Pianist Andrew Choi was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan; he later moved with his family to South Korea, where he currently resides. He started playing the piano at age 7, and has since won numerous competitions. Currently, he is a scholarship student at Manhattan School of Music.
Nina Berman is a 20-year-old soprano from Great Neck, New York who has received numerous awards, including the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival Scholarship, as well as the Tilles Scholar Award for Fine Musicianship. She recently completed a fellowship at the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival and was a finalist in the Civic Morning Musicals Competition for Singers. She has appeared as a soloist with the Opera of the Hamptons, and has also appeared as soloist with the C.W. Post Orchestra, debuting a newly arranged version of Tan Dun’s Song of Peace from Symphony 1997. Most recently, Nina Berman gave a recital in April 2007 as part of the Chamber Music Society of Garden City’s concert series run by Bruce Adolphe, followed by an appearance as soloist with the North Shore Symphony Orchestra. Nina currently studies with Arthur Levy at the Manhattan School of Music.
Brittany Hicken is a junior at Manhattan School of Music. She studies harp with Susan Jolles and Deborah Hoffman. She has participated in master classes with Catherine Michel, Elizabeth Hainen, Gretchen Van Hoesen, and Carrol McLaughlin. She has been a prizewinner in the Utah State Fair Music Competition and the Utah Symphony Youth Guild Recital Competition. Brittany grew up in South Jordan, Utah, where she began studying harp at age 10.
Soviet-born pianist David Alaverdian started playing music at the age of five. He completed five years of study at V. A. Uspensky School for Gifted Children in Tashkent (Uzbekistan, former USSR) before moving to New York with his family in 1994. Having no musical connections or prospects in the U.S., David was encouraged by his parents to perform in the New York City subways. This immediately attracted the attention of The New York Times, which wrote an article centering on David in 1995. David's abilities were also documented in the German paper Die Woche in 1996. David was then introduced to concert pianist Seymour Lipkin, which led to his subsequent enrollment at The Juilliard School as a student of Mr. Lipkin’s, where he completed 8 years of study. While still a student at Juilliard, David won many prestigious prizes, including a Contemporary Honors Recital Award for excelling in the performance of the music of Shostakovich, as well as First Prize at the Chopin Piano Concerto Competition. The latter achievement drew the attention of The New York Times once again, with a headline that read: "Subway Soloist Takes The Stage At Juilliard." In 2001, David performed the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. David has also participated in various festivals, including the famed Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Maine, as well as the Mozarteum Festial in Salzburg, where he gave a memorable performance of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz. David has twice appeared on "From The Top" NPR’s radio showcase for young musicians, first as a quintet member, and then as a member of a piano duo. In 2006, David was a semi-finalist at the annual Young Concert Artists International Auditions. David has performed solo, concerto, and chamber concerts in world-famous halls, including Steinway Hall, Tilles Center, Alice Tully Hall, The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall, Merkin Hall, Lincoln Center Library, Jordan Hall in Boston, and at Trinity Concerts. Having received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in 2005, David is currently enrolled in the Master of Music degree program at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with the renowned Andre-Michel Schub. In June 2007, David's performance of Chopin's Etude No. 4 was broadcast on KZSU 90.1FM, a global radio station located in Stanford, California. David is also interested in composition and other media; he composes songs on music notation software and writes electronic Russian-pop music while subsequently majoring in Computer Science at Hunter College. David's website is http://liszt6.multiply.com.
Anna Margrethe Haugland Nilsen began playing the violin at the age of four. From 2004 to 2006, she was a Young Musician at the Norwegian Academy of Music. She is now in her second year at Manhattan School of Music, studying with Patinka Kopec. At the age of nine, Anna was a soloist with the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra. She has since been a soloist with many other orchestras, among them the Novgorod Chamber Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Juenesses Musicales Orchestra, Norwegian Opera Orchestra, and the St. Petersburg State Philharmonic Orchestra. Anna toured Norway with the State Chamber Orchestra of Belarus in 2002, 2003, and 2004. In 1999 and 2004, she won the first prize in the Sparre Olsen Competition. In 2002, she took the first prize in the National Violin Competition for Youth in Norway. Anna performed the Beethoven and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia in May 2008.
Pianist Hoang Pham was born in Vietnam but moved to Australia with his parents at an early age. He is an alumnus of the Australian National Academy of Music, and is now in his junior year of a bachelor’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studies with Marc Silverman. His teacher for the previous 17 years was Rita Reichman.
In Australia, Hoang has performed with the major symphony orchestras of Melbourne, Queensland and Tasmania. Outside of Australia, he has performed in England where he recently completed recitals in London, Norfolk and Birmingham.
Jessica Lizardo, a former student of Irene Sharp’s, started studying the cello at age five. She is a graduate of the San Francisco School of the Arts. As an avid chamber musician, Jessica has participated in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music chamber music program, where her trio performed in the Yehudi Menuhin Seminar. She was also principal cellist of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra (PYO) in the San Francisco Bay area. She has participated in various competitions and was the first place winner in the string category for the Burlingame Music Club competition in 2007. Jessica performed in the Bach Festival in 2004 and 2006, played the Elgar Concerto as a soloist with her school orchestra, and participated in a master class with Mark Kosower in 2005. With her orchestra, she toured Italy in 2003, and Spain and France in 2005.
Cyrus von Hochstetter was born in Zurich, Switzerland and started playing classical piano at the age of six. In 2004, he moved to New York City, where he currently attends Manhattan School of Music and studies jazz piano. Cyrus performs on a regular basis at The Garage, in New York City, and has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, and the Moods jazz club in Zurich.
JEFFREY K. WITHERELL