Russian-American pianist Aleksandra (Sasha) Kasman has performed in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras in the USA, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, France, and Japan. She is a prizewinner of national and international competitions, including the first prize and audience award of the III Premio Roberto Melini (Italy), first prizes at the NFMC National Collegiate Piano Competition, High Point University Inaugural Piano Competition and IKIF MacKenzie International Competition in New York, and top prizes at the VIII International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz (Ukraine) and Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.
Sasha began studying piano at age six with her mother Tatiana and later continued studies with her father, winner of international competitions and Professor of Piano/Artist-in-Residence at UAB, Yakov Kasman. In 2017, she received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from the University of Alabama at Birmingham under the guidance of Yakov Kasman. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in piano performance at the Juilliard School under the guidance of Robert McDonald. Sasha has performed as a soloist with the Alabama Symphony, LaGrange Symphony, Southern Adventist University Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of the National Philharmonic of Ukraine, and played six concertos with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. With her father, Sasha played Saint-Saens’s “Carnival of Animals”with the Brevard Symphony (FL), the New York Chamber Players, and the Hendersonville Symphony (NC). Among her recent engagements are solo recitals in New York, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Las Vegas, and duo-piano performances with Yakov Kasman across the USA, Russia, and South Korea.
Sasha is passionate about classical music outreach; she served as Vice-President for UAB’s Music Notes for the Soul and lectured and performed at numerous national conferences. A scholarship recipient and Fellow of PianoArts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sasha completed two consecutive teaching and performing tours for the organization, focusing on working with children in schools and community establishments. Apart from music, Sasha enjoys studying French and ballet.
Acclaimed 24-year-old American pianist Drew Petersen is a sought-after soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Winner of a 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2017 American Pianists Awards and the Christel DeHaan Fellow of the American Pianists Association, and also Artist-In-Residence at the University of Indianapolis, he has been praised for his commanding and poetic performances of repertoire ranging from Bach to Zaimont.
Following a fall 2017 that included Mr. Petersen’s debut with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, performances with the symphony orchestras of Anderson (IN), Butler (PA), and Carmel (IN), and solo recitals at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, University of Indianapolis, and Dame Myra Hess Concerts (Chicago), highlights of the second half of Petersen’s 2017-18 season include his debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and performances with the Adelphi Orchestra (NJ), University of Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players (NYC). Following an eight-city US recital tour that includes performances for California’s InConcert Sierra, Indiana’s Purdue University Convocations; New York’s The University Club of New York, Shelter Island Friends of Music and the Parrish Art Museum; and Florida’s Chopin Foundation of the United States and St. Andrews Estates, Mr. Petersen appears at the Cleveland International Piano Competition to give a solo recital. Of note is Mr. Petersen’s Spring 2018 debut album for the Steinway & Sons record label. The CD explores 20th- and 21st-century American piano music and features the monumental piano sonatas of Samuel Barber and Elliott Carter, and the world premiere recording of Judith Lang Zaimont’s suite Attars. Also on the recording are works by Charles Griffes and Charles Ives.
Summer 2017 saw Mr. Petersen embark on a six-recital tour of the Czech Republic. Returning to the United States, in Chicago he appeared in recital broadcast on WFMT’s “Impromptus” radio program, performed the featured solo recital at the 2017 National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy, and was a Fellow of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Past performances include recitals in numerous major halls of New York, as well as abroad at the Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Euro Arts Music Festival (Leipzig), Leeds Clothworkers Hall (UK), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and IBK Chamber Hall of Seoul Arts Center. Recent concerto highlights include performances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra (UK), Park Avenue Chamber Orchestra (NYC), and New Jersey ensembles Symphony in C, the Westminster Symphonic Choir and Orchestra, and the Ridgewood Symphony.
