Guest Artists 2022

Josu de Solaun
Pianist, International competition winner,
2021 ICMA award winner

Josu De Solaun has been hailed by the international press for his “poetic sense of sound, artistic vision and brilliant virtuoso skills, entirely at the service of the works being performed.” Nikolaus Frey, Fuldaer Zeitung. He is an extraordinarily prolific pianist-composer performing in many of the world’s most celebrated halls as concerto soloist, chamber musician, solo piano recitalist and solo improviser and composer. He is also a published poet.The opening of the 2020 – 2021 season featured his debut free improv concert, panDEMiCity, in León, in March 2021 – (recorded live for release in July 2021), as well as performances as concerto soloist with orchestras in Spain, Czech Republic and Romania. In 2021, he also received the prestigious ICMA Award (International Classical Music Award) for his recording of French violin Sonatas with violinist Franziska Pietsch. His latest solo album of works by Brahms and Schumann for the IBS Classical label has garnered excellent reviews. This summer he will record both Liszt Piano Concerti as well as Totentanz with the Moravian National Philharmonic.

First Prize winner of the XIII George Enescu International Piano Competition, Bucharest (also won by legendary pianists Radu Lupu and Elisabeth Leonskaja), the XV José Iturbi International Piano Competition and the First European Union Piano Competition, Spanish-American pianist Josu De Solaun has been invited to perform in distinguished concert halls throughout the world, including the Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest, Teatro La Fenice, Mariinsky Theatre, The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, London’s Southbank Centre, Salle Cortot, Leipzig’s Schumann Haus, Taipei’s Novel Hall, Mexico City’s Sala Silvestre Revueltas, Prague’s Nostitz Palace, Academia de España, Menton Festival International de Musique, and all the major cities of Spain. He is the only pianist from Spain to win the Enescu and Iturbi competitions in their respective histories, and was recently invited to a private reception with the King and Queen of Spain at the Royal Palace after winning the coveted Bucharest prize. In 2019 he was given the title of Officer of Cultural Merit, a state decoration, by Klaus Iohannis, president of Romania.
His repertoire includes rare piano concerti such as Leonard Bernstein's Symphony Nr. 2 "The Age of Anxiety", Giuseppe Martucci's 2nd Piano Concerto, Britten's Diversions, Hummel's A-Minor piano concerto, Constantinescu's Piano Concerto, as well as the complete concerti of Liszt, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Bartok. He is also an avid improviser and frequently plays totally improvised solo piano recitals.His creative voice is expressed in a large range of recordings including the incomparably virtuosic complete works for piano of George Enescu for the NAXOS Grand Piano label, Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” with Joann Falletta conducting, two chamber music discs for the German Audite label, the live, improvised León recital and beloved piano music of Schumann and Brahms for the IBS Classical Label. Next season will feature the premiere of his own piano concerto and releases of new recordings of Haydn Sonatas, and Piano Trios, Enescu's Complete Chamber Music, plus a disc of Czech piano music. His volume of poetry in 2021 titled "Las Grietas" was published by EDICTORALIA.

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Clarice Assad
Grammy-nominated composer,
pianist, vocalist and educator

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian American Clarice Assad is asignificant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop and jazz genres. A Grammy nominated composer,celebrated pianist and inventive vocalist, she is renowned for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylisticrange. As an innovator, her award-winning Voxploration Series on music creation, songwriting and improvisationhas been presented throughout the United States, Brazil, Europe and the Middle East. With her artistic talents soughtafter by artists and organizations worldwide, the multi-talented musician continues to attract new audiences bothonstage and off.In the recording arena, Ms. Assad has released seven solo albums and appeared on or had her works performed onanother 30. Her music is represented on Cedille Records, SONY Masterworks, Nonesuch, Adventure Music, Edge,Telarc, NSS Music, GHA, and CHANDOS Ms. Assad will have four recordings featuring her works released in2019.

