Emile Naoumoff has been likened to both Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein as a pianist, displaying -- as one critic remarked -- the fire of the former and the poetry of the latter. He was also signed as a composer at age 18 -- the youngest on their roster -- with the music publisher Schott, Mainz. Emile revealed himself as a musical prodigy at age five, taking up the piano and adding composition to his studies a year later. At the age of seven, after a fateful meeting in Paris, he became the last disciple of Nadia Boulanger, who referred to him as "The gift of my old age".
He studied with her until her death in late 1979. During this auspicious apprenticeship, Mlle. Boulanger gave him the opportunity to work with Clifford Curzon, Igor Markevitch, Robert and Gaby Casadesus, Nikita Magaloff, Jean Francaix, Leonard Bernstein, Soulima Stravinsky, Aram Khachaturian and Yehudi Menhuin. Lord Menhuin conducted the premiere of Emile's first piano concerto, with the composer as a soloist when he was ten years old. At the same time, he pursued studies at the Paris Conservatory with Lelia Gousseau, Pierre Sancan, Genevieve Joy-Dutilleux, as well as at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with Pierre Dervaux (conducting).
Upon the death of Mlle. Boulanger, Emile took over her classes at the summer sessions of the Conservatoire d'Art Americain in Fontainebleau. He was later appointed at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris.
Emile is regularly invited by the world's premier orchestras: the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony, the Vienna Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony in Washington, Moscow Symphony, NHK Symphony, the Residentie Orkest of the Hague, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Camerata Bern, and has worked closely with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Igor Markevitch, Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich and Eliahu Inbal. He has also collaborated with musicians including Jean-Pierre Rampal, Gerard Souzay, Yo-Yo Ma, Gary Hoffman, Olivier Charlier, Patrice Fontanarosa, Regis Pasquier, Philippe Graffin, Philippe Bernold, Gerard Caussé, Jean Ferrandis, Dominique de Williencourt and the Fine Arts Quartet.
Some highlights of his performing career include a performance of the Grieg Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and his own piano concerto version of Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich. In recent years Emile has been invited to numerous music festivals such as San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music's Menuhin Seminars, Santander Summer Masterclasses, Verbier Academy Festival, the Banff Center, and residencies at Conservatory of Barcelona (ESMUC). In 1996, he opened his own summer academy at the Château de Rangiport in Gargenville, France, in the spirit of Nadia Boulanger.
Since 1998, Emile is a professor at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is an avid composer of French mélodies, and is known for his mastery in transcribing music for the piano.
"A pianist of genius" – The Washington Post"
Mr. Romero has great agility, adequate power and an unusually large repertory of colors and dynamic levels. More important, these virtues evoked a sense of the music at hand rather than mere piano techniques" – The New York Times
"The playing is authoritative incontrovertibly Beethovenian in re-creating the composers style, technically immaculate and compelling in the extreme"
– The Los Angeles Times
Concert pianist Gustavo Romero is internationally renowned for his exceptional technical brilliance and interpretive depth and has gained an acclaimed reputation for his commitment to in-depth exploration of a wide variety of composers.
A native of San Diego with heritage in Guadalajara, Mexico, Mr. Romero discovered his love and gift for the piano at the age of five and gave his first public performances at the age of 10, when he also won his first piano competition. At 13, he performed with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. Rudolf Serkin recognized his exceptional talent, and at the age of 14 he attended the Juilliard School.
Mr. Romero has won many prizes including first prize in the prestigious Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland, The Avery Fisher Career Grant and The Musical America Young Artist Award.
He has performed with the world's leading orchestras including: The New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, The Boston Pops Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Honolulu Symphony, New World Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Radio France Orchestra, Philharmonia Hungarica, New Japan Philharmonic, Shanghai Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic, Russian Symphony Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Liège Philharmonic, a concert internationally televised from the United Nations.
For the past sixteen years, Mr. Romero has performed a summer series of concerts in La Jolla, California, sponsored by the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library featuring music of one composer each year. He has presented the works of Chopin, Bach, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Händel, Liszt, Debussy, Gershwin, Ravel and Rachmaninoff, the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart, the complete four-hand and two-piano works of Mozart and Clementi and piano concerti of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Mendelssohn conducting from the keyboard.
