Piano Program

COST: $3,000
DATES: JULY 15-29, 2018

The Piano Program is an intensive, two-week course that offers young pianists an opportunity to work with highly accomplished teachers, perform on a world-class stage, and attend inspiring concerts by guest performers. Through one-on-one lessons, group masterclasses, and lectures, students will refine their technique, expand their musical repertoire, and discuss common questions facing young pianists who want to take their craft to the next level: the best repertoire for an audition or competition, healthy practice routines, and building a portfolio for colleges and conservatories.

Piano Program Applicants: Piano Program applicants are required to submit a file (audio or video) using SlideRoom. Please click here to submit the additional required information.

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Fabio Witkowski

Piano Program Director

Fabio Witkowski is the program director of the Piano Portal. As both Chair of The Hotchkiss School Music Department and an accomplished professional pianist, Fabio’s commitment to developing musical students of all levels while simultaneously challenging exceptional musicians to continue to grow as artists and performers has made Hotchkiss a leader in attracting exceptional musicians and teachers. Fabio will coach piano ensemble, teach private lessons, and play a formal four-hands concert along with his partner and wife, Gisele.

A native of Brazil, Witkowski began his piano career at the age of six. Since then, he has been performing extensively throughout the world. Mr. Witkowski has given solo recitals in the Czech Republic, Brazil, Italy, China, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Boston, Hartford, Chicago, New York and Washington, DC. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Santo Andre Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra L’Estro Armonico, the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the São Bernardo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Paulista Symphony Orchestra. In Brazil, he received the first prize at the renowned Villa-Lobos Piano Competition, as well as the Lorenzo Fernandez Piano Competition. He has been awarded the first prize at the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association’s Young Artist Piano Concerto Competition, and received third prize, as well as an award for the best Stravinsky performance, in the Ibla Grand Prize International Piano Competition, in Italy.

He has performed at the Tanglewood Institute, the Liszt and Wagner International Festival, in Italy, the Prague International Piano Festival, Festival de Musica de Girona, in Spain, and the Liszt Festival, in Rio de Janeiro. For the past four years he has been a guest artist and piano faculty at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, having shared the stage with renowned pianists such as Bobby Roux, Ian Robson, Luiz de Moura Castro and Paul Badura-Skoda. He appeared in chamber recitals with the Grammy-Award winning Emerson String Quartet, the Fine Arts Quartet, the Adaskin Trio, and with Mr. Robert deMaine, principal cellist of the Detroit Symphony.

Mr. Witkowski holds a cum laude BM and MM from the Hartt School of Music, where he studied under the guidance of Luiz de Moura Castro. He is currently the Chairman of the Hotchkiss School Music Department, where his teaching efforts have included him for three years in the “Who is Who Among America’s Teachers” publication.

Some of his past engagements include concerts at Bryant Park and Union Square Park, in New York City, both sponsored by the New York Times’s Young Performers Series. Mr. Witkowski also performs regularly with his wife, pianist Gisele Nacif Witkowski. They have appeared together in prestigious settings such as the Gardens of Villa Rufolo, in Ravello, Italy, at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. and at Carnegie Hall, in New York City. According to the New York Concert Review, the duo “shows marvelous rubato and tremendously clean playing, with a lovely sense of tone.”

Mr. Witkowski has been acclaimed by the critics as “One of Brazil’s most promising talents,” who “never fails to impress the audience,” and whose playing “is able to conjure up the devilish colors of an inferno as well as portray an ethereal paradise...” According to the Hartford Courant, “Mr. Witkowski revealed himself as an accomplished pianist, providing many passages of bravura, sensitivity, and pearly agility.”

Gisele Nacif Witkowski

Resident Piano Faculty

Critically acclaimed by the New York Concert Review as having given "the most genuinely fascinating recital debut in many a moon," for her New York solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall, pianist Gisele Nacif Witkowski has been performing extensively throughout Brazil, United States, China, and Europe.

Mrs. Witkowski has performed in some of Brazil’s most prestigious venues. Sponsored by Funarte, she completed an extensive recital tour of northern Brazil, intended to promote the Brazilian piano repertoire, which included the capital cities of Brasília, Manaus, Boa Vista, Belém, Macapá, São Luiz, and Terezina. Other recital engagements have included the states of São Paulo, Paraná, Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, and the American states of New York, Washington, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, and New Jersey, as well as many performances in Italy and Czech Republic. Recent engagements included concerts at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and at Union Square Park (NY), sponsored by the New York Times Young Performers Series.