A prolific Grammy nominated composer with over 70 works to her credit, Clarice Assad’s numerous commissionsinclude works for Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo,Chicago Sinfonietta, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Youth Orchestra, the Bravo! Vail Music Festival,Queen Reef Music Festival and the La Jolla Music Festival, to name a few. Her compositions have been recorded bysome of the most prominent names in the classical music, including percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, cellist YoYo Ma, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and oboist Liang Wang. Assad’s music has been performed byinternationally acclaimed orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, QueenslandSymphony, and the Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo. Ms. Assad has served as a composer-in-residence for theAlbany Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the BostonLandmarks Orchestra. Her works are published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), Criadores do Brasil(Brazil) and by Virtual Artists Collective Publishing, (VACP) a publishing company co-founded with poet andphilosopher Steve Schroeder. Ms. Assad is currently writing the soundtrack to Devoti Tutti, a documentary byBernadette Wegenstein, while composing the music for a ballet by award-winning choreographer Shannon Alvis.As a performer, Clarice has shared the stage with such artists as Bobby McFerrin, Anat Cohen, Nadia Sirota, PaquitoD’Rivera, Tom Harrell, Marilyn Mazur and Mike Marshall, among other outstanding musicians. She has performedat internationally renowned venues and festivals including The Netherlands’ Concertgebow, New York’s CarnegieHall, Belgium’s Le Palais des Beaux-Arts, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Le Casino de Paris, Jazz atLincoln Center and the Caramoor International Jazz Festival.A passionate educator, in 2015 Ms. Assad founded VOXploration, an award-winning, trailblazing program whichpresents a creative, fun, and accessible approach to music education through meaningful, interactive experiences.Carefully curated to work equally well with participants of any age who have little music education or those havingmusical backgrounds, VOXploration has received grants and awards from Brazilian foundations such as CAIXACULTURAL and SESC, as well as American grants from New Music USA and the McKnight Foundation. Ms.Assad has given masterclasses, residencies and workshops throughout the United States, Europe and Middle East.Born in Rio de Janiero, Clarice Assad is one of the most widely performed Brazilian concert music composers of hergeneration. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, amongst them an Aaron Copland Award and severalASCAP awards in composition, Clarice Assad holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Roosevelt University inChicago, and a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan School of Music.

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Artist Faculty

José Ramón Mendez
Northwestern University, Chicago

Described as "an artist with a polished sound and tremendous constructive power" and hailed by the Hoja del Lunes de Madrid, as "the Spanish pianist of his generation," Jose Ramon Mendez is one of the most exciting Spanish pianists of today.Recent performances include Chopin's first piano concerto with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and Manuel de Falla's "Nights in the Gardens of Spain" with the Nittany Valley Symphony, as well as numerous solo and chamber music performances in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His playing has been featured on WQXR's "Performance Today" and on Classical KMFA. He has been a guest performer at many music festivals, including Caramoor Festival, Barge Music Series, Festival Internacional de Piano de las Islas Canarias, Music at Penns Woods, Amalfi Coast International Music Festival, "Tocando el Cielo," Musica en Compostela, the Stony Brook International Piano Festival, and the Santander International Music Festival to name a few. As a chamber musician, Mendez has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree, Pascual Martinez-Nieto, and Pinchas Zukerman.

Mendez received his first music instruction from his father and by the age of seven was already performing on Spanish television and radio stations. He made his solo debut at the age of eleven at the Oviedo Philharmonic Society in Oviedo, Spain, the youngest performer ever to do so in the history of the society. He first gained international recognition when he performed Liszt's first piano concerto under the direction of Sergiu Commissiona at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since then, he has concertized extensively in his native Spain, the United States, Italy, England, Portugal, Holland, and Japan to great acclaim. With his poetry, intellect, and masterful technique, he has been praised by critics and celebrated by audiences around the world.At the age of 18, Mendez's success brought him to the United States, where he began his studies at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He completed his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in piano performance with renowned pedagogue Solomon Mikowsky and went on to finish his Doctorate of Musical Arts under the tutelage of Byron Janis and Miyoko Lotto. During his stay in New York, he won top prizes in many international competitions, including Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition, Hilton Head Island International Piano Competition, Frederick Chopin Competition in New York, and Hermanos Guerrero International Piano Competition, among others.Mendez's professional teaching career began in 1996, when he was invited to teach master classes at the Gijon School of Music. Since then, he has given master classes in numerous cities in Spain, including Lugo, Aviles, Valencia, Gijon, Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela, and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as well as in the United States at top music schools such as Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, and Columbus State University. Mendez also taught as assistant teacher to Miyoko Lotto at the Perlman Music Program, a program for gifted young musicians founded by the world famous violinist Itzhak Perlman. Currently in the summers, he is the Artistic Director and on the faculty of the Gijon International Piano Festival in Gijon, Spain, as well as frequently being invited to perform and teach at various festivals.Formerly on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, he formed part of the Artist Piano Faculty at New York University in New York City from 2007 to 2014. He is now teaching as an Assistant Professor of Piano at Pennsylvania State University.Jose Ramon Mendez is a Yamaha Artist.

