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Marian Garcia International Piano Competition: 2016 Judges

Amy E. Gustafson

Praised for her “exquisite sensitivity” and a “style filled with class and elegance” by La Voz de Asturias (Asturias, Spain) and recognized as a “talented player who doesn’t amy e. gustavsonfit the cookie-cutter mold” by Lucid Culture (New York City), American pianist Amy E. Gustafson has performed across the United States and in both Western and Eastern Europe.

Recent performances include an appearance with the Sofia Sinfionetta in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a concert tour in Dallas, Texas with her piano duo, Duo Azul. Recent solo engagements have taken her to Spain, China, and Canada, and she has also performed in many New York City venues, such as Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Trinity Church Wall Street, the Tenri Cultural Institute, CAMI Hall and the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Born into a musical family, her talent was evident at an early age, and she received much of her beginning piano instruction from her grandmother. By the age of 15, she had won several local competitions, including MTNA’s Baldwin Competition, and her success led her to move to New York City to continue her studies. Since then, Gustafson has won numerous awards, including the second prize in the International Young Artists Piano Competition, second prize in the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Competition, and the Special Presentation Award and the Alumni Award from Artists International Presentations, Inc. Gustafson completed her studies at the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Her major teachers have included Julian Martin, Andre-Michel Schub, Anton Nel, Constance Keene, and Miyoko Lotto, and she has benefited from the advice of many renowned pedagogues, including Solomon Mikowsky, Arie Vardi, Veda Kaplinsky, Robert McDonald, Paul Badura-Skoda, Marc Durand, Martin Canin, Leslie Howard, and Luiz de Moura Castro.

In addition to her performing career, Gustafson is currently teaching artist at Bloomingdale School of Music in New York City, the Executive Director of the Gijón International Piano Festival, and the vice-president and treasurer of the Spanish American Music Council. Gustafson also founded and directed the Stony Brook International Piano Festival from 2008 to 2015.


Steven Smith

steven smithSteven Herbert Smith, Penn State professor of piano emeritus, has performed throughout the world, and has recorded solo recitals for the French, German and Spanish national radios, Radio 4 Hong Kong, and America’s PBS. Recent projects include a comprehensive series of Beethoven recitals and compact discs called Piano Masterworks of Beethoven, including all the 32 Sonatas and many other beloved works of the Beethoven repertoire. Released on Soundwaves, it is available via Amazon.com and recently received a laudatory review in the American Record Guide.

Other recent performances include Beethoven presentations and master classes in Beijing and Zhengzhou, China. He has appeared frequently as a concerto soloist, and has given many varied presentations for universities and teacher associations in the U.S. and abroad, including Hong Kong’s Academy of Performing Arts and Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy; recitals and master classes in Australia and New Zealand included the University of Melbourne and Auckland University. He received critical acclaim for his series of new-music solo recitals, Piano Entente, presented at Merkin Concert Hall in New York and St John’s Smith Square, London.

His degrees include the DMA and M.Mus. from the Eastman School of Music, as well as the Artist’s Diploma from the Mozarteum of Salzburg, Austria. His artist teachers included Cécile Genhart and Kurt Neumüller. Recently he worked in Vienna with the celebrated pianist Paul Badura-Skoda regarding aspects of the Beethoven repertoire.


Amy Yangamy yang

Hailed by The New York Concert Review as “a magnificent artist and poet”, pianist Amy Yang is in high demand performing and teaching in the U.S. and abroad, while working with young artists at Curtis Institute of Music and the University of Pennsylvania.

In the exciting last season, she gave acclaimed recitals at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Gardner Museum, Phillips Collection, Rockefeller University, Kimmel Center, Dame Myra Hess Series, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, collaborated with Thomas Sauer, Steven Copes, Daniel Druckman, Markus Rhoten, Daedalus and Aizuri String Quartets, and soloed with the University of Massachusetts Orchestra (Amherst). Upcoming engagements include performing Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 476, at Weill Recital Hall as part of the Mitsuko Uchida Carnegie Workshop, soloing with Penn Symphony Orchestra, solo and chamber performances across the U.S., recording a debut solo recording as well as a chamber recording with violinist Tessa Lark and Grammy Award winning recording engineer Judith Sherman.

Ms. Yang has concertized in major halls in the United States and abroad in Turkey, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, and China. First prize winner of competitions including the International Corpus Christi Young Artists’ Competition and the Kosciuszko National Chopin Piano Competition, she has soloed with the Houston Symphony, Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Great Hall Chamber Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony, Shenyang Conservatory Orchestra, among others.

She attributes her growth to the teaching of Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Robert McDonald, Timothy Hester and to collaborating with artists Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, the Guarneri String Quartet members, Miriam Fried, Ida Kavafian, Daedalus, Jasper, Amphion, and Aizuri String Quartets, and countless others. Festival appearances include Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Prussia Cove Masterclasses, Verbier Academy, Chamber Music Northwest, Salt Bay Chamberfest, and Caramoor. An advocate for new music, she has given world premieres of music by Ezra Laderman, Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, and Avner Dorman. She is the founder of The Schumann Project, a special series of concerts to present Schumann’s major solo piano and chamber works over the next decade.

On the Curtis Institute of Music’s Summerfest programs, she serves as Program Director and piano faculty for its Young Artist Summer Program and piano faculty for the Chamber Music and Orchestra for Adults program. Regularly during the school year, she works at Curtis as a Chamber Music Mentor and at The University of Pennsylvania as a Chamber Music Coach. She will be piano faculty for Music Academy International in Dolomites, Italy, in summer of 2016. As a juror, she has judged the Bravura Philharmonic Concerto Competition, Temple University Concerto Competition, the New Jersey Music Teacher’s Association Masterclass Competition, CCC Toronto Piano Competition, and the Marian Garcia International Piano Competition at Penn State University. She is proud of her students, some of whom have won national competitions and soloed with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Ms. Yang is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, and The Yale School of Music, where she received the Parisot Prize for an Outstanding Pianist and the Alumni Association Prize. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, painting, reading psychology, art history, and neuroscience texts.