Rachel Naomi Kudo
First prize winner of the 2018 Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition, American pianist RACHEL NAOMI KUDO has been captivating audiences around the globe with her “stunning virtuosity” and “miracle of flawless technique and expressive versatility” as recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician.
Ms. Kudo made her orchestral debut performing Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain. She has appeared as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic in Poland and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra in Ireland, among others.
Ms. Kudo made her recital debut at the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj, Poland. Further performances include Chopin’s birth house “Zelazowa Wola,” Lazienki Park, the Royal Castle in Poland, Salle Cortot in Paris, Musikverein in Vienna, Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel, Stradivarius Museum in Cremona, Aspen Music Festival, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Strathmore Mansion in Washington D.C., Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York. Ms. Kudo has also made appearances at the Fazioli Concert Hall in Italy, Tivoli International Festival in Denmark, Bergen International Festival in Norway, Nagoya International Youth Music Festival in Japan, Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, and the Joye in Aiken Festival in the United States.
Ms. Kudo is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she received the Chopin Prize, Arthur Rubinstein Prize, Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship, Juilliard/Sanders/Tel Aviv Museum Recital Prize, and was a two-time winner of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. She is also the winner of a Gilmore Young Artist Award, was named a Davidson Fellow Laureate by the Davidson Institute of Talent Development and was a three-time recipient of the Rohm Music Foundation Scholarship in Japan. She has been invited to Carnegie Hall’s Professional Training Workshops, working with pianists Emanuel Ax and Sir Andras Schiff.
Born in Washington D.C. to Japanese-Korean parents, Ms. Kudo began studying piano at the age of four with the late Emilio del Rosario at the Music Institute of Chicago. She has studied with Richard Goode, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Joseph Kalichstein, Gilbert Kalish, Kum-Sing Lee, and currently works with Leon Fleisher. She currently divides her time between New York City and Venice, Italy.
Praised by Italian press for her “rock solid technique” and “singing every sentence with an expressive logic of extraordinary maturity”, 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, 1997 Van Cliburn Competition silver medalist 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 made her concerto debut at age thirteen with the Symphonic Orchestra of the National Philharmonic of Ukraine, and has since soloed with the Alabama Symphony, LaGrange Symphony, Southern Adventist University Symphony Orchestra, 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 a four-city solo recital tour in Northern Italy, performances in New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Juilliard’s Paul Hall, Roncegno and Riva del Garda (Italy), and St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, as well as duo-piano performances with Yakov Kasman across the USA, Russia, and South Korea.
Highlights of Sasha’s 2018 calendar include appearances in Boca Raton, FL, Columbia, SC (as a guest artist at the Southeastern Piano Festival), composition premieres and chamber music performances at Juilliard, and three more returns to Italy for solo, chamber, and concerto performances.
Sasha is passionate about classical music outreach; she served as Vice-President for UAB’s Music Notes for the Soul and has lectured and performed at numerous national honors conferences. She has taught masterclasses at Lee University in Tennessee and at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. A winner of the prestigious Edmund Assaly Memorial Fund scholarship and PianoArts Artist-in-Residence Fellowship, Sasha has completed three consecutive teaching and performing tours for the organization, focusing on working with children in schools and community establishments. In her March 2018 PianoArts tour, Sasha appeared in sixteen engagements over the span of eight days. Apart from music, Sasha enjoys studying French and ballet.
Praised for her “flowing tones, poetic phrasing and heavenly singing melodies” (Cincinnati Inquirer), and “musical imagination and feel for complex textures that drew vivid images” (Washington Post), South Korean pianist Yoonie Han has won top prizes in distinguished international competitions and the highest accolades for her poetic performances in major concert halls in the U.S. and around the world.
In 2009, Ms. Han was honored with the Gawon Music Award as the “most brilliant pianist aged 17 to 31 of any nationality who possesses the most promising potential for global prominence.”