She has appeared as guest artists and professor in several music festivals, including the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy for 13 years, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and the Hotchkiss Summer Portals in the US, and the São João del Rey, Ourinhos, and Londrina Music Festivals in Brazil.

Her orchestral engagements include numerous appearances with the Piracicaba Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Rio Claro, the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, the São Bernardo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with renowned chamber groups including the São Paulo String Quartet, the Fine Arts Quartet, and the Amerigo Trio formed by New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow.

Mrs. Witkowski also performs regularly with her husband, pianist Fabio Witkowski, as the Witkowski Piano Duo. They have appeared together in prestigious settings such as the Gardens of Villa Rufolo, in Ravello, Italy, at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as several recitals in the United States, Europe, and Brazil. One of their latest projects has been to perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with the Bowen McCauley dance company, celebrating the 100 years anniversary of this masterpiece. About this collaboration, The Washington Post said, “Fabio and Gisele Witkowski played the four-hand piano arrangement as if they possessed the very paws of Fate.”

Mrs. Witkowski began her piano studies with her parents at age four. She graduated from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory and received her Bachelor’s degree from the Santa Marcelina College where she studied with Daisy de Luca and Isabel Mourão. She became the first prize winner of several piano competitions including the "The Villa- Lobos National Contest" (ES), the "Soloist Contest" (MG), the "Eleventh Young Instrumentalists Brazilian Contest" (SP), the "Concerto Competition of the Santa Marcelina College" (SP), the "Young Soloists Contest of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra" (SP), and was a recipient of the "Artists International's 1998 Twenty-Sixth Young Artists Piano Award" (NY), among others. She has also appeared on various radio and TV broadcasts including WQXR in New York and TV Cultura in São Paulo.

Mrs. Witkowski received a full scholarship from the Brazilian Government to study at the Manhattan School of Music with Ms. Nina Svetlanova, where she received her Masters degree. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Hartt School of Music where she studied under the tutelage of Luiz de Moura Castro. She is currently a member of the piano faculty at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. Her piano students have received numerous awards in regional, national, and international piano competitions.

Luiz de Moura Castro

Resident Piano Faculty

Luiz de Moura Castro is a graduate of the National School of Music, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (summa cum laude) and of the Lorenzo Fernandez Academy of Music, Rio de Janeiro and the Liszt Academy, Budapest.

A native of Rio de Janeiro, he gave his debut recital at the age of 9 at the Teatro Municipal after winning a competition. Moura Castro has appeared with the Orchestre de Chambre, Lausanne, Lisbon Radio Orchestra, Filarmonichi di Turino, Bratislav & Janacek orchestras, Yaroslav Symphony, Russia, the Dallas, Fort Worth, Hartford and Syracuse symphonies, besides all the major Brazilian orchestras and Parabobo Orquestra, Venezuela. Solo recitals include Piccolo Scala, Milano Teatro Ghione, Roma Salle Gaveau, Paris; Palau de la Musica, Barcelona; Rubinstein Hall, St. Petersburg Academy; Merkin Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He was invited by Lily Kraus to teach at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth in 1968. In 1998, he began a visiting professorship at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He is currently on the full-time faculty of The Hartt School of Music at The University of Hartford. In addition, he works in Rio de Janeiro as a visiting professor at the Pro Arte Seminarios de Musica and is chair of the Piano Department at the Conservatori Superior del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain.

His discography includes over 40 CDs for Ensayo (Spain), Euterpe (Switzerland), L’Art (Brazil) and Musical Heritage (United States). He appeared on the front cover of the June 1998 issue of Amadeus, the most important music magazine of Spain with a four-page extensive interview included within. He was nominated among the top 10 recordings of the November issue of Ritmo, the recording magazine in Spain, in “The Great Unknown-Piano de Cuba, Brasil Y Argentina.” The magazine praised, “marvelous music translated into sound by a great pianist. Three memorable discs full of essence and very beautiful feelings.”

Professor de Moura Castro is included in the “World’s Who’s Who of Musicians”, Benjamin Saver’s “The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the U.S.A.” and has lectured at the World Piano Pedagogy Conferences, 1996-2006 and is a regular adjudicator for the Fulbright Commision.

