BPAA 2011 Competition

Alexander Korsantia, Chairman of the Jury, has been dubbed "a major artist" by the Miami Herald and a "quiet maverick" by the Daily Telegraph, and has been praised for the "clarity of his technique, richly varied tone and dynamic phrasing" (Baltimore Sun), and a "piano technique where difficulties simply do not exist" (Calgary Sun). The Boston Globe found his interpretation of Pictures of an Exhibition to be "a performance that could annihilate all others one has heard." And the Birmingham Post gushed that "his intensely responsive reading was shot through with a vein of constant fantasy, whether musing or mercurial." Ever since winning the First Prize and Gold Medal of the Artur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition and the First Prize at the Sidney International Piano Competition, Korsantia’s career has taken him to many of the world’s major concert halls, collaborating with renowned conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Gianandrea Noseda, and Paavo Jarvi and orchestras as the Chicago Symphony, Kirov Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic.
Resent seasons bring him to the Cincinnati Symphony, Pacific, Louisville, Oregon, Vancouver, Omaha and Elgin symphonies, a summer stint with the Israel Philharmonic where he performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and the 2nd Brahms Piano Concerto nine times, Israel Chamber Orchestra with Beethoven’s Fourth, Fifth and early E flat major Concerto. In Europe he is heard in Germany on tour with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse performing Chopin’s 2nd Piano Concerto, RAI Orchestra in Turin performing Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto, Kirov Orchestra  Gergiev conducting with Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on the Theme of Paganini, Oslo Philharmonic with Dvorak Concerto, British Youth Orchestra Noseda conducting with Stravinsky Concerto, Polish Radio Orchestra as well as with the Noeburg Chamber Orchestra. In August 2008 he has toured Brasil with Israel Symphony Orchestra performing Rachmaninoff’s Second concerto. He also gave recitals at the Festival Piano Jacobins in Toulouse, Calgary, San Francisco, Lodz, and his hometown, Tbilisi, Georgia. Other noteworthy engagements have included a televised performance of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg; performances at the Stresa Festival in Italy under the baton of Yuri Bashmet; concerts at the Newport, Tanglewood, Vancouver, Gilmore festivals; with the symphony orchestras of Louisville, Brazil, Bogota, Jerusalem and the City of Birmingham, the Georgian State Orchestra, the Kirov Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and others. He has also participated in a United States recital tour with renowned violinist Vadim Repin. Bel Air Music has released live recordings of Mr. Korsantia on a double CD in Summer 2008. His new recording of Joseph Bardanashvili’s “Concerto quasi una fantasia” with Ingolstadt Chamber Orchestra is to be released in 2011.
Current and coming seasons are taking Korsantia to Germany, Poland, Georgia, Italy, Israel and US performing recitals and with Isarel Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional in Mexico City, Louisiana Philarmonic, Camerata Israel, Ingolstadt Chamber Orchestra, Mannheim, Pacific, Edmonton and Cambridge Symphony Orchestras among others.
Enjoying great popularity in Georgia, his country of birth, in 2004 he was awarded one of the most prestigious national awards, the Medal of Honor, bestowed on him by then-President, Eduard Shevardnadze. In 2003 National TV released a full-length documentary about him.
Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Alexander Korsantia began his musical studies at an early age. Among his mentors are his mother, Sventlana Korsantia and Tengiz Amiredjibi, Georgia’s foremost piano instructor. In 1992, he moved his family to the United States and joined the famed piano studio of fellow Georgian, Alexander Toradze, at Indiana University. Korsantia resides in Boston where he is a Professor of Piano on the faculty of the New England Conservatory

Ya-Fei Chuang has been acclaimed by critics in the United States and abroad for performances of stunning virtuosity, refinement and communicative power,.  She has appeared as soloist at numerous international festivals, among them the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw with Christoph Eschenbach, the Taipei International Music Festival, the European Music Festival (Stuttgart), the Bach Festival (Leipzig) and those of Schleswig-Holstein, Ravinia, Gilmore, Tanglewood, and she has performed as duo partner with Kim Kashkashian, Robert Levin, Steven Isserlis, and James Buswell.  The Ruhr Piano Festival (Germany) has released two CDs of her live performances there—her May 2007 solo recital, which was also distributed as a premium by the music magazine ‘Fono Forum’; and performances of the Mendelssohn G-minor piano concerto and concerto for two pianos in A-flat.  Fanfare Magazine hailed her “delicacy and fluidity of touch.  She seems ideally suited to Mendelssohn’s demands…this version now sits at the top of the pile of Mendelssohn Firsts, alongside Perahia, Serkin, and John Ogdon.”
Her recent engagements include concerts and recordings in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic, performances in England, Germany, Austria, South America and throughout the US.  She has recorded for Naxos, Harmonia Mundi, ECM, and New York Philomusica Records.  Her recording of Hindemith’s chamber music works with Spectrum Berlin was awarded a special prize by the International Record Review 2009.

