2024 Irvine International Music Competition Jury Members

Melvin Chen

Deputy Dean and Piano Professor, Yale School of Music

Music Director, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

A native of Tennessee, Dr. Melvin Chen has received acclaim for solo and chamber performances throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia. Chen’s performances have been featured on radio and television stations around the world, including KBS television and radio in Korea, NHK television in Japan, and NPR in the United States.  

As a Professor in the Practice of Piano, Chen teaches a studio of graduate and undergraduate piano students. In addition, he is the Deputy Dean at the Yale School of Music, a role that involves overseeing academic affairs and general institutional management, and also serves as Director of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival–Yale Summer School of Music, where he also performs. Previously, Chen was Associate Director and on the piano faculty at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and served as Artistic Director of the chamber music program at the Hotchkiss School Summer Portals.

Chen earned a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University and holds a double master’s degree from The Juilliard School in piano and violin. He received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry and physics from Yale University, where he studied with Boris Berman, Paul Kantor, and Ida Kavafian.

Chen’s notable solo recordings include Beethoven’s “Diabelli” Variations (Bridge Records), which the American Record Guide described as “a classic,” piano music by Joan Tower (Naxos Records), and sonatas and other pianos works by Shostakovich (Bridge Records), among others.

Inna Faliks

Head of Piano and Piano Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Yamaha Artist

INNA FALIKS is Head of Piano and Professor of Piano at UCLA. “Adventurous and passionate” ( The New Yorker) Ukrainian-born pianist Inna Faliks  has established herself as one of the most exciting, committed, communicative and poetic artists of her generation. Renowned for her versatility, Faliks is equally at home in the great concerti, standard solo repertoire, chamber music,  interdisciplinary projects and work with contemporary composers. After her acclaimed debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she has performed on many of the world’s great stages, with numerous orchestras, in solo appearances, and with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Keith Lockhart. Critics praise her “signature blend of lithe grace and raw power“ (Lucid Culture), “courage to take risks, expressive intensity and technical perfection” (General Anzeiger, Bonn), “poetry and panoramic vision” (Washington Post), and “riveting passion, playfulness” (Baltimore Sun). Her lauded discography includes a recent all- Beethoven release, “Sound of Verse –  music of Boris Pasternak, Ravel, and Rachmaninoff” – both on MSR Classics,  and a Disklavier recital recording for Yamaha. Upcoming recordings include  “Polonaise-Fantasie, story of a pianist” theater-piano piece,  and her Music/Words new commissions CD.

Faliks’s distinguished career has taken her to numerous recitals and concerti in prestigious venues in the US, Europe and Asia. Winner of many competitions, including the ProMusicis International Award, she has been featured on radio and international television broadcasts, and has performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Concert Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris’ Salle Cortot, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, LA’s Zipper Hall,  in Festival Internacional de Mexico, Portland Piano International,  Music in the Mountains, Verbier Festival,  Le Poisson Rouge in NYC, Fazioli Series in Italy, Tel Aviv Museum in Israel. She is consistently engaged as concerto soloist with orchestras throughout the US. Recent  highlights include a tour of China in all of its major halls, including Beijing CPA, Shanghai Oriental Arts Theater and Tianjin Grand Theater, many concerti including Rachmaninoff 2 with Greensboro Symphony Festival, Prokofiev 1 and 3 at Peninsula Festival, Clara Schumann Concerto at Wintergren Festival,  and numerous return engagements – at Minnesota Sinfonia, Newport Festival, Bargemusic, Broad Stage Santa Monica, and more.

Faliks is the founder and curator of Music/Words , a series that pairs together live performances with readings by established contemporary poets. The series has been heard and seen nation-wide for 8 seasons, live and on radio.

Dmitry Rachmanov

Chair of Keyboard Studies, California State University Northridge

Steinway Artist

Pianist Dmitry Rachmanov has garnered much acclaim for his passionate performances, refined musicianship and brilliant pianism. Hailed as an "indisputable musician" by the Brussels' Le Soir and "suave and gifted pianist' by the New York Times, Rachmanov has been heard at venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall, Washington DC's Kennedy Center, London's Barbican and South Bank Centres, and Beijing Concert Hall, and his tours brought him to Canada, Mexico, Europe, Russia, Turkey and the Far East. He has recorded for Naxos, Navona, Omniclassic, Master Musicians and Vista Vera labels, and collaborated as a soloist with Manhattan Philharmonia, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Ukraine National Symphony, National Orchestra of Porto, Portugal and Vidin Sinfonietta, Bulgaria, among others. A strong proponent of the Russian repertoire, he gave the US premiere of Boris Pasternak's Piano Sonata, broadcast nationwide by the NPR, and his recital "The Art of the 19th Century Russian Character Piece" was noted by the New York Times for "considerable color and focus" he brought to each work. A founding member and the President of the Scriabin Society of America (https://www.scriabinsociety.com/),

Rachmanov has given recital tours featuring the music of Scriabin in commemoration of the composer’s memorial centennial (1915-2015), including appearances in Moscow, Paris, Budapest, Beijing & Shanghai and in the US. His recital at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall was called “indeed a ‘poem of ecstasy’ in every sense: giant in conception, quantity, quality, execution, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity” by the New York Concert Review.  In the past few years he has worked on the project of creating a video anthology of Scriabin’s major piano works.  In the fall of 2018 Dmitry Rachmanov participated in the 100th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Scriabin Memorial Museum in Moscow by presenting at the centennial conference and performing a recital at the museum’s Grand Hall.

Dr. Rachmanov's interest in historical performance practice brought him to the Massachusetts' Frederick Historic Piano Collection, where he has made regular appearances performing recital series on period instruments. His album “Beethoven and His Teachers,” recorded in collaboration with the pianist Cullan Bryant on the collection’s period instruments and released by Naxos in 2011, has received critical accolades.

Through the sponsorship of the CSUN Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award as well as Mike Curb College Research and Creative Activities Grant, as part of The Tapestry Ensemble, Rachmanov commissioned, premiered and recorded chamber works by Southern California composers, released by Navona Records to critical acclaim.

