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2019 Piano Competition Judges

DR. THOMAS LANNERS DR. CATHARINE LYSINGER DR. AMY GUSTAFSON

DR. THOMAS LANNERS
Oklahoma State University

Dr. Thomas Lanners - Piano Competition Judge

Thomas Lanners has appeared as a solo and collaborative pianist and clinician throughout the U.S. and abroad, presenting his New York solo debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2004. His performances have been broadcast nationally and internationally on programs such as American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC3 in London and RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany in Ireland, among many others. Designated the 2014 Distinguished Music Teacher by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association, he currently serves as Professor of Piano at Oklahoma State University.

Thomas has performed, presented master classes, and given lectures on various musical topics as a guest artist throughout the United States, in Mexico, Canada, Europe and Asia. He presented a session as a featured guest at the Shanghai Conservatory International Piano Pedagogy Conference in October 2019. In the summer of 2018 he served on the faculties of the Shanghai International Piano Festival and Institute (and was scheduled to so again in 2020) and the AmiCaFest Piano Festival in Sicily, where he will teach again in 2021. In 2017 Thomas presented master classes at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea and the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China, and in 2016 gave classes at the Shanghai Conservatory, the Conservatory's Middle School, the Zhejiang Conservatory and East China Normal University. Lanners presented a master class and recital to conclude Beijing Normal University’s 2015 International Music Week. Thomas will again serve as a performer, master class clinician and adjudicator at the Lee University International Piano Festival and Competition in Tennessee in 2021, having also been one of the three guest artists in 2012. He gave a master class on the NYU Steinhardt School of Music’s Piano Artist Master Class Series in 2012 as well.

Institutions he has visited as a guest artist include the Eastman School of Music, the Universities of Texas-Austin, Colorado-Boulder, North Texas, Miami (FL), South Carolina, Oklahoma, Western Ontario (Canada), Iowa, and Missouri-Columbia; Northwestern, Syracuse, Louisiana State, Southern Methodist, George Mason and Baylor Universities; the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and the Unidad Académica de Artes de la Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas in Mexico. In addition, Lanners has played solo recitals in Brussels and Gent, Belgium, performed on the Classical Mondays recital series in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, at the OK Mozart International Festival, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and in Bangkok and Hua-Hin, Thailand.

Thomas’ CD, Ned Rorem: The Three Piano Sonatas, was released by Centaur Records in 2007. Links to three tracks on the recording were included in an October 2018 article in the New York Times on the occasion of Rorem's 95th birthday. Mark Lehman, in an American Record Guide review, wrote of the Sonatas disc: “It’s especially pleasing to have all three of Rorem’s sonatas on one disc, superbly played by Thomas Lanners, and in clear, vivid sound. … Anyone who cares about mainstream 20th Century piano music should seek out this superlative recording.” In a review of his 2005 release, Touches of Bernstein: The Complete Published Piano Music of Leonard Bernstein, critic Jed Distler wrote for ClassicsToday.com: "Thomas Lanners totally understands this music, pointing up the jazzy qualities to idiomatic perfection as well as projecting Bernstein’s lyrical generosity without milking it … All told, Lanners' loving mastery easily holds its own in any company. Warmly recommended."

Lanners’ recording, Ned Rorem: Piano Works, Volume 2, was also released worldwide on the Centaur label. The disc received much critical praise, including the following from critic Donald Rosenberg’s review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The piano pieces on this fine recording attest to Rorem’s penchant for lyrical and dramatic contrast. … Thomas Lanners brings exceptional detail and urgency to the repertoire, taking as much care with inner voices as he does with arching statements. Grade: A.” Robert Schulslaper wrote, in a Fanfare magazine review of both Rorem volumes: “Lanners plays [all the virtuoso pieces] to the hilt … and he’s also a sensitive musician who communicates the essence of Rorem’s varied moods.”

Thomas was awarded a grant in 2010, through the Centaur label, from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording to record works of Pulitzer winner Ross Lee Finney, having also received a Copland grant for his first Rorem CD. His championing of American piano music was the topic of an interview article, titled “Pianist Thomas Lanners: Spreading the Good Word,” in a 2010 issue of Fanfare.

