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Forte/Piano Summer Academy
Cornell-Westfield Center for Historical Keyboards
July 31-August 7, 2022

For seven days on the Cornell University campus, 12 young artists from around the world will immerse in one of the world’s most significant collections of performance-ready historical pianos. They will work intimately with internationally-renowned artist-teachers and have the opportunity of a lifetime to practice daily and perform on historical pianos from the Cornell collection, which consists of some of the most outstanding exemplars associated with major composers. Surrounded by the idyllic setting of New York’s Finger Lakes wine region, the residential life of an Ivy League university further enriches learning, experimentation, and collaboration with peers and faculty.

Welcome message from the Artistic Director

Over the past 30 years, the notion of the “piano” has become progressively less singular than it once was. Highly visible artists today such as Sir András Schiff, Daniel Barenboim, and others regularly perform and record on pianos from the past centuries alongside the modern concert grand, breaking down the once rigid boundaries that separated the “fortepiano” from the “piano.” Our mission is to celebrate and embrace a plural notion of the piano and the diverse approaches it engenders. With the inaugural Cornell-Westfield Summer Academy, we hope to help develop the quintessential 21st-century pianist, one who straddles comfortably between the once separate spheres of historical and modern performance, who can be fluent in performing on pianos and repertories that span the history of this glorious instrument.

We welcome you to learn more about our 12 outstanding young artists and to visit us this August on the Cornell campus to witness their artistry as well as hear our international faculty in lecture, masterclass, and recital.

Mike Cheng-Yu Lee
Cornell University

  • A curriculum concentrating on solo piano repertoire ranging from the late Baroque to the early 20th century, explored through all of the representative pianos spanning this history;
  • The opportunity of a lifetime to daily-practice on historical pianos from one of the great collections of the world, all in performance-ready condition (see available instruments);
  • Perform in 3-4 masterclasses (with artist-faculty) and observe all others;
  • The opportunity to perform alongside artist-faculty on the Cornell campus as part of the Cornell Summer Concert Series;
  • Make life-long musical friendships against the idyllic backdrop of the Cornell University campus, Cayuga lake and other natural surroundings of upstate New York;
  • Enjoy a week-long accommodation catered by Cornell Student Housing and Cornell Dining.


Malcolm Bilson
Professor Emeritus, Cornell University

Malcolm Bilson has been in the forefront of the period-instrument movement for over thirty years. A member of the Cornell Music Department since 1968, he began his pioneering activity in the early 1970s as a performer of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert on late 18th- and early 19th-century pianos. Since then he has proven to be a key contributor to the restoration of the fortepiano to the concert stage and to fresh recordings of the “mainstream” repertory. In addition to an extensive career as a soloist and chamber player, Bilson has toured with the English Baroque Soloists with John Eliot Gardiner, the Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood, the Philharmonia Baroque under Nicholas McGegan, Tafelmusik of Toronto, Concerto Köln and other early and modern instrument orchestras around the world. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bard College and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Bilson has recorded the three most important complete cycles of works for piano by Mozart: the piano concertos with John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, the piano-violin Sonatas with Sergiu Luca, and the solo piano sonatas. His traversal on period pianos of the Schubert piano sonatas (including the so-called incomplete sonatas) was completed in 2003, and in 2005 a single CD of Haydn sonatas appeared on the Claves label. In the fall of 1994 Bilson and six of his former artist-pupils from Cornell’s D.M.A. program in historical performance practice presented the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven in New York City, the first time ever that these works had been given as a cycle on period instruments. The New York Times said that “what emerged in these performances was an unusually clear sense of how revolutionary these works must have sounded in their time.” The recording of this series garnered over fifty very positive reviews and has recently been reissued.

In addition to his activities in Cornell’s performance-practice program, Professor Bilson teaches piano to both graduate and undergraduate students. He is also adjunct professor at the Eastman School of Music. He gives annual summer fortepiano workshops at various locations in the United States and Europe, as well as master classes and lectures (generally in conjunction with solo performances) around the world. In his educational video entitled “Knowing the Score,” released in 2005, Bilson discusses the question: Do we really know how to read the notation of the so-called ‘classical’ masters?

Mike Cheng-Yu Lee
Artist-in-Residence (visiting), Cornell University

Mike Cheng-Yu Lee is one of a new generation of pianists who is at home performing on pianos that span the early 18th to the late 20th centuries. Awarded Second Prize and Audience Prize at the 2011 Westfield International Fortepiano Competition by a jury that included Robert Levin and the late Christopher Hogwood, his performances have garnered attention for the fresh perspectives they bring to familiar repertoire. For his debut recital in Australia he received a rare five-star review in Limelight Magazine: “Try as one might, it was hard to avoid cliché responses like ‘stunning’, even ‘electrifying’. I don’t think I have heard a Mozart recital quite like this. I heard things in Mozart’s music I had never thought possible and certainly had never encountered before.”