An active member of the American Liszt Society, Dmitry Rachmanov has served as the Artistic Director of the American Liszt Society Festival “Liszt and Russia” hosted by California State University Northridge in June of 2016. He is a founding member and President of the ALS’s Southern California Chapter.

Christopher Ting Zhong

Piano Professor, Shanghai Conservatory of Music

Steinway Artist

Pianist Christopher Zhong has won audiences acclaim throughout the globe for his blazing artistry and elegant musicianship. He has appeared in major venues such as the Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City, Grand Hall in Moscow, Salle Gaveau in Paris, Bonkakaikan in Tokyo, Scottish Royal Opera House in Glasgow, and Taipei National Concert Hall. As a Steinway Artist, Mr. Zhong recently recorded for the brand’s iconic Spirio Piano, making his music available through Steinway’s innovation. Since moving back to Shanghai in 2001, Mr. Zhong has concertized with leading symphony orchestras throughout mainland China and served on the faculty at Music Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music, his alma mater.

As the core faculty member, Mr. Zhong’s students have won numerous national and international competitions. They include the 1st prize in The 2021 Canada Young Artists Piano Competition, the 1st prize in the St. Petersburg International Music Competition, and the 1st Prize in the Fu Tian Cup Lang Lang  International Piano Competition, among others. His student from Taiwan, China, Han Chen, won the gold medal in the 6th China International Piano Competition in 2013.

Mr. Zhong has founded the Across-Pacific Piano Competition and summer piano camp for international young pianists since 2007. Run bi-annually in Riverside, Los Angeles, the festival was jointly sponsored by Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation and Steinway & sons. Mr. Zhong has been serving as the director of the Professional Piano Education Committee of Fujian Province and the Artistic Director of the "Greattone China" National Competition. He was also the main editor for Shanghai Conservatory Piano Grading Exam Books for the years 2006 and 2020.

Born in Shanghai, Prof. Zhong received formal training from Music Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music. After graduating, he continued his education at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees under Mr. Herbert Stessin and Miss Constance Keene. From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Zhong was the annual recipient of Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation Career Grant Award. Mr. Zhong currently resides in his hometown with his wife Kuanwen Wang, who also serves on the faculty of the Music Middle School.

Moni Simenov

Director of String Studies and Professor, California State University Long Beach

Chair of Chamber Music Institute, Colburn Community School of Performing Arts

A native of Bulgaria, Moni Simeonov began playing the violin at age 5, and ten years later, came to the United States on a full scholarship to the Idyllwild Arts Academy. He performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera, Ensemble San Francisco, and until recently, was the Concertmaster for the Sacramento Philharmonic. He has also served as a guest concertmaster with Reno Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic and the Pacific Symphony. His doctoral studies included minor fields in Viola Performance, Schenkerian Analysis, Japanese Language, as well as an emphasis on the interpretation of the Balkan folk music.

On tour and in Los Angeles, Mr. Simeonov dedicates considerable time and energy to community engagement work and to musical activities and presentations for young people. Moni has performed and coached alongside Midori for her Orchestra Residencies Program American and International tours. Until 2014, he served as a director for the program. Outreach activities have taken him to places as diverse as homeless shelters in Peru and at-risk centers in Tennessee, to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, and hospitals for the terminally ill in Sri Lanka.

Moni’s summer teaching includes engagements with the Interlochen Summer Festival, the Singapore Violin Festival, and the Atlantic Music Festival. Moni is also the founder of Bulgaria’s first chamber music academy – “Quartet Intensive” in Sofia.

Moni has concertized and taught around the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His recordings have been archived by PBS, NPR, KUSC, Bulgarian National Radio and TV, as well as Japanese Broadcasting Company – NHK.

Moni received his BM and PC from the Eastman School of Music under Zvi Zeitlin, his MM and AD from Yale University with Ani Kavafian, and his GC and DMA from USC’s Thornton School of Music where he studied with Midori.

Moni served as Adjunct Instructor at USC’s Thornton School of Music until 2014. That year, he was appointed Director of String Studies and Violin Professor with the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. Moni is also the creator of zenviolin.com.

Stephen Pierce

Associate Professor, University of Southern California

South African-born pianist Stephen Pierce enjoys a multi-faceted career as a respected teacher, presenter, performer, adjudicator and scholar. At the USC Thornton School of Music, he oversees the secondary piano and keyboard pedagogy programs and teaches applied piano, courses in piano pedagogy and keyboard literature. Pierce also teaches piano privately in Pasadena, CA, and at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan each summer. His students range in age from 8 to adult and have won awards for their playing at the local, state and national levels.

Pierce holds degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the University of Pretoria, South Africa, as well as two licentiates of music from the University of South Africa (UNISA). At the University of Pretoria, he graduated as the top student in the Faculty of Humanities and was honored with the Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s medal for academic excellence. At CCM, he won the award for teaching excellence for graduate teaching assistants. Pierce’s mentors include Joseph Stanford, Frank Weinstock and Michelle Conda.

Pierce has performed in the USA, Canada, Czech Republic and throughout South Africa with artists such as Carol Wincenc and the flutists of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. During his studies in Cincinnati, Pierce performed with the CCM Philharmonia as a result of winning the CCM Piano Concerto Competition. In South Africa, he has performed with orchestras such as the Natal Philharmonic, the National Symphony and the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa. He has won prizes and awards for his playing including second prize and two special prizes at the UNISA National Piano Competition in South Africa. He has also received awards for his teaching including the D.J. Rhoode Overseas Scholarship for Piano Pedagogy from the University of South Africa (UNISA). In addition, his performances have been broadcast on South African television and radio.

A regular speaker and clinician throughout the US and South Africa, Stephen Pierce has presented masterclasses, workshops and lectures in South Africa and the United States. He has also given innumerable pedagogical sessions at institutions throughout the country, at conferences such as the MTNA National Conference and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), as well as for arts entities such as The Gilmore. His articles, reviews and other written contributions have appeared in journals such as American Music Teacher, Piano Pedagogy Forum, The California Music Teacher, and The South African Music Teacher, as well on the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Online Teacher Portal and the Yamaha Educator Suite. At present, Pierce serves as editor of CAPMT Connect, the official journal of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT).

