CME is committed to connecting our young artists with distinguished professionals in the field. Our rising musicians receive professional mentorship, guidance, and advice from our roster of some of the world’s most celebrated artists, who generously share their time and talent in order to further enrich the world with musical excellence.



International Pianist, Recent Artist in Residence at the New York Philharmonic


Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes is acclaimed for his commanding technique and searching interpretations. He performs recitals and concertos in the world’s leading concert halls and with today’s foremost orchestras, and is an active recording artist. He is the founding director of the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, was co-artistic director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music, and served as music director of California’s 2012 Ojai Music Festival. Mr. Andsnes was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in 2013, and received honorary doctorates from New York’s Juilliard School and Norway’s University of Bergen in 2016 and 2017, respectively. He now records exclusively for Sony Classical. He was the 2017-2018 Artist in Residence for the New York Philharmonic. 


Professor of Composition, UCLA, Manhattan School of Music, & Curtis Institute of Music


Richard Danielpour is one of the most gifted and sought-after composers of his generation. He has been commissioned by an impressive array of international music institutions, festivals, and artists, and his music has been championed by such soloists as Yo-Yo Ma (whose recording containing Danielpour's Cello Concerto won a Grammy), Jessye Norman, Dawn Upshaw, and Emanuel Ax; chamber ensembles including the Guarneri, Emerson, and American String Quartets; and conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, David Zinman, Zdenek Macal, and Philippe Entremont. A member of the Manhattan School of Music composition faculty since 1993, he is an active educator who believes deeply in mentoring young musicians. He also serves on the faculty at UCLA and the Curtis Institute of Music, and gives master classes throughout the country.


International Pianist


Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Denk returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and in recent seasons has appeared with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra, as well as on tour with Academy St. Martin in the Fields, and at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms.


Chair of Piano, Mannes School of Music at The New School


A First Prize winner of the Claude Debussy International Competition in France and Italy’s International Piano Competition of Senigallia, Bulgarian pianist Pavlina Dokovska has gained worldwide recognition touring Europe, the Far East, and the U.S. She has performed at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, Frick Collection, and Merkin Hall in New York City. Important festival appearances include the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, Mai Musical in Bordeaux, Prague’s Autumn Festival, and the Salzburg Festival. She has recorded for GegaNew, RCA, Koch International, Naxos, Arcadia, Elan, and Labor Records. Ms. Dokovska is also Founder and Artistic Director of Mannes Annual Festivals in New York City, and Artistic Director at the Southwest Virginia Festival for the Arts.


Collaborative Piano Faculty, Manhattan School of Music


Warren Jones is a frequent partner with many of today’s best-known artists: Stephanie Blythe, Christine Brewer, Anthony Dean Griffey, Bo Skovhus, Eric Owens, John Relyea, and Richard “Yongjae” O’Neill—and is Principal Pianist for the exciting California-based chamber music group Camerata Pacifica. In the past he has performed with such great artists as Marilyn Horne, Håkan Hagegård, Kathleen Battle, Samuel Ramey, Barbara Bonney, Carol Vaness, Judith Blegen, Salvatore Licitra, Tatiana Troyanos, James Morris, and Martti Talvela. He is a member of the faculty of Manhattan School of Music as well as the Music Academy of the West, and received the Achievement Award for 2011 from the Music Teachers National Association of America, their highest honor. Mr. Jones was named Collaborative Pianist of the Year for 2010 by Musical America.


Concertmaster, The Philadelphia Orchestra


Violinist David Kim was named concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. He is the founder and artistic director of the annual David Kim Orchestral Institute of Cairn University in Philadelphia, where he is also a professor of violin studies. Additionally, he serves as distinguished artist at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, GA. Recent highlights include appearing as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra; teaching/performance residencies and master classes at the University of Texas at Austin, the Manhattan School of Music, Bob Jones University, the Taipei (Taiwan) Academy and Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival; continued appearances as concertmaster of the All-Star Orchestra on PBS stations across the United States and online at the Kahn Academy; as well as recitals, speaking engagements, and appearances with orchestras across the United States.