Always in demand as a clinician, he presented sessions at the 2019, 2009, 2005, and 2001 Music Teachers National Association conferences, and was featured in a Pedagogy Saturday panel session for the 2020 MTNA Virtual Conference. He served as the monthly MTNA Webinar clinician in February 2020. Thomas has also presented at the 2019, 2015, 2010, 2008, and 2000 Oklahoma Music Teachers Association conferences, conferences of the Texas MTA (2016 and 2012) and the College Music Society’s South Central Chapter. Lanners will give a lecture, for the eighth consecutive year, for the 2021 MusicEdConnect.com National Conference, a three-day online event in February that includes sessions from numerous respected piano pedagogues. He gave a lecture as one of three featured guests during the inaugural International Conference on Education, Culture and Arts (Congreso Internacional de Educación, Cultura y Artes) in Zacatecas, Mexico, and presented sessions at Eastman’s Summer Chamber Music Institute.

In the realm of collaborative piano, he has performed with Walfrid Kujala, former Northwestern University professor of flute and Chicago Symphony member, Richard MacDowell, professor of clarinet at the University of Texas at Austin, and Nancy Ambrose King, professor of oboe at the University of Michigan. He also collaborated with Leone Buyse, professor of flute at Rice University and former Principal Flutist, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops.

He is an active writer on musical topics, with several feature articles and column contributions having been published in American Music Teacher, MTNA’s refereed journal, most recently in 2019. His writing has also been published in Clavier and Canadian Music Teacher, among others.

Lanners served as one of three jurors for the final round of the MTNA Stecher and Horowitz Two Piano Competition at the national conference in March 2019. He also served as a juror for the 5th Mozart International Piano Competition in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015, and for the inaugural Kuleshov International Piano Competition in 2016. Thomas has adjudicated at MTNA’s West Central, South Central and Southern Division piano competitions, the Eastman School’s International Piano Competition for High School Students, and for numerous other competitions across the U.S. In 2020 he judged two online competitions, the #StayHome International Piano Competition (with 10 judges from across Europe and the U.S.) and the Linda Bustani International Online Piano Competition, which was based in Brazil.

One of Dr. Lanners' former OSU students, Chul Hyung (Tony) Cho, joined the faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in 2015 as an opera coach. Tony previously worked at the Juilliard School as an Associate Opera Coach, then coached operas at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and at Chapman University outside Los Angeles. Former student Christopher Reed recently completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano at the Eastman School, having earned his Master’s degree there as well. Other students have been accepted into graduate piano performance degree programs at Eastman, the Universities of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Southern California, Washington, Kansas, Missouri-Kansas City, the Manhattan and Mannes Schools of Music, and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. They have had success in numerous competitions, winning Oklahoma Music Teachers Association Collegiate competitions (including first place winners in 2019, 2018, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2006, 2005, and 2003, and numerous runners-up) and state wins in the MTNA Young Artist competitions (including a national finalist in the String Chamber Music category in 2013), MTNA Senior winners in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2010 and 2009, and MTNA Junior winners in 2016 and 2015. His students were named Alternate (Second Place) for the South Central Division in the Senior Artist category in 2020 and 2019, and in the Junior Artist in 2017.

Lanners received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School as a student of Barry Snyder. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude as a student of Leonidas Lipovetsky at Florida State University, where he won the Brautlecht Award as the School’s Outstanding Rising Senior. He also studied under John Perry at the Aspen Music Festival and Jerome Lowenthal at the Music Academy of the West, and has performed in master classes for such renowned artists as Pascal Devoyon, Jeffrey Kahane, Dominique Merlet, Anton Nel, Cécile Ousset, and Nelita True.

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DR. CATHARINE LYSINGER
Southern Methodist University

Dr. Catharine Lysinger - Piano Competition Judge

Catharine Lysinger is widely sought after as pianist, teacher and lecturer. She is a prizewinner in national and international piano competitions, including first prize in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Competition, first prize in the Wideman Piano Competition (Shreveport, La.) and second prize in the Vietri-Sul-Mare (Italy) duo-piano competition with SMU colleague and chair of Piano Studies, Dr. Carol Leone.

Lysinger has performed with orchestras including the Filarmónica de Jalisco (Guadalajara, Mexico), the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Civic Symphony and the Clear Lake Orchestra, and frequently collaborates with the Meadows Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Jack Delaney. Recent performances include the Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds, Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Lysinger is also an active soloist and collaborator in chamber music concerts. With duo-piano partner Dr. Alex McDonald she has performed the Bartók Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with percussionists of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other works for two pianos by Mozart, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and more. Lysinger’s ongoing collaboration with Voices of Change, a Dallas-based professional ensemble comprised of members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, features chamber music written by living composers.