Stephen Pierce is also a proud member of the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) College of Examiners, an RCM Certified Teacher and a RCM Academic Ambassador. At USC, he helped co-found the Musician’s Wellness committee, is the co-faculty advisor for the MTNA USC Collegiate Chapter and previously served as the Pi Kappa Lambda Eta Chapter Secretary for eight years. At the state level, Pierce is the current Collegiate Chapter State Chair and District 9 Director for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAMPT), while formerly serving as the CAPMT Vice President for Conferences. At the national level, Pierce has been a member of the planning committees for both the MTNA National Conference and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), while previously serving on the prestigious MTNA e-Journal Editorial Committee, the MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant Committee.

Sarkis Baltaian

Director of Instrumental Music, Orange County School of Arts

Dr. Sarkis Baltaian has gained an international reputation as a concert pianist, chamber musician, recording artist and pedagogue. He has been praised by critics for his “beautiful tone and ability to project even the most delicate pianissimos” and compared to George Gershwin and Oscar Levant for his performance of Gershwin’s Concerto in F. Dr. Baltaian made his Carnegie Hall Debut in 1999 and has performed extensively both as recitalist and concerto soloist with major orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Dr. Baltaian has been a top prize winner of several national and international competitions and has appeared as guest artist in numerous festivals including the Aspen International Music Festival, Casalmaggiore International Music Festival, Holland Music Sessions, Bad Bertrich Klaviersommer, Pan Pacific Music Festival, Mammoth Lakes Music Festival, and Plovdiv International Chamber Music Festival. Dr. Baltaian has made recordings for Television and Radio Stations and has been featured in live concerts and interviews on NBC, NPR, KUSC- Los Angeles, K-Mozart- Los Angeles, WFMT-Chicago, Bulgarian National Radio and TV, Classic FM-Bulgaria among others.

A dedicated teacher, Dr. Baltaian’s students have won various national and international competitions and have been accepted at schools such as Eastman School, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, USC, UCLA, Rice University, Cornell University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Santa Barbara, Pomona College and University of Colorado at Boulder.

He is a fierce advocate for the music education of young musicians and has served on the piano faculty at the Casalmaggiore Music Festival in Italy, Pan Pacific Music Festival in Australia, John Perry Academy in California and as a chamber music coach for the Junior Chamber Music Series in Los Angeles and Orange County. Dr. Baltaian is in demand as clinician and regularly presents Master Classes at Universities across the United States. He is frequently invited to adjudicate for such organizations as the Music Teachers National Association, Music Teachers Association of California, Junior Bach Festival and Southwestern Youth Music Festival.

Dr. Baltaian began to study piano at the age of four with Rositza Ivancheva at the “Dobrin Petkov” Music High School for gifted students in his native Bulgaria. He continued his education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he received Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees under the direction of renowned pedagogue and concert artist John Perry where he also served as his teaching assistant. He previously studied with Nina Scolnik and Nelms McKelvain. Dr. Baltaian has held full time professorships at the Colburn Conservatory and UAHuntsville. He is currently the Director of Instrumental Music at the Orange County School of the Arts and serves on the piano faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.

Therese Fassnacht

Music Department Chair, Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles

Dr. Therese Fassnacht is an active choral conductor and clinician. She is Music Department Chair and Associate Professor of Music at the Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, where she conducts the Mount Chorus & Singers, teaches voice, aural skills, and music survey courses.

Dr. Fassnacht completed her Masters studies at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and her DMA in choral conducting and literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has studied conducting and choral music with conductors Joseph Flummerfelt, Andrew Megill, Chester Alwes, Fred Stoltzfus, Donald Schleicher, and Eduardo Diazmunoz. She spent two summers in Coaraze, France with Joel Coen and Anne Azéma of the Boston Camerata learning the performance practice of medieval vocal music.

She has performed as conductor, soloist, and chorister on both national and international stages. Her research interests include Latin American choral music. Dr. Fassnacht is preparing a critical edition of “Two Requiem Settings by Manuel de Sumaya.” She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, International Federation of Choral Music, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the College Music Society.

Yiqun Xu

Faculty, The Juilliard School Pre-College and Music Advancement Program

Praised for displaying “great poise and masterful technique” and possessing “an amazing rich tone” by The Day, cellist Yi Qun Xu has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician across the United States. A native of China, Yi Qun was mesmerized by the cello soon after her eighth birthday. She came to the U.S. after studying with Yuan Chen and Yi-Bing Chu at China’s Central Conservatory of Music, where she won multiple top prizes in Chinese national cello competitions.

Yi Qun is the recipient of the 2022 Presser Music Award as well as the first-prize winner of the 2021 New York International Artists Cello Competition. As the winner of the 2018 Sanders-Juilliard-Tel Aviv Museum prize, she was presented in recital at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. She is also the first prize winner at the 58th Eastern Connecticut Symphony Instrumental Competition as well as the 7th International Antonio Janigro Competition in Croatia.

As a passionate chamber musician, she has been heard at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Cellists of Lincoln Center Concert and the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival. Yi Qun has been an active participant of the inspirational Perlman Music Program, founded Toby and Itzhak Perlman. She has also been part of music festivals such as Heifetz International Music Institute, International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, Kneisel Hall Music Festival, Music@Menlo, the Olympic Music Festival, and Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. She has collaborated with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, Hsin-Yun Huang, Carter Brey, Timothy Eddy, David Finckel, Ralph Kirshbaum, Merry Peckham, and members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Tokyo, Ébène Quartets. Her performances are featured on Alec Baldwin’s podcast “Here is the Thing” and WQXR’s “Midday Masterpieces.” Yi Qun will be joining the Musicians from Marlboro tour (2021-2022 and 2022-2023 seasons).  