Music Director, Illinois Symphony Orchestra & Charleston Symphony Orchestra


In 2011 Ken Lam won the Memphis Symphony Orchestra International Conducting Competition and was a featured conductor in the League of American Orchestra's 2009 Bruno Walter National Conductors Preview with the Nashville Symphony. He made his US professional debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in June 2008 as one of four conductors selected by Leonard Slatkin. Music Director of both the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Lam previously held positions as Associate Conductor for Education of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra. He is also the Artistic Director of Hong Kong Voices, and is the 2015 recipient of the John Hopkins University Alumni Association Global Achievement Award, given to individuals who exemplify the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence.


Chair of Piano, The Juilliard School


American pianist Jerome Lowenthal has received prizes in international competitions in Brussels, Bolzano, and Darmstadt, and has appeared with major orchestras in the U.S., including Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, National, Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Minnesota. He has premiered solo music by Rochberg, Capanna, Reise, and Rorem’s Piano Concerto No. 3., and has played duo recitals with Denis Brott, Itzhak Perlman, Ronit Amir, and Ursula Oppens. Lowenthal is a regular participant in chamber music festivals in Sitka, Alaska; Montreal; and Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West. He played the New York premiere of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with New York Philharmonic. Lowenthal has made numerous recordings of solo concerto and chamber music repertoire. 


Artistic Director, Taos School of Music


Pianist Robert McDonald has played extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America.  He has appeared with major orchestras in the United States and Latin America, and was the recital partner for many years to Isaac Stern, as well as other celebrated instrumentalists. Mr. McDonald has also performed with the Takács, Vermeer, Juilliard, Brentano, Borromeo, American, and Shanghai string quartets, and in tours with Music from Marlboro. His discography includes recordings for Sony Classical, Bridge, Vox, Musical Heritage Society, ASV, and CRI, and Mr. McDonald’s prizes include the Gold Medal at the Busoni International Piano Competition, the William Kapell International Competition, and the Deutsche Schallplatten Critics Award. 

A member of the piano faculty at the Juilliard School since 1999, Mr. McDonald joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007. In addition to coaching piano at Taos School of Music, he is also the school’s artistic director.


International Violinist & Founder of Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University


Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie enjoys a dynamic and multi-faceted career, appearing as soloist with the world’s foremost orchestras, sharing the stage with Gregg Allman and Chuck Leavell in “Midnight Rider,” with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith in Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” or playing Bach for Memphis Jook dancer Li’l Buck. Mr. McDuffie is the founder of both the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his native city of Macon, Georgia. He has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world. Recent appearances abroad include the Royal Festival Hall in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Seoul and Daejeon Arts Centers in Korea. Philip Glass dedicated his Second Violin Concerto, “The American Four Seasons,” to Mr. McDuffie, who performed the world premiere with the Toronto Symphony. 


Chair of Piano, The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University


Yong Hi Moon has been a top prize winner in the National Korean Broadcasting Competition, the Elena-Rombro Stepanow Competition, the Viotti International Competition, the Vienna da Motta Competition, and received the Chopin Prize from Geneva International Competition. She performs extensively throughout Asia, Europe and the US as a recitalist and with orchestras including the Osaka, Seoul, Tokyo, and Korean National symphony orchestras.

Ms. Moon is in high demand as a guest masterclass teacher and adjudicator, and has served on the juries of the Senigallia International Piano Competition, Gilmore International Piano Competition, and Seoul International Piano Competition. She collaborates regularly with her husband – pianist/conductor Dai Uk Lee – in duo piano concerts and has performed under his baton with the Busan, Bucheon and Ulsan Philarmonics, Korean Symphony Orchestra, Korea Chamber Orchestra, and more. In 2009 they performed Olivier Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen in both the US and Korea. Their CD recording on the Music and Art label of Czech four-hand piano music has received outstanding critical acclaim.


Artistic Director of Jazz, The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts


Jason Moran is an American jazz pianistcomposer, and educator. A MacArthur fellow and Artistic Director of both the jazz program at The Kennedy Center and the Park Armory Concerts, Mr. Moran contributed the score to Ava DuVernay's 2014 Oscar-nominated film Selma, as well as to her Oscar-nominated 2016 documentary The 13th. Rolling Stone has called Mr. Moran “the most provocative thinker in current jazz." His 2010 album Ten (recorded with his band, The Bandwagon) was voted "Album of the Year" by Downbeat (Moran himself also earned "Pianist of the Year" and "Jazz Artist of the Year") and was listed in the top 10 pop/jazz albums of the year by The New York Times. He is a recipient of the Doris Duke Award, and currently is on the faculty at New England Conservatory of Music. A multimedia artist in addition to being a musician, Mr. Moran will have his first solo museum exhibition at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN in Spring 2018.


