Jury Edition 2024

Lei Weng


Steinway Artist Dr. Lei Weng enjoys a successful international career as an accomplished pianist, a dedicated teacher, and a sought-after adjudicator and clinician. Hailed as “a colorist of exemplary control” by the New York Concert Review for his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut, he has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including …
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… New York’s Carnegie Hall, Chicago Culture Center, Phillips Collection (Washington D.C.), China National Center for Performing Arts, Taiwan National Concert Hall, Banff Center (Canada), Peterskirche (Vienna), Basilica di San Pietro (Italy), Royal College of Music (U.K.), and Singapore National University. He has performed at such renowned music festivals as Tanglewood Music Festival, Cliburn Institute/PianoTexas International Festival, Messiaen Festival (University of Chicago), MusicFest Perugia (Italy), Pianoforte-Fest Meissen (Germany), Sarasota Festival, Rocky Ridge Music Center, and Breckenridge Music Festival.
As a frequent concerto soloist, he has appeared with such conductors as Gerhardt Zimmerman, James Levin, Steven Smith, Uri Segal, Robert Olson, Geoffrey Simon, Glen Cortese, Wes Kenney, Lingfen Wu, and with more than forty orchestras in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, including the Symphony Orchestras of Fort Worth, Fort Collins, Gimhae (Korea), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Alicante (Spain), Perugia (Italy), Campinas (Brazil), Beijing (China), Costa Rica, the Czech Opera House Orchestra, and China National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
As an avid chamber music performer, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Associate Concertmaster Stephanie Jeong, Dallas Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Nathan Olson, Naumburg Competition Winner cellist David Requiro, and members the of New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Symphony. He has also worked closely and performed with such eminent musicians as Jerome Lowenthal, James Levine, Emmanuel Ax, Cho-Liang Lin, Pamela Frank, James Tocco, Dawn Upshaw, and Lucy Shelton.
A dedicated educator, Dr. Weng is the Professor of Piano and Keyboard Area Head at the University of Northern Colorado. He was the recipient of the “2015 College of Performing and Visual Arts Scholar of the Year”. He has been frequently invited as guest professor by conservatories and universities around the world, including the Royal College of Music (UK), Conservatoire de Versailles (France), University of Saarbrücken (Germany), China Central Conservatory, Shanghai Conservatory, Singapore National University, Taiwan National Normal University, and the universities of Boston, Cincinnati, Texas, and Colorado. His students have won top prizes in numerous national and international competitions. They have been admitted to such top schools as Julliard School, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, University of Cincinnati, Oberlin Conservatory, and Manhattan School of Music.
As a frequent jury member of national and international competitions, Dr. Weng has been invited to serve in jury panels of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, International Rachmaninoff Piano Competition (Moscow), Beethoven Piano Competition (UK), Hong Kong International Music Competition, “Nuova Coppa Pianisti” International Piano Competition (Italy), China National Piano Competition, “Parnassus” Piano Competition (Mexico), “Concurso Internacional de María Clara Cullell” (Costa Rica), and MTNA Competitions. In addition, he has served as the Chairman of Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation Keyboard Scholarships since 2012.
Dr. Weng is the Founder and Director of the Colorado International Piano Academy & Festival, an intensive piano program that take place at UNC in the summer.
Dr. Weng holds degrees of BM from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, MM and DMA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His primary teachers include Frank Weinstock, William Black, Claude Frank, Jerome Lowenthal, Zhou Guangren, Guo Zhihong, and Xie Yuan.

Lei Weng, D.M.A.
Keyboard Area Head, Professor of Piano. University of Northern Colorado

Lorenzo Di Bella

Artistic director

“Lorenzo Di Bella is a remarkable talented pianist, a brilliant virtuous, an exciting and refined musician. I was his teacher for three years and always admired his great technical skills and also his strong artistic personality, above all, his desire to “speak” to the public” …these were the words of Lazar Berman some months before he died.

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Prize winner of several international piano competitions he received in 2005 the 1st Prize and Gold Medal at “V. Horowitz” International Piano Competition in Kiev.
In 2006 former Italian President C.A.Ciampi awarded him with the “Sinopoli Prize” in honour of the famous orchestra director Giuseppe Sinopoli, passed away in 2001.
In the last years he has performed with great success at the Two World’s Festival in Spoleto, Teatro “La Fenice” in Venice, “Teatro Olimpico” in Vicenza, “Teatro delle Muse” in Ancona, “Michelangeli” Hall in Bolzano, Montreal (Maison Symphonique), at the Liszt Festival in Utrecht, ETH of Zurich, Chopin Festival in Marianske Lazne, Sombor Festival, Hamburg, Berlin, Praha, Krakow, Sarajevo, Novi Sad, Beijing, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xi’han, Guangzhou, Shanghai(Oriental Center and Conservatory Hall), Denver (C.I.P.A.) at the “Società dei Concerti” and “Serate Musicali” in Milan, and in the Auditorium “Parco della Musica” in Rome where he played with the Santa Cecilia National Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Conlon.
Lorenzo Di Bella began his piano studies at the age of 5. A promising pupil, he graduated at the Conservatorio ‘Rossini’ of Pesaro. The following five years he attended the courses of Franco Scala and Lazar Berman at the “Piano Academy – Incontri col Maestro” of Imola, graduating in 2002, and completed his studies at the “National Academy of St. Cecilia” in Rome with Sergio Perticaroli, where he graduated on June 2004 with the highest vote.
His intense musical activities led him to collaborate with many orchestras: Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana, Orchestra “Pomeriggi Musicali” of Milan , San Remo Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonie of Bacau, O’Porto National Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ucraine, Nancy Symphony Orchestra, SudWestDeutsche Philarmonie, Villingen-Schwenningen Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonisches Kammerorchester Berlin, Moravian Philarmonic Orchestra, West Bohemia Orchestra , Podkarpacka Symphony Orchestra, Philarmonia Sudecka, Kielce Philarmonic and New World Philarmonic.
He has collaborated with important conductors: Kirill Karabits, Vassylis Christopoulos, Reinhard Seehafer, Jorge Iwer, Zbinĕk Müller, Vladimir Sirenko, Michael Maciaszczyk, Michel Brousseau, David Crescenzi, Francesco Lanzillotta, Luigi Piovano.