Yi Qun has taught at the Perlman Music Program Winter Residency and Heifetz International Music Institute’s Junior Program faculty. She has also taught cello master classes at University of North Dakota, Bak Middle School for the Arts and Saco River Theatre. She has worked with chamber music groups at Interlochen Arts Center Adult Music Camp, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival’s Adult Chamber Music Institute and ArtsAhimsa Music Festival. She has performed for community engagement events for communities in Los Angeles, Maine, New York City, New Hampshire, Palm Beach, Shelter Island, Tianjin, Beijing, and Shanghai in China. A protégé of Timothy Eddy, Ronald Leonard, Laurence Lesser, and Joel Krosnick, she is a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School, where she was a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship.

Yi Qun is a faculty member of the The Juilliard School Pre-College and Music Advancement Program. She also serves as Joel Krosnick’s teaching assistant at The Juilliard School. She is the founding co-Artistic Director of Noree Chamber Soloists, a New York-based chamber music ensemble.

James Lent

Head of Collaborative Piano, University of California, Los Angeles

Pianist Dr. JAMES LENT is Lecturer and Coordinator of Instrumental Collaborative Piano at UCLA in addition to serving as a coach and accompanist for vocal studies. James completed his DMA at the Yale School of Music under teachers Boris Berman, Claude Frank, and Peter Frankl. He made his Alabama Symphony debut to critical acclaim performing Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2 on 24 hours' notice to replace Andre Watts.

He has performed with the Vancouver Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Utah Symphony and the Florida West Coast Symphony, among others, and as solo recitalist at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, for the National Chopin Foundation in Miami, at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he premiered a new work written for him by American composer Frederic Rzewski.

Mr. Lent has performed with the renowned Paris-based Ensemble Intercontemporain under the direction of Pierre Boulez in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, and his performances have been heard on National Public Radio.

His numerous awards include prizes in the New York Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the National Chopin Competition, the Washington International Piano Competition at the Kennedy Center, the Olga Koussevitsky Piano Competition in New York, and the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition.He was a fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal.

James also teaches at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) as collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and musical director. He has also served on the summer faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.

Yin Xiong

Cellist, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Cellist YIN XIONG was appointed by Music Director David Robertson to the cello section of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 2016/2017 season. Yin was awarded notable prestigious prizes from an early age, including the 4th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians as well as top prizes at the 4th and 5th National Cello Competition of China. She won the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts concerto competition for an unprecedented consecutive five years. As a soloist, Yin made her debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra at age 17 under conductor Edo de Waart. She has also collaborated with conductors János Fürst, François-Xavier Roth, and Alexander Shelley.

An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Yin was strongly influenced by her parents, themselves both professional cellists. As a member of the Academy String Quartet, she served as a representative of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and gave concerts regularly in Asia and Europe.  As part of the Hong Kong based cello ensemble, Cellistra, Yin presented concerts and community engagement activities throughout Asia.  She was the founding cellist of the Hsin Trio, with whom she gave the American debut of the Toshio Hosokawa’s Piano Trio, was featured in the Juilliard Open Studio, and gave concerts across the United States and China.

As an orchestral musician, Yin received her first job at the age of 20, joining the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, at the same time performing regularly with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Yin has also served as the principal cellist of the Hong Kong Academy Orchestra, the Oberlin Orchestra, and was co-principal of the Juilliard Orchestra. She was the principal cellist of the Pacific Music Festival from 2006-2009 where she had the privilege to work with conductors Valery Gergiev, Riccardo Muti, Christoph Eschenbach and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Yin was a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival and School where she was part of the Finckel–Wu Han Chamber Music Studio Program. Other festivals include the Kronberg Academy in Germany, Kneisel Hall, Banff Chamber Music Residency, and the Taos School of Music.

As a dedicated music educator and advocator, Yin served as a faculty member of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Macau Youth Orchestra. She was also a teaching assistant for Professor Darrett Adkins at the Oberlin Conservatory.

Born in Shanghai, China, Yin attended the Shanghai Conservatory, and attended the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts on a full scholarship to study with Professor Ray Wang. She holds a Professional Diploma With Distinction from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and an Artist Diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory. She recently graduated from the accelerated Bachelor and Master of Music degree program at the Juilliard School where she studied with Darrett Adkins and Joel Krosnick. Besides playing the cello, Yin also enjoys playing the baroque cello and viola da gamba. She took secondary lessons with Catharina Meints at the Oberlin Conservatory and Phoebe Carrai at the Juilliard School.

Margarita Rovenskaya

President of the Piano Teachers Congress of New York

Born in Ukraine, Margarita Rovenskaya began studying the piano at the age of six in Chicago. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Oberlin Conservatory in May 2012, her Masters in Piano Studies at New York University in May 2014, and earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts at Rutgers University in 2022. Her teachers include Efrem Briskin, Peter Takacs, Eteri Andjaparidze, and Vladimir Valjarevic.

Dr. Rovenskaya is currently based in New York City. She has served as Co-Adjunct Faculty at Rutgers University, Adjunct Piano Instructor at New York University, and Head of the Piano Department at Newark School of the Arts as well. She is currently Piano Faculty at the Spence School, runs her own private studio, and serves as the President of the Piano Teachers Congress of New York, as well as the Social Media Chair of the Leschetizky Association.

Pianist Margarita Rovenskaya has performed extensively in the US and abroad, with performances in Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Center, Zimmerli Museum, Ukrainian Museum, Teatro Machiavelli in Sicily, and Salmagundi Art Gallery, among others. Prizewinner of the WPTA Finland International Competition, Constantine the Great International Competition, American Music Talent Competition, Mary Smart International Concerto Competition, and Chopin Society Malaysia Competition, Margarita has also performed and studied internationally. She recently presented her research and performance of Dvořák's Poetic Tone Pictures at the Czech Center NYC and continues to champion the music of Czech composers.

Dr. Rovenskaya especially enjoys chamber music, and has collaborated with internationally acclaimed artists, including concertmaster of Russian orchestra Moscow Virtuosi, Alexey Lundin. She performs in several chamber concert series as well as the annual Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival, which celebrates the music of avant-garde Ukrainian composers.