As a chamber musician, Mike regularly collaborates with both modern and period performers and ensembles. He has appeared as soloist with the New World Symphony at the invitation of Michael Tilson Thomas and collaborated with musicians from the Formosa, Juilliard, and Aizuri quartets among others.

Mike is regularly invited to guest teach and perform at some of the most prominent music schools around the world, including the Royal Academy of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, among others. In 2015-17 he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University–Bloomington.

Mike studied at the Yale School of Music and holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Cornell University with a dissertation that was awarded the Donald J. Grout Memorial Dissertation Prize. His teachers include Malcolm Bilson, Boris Berman, Michael Friedmann, and the renowned Haydn scholar James Webster.

Tuija Hakkila
Professor of Piano, Sibelius Academy

Tuija Hakkila studied at the Sibelius Academy with Liisa Pohjola and Eero Heinonen, and continued her studies at the Paris Conservatoire with Jacques Rouvier and Theodor Paraskivesco. She studied 20th-century music with Claude Helffer in Paris and classical performance practices with Malcolm Bilson in the United States. Other influential teachers have included György Sebök, William Pleeth and Dmitri Bashkirov. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in New York in 1985/86.

Since 1987 she has held a senior position in piano music at the Sibelius Academy and earned a Doctor of Music degree in 2005. She also taught in the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen from 2005 through 2008. She regularly gives masterclasses in Finland and in Europe.

She has been the Artistic Director of the Early Music Festival in Hämeenlinna, the Summer Academy and Chamber Music Series in Nurmes, Kaiho Festival at Sello Hall in Espoo and the Sibelius Academy Concert Series.

Hakkila has performed as soloist, in chamber groups and as accompanist throughout Europe, in the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Africa and South America, and has made broadcasts in several countries. She has collaborated with eminent musicians like Vera Beths, Anner Bijlsma, Mikael Helasvuo, Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch, Anssi Karttunen, Alexei Lubimov, Karita Mattila and performed with conductors like Okko Kamu, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam and Sakari Oramo. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary music; she has developed an interest in period instrument performance, presenting classical and romantic programmes on period pianos. She works with a number of today’s composers and is invited to give world premiere performances.

Tuija Hakkila’s solo discography includes the complete cycle of Mozart keyboard sonatas for which she has won acclaim in the world press, a recital of 20th-century piano music and a world premiere recording of the early-19th century Finnish Lithander brothers’ music. Her recent CD “Intimate Landscapes” with Sibelius’ piano works received excellent reviews both in Finland and abroad. In fall 2012 Ondine will release a CD with Hakkila performing in Kaija Saariaho’s chamber music. In addition to this she has recorded Niccoló Castiglioni’s chamber music, Haydn flute trios and Byström sonatas for piano and violin. In the repertoire for cello and piano her discography includes recitals of 20th-century music, Gabriel Fauré’s music and all Beethoven’s works.

Roberto Poli
Professor of Piano, New England Conservatory of Music

Born in Venice, Italy, Roberto Poli is an eloquent communicator and a rising exponent of the music of Fryderyk Chopin, which he has comprehensively studied through manuscripts and original editions and widely performed throughout the world. A DVD titled “Fryderyk Chopin: the late works,” was released in 2008 on the Rebus label, and features a live performance of Opp. 58-62. A parallel project, begun in June 2009 and supported by the European label Onclassical, features his audio recordings of Chopin’s complete works, now at its sixth volume and distributed by Naxos America. The London-based label Piano Classics released Mr. Poli’s first volume of the complete Chopin recordings in 2011. Roberto Poli’s critically acclaimed debut recording, “Shall we dance…,” was released in 2002 by Americus Records, and features his transcription of Maurice Ravel’s La Valse for solo piano, along with other unusual selections such as Sergio Fiorentino’s transcription of Waltzes from Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and works by Elizabethan composers. A second album, recorded in 2002, was released by Onclassical and features Franz Liszt’s “Années de Pèlerinage – Deuxième Année: Italie.” In early 2018, Roberto Poli is scheduled to record fourteen works selected from William Byrd’s “My Ladye Nevels Booke” (1591), originally written for virginal, for the Onclassical label.