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Jean Saulnier
Université de Montréal, Canada

Jean Saulnier leads an active career as a recitalist, chamber musician and teacher, with broad experience in both the solo and the chamber music repertoire. He is a sought-after collaborator by the best musicians from Canada and abroad, speaking eloquently to the flexibility, natural playing ability, and spirit of partnership he brings to every performance.A recipient of numerous prizes in national and international competitions, including the William Kapell International Competition, the Prix d’Europe and the Leschetizky Competition, Jean Saulnier has performed in Canada, United States, South America and Europe. He has been guest soloist with renowned orchestras such as the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Rochester Philharmonic and I Musici de Montréal. He is frequently heard in major Canadian music festivals and on CBC radio.

Performing with his long-time partners’ cellist Yegor Dyachkov and clarinetist André Moisan, Jean Saulnier has recorded many major works from the chamber music repertoire on the Pelléas, ATMA, Analekta and Doberman-Yppan recording labels.Jean Saulnier studied with Marc Durand, Leon Fleisher, and André Laplante. His doctorate from the University of Montreal was saluted with the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal. He is currently Associate Professor at the Music Faculty of the University of Montreal where he has been teaching for over 20 years. He is regularly invited to give master classes at institutions of higher education. He frequently serves as a jury member for national and international competitions, higher education institutions and government agencies.Jean Saulnier has been on the Artist Faculty of Porto Pianofest since 2018.

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Oscar Colomina i Bosch
Composer & conductor
Dean of Music — Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, Madrid

Dean of the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid since 2020, Òscar is a sought-after composer and conductor. Before relocating to Spain, he held important positions in the UK as Director of Music of The Yehudi Menuhin School (2017-2020) and Professor of Orchestration at the Royal Academy of Music (2013-2020). He has guest conducted and lectured at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague – School for Young Talent, the Akoesticum Talent Programme in Holland, and is part of the teaching faculty of Porto PianoFest.A member of the Spanish National Youth Orchestra (performing with Carlo Maria Giulini and Gianandrea Noseda), he later pursued further studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Royal Academy of Music with Malcolm Singer and Simon Bainbridge (composition) and Alan Hazeldine (conducting), receiving advice from Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr and Julian Anderson.

A commission from the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, Shpigl for solo violin (2016), was described by American composer John Adams as ‘a small masterpiece of both musical and dramatic imagination’. Impressed by the piece, Adams programmed Shpigl in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series  ‘Noon to Midnight’ festival, inviting Òscar to attend the American premiere in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles.Imatges (2021), written for the Iturbi Competition, has already received performances in Washington, New York and Hannover, with composer Benet Casablancas considering it ‘an important addition to the Spanish Contemporary piano repertoire’.Òscar’s orchestral work, Entfaltung (2015), written for the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, was praised by pianist and conductor Jean-Bernard Pommier, who wrote of Òscar’s ‘perfect control of orchestration and timing’ and Entfaltung‘s ‘strong and captivating music’.His music has been conducted by Jaime Martín, Pablo González, Baldur Brönnimann, and Christopher Austin. Other commissions and performances include the Aldeburgh Festival, Philharmonia Orchestra, Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, Trío Arbós, Orchestra of the Swan, Grup Instrumental de València and the Schubert Ensemble, in concert venues across the UK, USA, Spain, Portugal, France, Denmark and Italy, numbering the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Yale and New York Universities, Palau de la Música de Valencia and Auditorio de Galicia among them. His compositions have been broadcast in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Denmark and the USA.

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Nuno Marques
Artistic Director and Co-Founder

Award-winning Portuguese pianist Nuno Marques has developed an extensive, international performing career from his current base in New York City, where he directs Porto Pianofest – an international piano festival held annually in Porto, Portugal. He is the festival’s founder and artistic director. A Doctor of Musical Arts, Nuno is a versatile musician, equally comfortable playing solo, chamber music, teaching, or collaborating with other forms of artistic expression.His most recent concerts took him to renowned music halls and festivals in Europe, Asia and the US, where he played twice at Carnegie Hall. Nuno Marques has also embarked twice on extensive concert tours in China, and has given public masterclasses in Portugal, Spain, the World Piano Congress in Serbia, Myanmar, China and the US.

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