 Dr. Rovenskaya has performed at festivals such as the Sicily International Piano Competition, Tel Hai Piano Masterclasses, Summit Music Festival, PianoSummer at New Paltz, Beethoven Institute at Mannes, and Round Top Festival Institute. She also performed in Vermont as part of the six-week Manchester Music Festival chamber series, as well as performing as a Visiting Artist and Piano Fellow at the Heifetz Institute.

Her performances also include premieres of new music, such as the US premier of Frank Ticheli’s Clarinet Concerto, where she was the orchestral pianist, and Christopher Dietz’s premiere of Sonoromoro for chamber orchestra, piano and percussion. Dr. Rovenskaya is also a member of the Desdemona Ensemble, a chamber ensemble that commissions and performs music of living composers; composer Finola Merivale's album, Tus, was recorded by Desdemona Ensemble and won Best Contemporary Classical Album this year. It features “Release”, a work for violin and piano, with Dr. Rovenskaya on piano.

Maxim Kuzin

Faculty, University of California Santa Barbara

Music Director, Palisades Symphony, Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, and Irvine Classical Players Youth Orchestra

Ukrainian-born conductor Maxim Kuzin has garnered international acclaim in the orchestral and choral spheres. He is celebrated for his commitment to nurturing new talent, educational outreach, and uncovering hidden gems of classical music. His career spans many roles, including currently the Music Director of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, the UC Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and the newly appointed Music Director of the Palisades Symphony. His influence extends to the Irvine Classical Players Youth Orchestra and the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Chorale in Los Angeles.

Dr. Kuzin has led the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, the National Symphony Orchestra of Georgia (Tbilisi), the National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, the National President Orchestra of Ukraine, and the Vladivostok Philharmonic Orchestra (Russia), to name a few.

Dr. Kuzin received his doctoral degree in orchestral conducting at UCLA, where his mentor was Professor Neal Stulberg. Before moving to the United States in 2014, he was part of the vibrant classical music scene in Ukraine, contributing as conductor and educator to the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy, the Reinhold Glière Institute of Music, Kryvyi Rih Music Theater, and other music institutions.

As a champion of contemporary music, Dr. Kuzin led the Ricochet New Music Ensemble in Kyiv, performing at Ukraine's top music festivals and bringing modern compositions to the forefront of the classical music scene. His operatic endeavors have included over twenty different productions by Donetsk Opera Theater, Dnipro Opera Theater, Kyiv National Operetta Theater, Kryvyi Rih Music Theater, UCLA Opera, Opera UCSB, and other theaters. Among the most notable productions are Leoncavallo’s 'Pagliacci', Massenet’s 'Cendrillon', Rossini’s 'The Barber of Seville', Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin,' as well as Strauss’ 'Die Fledermaus', Lehár's 'The Merry Widow' and 'The Mock Marriage.'

In his academic work, Dr. Kuzin has lectured at Harvard and other institutions, served on the faculty of the Philadelphia International Music Festival, and was Head of the Instrumental Division of the Colibri International Arts Competition for Young Performers. He is a frequent judge at various young artist competitions. He has also held prestigious teaching positions as the Music Director and Associate Professor of Instrumental Conducting at the Reinhold Glier Kyiv Institute of Music, Head of Opera Program and Music Director of Opera Productions at Dnipro Glinka Conservatory of Music, and Assistant Conductor at the National President’s Orchestra of Ukraine. 

Reaching beyond the mainstream classical audience, Dr. Kuzin conducted the Ukrainian version of 'Dancing with the Stars', was recognized as an Emerging Artist by the League of American Orchestras' Symphony Magazine and received the Elaine Krown Klein Fine Arts Scholarship Award.

Dr. Kuzin's musical roots trace back to Kyiv's Lysenko Specialized Boarding Music School, leading to advanced studies at the Tchaikovsky National Musical Academy of Ukraine as both a choral and orchestral conductor.

Sheng-Ching Hsu

Faculty, Colburn Community School of Performing Arts and California State University, Long Beach

A native of Taiwan, Sheng-Ching Hsu was six years old when she made her first public appearance as both violinist and pianist at the National Cheng- Kung University, Taiwan. She has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Stage on Holland America Line, Walt Disney Hall, Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Chile), Remonstrantse Kerk in Alkmaar (The Netherlands), Théâtre de l’Île- Saint-Louis (Paris), and National Recital Hall (Taiwan), among others.  

A firm believer in the power of music, Sheng-Ching created “S-C Sidewalk Performance” where she brought live music to the street corners of West LA during the pandemic. “S-C Sidewalk Performance” brought comfort and hope to many people during the time of isolation, and was featured on KTTV Fox 11 Los Angeles.  

Sheng-Ching plays with Delirium Musicum, Concerts for Hope, New Asia Chamber Music Society, Landmark Quartet, Solisti, as well as Concerts on the Slope, in which many of her performances were featured on WWFM Classical, NY. She is a member of California Symphony, and has served as principal violinist of Orchestra Santa Monica, St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra, Queensboro Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Festival Orchestra and Manhattan Symphonie Orchestra. Her other orchestral experiences include Pacific Symphony, Corona Symphony, Tainan City Orchestra and the ChiMei Orchestra. Sheng-Ching has given solo recitals in Europe, North America, South America and Asia, and has performed with Ensemble 212 and Old York Road Symphony as a soloist. Her interest in the impact of music on motion picture led Sheng-Ching to perform in the debut of “BBC Frozen Planet Live,” scored by award-winning composer George Fenton. In addition to her busy performing schedule, she serves on the violin faculty at Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, as well as Colburn Community School of Performing Arts.

When not playing or teaching violin, Sheng-Ching is also a sought-after music arranger. Her latest commissions include the National Anthem for the New York Knicks’ Lunar New Year Game in Madison Square Garden. She arranges a wide variety of music, and has worked with ensembles such as the New Asia Chamber Music Society, the Amphion String Quartet, the Lincoln Center Stage Quintet and the Manhattan Symphonie Orchestra. Her arrangements have been performed at Madison Square Garden, New York Fashion Week, Times Square Flash Mob, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.  

