD “Geenyoch” features Orr on the composer’s 2001 solo piano work, Geenyoch Ballant, a performance about which critic Jon Conrad wrote Orr performed "brilliantly."

Collaborations have paired Orr with such internationally acclaimed artists as Karl Leister (clarinet, Berlin Philharmonic), James Thompson (trumpet, Montreal Symphony) and the Jupiter Quartet. Orr’s performances of both new and standard classical repertoire have been heard on Public Radio throughout the United States.

A Steinway Artist, Dr. Orr is Professor of Piano and Director of the School of Music at the University of Florida.

Leslie Odom
Music Theory

Dr. Leslie Odom is Associate Professor of Oboe and Music Theory at the University of Florida.  Her teachers include Richard Killmer (Eastman School of Music), James Lakin (University of Iowa), Malcolm Smith, (Butler University), and Marion Gibson (Principal Oboe, Louisville Symphony Orchestra).  Dr. Odom received her Bachelor of Music in Oboe Performance from Butler University, in Indianapolis, Indiana; her Master of Music in Music Theory and her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Oboe Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.  She also received the coveted Performer’s Certificate during her doctoral work.  Dr. Odom was Principal Oboe on the CBS Masterworks recording (1988) with the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

She was awarded first runner-up in the Graduate Performance Competition during the Sigma Alpha Iota National Convention held at Tucson, Arizona in 1988.  Prior to moving to Gainesville, Dr. Odom performed with the Indianapolis Symphony, as Principal Oboe with the Indianapolis Opera Company, the Quad Cities Symphony (Davenport, Iowa) and as Principal Oboe with the Cedar Rapids, IA, Symphony.  Since moving to Gainesville in 1989, Dr. Odom has performed with the Jacksonville, FL, Symphony, as Principal Oboe with the Flagler (Florida) Symphony, and is currently Principal Oboe of the Gainesville Orchestra.  Dr. Odom is an active performer in Europe, South America, and Canada.  She attended both the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, was a Guest Artist in Residence at the Banff, Canada, Centre for the Arts, and worked as a faculty member at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.  A member of the International Double Reed Society, Dr. Odom regularly performs at the Society’s Annual Conferences.  Along with performing, Dr. Odom writes reviews of music and compact disks for the Society’s Journal.  She is also a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, currently serving her second term as National President.  

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