In 2014, Lysinger was named Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year by the Texas Music Teachers Association. She was also nominated for the SMU Provost’s Teaching Recognition Award, which honors faculty who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and a consummate dedication to teaching. Many of her students have been awarded first prize in numerous competitions, including the American Protégé Competition; the MTNA Junior and Senior Piano Competitions in Texas; Dallas Symphonic Festival; Dallas Piano Solo Competition; Plano Symphony Young Artist Competition; Baylor-Waco Competition; Texas Music Teachers Association solo and concerto divisions; and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition. Graduates of her studio have been accepted to music schools and conservatories nationwide including SMU, Baylor, University of Houston, New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory and Peabody Conservatory.

Lysinger is a frequent guest of festivals nationally and internationally. Recent invitations to perform, give master classes and present lectures have come from the Brancaleoni Festival (Italy), the Vienna International Piano Academy (Austria), the May Festival at the Tianjin Conservatory and East China Normal University in Shanghai (China) and at the National Conservatory in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) co-hosted by Estudio Diná and Stephen F. Austin University.

Lysinger is also a frequent adjudicator for and presenter to MTAs regionally and nationally and has been a featured presenter at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She is the founding director of the SMU Institute for Young Pianists (SMU IYP), a summer festival that attracts the best and brightest young pianists in the region and from as far away as China and Hong Kong. Guest artists invited to teach for SMU IYP (and in conjunction with the SMU Institute for Piano Teachers) have included professors and pianist-pedagogues from across the U.S. including Jane Magrath, Seymour Bernstein, Logan Skelton, Jennifer Hayghe and Nelita True.

She has studied with Professor Nancy Weems (University of Houston) and Horacio Gutiérrez, taken master classes with Abbey Simon, Christoph Eschenbach and Christopher Elton, and taken lessons at the Aspen Music Festival with Gabriel Chodos and Evelyne Brancart.

Lysinger is professor of practice at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she teaches piano pedagogy and applied piano. She is also head of the piano pedagogy area and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. The program at SMU attracts students nationally and internationally, drawing some of the finest young pianists and teachers to study piano performance and piano pedagogy simultaneously in a highly specialized and individualized environment.

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DR. AMY GUSTAFSON

Bloomingdale School

Dr. Amy Gustafson - Piano Competition Judge

Praised for her “exquisite sensitivity” and a “style filled with class and elegance” by La Voz de Asturias (Asturias, Spain) and recognized as a “talented player who doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter mold” by Lucid Culture (New York City), American pianist Amy E. Gustafson has performed across the United States and in both Western and Eastern Europe. Her debut album, Reverie, consists of music by Claude Debussy and was released in June 2017.

Recent performances include replacing legendary pianist Abbey Simon in Los Angeles at LACMA’s series, Sundays Live, an appearance with the Sofia Sinfionetta in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a concert tour in Dallas, Texas with her piano duo, Duo Azul. Other recent engagements have taken her to Spain, China, and Canada, and she has also performed New York City venues, such as Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Trinity Church Wall Street, the Tenri Cultural Institute, CAMI Hall and the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Born into a musical family, her talent was evident at an early age, and she received much of her beginning piano instruction from her grandmother. By the age of 15, she had won several local competitions, including MTNA’s Baldwin Competition, and her success led her to move to New York City to continue her studies.

Since then, Gustafson has won numerous awards, including the second prize in the International Young Artists Piano Competition, second prize in the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Competition, and the Special Presentation Award and the Alumni Award from Artists International Presentations, Inc.

Gustafson completed her studies at the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Her major teachers have included Julian Martin, Andre-Michel Schub, Anton Nel, Constance Keene, and Miyoko Lotto, and she has benefited from the advice of many renowned pedagogues, including Solomon Mikowsky, Arie Vardi, Veda Kaplinsky, Robert McDonald, Paul Badura-Skoda, Marc Durand, Martin Canin, Leslie Howard, and Luiz de Moura Castro.

In addition to her performing career, Gustafson is on the piano faculty at Millersville University and is Director and Faculty of the Gijón International Piano Festival in Gijón, Spain, as well as Director of the Palmetto International Piano Festival in South Carolina. Previously, Dr. Gustafson directed The Stony Brook International Piano Festival in Stony Brook, New York.

Amy E. Gustafson is a Yamaha Artist.

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