Competition for Advanced Pianists

June 29, 2019
~ Union College ~
Schenectady, New York

To the Community:

The Competitions are free and open to the public to attend. Competitions will be held in the Memorial Chapel and Emerson Auditorium (Taylor Music Center across the lawn from the Chapel.)

Reservations are encouraged and donations welcomed. Reserve your seat today!

Pianists applied from the Capital Region and surrounding counties, New York City, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and engaged with musical institutions such as the New England Conservatory, the College of St. Rose, University of Maryland and Temple University’s Boyer College.

Pianists have won in piano competitions sponsored by Julliard, MTNA, Capital District Council for Young Musicians, Steinway, Metropolitan Academy (NYC), Yamaha International and the Chopin International Hartford CT.

Musical Events are free to the public. Donations Welcome. Rosewood Fanning is a NYS not-for-profit 501(c)3 charity.

Shuttle Parking at Seward/ Nott Lot both days. On Sunday, shuttle will stop at the College Park Ballroom starting at 11:30 for the reception and additional parking. (College Park is the former Ramada Inn at 450 Nott Street – near Erie Blvd and Rivers Casino).

You can also enjoy the talent of our Competition Winners at 2:00 pm at Union College Memorial Chapel on Sunday June 30th.


Saturday’s Schedule

  • 9am-3pm. Competitions full schedule forthcoming. Pianists will not be listed by name. However, each contestant will be identified at each site by photo and biography in a program.
  • The Franchezza Competition (under 16 years of age) will be held at the Emerson Auditorium at the Taylor Music Center (across the lawn from the Chapel).
  • The Capriccio Competition (16- under 30 years of age) will be held at the Memorial Chapel.
  • More information will be available about the exact schedule the final week of June.
  • Jump to Competitions page.



French Harpist Coline-Marie Orliac adds to her growing recording career releasing her first solo album “Harpistically Yours, Chopin” featuring her own arrangements of Chopin’s solo piano works and songs. A digital release together with Achilles Liarmakopoulos introducing trombone and harp duets has just come out. For her first CD appearance (Naxos) she performs her USA International Competition prize winning piece by Chiayu Hsu.

An active and sought-after soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Orliac performed at Festivals both in Europe and the US, including the Festival de Musique in St. Barthélemy, the Newport Music Festival, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Festival d’Aix-en Provence, the Spivakov Festival in Moscow as well as the 10th World Harp Congress in Amsterdam. In 2011 Maxim Vengerov invited her to join the Sinfonia Varsovia at the Festival de Musique de Menton, where she performed Ravel’s Tzigane with him.

Source and more information.

jeffrey biegel

The fascinating career of Jeffrey Biegel takes its roots from the beginning. Until the age of three, Mr. Biegel could neither hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery. The ‘reverse Beethoven’ phenomenon explains his life in music, having heard only vibrations in his formative years.

Mr. Biegel recently performed the World Premiere of Giovanni Allevi’s ‘Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’ with Orchestra Kentucky and in Milan’s Teatro dal Vermes, recording released in 2017. In 2018, Naxos releases Kenneth Fuchs’s “Concerto: Spiritualist” featuring Mr. Biegel with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta, and, Grammy award composer, Dick Tunney unveils the new “Peanuts Concerto” for piano and orchestra based on music by Vince Guaraldi. In November 2018, Christopher Theofanidis’s “Concerto for Piano, Strings, Harp and Percussion” will receive its premiere with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Stuart Malina conducting. 

Source and more information.

elina christova

Lauded for her deeply considered interpretations, facile pianism, and sure musical instincts, Elina Christova is a versatile pianist equally comfortable in all styles of her instrument’s repertoire but with a particular affinity for modern and contemporary music. Discovering an innate fascination for the music of Alexander Scriabin, since 2013 Elina has been performing his entire published piano works in a series of recitals. In 2017 she performed a series of all-Scriabin recitals at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Westport, Faust Harrison Pianos in Fairfield, and Ignacio Cervantes Hall in Havana, Cuba. in July 2018 she will be presenting a program featuring Scriabin’s evolution through his piano sonatas at the World Piano Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.

In May 2017 Elina was invited to play a concert at Weill Recital Hall as part of the Musical Treasures of Bulgaria series. Together with violinist Stanichka Dimitrova, she performed the Sonata for Violin and Piano by the Bulgarian-born jazz pianist and composer Milcho Leviev. Stanichka and Elina recorded the sonata at Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn, and went on to perform several more concerts together in New York and Connecticut.

Source and more information.

kevin fitz-gerald

Canadian pianist Kevin Fitz-Gerald performs in concert halls around the world as a soloist, has recorded with seven record labels including Yarlung Records, and performs regularly in partnership with other musicians including Patrick Gallois, Stephen Isserlis, Richard Stolzman, Petteri Iivonen, Alan Civil, Camilla Wicks, Midori Goto, Eudice Shapiro, Milton Thomas, Karen Tuttle, Donald McInnes, Ronald Leonard, and the Bartok, St. Petersburg and St. Lawrence String Quartets. Kevin also performs four-hands piano works with his wife Bernadene Blaha. In addition to his position as Professor of Piano Performance and Collaborative Arts at the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles, Mr. Fitz-Gerald is also a regular visiting artist teacher at the Banff School of Fine Arts, a frequent guest master class teacher at The Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and serves as visiting faculty at many other national and international music festivals and institutions throughout North America, South America, Asia and Australia. Kevin was born in Kelowna, British Columbia and received full scholarships to study at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, The Banff Centre School of Fine Arts and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto where his principal teachers were Marek Jablonski, Robin Wood and Alma Brock-Smith.

Source and more information.

pez reitz

Pej Reitz, pianist, is a native of the Binghamton Area. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance with accompanying emphasis. She attended Boston University, New England Conservatory and Binghamton University. She has studied piano with Jean Casadesus, Victor Rosenbaum, Seymour Fink and Walter Ponce and accompanying with Allen Rogers. She has accompanied throughout the United States, in England, South America, Spain and at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She was a winner of the Artistic Ambassadors Program by the United States Information Agency in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts.

Source and more information.


Sharon Biegel studied piano with Agustin Anievas at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York, earning both Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in piano performance. For three decades, she has maintained a consistent class of piano students and has judged piano competitions including the Friday-Woodmere Music Club and the Five Towns Music and Art Foundation Piano Competition for pianists on the college level and above. Ms. Biegel has also worked with children and young adults in the New York Public School system teaching strings and general music.

Rosewood Fanning expresses its hearfelt thanks to: 

  • BERNADENE BLAHA (piano faculty at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, Los Angeles & internationally recognized pianist)
  • INNA FALIKS (piano faculty at University of California Herb Alpert School of Music, Los Angeles & internationally recognized pianist)
  • COLINE-MARIE ORLIAC (Summer Institute at Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia & internally recognized European harpist)

who volunteered their time to shape the competition repertoire & criteria for the advanced piano competition.

Unfortunately, Ms. Blaha and Ms. Faliks could not remain on our juror team due to conflicting musical schedules. Best wishes to Ms. Blaha at the Round Top International Festival Institute in Texas and Ms. Faliks at the Newport Music Festival in Rhode Island.


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