Sheng-Ching studied in the Juilliard Pre-College Division, where she served as the concertmaster of the Pre-College Orchestra, and studied with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho. Sheng-Ching earned her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Mannes School of Music, studying with Aaron Rosand and Christina Khimm. She then graduated from The Juilliard School with a Master’s Degree under the instruction of Catherine Cho. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts from SUNY Stony Brook University, where she studied with Philip Setzer and Arnaud Sussmann. Sheng-Ching’s instruments were generously sponsored by CHIMEI foundation in Taiwan throughout her studies. (www.shengchinghsu.com)

Yinfei Wang

D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music

Pianist YINFEI WANG made his first public appearance at the age of seven in the Shanghai Concert Hall. Since then, he has performed throughout China, Singapore, Spain, Australia and the United States. He has been a prizewinner of many national and international piano competitions, including Washington International Piano Competition, Gershwin International Piano Competition, Five Towns Piano Competition in New York, Jacob Flier Piano Competition, Shande Ding Piano Competition in Shanghai, Chopin Piano Competition in Connecticut and many others. As a soloist, Mr. Wang has performed with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, the MSM Symphony Orchestra, with conductors Vladimir Feltsman, Phillipe Entremont, among others.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Wang has performed in many music festivals and concert series, including The Perlman Music Program, PianoSummer at New Paltz, Summer Concerts at NEC in Boston, Walnut Hill Music Festival, the Concerts on the Slope series in New York, and many others. He has collaborated with musicians such as Thomas Hill, Nai-Yuan Hu, Nicholas Kitchen, Kenneth Radnofsky and Cong Wu. His recordings could be foundin the Shanghai Conservatory of Music: Seventieth Anniversary Gala Album.

Mr. Wang received his Bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, his Master’s degree and Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music. He is currently in the Doctoral Program at Manhattan School of Music. His Principle teachers include Phillip Kawin, Yanxin Chen, Christopher Zhong and Chongfang Zhang.  

Xiao Chen

Faculty, Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles

Music Director, Irvine Conservatory of Music

Chinese-born pianist Xiao Chen is currently on faculty at Mount Saint Mary’s University, having previously served as Lecturer in Piano Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is also the music director at Irvine Conservatory of Music. A dedicated pedagogue, Dr. Chen founded and directed the Los Angeles Young Virtuoso International Music Festival, with the objective of providing performance and educative opportunities for students from all over the world.

Dr. Chen is actively engaged as both a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., China, and Europe, having performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Fischer Center for Performing Arts, and Shanghai Concert Hall. Her performances have been well received by many; New York Concert Review praised her that “she has a strong interest in communicating, and that urge is apparent in performances of expressiveness and purposefulness”, while Shanghai Youth Daily said “her energetic and breathtaking performance impressed the audience”.

Dr. Chen is the recipient of several prizes; awards include The American Prize, Frances Walton Competition, Carmel Music Society Piano Competition, The Muse International Competition, ‘London’ Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition, and Steinway & Sons International Youth Piano Competition. As the winner of the Frances Walton Competition in 2017, she played a concert tour across Washington State, during which she gave recitals and was aired live on Classical KING FM 98.1. Furthermore, Dr. Chen has served as a jury member in many piano competitions, including the MAP International Music Competition, New West Symphony Piano Competition in Los Angeles, "Pearl River Keyserburg" International Youth Piano Competition, and Hainan Airline Piano Competition. As a recording artist, she has recorded for Yamaha’s Disklavier Educational Network and the Scott Joplin Piano Works Archive.

Dr. Chen has been invited to perform in a number of music festivals, including the Morningside Bridge Summer Festival, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Pianofest Summer Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Manchester Music Festival, and Italy Perugia Music Fest.

Additionally, Dr. Chen has participated as an educator on occasions. She has also collaborated with Bard Conservatory US-China Music Institute and designed a new piano course for young students in China. Her role as an educator also extends to online course. She has published many online courses for piano performance practice which are distributed on major Chinese educational platforms. In addition, She has been invited to give talks and concerts as a recurring guest at the Santa Monica College and present lectures at UCLA.

Dr. Chen attended Bard College as a double major, receiving her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance under Melvin Chen from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Language and Literature from Bard College. She furthered her studies at The Juilliard School in New York under Jerome Lowenthal, obtaining her Master of Music degree. Most recently, Ms. Chen received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UCLA under the tutelage of Inna Faliks.

Dr. Chen recently released her new solo album "Kaleidoscope" with Sheva Collection.

Previous Jury Members
Mona Wu DeCesare

President, California Association of Professional Music Teachers

Mona Wu DeCesare is a graduate of UCLA and the Aspen Music School, studied under Aube Tzerko and earning multiple degrees in piano performance (BA & MFA). She is currently a music professor at Moorpark College. Previously, she taught at Pepperdine University, Pasadena City College, and Oxnard College. She is a member of the DeCesare-Francis Piano Duo and the Nuance Ensemble; both designated as "Artists-in-Residence" at Moorpark College. The piano duo has released a CD from one of their live performances. She has given recitals at UCLA, CSUN, TOCAP, Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, Pasadena City College, Pepperdine University, as well as a series of recitals on an international tour of Thailand. She maintains a private studio of award winning students in Moorpark. She is a member of the Music Teachers' Association of California and California Association of Professional Music Teachers. She was honored as "Artist/Educator of the Month" on the Piano Education Page of the World Wide Web, and her interview can be accessed on the Internet.

http://pianoeducation.org/pnodeces.html Mona has also received honors from the Arts' Commission of the City of Thousand Oaks. In the summers of 2008 & 2009, Mona was the Chamber Ensemble Director at the Heidelberg Music Festival in Germany.

