School of Music

University of Florida International Piano Festival

Elena Dabul
Guest Artist Faculty: National University of Cuyo- Argentina

Born in Mendoza, Argentine pianist Elena Dabul is a performer, professor and researcher. She obtained a Masters degree in 20th Century Latin American Music Performance at Facultad de Artes y Diseño (College of Arts and Design) of Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (UNCuyo). Her thesis paper "Roberto García Morillo's piano works" received the highest grade and was recommended as a research model. In the postgraduate courses her professors were Luiz De Moura Castro, Dora De Marinis, Manuel Massone and Alejandro Cremaschi in Piano, Mariano Etkin, Javier Giménez Noble and Jorge Fontenla in Chamber Music and Francisco Kröpfl, Guillermo Pozzati, Susana Antón and Adina Izarra in Musical Analysis. She also has a degree in Piano from the College of Arts and Design of UNCuyo, as a disciple of Dora De Marinis.

In 2021, she was appointed Delegate Academician of the National Academy of Fine Arts, an Argentine institution that brings together the most distinguished personalities of culture.

She has attended training courses taught by Claude Frank, Elena Weiss, Arminda Canteros, Gerhard Oppitz, Mario Videla, Silvia Dabul, Mariano Krawczyck, Guillermo Opitz, Alcides Lanza, Nancy Roldán, Ljerko Spiller, Andrés Spiller, Mónica Cosachov, Carlo Bruno, Guillermo Graetzer, María del Carmen Aguilar, Fanny Solter, Chistine Daxelhofer, Elizabeth Gutiérrez, Luca Chiantore and Alberto Portugheis.

She has performed extensively in Argentina (Colon Theatre, Centro Cultural Kirchner, among others), Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and United States. She has received awards and distinctions on several occasions and has been praised by the press for the quality of her performances and the beauty of her sound.

She has been a soloist with the U.N.Cuyo Symphony Orchestra, the Mar del Plata Symphony Orchestra, the Mendoza Philharmonic Orchestra, the San Juan Symphony Orchestra, the Buenos Aires National Symphony Orchestra, the Peru National Symphony Orchestra, the Rio de Janeiro National Symphony Orchestra, the Juan de Dios Filiberto National Orchestra and the UNCuyo Youth Orchestra.

She has performed premieres of works by Argentine composers, including Jorge Fontenla (Divertimento Op. 50 for piano and orchestra and others), Leopoldo Martí, Carlos Washington Barraquero, Susana Antón and Adriana Figueroa Mañas (“Los Colores del Alma” for piano and orchestra, and others).

She is a full professor of Piano and Chamber Music at the UNCuyo and offers graduate courses for the Masters program in Latin American Music. Her activities include the training of human resources through the direction of researchers, postgraduate and graduate thesis students and students and graduates assistants. She is part of the Academic Advisory Committee and the teaching staff of the Masters Degree in 20th and 21st Century Latin American Music Performance at the same institution and directs the Piano Pedagogical Project, dedicated to teaching children.

She has dedicated the last 30 years to research and dissemination of Latin American and Argentine music in particular. She is co-author of the book -with two CD- Music and musicians in Mendoza's modernity. Carlos Barraquero, Susana Antón and Jorge Fontenla (EDIUNC, 2012). She wrote articles and gave lectures and seminars in Argentina, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Spain, Italia and United States. She actively participated in the organization of various international Latin American Music Performance congresses.

She is the author in collaboration with research projects on piano interpretation. She has recorded more than 10 CDs with works for solo and chamber piano by Argentine composers participating in the "Integral Work for Piano by Juan José Castro" (Irco, 1995, edition that was nominated for the Classical Music Award of the Argentine Association of Journalists); “Senderos” by Susana Antón (Irco, 1997); “Integral Work for Piano by Carlos Guastavino” (Irco, 1997); “Carlos Guastavino: songs and duets for piano” (Ostinato, 2001); “Luis Gianneo: piano works” (Marco Polo, 2002); “Footprints - The sounds of research” (College of Arts and Design, UNCuyo, 2002); “First International Conference on Research in Latin American Academic Music” (College of Arts and Design, UNCuyo, 2009), “Adriana Isabel Figueroa Mañas. Composiciones sinfónicas y música de cámara” (Fondo Provincial de la Cultura, 2014), “Latin American Creation for Violin” (EDIUNC, 2015) and “Irma Urteaga. Chamber works” (Constanza Sánchez, 2017). She recorded the only record available in the world of the Concert for Piano and Orchestra by Juan José Castro, with the UNCuyo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ligia Amadio (UNCuyo, 2005).