This past year, Luiz de Moura Castro appeared in festivals in Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Japan, Canada, Venezuela and the United States. He organizes the annual Liszt Festival in Rio de Janeiro and is on the board of the American Liszt Society. He has lectured and played at the National Piano Pedagogy Conference in Ekaterinenburg, Russia; at the Ravello Summer School, Italy; and in Prague, Czech Republic. He has performed at Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

His latest recordings include the Rachmaninov Second and Third Piano concertos, Paganini Variations, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Momo Precoce by Villa-Lobos, Liszt's Concertos No. 1 and 2, Brazilian songs and piano music with Maria Jose Montiel (which was nominated for a Latin Grammy), a Piano Quintet of Henrique Oswald, a Schubert CD “Encanto”, Rachmaninov's Suite for 4 Hands with Bridget de Moura Castro, the second volume of Chopin’s Nocturnes, Brazilian cello music with Guerra Vicente, and the 5 Beethoven Concertos with the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra.

Benjamin Loh

A native of Singapore, Benjamin Loh first obtained his B.Sc. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he studied at the Manhattan School of Music, where he graduated with a Master of Music in Piano Performance as a student of Marc Silverman. While a student in Singapore, he studied with the late Madam Lucien Wang, a former pupil of the legendary French pianist, Alfred Cortot.

Since returning to Singapore, he has successfully balanced the role of teacher and performer. Many of his students have won prizes in local and international piano competitions, and others have been High Scorers in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College of Music piano examinations. Many of his former students have continued their musical training at prestigious institutions such as The Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, École Normale de Musique de Paris, the Purcell School and the Leopold Mozart Institute of the Mozarteum University.

As a performer, he is often heard in chamber music concerts, and performs locally as well as abroad.

He is also very much in demand as a teacher, and has given lectures and master classes in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Italy and the U.S.A. In South Korea, he was on the faculty of the Asia International Piano Academy & Festival (AIPAF) 2008 to 2014, and was their International Advisor for six years. He has also given lectures and master classes at the John Perry Academy of Music, the Hotchkiss Summer Piano Program, the Colburn School and the University of Iowa in the U.S.A., the Adam Gyorgy Island Academy in Indonesia, the first Chung Ang University International Piano Conference & Festival in Korea, the first Bangkok Piano Symposium in Thailand, as well as at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and the Music Fest Perugia in Italy.

As an adjudicator, he has been on the jury of the ASEAN Chopin International Piano Competition (Malaysia), International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia (Japan), PTNA Competition (Japan), All Japan Piano Concours (Japan), IIYM International Piano Competition (Kansas, U.S.A.), Asian Youth Music Competition (Hong Kong), Kawai Asia Piano Competition (China), Taiwan-Asia Piano Open Competition (Taiwan), Asia Piano Competition (Taiwan), Philippines Steinway Youth Piano Competition, UCSI – International Piano Festival Competition (Malaysia), and the first Korea-Asia Piano Open Competition (South Korea). Last year, he was appointed a juror of the World Piano Teachers Association – International Piano Competition (Serbia).

In the past, Loh has held the post of music critic for The Straits Times and The Business Times in Singapore. He was formerly vice president of the Singapore Music Teachers Association as well as head of Music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore. Presently, he is on the piano faculty of NAFA and the LASALLE College of the Arts, and also maintains an active private teaching studio. He is also on the Advisory Committee of the Singapore National Arts Council National Piano and Violin Competition.

In 2005, he was given the Special Recognition Award by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) for his contributions to the Singapore National Arts Council.

John Perry

John Perry, distinguished artist and teacher, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of Cecile Genhart. He worked with the eminent Frank Mannheimer. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, he continued studies in Europe for four years where he worked with Wladyslav Kedra, Polish concert artist and professor at the Akademie für Musik in Vienna, and Carlo Zecchi, renowned conductor, pianist, and head of the piano department at the Santa Cecilia Academy of Music in Rome.

Perry has won numerous awards including the highest prizes in both the Busoni and Viotti international piano competitions in Italy and special honors at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris. Since then he has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America to great critical acclaim. Also a respected chamber musician, he has collaborated with some of the finest instrumentalists in the world.

He also enjoys an international reputation as a teacher, presenting master classes throughout the world. He often is a jury member at some of the most prestigious international piano competitions. His students have been prize winners in most major competitions and include two first-prize winners in the Rubinstein, four first-prize winners in the Music Teacher's National Association national competition, and first-prize winners in the Naumburg National Chopin competition, the Cleveland Competition, Beethoven Foundation competition, the Federated Music Clubs, and the YKA, AMSC, and YMF competitions, and finalists in the Chopin International in Warsaw, the Van Cliburn, the Queen Elisabeth, Leeds, Dublin, Busoni, Viotti and the Three Rivers competitions.