Ornela Ervin

Vice President, Music Teachers' Association of California Conejo Valley

Albanian pianist, Ornela Ervin, graduated from the Academy of the Fine Arts in Tirane, Albania with honors. She maintains a large studio of award-winning students in Thousand Oaks and performs as Sadigursky-Ervin piano duo and the Luminoso quartet. Ornela serves on the board of the Sara Compinsky master class series and is the Vice President of MTAC Conejo Valley. Ornela is a board member of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic and director of its Appassionata program.

Han Chen

Gold Medal at the 2013 China International Piano Competition

D.M.A., City University of New York

Hailed by the New York Times as a pianist with "a graceful touch... rhythmic precision... hypnotic charm” and "sure, subtle touch," Han Chen is a distinctive artist whose credentials at a young age already include important prizes in competitions of traditional music as well as increasing respect in the avant-garde.

Since winning the Gold Medal at the 6th China International Piano Competition in 2013, Chen has released three solo albums under the Naxos label (music by Liszt, Rubinstein, and Thomas Adès, respectively). Gramophone complimented Chen’s “brilliant performance” as “im-pressively commanding and authoritative.” ClassicsToday.com also praised for his “assured, ele-gant and totally effortless technique.” American Record Guide remarked that “the utmost of musicality and, of course, the requisite virtuosity is superb.”

As a soloist, Chen has appeared with orchestras across the globe, including the Calgary Philharmonic, Fort Worth Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Macao Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony, China Symphony, Xiamen Philharmonic, Sendai Philhar-monic, to name a few. Chen has worked with renowned conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Karina Canellakis, Nicholas McGegan, and Simon Rattle.

In recital, Chen has toured in the United States, Germany, Japan, and China. Chen’s programing aims to break down the barrier between time periods, connecting old composition with new masterwork. The Boston Musical Intelligencer described his playing as “close to superhuman, astonishes, again and again.” Rheinische Post praised that “dreaming, swaying - his soulful interpretation is beautifully phrased.”

Chen actively advocates for music of our time. He has given world premieres of music by Unsuk Chin, Molly Joyce, Jonah Haven, among others. He has also worked with renowned composers such as Thomas Adès, Unsuk Chin, Helmut Lachenmann, Lei Liang, and Nina Young. In 2021, Chen launched Migration Music, an online series of interviews and performances featuring immigrant composers. Participating composers include Reinaldo Moya, Jihyun Kim, Lei Liang, Vivian Fung, and Huang Ruo, with support from the Metropolis Ensemble .The project is an exploration of the relationship between immigration and music, and what it means to be composing in this global world nowadays. Chen is the founding member of Ensemble Échappé, as well as a current member of PinkNoise Ensemble.

Born in Taiwan, Chen moved to Shanghai at the age of nine. He attended the Shanghai Conservatory Elementary and Middle Schools, studying with Christopher Zhong and Kuan-wen Wang. He then received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music from The Juilliard School, as well as the Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory. He studied with Prof. Yoheved Kaplinsky, Prof. Wha Kyung Byun, and Prof. Ursula Oppens. Chen is now a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Ambroise Aubrun

Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Hailed as a “marvelous violinist” (France Musique) with “sensitive tone” (Pizzicato Magazine) and “tremendous ease, suppleness and beauty of sound” (Nice-Matin), French violinist Ambroise Aubrun enjoys a career as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, and pedagogue. He has performed extensively in Europe and North America in halls such as Salzburg Haus Für Mozart, Yerevan Khachaturian Grand Hall, Los Angeles Broad Stage, Zipper Hall, Chicago Bradley Hall, and Paris Hotel des Invalides, and has shared the stage with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Scott St. John, Martin Chalifour, Fred Sherry, Clive Greensmith, Carrie Dennis, Richard O’Neill, Rohan de Saram, the Borroméo, and Ebène string quartets among others.

His recordings for the Editions Hortus label have received rave reviews and awards from the international press (4 stars Classica Magazine, 5 stars Pizzicato Journal, “coup de coeur” France Musique, 4 stars Diapason, and a nomination for the 2021 International Classical Music Awards).

An advocate for contemporary music, Aubrun has premiered over 20 works and recently recorded an album dedicated to the music of composer Eric Tanguy, to be released in 2021.

Aubrun’s performances and albums have been broadcasted on CBS, WFMT, France Musique, Klara Radio (Belgium), KPFK, KNCJ, and K-USC Los Angeles.

As an orchestral musician, Aubrun has collaborated with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Heinz Holliger, Gustavo Dudamel, James Conlon, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Neville Mariner and Emmanuel Krivine, and has performed in halls such as Paris Salle Pleyel and Cité de la Musique, Valladolid Auditorium, Monte-Carlo Auditorium, Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and Royce Hall. He has been a guest violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, The Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Nice Opera, and the Orchestre de Cannes and has served as co-concertmaster of the conductorless Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra based in Los Angeles.

Currently Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dr. Aubrun previously taught Violin and Chamber Music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and UC Santa Barbara. He has also served on the faculty of the Montecito International Academy, The Chamber Music Unbound Festival and Academy, the Foosa Academy, the Impulse New Music Festival, the Socal Chamber Music Workshop, and the Arconet Academy and is regularly invited to give masterclasses.

Aubrun graduated at age 19 from the Paris National Superior Conservatory where he studied with Roland Daugareil and Serge Pataud. He then studied at UCLA (D.M.A.) with Guillaume Sutre and at the Colburn Conservatory of Music (Artist Diploma) with Martin Beaver.

Aubrun plays a Matteo Goffriller violin, on a generous loan by the Langart Foundation.

He maintains an ongoing interest in non-classical styles. He has recorded for Mayer Hawthorne and performed with Pink Martini, Marco Antonio Solis, Harout Balyan, Moby, Andrew Bird and Herbie Hancock in halls such as the Hollywood Bowl, and the Nokia, Dolby, and Greek Theaters.

Christopher Russel

Chair of Music Department, Azusa Pacific University

CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL is Associate Professor and Chair of the Music Performance department at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in Southern California. He is conductor of the APU Symphony Orchestra and leads their graduate instrumental conducting program. The Los Angeles Times called him “a forcefully dramatic conductor with a strong technique”.