She is the first-prize winner of the Washington International Piano Competition, Fulbright Concerto Competition, World Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Chopin Competition, Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, Juilliard’s Frederich Nordmann Piano Competition, Music Teachers’ National Association Piano Competition, and has garnered major prizes at the Helsinki Maj Lind International Piano Competition, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize, Concorso Pianistico Ettore Pozzoli Internaziole, Valencia-Paterna International Piano Competition, and Recontre International Piano Competitions. Following her 2001 grand-prize award in the Korea National Music Competition, the Korean Ministry of Culture named her its “Most Promising Young Artist.” She is the recipient of “Brava!” award given by the Italian Academy Foundation, as well as an award from London Keyboard Trust.
Having made her solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra at Seoul Arts Center at age 13, Ms. Han has since performed with the Berliner Symphoniker, Buffalo Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Banff Festival Orchestra, Santa Cruz Symphony, Artosphere Festival Orchestra, I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milan, Gangnam Symphony Orchestra of Korea, Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Turkey, New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Boca Raton Symphonia, New Amsterdam Orchestra, Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas Philharmonic, and Juilliard Pre-College Symphony Orchestra.
She has played at such celebrated venues as Berlin Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Frick Collection, Symphony Space, Tanglewood Festival, Embassy Series in Washington D.C., Rockefeller University’s Tri-Noon Series, Myra Hess Series, Phillips Collection, Bergamo Festival in Italy, Salle Cortot in Paris, Mozart Museum in Czech Republic, and SeJong Performing Arts Center in Korea. In 2012-13, with supports from Fulbright Foundation, she toured fifteen Steinway Halls in the U.S. and Europe.
Her debut album was released by Concert Artists Guild. Her second album, ‘Love and Longing’ on Steinway Records was “Album of the week” on WQXR and made the Top 21 on the Billboard Classical Chart. Her most recent album, “Goyescas,” also on Steinway Records, was released in 2017 to mark the 150th anniversary of birth of the composer, Enrique Granados. Her upcoming album with Steinway Records in 2019 presents the complete “Le Rossignol éperdu” by Reynaldo Hahn.
Ms. Han received her Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music studying with Eleanor Sokoloff, her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School as a pupil of Robert McDonald, and her Doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook. She has given masterclasses and seminars at Harvard University, New York University, Boston University, Berklee College of Music, Indiana University, San Francisco Conservatory, San Francisco State University, College of William & Mary, City University of New York, State University of New York, California State University, Longy School of Music, Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Amica Piano Festival in Italy, and Festival Grobe in Spain.
As an avid chamber musician, Yoonie Han is the founder of the Gloriosa Piano Trio, which had a sold-out debut at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida. The Trio has taught and performed at New Jersey City University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Emory University, and University of North Florida. She has also collaborated with Canadian Brass, Alexander String Quartet, Juilliard Graduate Resident Quartets, Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Program, and Kronberg Academy in Germany.
Working with living composers, Ms Han has premiered several pieces that were commissioned and composed for her or her piano trio. The composer Theodore Wiprud, the Vice President for Education at the New York Philharmonic, composed a trilogy of works for Ms. Han based on paintings by John Singer Sargent, one of which, “El Jaleo,” is included on Ms. Han’s album titled “Love and Longing.”
Ms. Han has also enjoyed special sponsorships from Roche Bobois, the Paris-based international retailer of fine furniture; Brequet, Switzerland’s leading maker of luxury timepieces, and Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian fashion house, which has supplied gowns for her concerts.
She has performed benefit concerts for the American Cancer Society, the Philippines Cancer Society, the Legal Aid Society, the American Friends of the London Philharmonic, and New York Asian Week.
She was an Assistant Professor of Piano and Chamber Music and Artistic Events Coordinator at Bilkent University, Turkey, from 2015 to 2018. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Bilkent International Piano Festival, Young Artists Concert Series at Korean Cultural Center in Turkey, and is the founding director and chairwoman of the Steinway & Sons Award in Turkey. Dr. Han is currently an Assistant Professor of Piano at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Yoonie Han is a Steinway Concert & Recording Artist.