Perry is professor at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, professor of piano at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles, visiting artist faculty at Boston University, and Professor Emeritus of the USC Thornton School of Music. In addition, he recently founded a music school, John Perry Academy of Music in Los Angeles, where he serves as Artistic Director. During the summer he is artist professor at the Lake Como International Piano Academy, the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, the Sarasota Music Festival in Florida, the Orford Music Festival in Quebec, the Morningside Music Bridge Program in Calgary, Alberta, the Internationaler Klaviersommer Cochem, Germany, the International Music Festival in Perugia, Italy, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, Montecito International Music Festival in Santa Barbara, and the John Perry Academy Summer Piano Festival in California. In January he is main guest artist at the Sydney Piano Festival in Australia.
His recordings are available on the Telefunken, Musical Heritage Society, CBC, ACA and Fox labels.

Mina Perry

Resident Piano Faculty

Mina Hirobe Perry has performed in recitals as a soloist and chamber musician in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Ireland, North America, South Korea and Japan. She also enjoys concertizing two piano and four hand repertoire. Ms. Perry earned her Bachelor and Master Degrees with honor at Musashino School of Music in Tokyo, where she studied with Professor Tetsushige Maruyama and Professor Konstantin Ganev, who was the assistant of the eminent pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus at Moscow Conservatory. After three years of concertizing throughout Japan and teaching piano privately, she moved to Germany where she earned her Artist Diploma and served as a correpetitor at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold. She continued advanced studies at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto, Canada.

Ms. Perry is Co-Founder and Festival Director of The Southern California Music Institute and the director of the Honors Piano Performance Seminar at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Additionally, she maintains a private studio in La Crescenta, California.

As a dedicated teacher, her students have won numerous competitions and have been accepted to prestigious music conservatories and universities such as Manhattan, Eastman, Cleveland, Peabody, USC, UCLA, and Indiana.

Ms. Perry regularly performs at summer festivals worldwide, including Summer Music on the Shannon in Ireland, Académie Internationale de Courchevel in France, Vianden International Music Festival in Luxembourg, Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and Duxbury Music Festival in Massachusetts. She is also frequently invited to give master classes nationally and internationally.

Her biggest musical influence is from Prof. John Perry, with whom she studied in Germany, Canada, and now is learning from him everyday as his life long partner.

Oxana Yablonskaya

Piano Faculty

Oxana Yablonskaya is one of a number of hugely talented expatriate Russian pianists to have emerged from the post-World War II era. Yablonskaya possesses an all-encompassing technique and vast repertory that takes in works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and many others. She has made numerous recordings throughout her career, including for Melodiya, Naxos, Connoisseur Society, and Classical Records.

Yablonskaya was born in Moscow, Russia, on December 6, 1938. A gifted child pianist, she studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexander Goldenweiser. She had later studies with Tatiana Nikolayeva. In the 1960s Yablonskaya captured prizes at three major competitions: the Jacques Long-Thibaud (1963), the Rio de Janeiro (1965), and the Vienna Beethoven (1969). Despite numerous concert invitations from abroad, however, the Soviet government forbade her from performing outside Eastern Bloc borders. Frustrated in her career, Yablonskaya applied for a U.S. visa in 1975 and was subsequently stripped of her professorship at the Moscow Conservatory and denied all concert engagements. In 1977, thanks in great part to a petition signed by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Katharine Hepburn, and other notables, Yablonskaya emigrated to the United States with her father and son, Dmitry. Her son would become the renowned conductor and cellist Dmitry Yablonsky, with whom she would make several recordings.

Later on in 1977 Yablonskaya gave critically acclaimed concerts at Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall before capacity crowds. She regularly concertized thereafter, appearing in both recitals and as a soloist with major symphony orchestras across the U.S. and Europe. She soon began making recordings in the U.S., producing three highly praised albums for the Connoisseur Society label that featured music of Beethoven, Liszt, Mussorgsky, and Prokofiev. The Liszt recording was awarded a Grand Prix du Disque by the International Liszt Society.

From 1983 Yablonskaya has served on the faculty at Juilliard. In 1990 she created a near-sensation in her former homeland, giving several sold-out concerts and conducting master classes at the Moscow Conservatory. With the appearance in 1995 of volume one of the piano music of Tchaikovsky, Yablonskaya launched a series of highly successful recordings for the Naxos label.

In 2004, Yamaha engaged Yablonskaya to serve as an artistic advisor for master classes in New York and to conduct yearly master classes in Paris. Yablonskaya established her own piano institute in 2008 at Castelnuove di Garfagnana in Tuscany, Italy.