As a pedagogue, she trains a large group of young pianists and chamber music musicians who frequently perform in national and international competitions and festivals. She has directed her students in the complete public performance of The Well Tempered Clavier (first book) by Johann S. Bach and in concerts dedicated to Domenico Scarlatti, Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Carlos Guastavino, Claude Debussy, Luis Jorge González Fernández, Susana Antón, Mirtha Poblet, Adriana Figueroa and Graciela Jiménez.

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.

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.


Hsiang Tu
Festival Faculty

Praised by The New York Times for his "eloquent sensitivity," The Boston Intelligencer for his "impeccable technique," and Fanfare for his “Chameleon-like ability to move between composers,” pianist Hsiang Tu has graced the audience with his wide range of repertoire and creative programming. Current projects include the complete cycles of piano solo works by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel and thematic recitals featuring animal-themed music. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, he debuted in New York at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center as the winner of The Juilliard School Concerto Competition and has performed in venues all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, National Museum Cardiff, and National Recital Hall in Taipei.                                                          

A prize winner at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Iowa International Piano Competition, and the American Paderewski Piano Competition, Mr. Tu has appeared with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, and the World Civic Orchestra, among others. He has given masterclasses throughout the U.S., including the University of Southern California, Penn State University, Peabody Conservatory Preparatory Division, and the University of Tennessee. Last Spring, Hsiang was invited for a short residency as a visiting professor at the University of Taipei and released an outreach video in collaboration with the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation. During the 2021-2022 school year, Mr. Tu performed solo recitals in over a dozen universities across six states.   

Before being appointed as an Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Florida, Mr. Tu taught at Virginia Tech, the University of New Hampshire, Utah Valley University, and Snow College. He studied with Hung-Kuan Chen, Jerome Lowenthal, and HaeSun Paik, and holds a B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Calgary and an M.M. and D.M.A. in Piano Performance from The Juilliard School. His debut solo CD, Bestiary on Ivory, is on Bridge Records, and an upcoming CD featuring the music of Chopin will be released later in 2022. For more info, please visit

Evan Mitchell
Festival Faculty

Pianist Evan Mitchell's recent highlights include solo performances on the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series (Chicago), at Merkin Concert Hall (NYC), and at several major venues in Shanghai; concerti with the symphony orchestras of Dallas and Fort Worth; and recitals with such major figures as double bassist Gary Karr, flutists Leone Buyse and Jim Walker, and clarinetist Corrado Giuffredi. 

Dr. Mitchell’s recording of world premieres with bassist Szymon Marciniak is earning rave reviews; Bass World called their performances “intoxicating,” deeming this “a seminal recording.” He is also featured on “Piano de Pampa y Jungla: A Collection of Latin American Piano Music.”

Dr. Mitchell has made repeat appearances on the Cliburn at the Modern and Mount Vernon Music series. Other performance affiliations include Avant Chamber Ballet, Fort Worth Opera, and Texas Winds. From 2014 to 2022 he was a featured artist on the TCA Texas Touring Roster, and over the past ten years he has given more than 350 performances for Cliburn in the Classroom. A frequent guest clinician, Dr. Mitchell has given recitals and masterclasses at Radford University, Southwestern University, Texas Woman’s University, the University of Memphis, Virginia Tech, and others.