Hugh Hinton has performed widely as a concerto soloist, in recitals, and as a chamber musician, with a special interest in modern and contemporary music. Hinton performed the world premiere of Chinary Ung's Triple Concerto with the Phoenix, New Hampshire, and Honolulu Symphonies. He also performed the premiere of Bernard Rands's Triple
Concerto with the Florida Philharmonic, and performed and recorded the work with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, released on Albany Records. Hinton has been a member of the contemporary music group Core Ensemble since its founding in 1993. Core Ensemble has performed at universities nationwide and in Russia, Ukraine, and Australia. Hinton was a winner of the United States Information Agency Artistic Ambassador competition, resulting in concerts and residencies throughout the Middle East.  Hinton has appeared at many summer music festivals, including performances at Tanglewood's Seiji Ozawa Hall, and at the Monadnock Festival in New Hampshire, where he performed Elliott Carter's Piano Quintet, among other pieces. Hinton has performed widely in Boston and New England, including perfornances at NEC's Jordan Hall, Longy's Pickman Hall, and at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. He has been heard on WGBH radio in Boston, and his perfornances have been broadcast internationally on "Art of the States." His many other recordings of contemporary and chamber music can be found on the Naxos, Etcetera, CRI, Newport Classics, and MMC labels. Mr. Hinton
earned his Bachelor's degree from Harvard University and Master's and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from New England Conservatory, where his piano teachers included Russell Sherman, Wha-Kyung Byun, Lev Vlassenko, and Mykola Suk. A committed teacher, Mr. Hinton has taught music history at New England Conservatory and currently serves as instructor of piano at the Longy School of Music and at the Communitv Music Center of Boston.

Stephen Porter has performed extensively in the U.S., Italy and Turkey, and was featured guest soloist with the Amadeus Orchestra of London at LSO St. Luke’s.  His live performances this season have been critically acclaimed as “the most exciting and appropriate Beethoven Appassionata” (Slate Magazine) and “an amazing sound” (Boston Musical Intelligencer).  Solo recital venues where he has appeared include Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center at Lake Como, Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Amherst College’s Buckley Recital Hall, the Frederick Historic Piano Collection, the Nantucket Atheneum, and Albert Long Hall in Istanbul.  Steinway & Sons selected him to give five solo recitals as part of the Legendary Instruments of the Immortals Tour, as well as to present the unique Walden Woods Concert Grand and give lecture-recitals on the Horowitz piano.  This spring he appeared in the Brahms piano quintet with the principals of the South Florida Symphony, and in recital at the Boston Early Music Festival.  He is a frequent collaborator with mezzo-soprano Krista River, and their recitals this season include performances of works by Ned Rorem for which they received coaching by the composer.  Mr. Porter graduated magna cum laude from Oberlin College, and from the New England Conservatory of Music with Distinction.  He has judged competitions and given masterclasses at several schools, including Washington University, Boston University, the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music.  Stephen Porter has been on the piano faculties of Webster University and Phillips Andover Academy, and the chamber music faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

Janice Weber is a summa cum laude graduate of the Eastman School of Music. Following graduation she was twice a fellowship student at Tanglewood.  She has appeared with the American Composers Orchestra, Boston Pops, Chautauqua Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony, New Hampshire Symphony, Sarajevo Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, and the Shenzhen Philharmonic. Solo performances have been at the White House, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Weill Hall, National Gallery of Art, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the 92nd Street Y. She has performed at summer festivals in Newport, Bard, Sarajevo, and Husum and has toured Yugoslavia, Turkey, and the Baltic States under the auspices of the US Information Service. She has concertized and given master classes in Shenzhen, Kunming, Chengdu, Shenyang, Xian, and Gulong Yu, China. Her eclectic recordings include the complete transcriptions of Rachmaninoff (IMP); with the Lydian Quartet, Leo Ornstein’s vast Piano Quintet (New World Records); waltz transcriptions of Godowsky, Rosenthal, and Friedman (IMP); the world premiere recording of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes in the notorious 1838 version (IMP); solo piano music of Leo Ornstein (Naxos), and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (Ongaku Records). A member of the Boston Conservatory faculty, Miss Weber produced the sample tones for Ivory, the worldwide bestselling virtual piano software. Her latest disc, for Sono Luminus, Cascade of Roses, features a fascinating selection of pieces with “rose” in their titles. She is a member of the South Coast Chamber Music Society and the Cascabel Trio.