Lorenzo Di Bella has a very active teaching schedule as a main piano professor at the Conservatorio “G.Rossini” of Pesaro and also as artistic director of the “Accademia Pianistica delle Marche” in Recanati (Italy).
He is founder and artistic director of the “Civitanova Classica Piano Festival” , the “Mugellini Music Festival” and “La Palma d’Oro” International Piano Competition in San Benedetto del Tronto( Italy).

Antonio Di Cristofano

Antonio Di Cristofano completed his piano studies in 1986 at the Conservatory “L.Cherubini” in Florence, under the supervision of M° Bacchelli. He has perfected with M° Damerini.
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He played as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Florence, Symphony Orchestra of Lecce, Magna Grecia Orchestra, Sicily Symphony Orchestra, Solisti Aquilani, Milano Classica Orchestra, Sinfonica Abruzzese, Sanremo Orchestra, FVG Mittleurope Orchestra, Radio Orchestra of Bucarest, Orquesta Sinfonica de l’Estado de Mexico, Radiotelevision Albania Orchestra, Presidential Ankara Symphony Orchestra, Praga Radio Symphony Orchestra, North Czech Philarmonic, Czech Philarmonic Orchestra, Izmir Symphony Orchestra, Iasi State Philarmonic, Wiener Mozart Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonia, Philarmonique de Montreal, Jerusalem Symphony, Slovak Filharmonie, Kaerntner Sinfonieorchester, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Istanbul Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra do Norte, Sinfonica di Sao Paulo, Thuringen Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic, Euro Sinfonietta Wien, Sofia Philarmonic, Lodz Philarmonic and recently with La Scala Milan Orchestra, with conductors like G. Taverna, M. Bosch, M. Alsop, C. Schulz, M. Zanini, C. Olivieri-Munroe, L. Svarovsky, A. Chernushenko, M. Sieghart, T. Kuchar and many others. He played, in Italy, for the most important Festival: the “Verdi Theatre” in Florence, the “Festival dei Due Mondi” in Spoleto, the Theatre of Alessandria, the “Bibbiena Theatre” in Mantova, the “Puccini Hall” at the Conservatory “G.Verdi” in Milan, “Politeama Theatre” in Palermo, “Auditorium San Barnaba” in Brescia, etc., in Romania Enescu Festival in Bucarest, Espana (Festival de Vigo, Toledo Festival, Jeunesses Musicales de Sevilla), Mexico (Belles Artes Palacio, Revueltas Auditorium), USA (Moores Opera House of Houston, Gates Concert Hall in Denver, Washington International Piano Festival, ecc), Turkey (Istanbul, Izmir and Adana), Croatia (Dubrovnik – Rector Palace), Czech Republic (Praga – Smetana Hall and Dvorak Hall), Russia (Ciaikovsky Conservatoire), South Korea (Seoul – Leeum Auditorium), France (Nancyphonies Festival), Austria (Konzerthaus – Klagenfurt), Germany (Gasteig and Herkules Hall – Munich), Chopin Society Warsaw, Canada (Toronto – Glenn Gould Studio and George Wenston Hall), Grieg Festival in Norway, Yamaha Concert Hall in Tokyo, Shanghay and Shenzen piano festival an Hong Kong City Hall (China), Swiss, Albania, Israel, England, Portugal, Bulgary, Ukraine, Belgium, Brasil, Serbia, Argentina, Sweden, South Africa, Estonia, Finland, Egypt, ecc.
He recorded cds with Velut Luna and Millenium label and recently a newone with Beethoven Sonatas.