Dr. Mitchell received the DMA degree from Texas Christian University, and MM and BM degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His principal teachers have included John Owings, Arnaldo Cohen, and the late José Feghali. He has served on the faculty of Tarrant County College, as President of the Fort Worth Music Teachers Association, and in 2021 was inducted into the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame. Evan Mitchell joins the UF School of Music as Assistant Professor of Piano starting in the Fall 2022 semester. For more information, please visit

Laura Ellis

Laura Ellis was recently elected to her second term as President of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), an organization of professional musicians dedicated to promoting the carillon art. She may often be found at the top of Century Tower performing on UF's 61-bell carillon. 

Her well-known recording of the works of Jeanne Demessieux is now available on multiple digital platforms worldwide. Legacy: Laura Ellis Plays the Works of Jeanne Demessieux was produced by ProOrgano and recorded on the "Great Hosanna" organ on the campus of the University of the Ozarks, Clarksville, Arkansas. The album is available on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and the Naxos Music Library.

Ellis recently featured the Andrew Anderson Memorial Organ on the UF campus in a recording produced by the Raven label: "Music for the Testaments Old and New". This 2-CD set offers contemporary interpretations of scripture written by composers active in the United States from the mid-twentieth century to the current day. Tracks from this CD have been featured on "Pipedreams", a nationally broadcast public radio program (her recording of "A Prophecy" by Daniel Pinkham was broadcast on the Sept 27, 2018 program and "Incarnation Suite" of Joel Martinson was aired on December 23, 2019

Dr. Ellis has been on the faculty in the School of Music since 2003 and serves as Associate Director. She teaches undergraduate and graduate organ, harpsichord, and carillon. In addition to applied lessons, Ellis teaches courses in the Sacred Music area. Ellis is a graduate of Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) and holds a Master of Music degree in church music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from the University of Kansas. Her major organ teachers have been James Higdon and William Kuhlman. While in residence at the University of Kansas, she studied carillon with Albert Gerken.

Prior to her Florida appointment, Ellis served as professor of music at McMurry University and held the position of parish organist at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, TX. Ellis began her teaching career at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas.

Ellis was invited to discuss the music of her carillon mentor at the 2012 Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. The presentation entitled "Bert Gerken: His Arrangements and Original Compositions for Carillon." In June 2010 Ellis performed a solo carillon recital for the 2010 Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. During this same congress, Ellis passed her advancement examination recital on The Millennium Carillon in Naperville, Illinois, and is now a carillonneur member of the GCNA.

Recital engagements as organist have included appearances with the Jacksonville (FL) Symphony, Piccolo Spoleto (Charleston, SC), Westminster Abbey, and various locations throughout Florida, Texas, and the South. In addition to her performances on the carillon in Century Tower on the University of Florida campus, Ellis has performed solo carillon recitals throughout the United States and Canada. Recent appearances include recitals at International Carillon Festival in Springfield, Illinois; Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; the University of Rochester (NY); Alfred University (NY); and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Spokane, Washington.

In October 2007 Ellis traveled to Australia for a series of five recitals, including a solo organ recital on the Great Hall Organ at the University of Sydney. She also performed solo carillon recitals at the University of Sydney and at the National Carillon in the capital city of Canberra. Ellis presented a solo organ recital at the Region IV Mid-winter conference of the American Guild of Organists in January 2010. In this recital she premiered, "Praise," a composition by University of Florida composition faculty member Paul Richards based on Psalm 150:3-5.

Ellis is active in the American Guild of Organists (AGO) where she was elected to three terms as Regional Councillor for the Southeast. She is currently Director of the National Nominating Committee and Dean of the Gainesville Chapter of the organization. Ellis also serves as director of the Music Publications committee of the GCNA. 

Laura Dallman Rorick
Music History & Piano Literature

Dr. Dallman (Laura Dallman Rorick) is a musicologist with a focus on orchestral music and performance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her dissertation, “The Significance of Accessibility in American Orchestral Music,” addresses accessibility in regards to the symphony and symphonic works by Aaron Copland, Michael Daugherty, and Jennifer Higdon.  

