PianoSummer at New Paltz Announces Winner of Jacob Flier International Piano Competition

NEW PALTZ, NY — After three days of intense competition in which twelve talented pianists competed for the opportunity to perform as soloist with the PianoSummer at New Paltz Festival Orchestra, Vladimir Feltsman, artistic director of PianoSummer at New Paltz, and his fellow judges are pleased to announce the winner of the 2000 Jacob Flier International Piano Competition. Chosen from among twelve participants from four countries, Oxana Mikhailoff, a 28-year-old pianist who resides in Scarsdale, New York has captured first prize.

Adjudicator and music critic Leslie Gerber, who writes for The Woodstock Times, Amazon.com, and Fanfare magazine said “It was our unanimous feeling that she was the most professional musician we heard. Other pianists gave us moments of inspiration, but she was consistently secure throughout everything she played.” In addition to Mr. Gerber, other judges included Vladimir Feltsman, Eteri Andjaparidzde, Phillip Kawin, and Robert Hamilton. As first-prize winner, Ms. Mikhailoff will perform as featured soloist with the Festival Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Feltsman at the PianoSummer Symphony Gala on August 4th. She will perform Concerto No. 1 in e minor by Frederic Chopin.

The Jacob Flier International Piano Competition honors the art and memory of Moscow Conservatory professor Jacob Flier (1912-1977). Flier was a distinguished pianist and pedagogue who raised generations of prominent pianists including Vladimir Feltsman. Participants in the competition perform one prelude and fugue from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, a concerto, and a work of the contestant’s choice that may not be by the same composer as the concerto chosen.

With over one hundred people in attendance each day of competition, reaction from the capacity audience in the Nadia and Max Shepard Recital Hall was enthusiastic. Bob and Jane Taylor of New Paltz, who attended PianoSummer master classes as well at the competition said, “The quality is unbelieveably good – truly remarkable. The idea of having each of participants do something from preludes and fugues then two other compositions is brilliant because it displays the subtlety of Bach to the passion of Rachmaninoff or Beethoven. Oxsana was just exquisite. She is like an elegant swan who looks so fragile, and then she just rips into Rachmaninoff.” On the series in general, the Taylors continued, “We are truly so privileged to have this in New Paltz – it is just phenomenal. For us, PianoSummer has become the thing to do in July. We have saved all of the yellow programs and little biographies because I am sure well be able to say ‘We saw them when ‘”

Laurie Friedman of Ellenville said, “The piano competition was absolutely amazing. What stuck me is that the performers all seemed extremely concentrated, and giving the best that they could give. I haven’t heard this level of quality in years – it was so well done. It is really marvelous to experience this in New Paltz. It makes me feel proud.” Upon hearing 15-year-old Ina Charuashvili (2nd place winner), Friedman remarked “Ina was interpreting everything so well, so easily, and with no self-importance, just pure music. She is so young, she has a tremendous future.”

Second-place winner Ina Charuashvili, and third-place winners Stephen Cook and Mei-Ting Sun will share a recital on Monday, July 31 in the Nadia and Max Shepard Recital Hall, located in College Hall. The recital begins at 8pm and it is free of charge.

First-place winner, Oxana Mikhailoff, will be featured soloist at the Symphony Gala on Friday, August 4 at 8pm in McKenna Theatre. The concert is conducted by Vladimir Feltsman. Tickets are $25 and $22 for students and senior citizens. They are available by calling the Parker Box Office at 845-257-3904.

Biography of Oxana Mikhailoff

Born in Vladimir, Russia to a family of professional musicians, Oxana Mikhailoff began piano lessons at age 5 with her mother, and by age 8, she had already won an International Young Artists Competition in Czechoslovakia. In 1998 she won the Artists International’s Twenty-sixth Annual Award Auditions and was presented in her New York recital debut during the 1998-99 season at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

Ms. Mikhailoff has studied at the Central Music School for Gifted Children in Moscow and the Moscow Conservatory. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree at Manhattan School of Music where she studies with Phillip Kawin who is also on the PianoSummer faculty. She has pursued a very active performance career throughout her native Russia as a recitalist and soloist, performing with many ensembles, including the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the Novosibirsk Symphony.

This year she was awarded First Prize at the YWCA Studio Club Competition in New York City and will be presented at Merkin Hall playing Shostakovich 1st Piano Concert. Earlier this month (July 2000) Ms. Mikhailoff was awarded Second Prize at the Cincinatti World Piano Competition.

Second Prize: Ina Charuashvili is 15 years old and a third-year high school student in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Her participation in international competitions includes 1999 – Republic of Georgia (second prize), Israel (second prize), and 1998 – Italy (second prize). Ina has been playing since age seven. This is her first trip to the United States.

Third Prize – (Tie): Stephen Cook is a scholarship student at Arizona State University where he will enter his junior year this fall. In 1998, as a freshman, he was the winner of the ASU Concerto Competition and in 1996 and 1997 won top prize in the Yamaha/Sherman City Young Artists Piano Competition. Stephen is a student of Robert Hamilton who teaches at Arizona State University and PianoSummer at New Paltz Institute.

Mei-Ting Sun was the winner of a special award in the 1999 Orianao Competition. In 1996 he was named one of the Musicians of the Year by the Village Voice of New York City. The 19-year-old pianist has performed in Alice Tully Hall with the Mannes College Orchestra as winner of the Mannes College Concerto Competition. Mei-ting is a native of Shanghai, China, and is currently a Master’s Candidate at Mannes College. He studies with Edward Aldwell, who teaches at Mannes College of Music and PianoSummer at New Paltz. Featured several times on TV’s Fox 5 station, he has also appeared on WQXR Classical Radio as part of the “Young Artists Showcase,” and has been heard in recital in much of the U.S., Japan, and China. Recently he appeared in the Caramoor Festival’s Introduction Series, and made several appearances in the Mannes College of Music Chopin Festival. He will participate in numerous concerts of the Mannes Bach 2000 Festival.

Best Bach Prelude & Fugue: Since every competitor is required to play a Bach prelude and fugue, this summer a special award was presented to the student whose performance elicited special commendation. Lisa Levina, a resident of Moscow, Russia, performed the Prelude and Fugue in e minor, No 10, from Book Two of Well Tempered Clavier. “Her playing was very secure. She made the fugue voice sound interesting and kept different lines apart without exaggerating the difference” said Leslie Gerber.

Ms. Levina is a student at the Central Music School in Moscow where she receives a stipend from the Foundation of Vladimir Spivakov to cover her educational expenses. She studies with A. Mndoyants of the Moscow Conservatory and has played concerts in Switzerland, Turkey, and Estonia.

Other Competition Participants:

Jane Cho Manhattan School of Music Tamara Kurdade Tbilisi State Conservatory, Republic of Georgia Kelly Ryan Drew University Yana Reznik Manhattan School of Music Alexandra Snyder Manhattan School of Music Zuzanna Szewczyk Eastman School of Music Nicole Wang Manhattan School of Music


Note to editors: A photograph of Oxana Mikhailoff can be downloaded from the university web site at http://www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/oxana.html. Caption: Oxana Mikhailoff, first-prize winner of the Jacob Flier International Piano Competition will be featured soloist at the Symphony Gala on Friday, August 4 at 8pm in McKenna Theatre. The concert is conducted by Vladimir Feltsman. Tickets are $25 and $22 for students and senior citizens. They are available by calling the Parker Box Office at 845-257-3904.