In the 2017/18 season Mr. Romero focuses on the piano works of Enrique Granados, celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth. Concert tours in 2017/18 include Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Africa and the United States.
Past seasons have taken him to France, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Russia, the Czech Republic, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Austria, Bulgaria, Mexico and all across the United States. Mr. Romero has performed in some of the leading concert halls of the world, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Centre, The Barbican in London, The Berlin Philharmonie, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, The Great Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and Salle Gaveau in Paris.
NPR, BBC Radio and Radio France have featured him. The Snapshots Music and Art Foundation produced a feature film about his life and artistry in 2012: Portrait in Piano.
His recordings include works by Chopin, Mompou, Debussy, Albeniz, Scarlatti and the five Beethoven concerti with the English Chamber Orchestra.
Mr. Romero is a Professor of Piano at the University of North Texas.
Canadian pianist Lucas Wong is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, pedagogue, and répétiteur. His repertoire covers harpsichord, piano, and extended keyboard techniques. His CD Scherzando Piano (Titanic Records) features music by Debussy and Chabrier. His work includes scholarly writing, music adjudication, and a cross-discipline research project on software algorithms for piano reduction. His essay "Humour in Late Debussy" was published in The Musical Times. He gave a Debussy lecture at the Juilliard School.
Lucas Wong has performed in many prestigious international venues, including Carnegie Hall, CBC Vancouver, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Seoul’s Sejong Center, and the University of Hong Kong Grand Hall. As a soloist, he has appeared with orchestras. On tour, Lucas has played rarely performed pieces, such as Liszt-Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and George Crumb's Makrokosmos. He founded Mostly Debussy, a multi-year lecture-recital series, including commissioning three distinguished composers to write a new solo piano cycle to be dedicated to Debussy in 2018 (the 100th anniversary of his passing).
As a chamber musician, Lucas Wong has performed with world-renowned artists such as Joseph Alessi, Soovin Kim, Susanne Mentzer, Frank Morelli, David Shifrin, and Fei Song. A versatile partner for both instrumentalists and vocalists, he is also a superb vocal coach and assistant conductor. Lucas has been on the roster of the New York City Opera, SongFest, OPERA America, the Opera Theater of Connecticut, and the Hugo Kauder Society. He has been the official accompanist for auditions in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Music Academy of the West, and iSing!Suzhou. He is the founding artistic director of Liederfest, an innovative art song festival in Suzhou, China.
As an educator and administrator, Lucas Wong was a founding faculty member at the Soochow University School of Music (China), where he served as piano professor and coordinator for chamber music, collaborative piano, and staff accompanists. He established a fresh approach to the school’s functional keyboard course and developed comprehensive curricula for chamber music and collaborative arts. He maintains guest teaching positions at top institutions across Asia, such as Seoul National University, Peking University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, UCSI University Institute of Music, and Xinghai Conservatory of Music.
Lucas Wong began his early training at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia (B.Mus.) and Yale School of Music (M.M., M.M.A., D.M.A.). His key mentors include Boris Berman, Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Michael Friedmann, Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, Warren Jones, Julian Martin, Edward Parker, Tak Poon, Rena Sharon, and Robert Silverman. He holds a Post-Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship from Bard College Conservatory of Music. He has been generously supported by the Début Competition (Canada), the Marilyn Horne Foundation, the Yale School of Music Alumni Association, and the Vancouver Foundation. He earned his ARCT Teacher’s diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, for which he received a Gold Medal, the conservatory’s highest honor.
“Masterful, pleasure-giving performances.” (Fanfare Magazine 41:2)
“The prestige and variety of his accomplishments and credits…are prodigious enough to constitute the careers of a least two or three people.” (Fanfare magazine 41:2)
"The three Chabrier solo piano pieces...are wonderfully enjoyable..." (American Record Guide 80:5)
"...makes one feel that even releasing one's breath...will shatter the mood so carefully woven..." (SoundStage!)
"...fascinating and illuminating listening experience, the more so because of the precision and ability demonstrated..." (SoundStage!)
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.
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.
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.