Guest conducting appearances include the MasterWorks Festival in Ohio and Indiana, the Orquestra Sinfônica Heliópolis in São Paulo, Brazil, and orchestras in China including the Harbin Symphony, the Shenzhen City Philharmonic, and Zhengzhou’s Yellow River Symphony. He has also conducted at Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and famous concert halls in London, Vienna, Prague, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg. He has lectured and judged festivals in other Chinese cities including Beijing, Dalian, Hong Kong, and Qingdao.

A new music advocate, Russell has conducted numerous premieres including the first U.S. performances of works by Tansy Davies, Brett Dean, Jonathan Harvey, Anders Hillborg, Tristan Keuris, Magnus Lindberg, Per Nørgård, Kaija Saariaho, and Éric Tanguy. In 2008, he conducted the U.S. premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Stockholm Diary for string orchestra with the APU Symphony.

Russell’s musical interest also extends to performing rarely-heard older music including the U.S. or California premieres of many works from the early and mid-20th century including music by Havergal Brian, Rued Langgaard, Bohuslav Martinu, and Allan Pettersson. An advocate for conducting American music abroad, he conducted the Australian and Brazilian premieres of Ives’ 2nd Symphony, the Austrian and Slovak premiere of Ives’ Decoration Day, and Russian premiere of Peter Mennin’s Symphony No. 5. Russell conducted the world premiere of the Symphony in A composed in 1878 by Leopold Damrosch with the APU Symphony which they recorded for the British record label Toccata Classics.

For over 20 years until 2019, he conducted the Orange County School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra where he regularly received accolades for the orchestra’s quality and adventurous programming. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers has awarded him their prestigious Award for Programming of Contemporary Music for youth orchestras on ten occasions. Seven of those times, he was awarded first place in the United States.

He can be followed on Instagram @russellconductor

Xenia Deviatkina-Loh

Teaching Artist, LA Phil

D.M.A. , University of California, Los Angeles

“Superb playing and a moving interpretation” - Limelight magazine.

Dr. Xenia Deviatkina-Loh has performed as soloist and recitalist in various venues across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and China. The venues she performed at include the Horncastle Arena, Sydney Opera House, Shanghai Concert Hall, Wigmore Hall, St. John's Smith Square, Boston Court Performing Arts Centre, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dr. Deviatkina-Loh also frequently performs with major ensembles and concert series around LA, including the Dilijan Chamber Music Series, MEC (Monday Evening Concerts), Cracow Duo, and Synchromy. She was part of "Inside the Gearbox: John Adams @ 70", and recently, she presented Kaija Saariaho’s Frises in a conference at UCSB hosted by AWMAT (Alliance of Women in Media Arts and Technology). As of 2021, she is a member of ECHOI — MEC’s ensemble-in-residence.

Dr. Deviatkina-Loh was the 2009 winner of the Gisborne International Music Competition. She has been frequently aired live on 3MBS FM, ABC radio, Radio New Zealand, Shanghai People’s Radio Station Classical 94.7, KUSC, and Classical KING FM. Furthermore, she has been a fellow at the Lucerne Festival Academy, the Atlantic Music Festival, SICPP (Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice), and NMFS (New Music for Strings). In addition, Dr. Deviatkina-Loh has partaken in  tours spanning both regional NSW in Australia and regional Washington State in the US.

Dr. Deviatkina-Loh completed her Bachelor of Music Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the tutelage of Professor Alice Waten. She furthered her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Professor György Pauk, achieving her Master of Arts degree. In 2020, she completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of California, Los Angeles under the guidance of Professors Movses Pogossian, Guillaume Sutre, and Varty Manouelian. Between 2016 and 2019, Dr. Deviatkina-Loh was a Teaching Fellow for the String Department within the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Dr. Deviatkina-Loh was supported by the Tait Memorial Trust - The Thornton Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, Woolf Mernick, and Margot MacGibbon during her studies in London. During her studies in Los Angeles, she was supported by the Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fund, Friends of Strings Award, Greenschlpoon, and the Edna and Yu Shan Han Foundation.

In 2019, Dr. Deviatkina-Loh released her debut album under SHEVA Contemporary. It includes works by Édith de Chizy, David Paterson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Sculthorpe, Rodion Shchedrin, and Eugène Ysaÿe. She is also featured on Yalil Guerra's 2020 album Renacimiento, performing "La Magia de Tus Ojos".

Jason Pegis

D.M.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Described as a “true talent" by Christophe Huss of Montreal's Le Devoir, Dr. Jason Pegis is recent Doctorate of Musical Arts graduate of UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, where he studied with Antonio Lysy and held a strings Teaching Associate position. He also holds a Master of Music degree on a Max Stern Fellowship from McGill University where he studied with Matt Haimovitz, and a Bachelor’s of Music from Willamette Music where he was mentored by Jason Duckles and Valdine Mishkin. He has won numerous awards as a soloist and chamber musician; in addition to being a national finalist of the 2014 MTNA Young Artist Chamber Music Competition, such the 2015 Eugene Symphony Young Artist Competition and Outstanding Cellist Award, and he 2016 Zodiac Music Festival Young Artist Award. As a 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival Fellow, Jason has commissioned and premiered works by Kristapor Najarian, Sergei Umroyan, and Quentin Lauvray. He is also an artist for the South Eastern Young Artists and Dilijan Chamber Music Series, and has performed with notable musicians such as Johannes Moser, Axel Strauss, Ettore Causa, Victor Fournelle-Blain, and Denis Bouriakov, Antonio Lysy, Varty Manouelian, and Robert deMaine. He holds a position at the International Cello Institute and recently toured the US, Canada, and Armenia premiering works as a member of UCLA’s VEM Quartet, which was recorded on the Naxos CD “Modulation Necklace.” As a soloist, he has performed concertos with orchestras such as the UCLA Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Symphony Orchestra, and the Palisades Symphony. Jason plays on an 1880 Neuner-Hornsteiner cello on loan from the Carlsen Cello Foundation.