Distinguished Professor of Music, The Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College


Ursula Oppens, a legend among American pianists, is renowned for her commissioning and championship of the music of American composers who were born predominantly in the early decades of the 20th century. No other artist alive today has premiered more new works for the piano that have entered the permanent repertoire. Over the years, Ms. Oppens has premiered works by such leading composers as John Adams, Luciano Berio, Anthony Braxton, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, John Harbison, Julius Hemphill, Conlon Nancarrow, Charles Wuorinen, and many more. Often such composers have credited Oppens, an acclaimed pianist in the traditional repertory, with being an invaluable pianistic influence in the creation of their music. A prolific recording artist with five Grammy nominations, Ms. Oppens most recently released a recording of Frederic Rzewski’s "The People United Will Never Be Defeated," as well as Piano Songs, a collaboration with Meredith Monk. Ms. Oppens also teaches on the faculty at Mannes School of Music at The New School.


Henry Rutgers Term Chair of Piano, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University


John Perry, distinguished artist and teacher, 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. He enjoys an international reputation as a teacher, presenting master classes throughout the world, and is often a jury member at some of the most prestigious international piano competitions. Also a respected chamber musician, Mr. Perry has collaborated with some of the finest instrumentalists in the world and has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America to great critical acclaim. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and is a Steinway Artist. Mr. Perry serves as 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. He is also the founder of the John Perry Academy of Music in Los Angeles, where he serves as Artistic Director.


President, The Juilliard School


Joseph W. Polisi has served as president of The Juilliard School since 1984. Previously Dean of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Dean of Faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, and Executive Officer of the Yale University School of Music, Dr. Polisi is also an accomplished bassoonist and has performed as both soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, as well as at Juilliard, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall. In his 33 years at Juilliard, Dr. Polisi has been involved in the establishment of new student services and alumni programs, a revised curriculum, and an emphasis on the humanities and liberal arts. His initiative programs include a new partnership between the Metropolitan Opera and Juilliard in 2008; an early music program featuring master classes taught by William Christie and artists of Les Arts Florissants which resulted in the 2009 inauguration of a master’s program in historical performance; and the 2014 foundation of Juilliard Global Ventures, a major initiative to provide access to Juilliard education in new geographies and for a wide array of learners, through site-based and digital education. A major component of this initiative is the Tianjin Juilliard School in China, which will open in 2019.


International Flutist & Professor of Flute, The Juilliard School


Hailed "Queen of the flute" by New York Magazine, flutist Carol Wincenc was first prize winner of the (sole) Naumburg Solo Flute Competition, as well as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association, the National Society of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Music, and Distinguished Alumni Award from Manhattan School of Music. Recently she recorded an all-Yuko Uebayashi album with the Escher String Quartet, and performed at Carnegie's Weill Hall with her collaborator/pianist Bryan Wagorn of the Metropolitan Opera. She has appeared as soloist with such ensembles as the Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and London symphonies, the BBC, Warsaw, and Buffalo philharmonics, as well as the Los Angeles, Stuttgart, and Saint Paul Chamber orchestras. A Grammy nominee, she has received a Diapason d'Or Award, a Recording of Special Merit award with András Schiff, and Gramophone magazine's "Pick of the Month" with the Buffalo Philharmonic. She is a member of the New York Woodwind Quintet and a founding member of Les Amies with harpist Nancy Allen and violist Cynthia Phelps. Ms. Wincenc teaches on the faculties of The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University, and she is renowned for her popular series with Lauren Keiser Music Publishers, the Carol Wincenc 21st Century Flute.


Music Director, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra & Guest Conductor, BBC NOW


Xian Zhang is a Chinese-American conductor who made history as the first female conductor of a BBC orchestra with her appointment as guest conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) in 2015. She is the current music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (also the first woman to hold the position), and has also held music director positions for the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Nederlandse Orkest en Ensemble-Academie, and Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, and was appointed associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic by Lorin Maazel in 2005, a post she held for several years. Ms. Zhang also became the first woman to conduct the annual Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC in July 2017, conducting Beethoven's 9th Symphony with BBC NOW. 

Please reload

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon

© 2018 by The Center for Musical Excellence. Created with