Drew Petersen’s performances are frequently broadcast on radio and television stations across America. He has performed on American Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and is a frequent guest on the McGraw-Hill “Young Artists Showcase,” hosted by Robert Sherman and aired on New York’s WQXR. As a young pianist, Drew was heard on NPR’s radio program “From the Top” featuring the nation’s most gifted young classical musicians, and his unique gifts have been profiled in The New York Times, New York Magazine, and the documentary “just normal” by award-winning director Kim A. Snyder. A champion of chamber music, Mr. Petersen has also appeared live on French radio “France Musique,” as a member of a Verbier Festival piano trio in Switzerland.
As a collaborator, Mr. Petersen is a perennial guest artist with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players in New York City, and frequently appears in recital internationally with acclaimed violinists Bomsori Kim and Itamar Zorman, among others. Under the auspices of the American Pianists Awards in April 2017 he performed Franck’s Piano Quintet with the Pacifica Quartet and a recital of American art songs with baritone Andrew Garland.
Mr. Petersen’s firm belief in the importance of music in contemporary global society led him to collaborations with Young Audiences NY presenting performances in NYC Public Schools. His appearance in Andrew Solomon’s New York Times’ bestselling book, Far From the Tree, sparked a nation-wide conversation on raising extraordinary, different children who test the willpower and capabilities of their families and society. Mr. Petersen continually advocates for the necessity of classical music and other arts in society, and was named a 2006 Davidson Fellow for his portfolio entitled “Keeping Classical Music Alive.”
Recipient of numerous honors and awards, at age 21 Drew Petersen won 4th prize in the 2015 Leeds International Piano Competition, and is the 2016 winner of the Sanders-Juilliard-Tel Aviv Museum Prize. He is a laureate of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, NY Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, and the Friday Woodmere Piano Competition. Mr. Petersen first began his career path at the age of five, when he was presented at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and following a few years later at age nine with a solo recital at Steinway Hall in Manhattan for Steinway & Sons’ 150th Anniversary.
Drew Petersen is currently a candidate in the Artist Diploma program at the Juilliard School, studying under Robert McDonald. He received his Master’s degree from Juilliard as a proud recipient of the prestigious Kovner Fellowship, and was awarded Juilliard’s Arthur Rubinstein Music Prize upon graduation. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University.
Margarita Shevchenko has been a winner of major international piano competitions including the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw; Leeds International Piano Competition, England; UNISA International Piano Competition, Pretoria, South Africa, Cleveland International Piano Competition, USA; and the Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Israel. Praised for her Chopin interpretations, she has also been the recipient of the Special ” Chopin Prize” at five of those competitions in addition to the main prizes won.
Shevchenko has toured throughout the world, giving recital and concerto performances in the United States, Canada, throughout Europe, Brazil, Japan, Russia, Israel and South Africa. Highlights of her many orchestral appearances include performances with the “Moscow Virtuosi” orchestra under Vladimir Spivakov, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cape Town Symphony under JoAnn Faletta, Polish National Philharmonic, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Wuerttemberg Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Symphonica Braziliera and many others.
The leading newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted: “Pianist Margarita Shevchenko …proved to be sensational” and the New York Times called her playing “exemplary”.
Shevchenko was heard in live broadcasts in Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Russia, South Africa, Germany and throughout USA, including WCLV Radio in Cleveland and WFMT Fine Arts Radio in Chicago. She has also recorded for NHK Television, Japan at NYC Steinway Hall.
Shevchenko has given solo recitals to critical acclaim at New York’s Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Old Opera House in Frankfurt; Salle Cortot, and Chatelet Theater in Paris; Tchaikovsky Hall and the Big Hall of Moscow Conservatory; Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary; Mann Auditorium, Tel-Aviv, Israel and many others.
Her four CDs include a collection of works by Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, Scarlatti and others. Music critic for the American Record Guide John Bell Young described them as “object lessons in musical intelligence and decorum.”
Former member of the Cleveland Institute of Misic and the Miami International Piano Academy, Shevchenko has served as a judge of the American Paderewski International Piano Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition and the National Chopin Piano Competition of the USA, among others.