In 2006 and 2007 he mades the debut in Carnegie Hall – New York and in Konzerthaus and Golden Hall MusikVerein in Wien. He is often invited as a judge in international Piano Competition (Compositores de Espana – Madrid, Varallo, Cantù, Osijek, Gante – Pordenone, Viardo – Belmont, Rachmaninov – Moscow, Iturbi – Valencia, Parnassos – Monterrey, Astana Merei International Competition -Astana, Baltic piano Competition -Gdansk, Bajic Memorial -Novi Sad, Hong Kong International Young Pianist Competition, Nordic Piano Competition – Malmoe, Mozart Piano Competition – Aachen, Louisiana Piano Competition, Cleveland Piano Competition, Seregno – Pozzoli Piano Competition, Istanbul Piano Competition, Porto Santa Cecilia, ecc) and to teach in Ciaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Valencia Conservatory, in the Summer Academy in Dubrovnik, in Shanghay, Xiamen and Ningbo Conservatory in China, in the SMC Academy in Seoul, In Valletta International Piano Festival, in Sofia Conservatory, in Thessaloniki Conservatory, in The Orpheus Academy in Wien and in many USA University.

He received four times the Paul Harrys Fellows from Rotary Club. He was Guest Professor at the Xiamen Conservatory in China and in the Academy Orpheus in Wien. In 2018, he received the “Grifone d’Oro Prize” from the Grosseto City and recently High Diploma from Agency Rossotrudnichestvo of Russian Foreign Affaires Minister for “the brilliant development of Russian Culture in the World”

Robert Andres

The Croatian/Portuguese pianist Robert Andres graduated from the Zagreb Music Academy and subsequently received a scholarship from the Soviet government to study at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with D. A. Svetozarov, a pupil of the great Russian pianist Sofronitski.
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He continued his studies in Vienna and in the United States where, as a Fulbright scholarship recipient, he studied at the University of Kansas with renowned Portuguese/American pianist Sequeira Costa and earned there a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano, as well as a master’s degree in musicology. He has also received valuable advice from renowned pianists, such as Pierre Sancan, Rudolf Kehrer, Claude Frank, Leonid Brumberg and Peter Katin.

Andres has performed in recitals, with orchestras, and in chamber music concerts in many European countries as well as in Venezuela and the United States. He has collaborated with artists such as Chiara Isotton, Artur Pizarro, Lorenzo Di Bella, Grigori Zhislin and Zakhar Bron. The piano duo with his wife, the Irish pianist Honor O’Hea, has, since 1995, met with enthusiastic response from critics and audiences alike.

After teaching at the Kalamazoo College in Michigan, U. S. A., since 1993 he has taught at the Madeira Conservatory – School of Arts, where he is at present a tenured professor of piano and coordinator of the keyboard department.
He has been on juries of more than twenty international piano competitions and regularly gives masterclasses, most recently in Israel and Washington. Since 1997 he has been Managing and Artistic Director of the Association of the Friends of the Conservatory and is also the Artistic Director of Madeira PianoFest.

Having developed an intense activity as a writer and lecturer on musical topics, Andres has contributed to various prestigious music journals, encyclopaedias and magazines in several countries. In 2001 the Scarecrow Press (U.S.A.) published his book on the beginnings of the scientific approach to piano technique. He is an integrated researcher of INET-md (Institute of Ethnomusicology – Studies of Music and Dance) of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Universidade Nova in Lisbon. In 2020 and 2021 he revised and edited two volumes of music for piano of the Anthology of Music in Madeira, and in 2022 year he recorded a CD of piano music written in Madeira in the 19th century.

Vanesa Kleva

Vanesa Kleva is an artistic and executive director of the Concert hall “Hrvatski dom Split” in Split, Croatia. She is the Piano Loop Festival and Piano Loop Academy founder and director since 2014.

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She was born in 1982 and started playing piano at the age of 6. She completed her studies at the Music Academy UMAS in Split, after spending short time as a gast Studentin at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main. Over the years she studdied with numerous professors: R.Kerrer, L.Natochenny, I.Lazko, L.Baranyay, R.Gubaidullin, O.Cinkoburova, P.Eicher and many others. 
Soon upon starting her job at the Music School Josip Hatze in Split as a piano teacher and piano accompanist at the Music Academy UMAS in Split she established Piano projekt Association and Piano Loop Festival and Academy which hosted numerous pianists and piano master classes since 2010 (I.Pogorelić, M.Pletnev, N.Lugansky, D.Shishkin, A.Volodos, L.Natochenny, N.Trull, A.Frolich, K.Gekić, I.Lazko, R.Dalibaltayan, H.Sumino, A.Beisembayev, A.Pompa-Baldi, Y.Martynov, L.Vondracek, G.Filipec, I.Krpan, A.Jurinić). She has been a jury member of the Mozarte International Piano Competition in Aachen, Maria Herrero Piano Competition in Granada, Ferrol Piano Competition, Cesar Franck Piano Competition in Brussels and Piano Loop Competition in Split. 
She has been a member of the Croatian National Theater Split Arts council member from 2008-2010 and the president of the City of Split council for Music and Theatre. 
She participated in several conferences: HAZU, 2018. and “4.Alumni club” of the Music Department of Music Academy Split, UMAS-a in 2019., “From Dante to the present day”. 
In 2006 she enrolled in Filosofska Fakulteta Universe v Ljubljani, the Master degree in Psychology of Music and in 2020 she started interdisciplinary PhD studdies at the University of Split in the field of Music and Art History.