Dr. Dallman received a Bachelor of Music in piano from Ball State University (2007) and both a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in musicology from Indiana University (2009, 2017). She has presented her research at conferences in the United States, Ireland, England, and Wales. In her spare time, Dr. Dallman enjoys running, gardening, traveling, and reading a good book.

José Valentino Ruiz
Music Production/Music Entrepreneurship

Considered by many to be one of the most trailblazing multi-hyphenates of his generation, Dr. Ruiz is an expert in music & media, television, global outreach & community development, and education industries. To date and within five continents, Dr. Ruiz has performed 1400+ concerts; produced 90+ albums; produced 30 nationally-televised film scores & jingles; keynoted empirical research presentations at 50+ universities; and facilitated 40+ mission trips in partnership with numerous organizations (i.e., Boundless Global, World Relief, among others). His artistry and scholarship have been featured nationally and internationally in the USA Today, Billboard, Yahoo!, ESPN, PBS, Fox, CBS, ABC, Univision, Telemundo, and NBC, to name a few.

Distinctions in Arts Entrepreneurship in Professional Practice and Research:

EMMY® Award Winning music producer and saxophonist (i.e.: 2018 Best Cultural Documentary); GRAMMY® Award Winning composer and flutist (i.e.: 2020 Best Contemporary Classical Composition); GRAMMY® Award Winning album audio engineer and flutist (i.e.: 2019 Best Christian Album in Spanish Language); GRAMMY® Award Nominated artist, composer, producer, and audio engineer (i.e.: 2015 Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album); GRAMMY® Award Nominated album producer and mastering engineer, and arranger (i.e.: 2016 Best Instrumental Album); a 53-time DOWNBEAT® Music Award Winning performer, engineer, bandleader, and audio engineer (i.e.: Dr. Ruiz is the record holder; categories include Jazz Soloist, Small Jazz Group, Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist, Blues/Pop/Rock Group, Latin Group, Studio Engineered Recording, Live Engineered Recording, & Classical Soloist); AVA Digital® Award Winning (Gold Medal) lead music producer, supervisor of music and audio production, and mastering engineer (i.e.: 2021 Best Music Video). Fast Company's 2022 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies  (category: video) -- Recipient is the company, Hayden5, for which Dr. Ruiz is Resident Media Composer.

Moreover, Dr. Ruiz is a Global Music® Award Winning album producer and audio engineer (i.e.: 2018 Best Meditative Album); Global Music® Award Winning album producer, featured artist, mixing engineer, & record label executive (i.e.: 2022 Nuevor Flamenco Album); 2022 International Commissioned Composer® for the Guitar Foundation of America International Mentorship Program; 2017 Parents' Choice® Award Winning Gold Medal Album musician and audio engineer (i.e.: 2017 Best Children's Album); 2021 UF Preeminence Term Professor Nominee (16 out of approximately 5000 professors);  a JRME National Doctoral Dissertation Award finalist; 5-time UK Music Industry® Award Winner (i.e.: Best Instrumental Product); 2019 Society of Arts Entrepreneurship Research Impact Award Nominee, 2021 Hillsborough County Commendation (Tampa Bay) recipient for Excellence in Cultural Entrepreneurship; 2021 USF Outstanding Young Alumni® Award Winner (6 of 100k alumni); 2019 Big Easy Entertainment® Award Winning featured flute and saxophone artist, producer, and audio engineer (i.e., Best World Music Album); 2006 Yamaha Young Performing Artist® Award Winner (Flute); 2017 For Bass Players Only® Magazine Featured Artist of November, among other awards and recognitions.

Jane Kozhevnikova
Music Theory

Jane K (Evgeniya Kozhevnikova) is a composer, pianist, and educator. Her works have been performed at regional, national, and international level music events. She composes in various styles, tastefully blending them. In 2019, she received a DownBeat Outstanding Performance award in the Latin jazz category. In 2020, she released a jazz-tango album Tango Avenue, and in 2022 an album of her art songs Lift Up Your Hearts. She holds two master’s degrees, in Music Composition and Music Performance, from Western Michigan University and is working on her doctorate degree in Music Composition at the University of Florida. 

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