Roberto Poli’s activity as an author began with the publication of his critically acclaimed first book, “The Secret Life of Musical Notation: defying interpretive traditions” (Amadeus Press, 2010). Based on years of research and performance, and presenting original groundbreaking insights, it features discoveries based on the analysis of Chopin’s manuscripts and early editions, and provides a new vision of his works that is both scholarly and practical. Additionally, the book features the multi-media interaction of text and audio-clips, which illustrate each example in the author’s interpretation. A second book, titled “It’s about Time,” is forthcoming, and discusses the concepts of time, rhythm, and pulse through the eyes of both the musician of the past and the modern man, and how we can relate to the past to find a musical language for the future.

Mr. Poli’s main teacher in his teenage years was Giorgio Vianello, a pupil of Busoni’s disciple Gino Tagliapietra, under whose guidance he graduated from the Venice Conservatory of Music Summa Cum Laude and Honors in 1993. His studies continued under Philippe Cassard, Roni Rogoff, Vladimir Tropp, Tatyana Zelickman, Piero Rattalino, and Eugenio Bagnoli. Between 1994 and 1996, his main inspiration was his work with Boris Petrushansky at the Piano Academy Incontri col Maestro in Imola, Italy. In 1998, Roberto Poli moved to North America, when he was offered a full scholarship to attend the New England Conservatory of Music and follow the great artistry of legendary pianist Russell Sherman. Under Sherman’s guidance, he received a Master’s Degree and the prestigious Artist Diploma.

Roberto Poli is an enthusiastic sought-after teacher and lecturer. From 1999 to 2015, he was on the faculty at The Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, Massachusetts, where he was the Artist-in-Residence and Chair of the Piano Department. He has been on the faculty of New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School and Continuing Education since 2003. Many of his students went on to studying at prestigious institutions, such as The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Indiana University, and Carnegie Mellon University. In the fall of 2017, Roberto Poli joined the faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where he teaches four courses on piano literature. He also enjoys a busy schedule of master classes, and has been a guest lecturer and keynote speaker at institutions such as Cornell University, University of Virginia, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, New England Conservatory of Music, and University of Pennsylvania.


Andrea Vilar López
Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest

Andrea Vilar López was born in 1997 in Rábade, a very small town in the northwest of Spain. After finishing studies in her hometown conservatory, she completed a degree in piano performance at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya in Barcelona with Professor Jordi Camell. During that time, she was awarded the Extraordinary Prize given by the government of her region. She then continued studies in Madrid with Professor Kennedy Moretti. Owing to him, Andrea began to develop an interest in historically informed performance. This initiated two years of fortepiano studies with Professor Luca Guglielmi.

Since September 2021, Andrea has studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest under the supervision of András Kemenes. During the past couple of years, she has participated in masterclasses led by such maestros as Pierre Laurent Aimard, Rita Wagner, and Eldar Nebolsin.

Andrea’s interests in chamber music brought interactions with renowned artists such as members of the Casals and Quiroga quartets, pianist Csálog Gabor, and clarinetist Pascal Moragués, among others. In 2018, she formed the Dúo Liliak with the Basque soprano Maite Arciniega. Inspired by Professor Luca Chiantore, Andrea is very interested in research, particularly the field of Artistic Research. She undertook a master’s in Musical Research at the Valencian International University in 2021 to deepen her knowledge of this topic.

Andrea has performed in different venues around Spain and Hungary, such as L’Auditori (Barcelona), MÜPA (Budapest), and BMC (Budapest). Her most recent projects bring together performance and research, aiming to make the public aware of connections between the two.

Yen-Ni Wu
University of Arts, Berlin

– First place, 2017, Taiwan National Student Competition of Music, chamber music

– Third place, 2016, Chiang Mai Ginastera International Music Festival CGIMF Competition

– Fifth place, 2016, Taiwan National Student Competition of Music, piano solo

– Second place, 2014, the 18th Hong Kong, Asia Piano Open Competition, Group A

– Second place, 2014, 2nd Steinway Youth Piano Competition, Taiwan Area

– 4th place, 2014, Taiwan National Student Competition of Music, piano solo

Born in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, Yen-Ni Wu began piano studies at age five under the tutelage of Chien-Yun Hsueh. From 2010 until 2018 she worked under Prof. Su-Yin Hsiao. In 2018, Yen-Ni enrolled in Universität der Künste Berlin (University of Arts, Berlin) and was at the same time admitted by Taipei National University of the Arts and National Taiwan Normal University.

Currently Yen-Ni studies with Prof. Björn Lehmann and since 2021 has taken courses in historical piano with Lucas Blondeel.

Festival participation include: EuroMusic Festival & Academy (Germany), Mozart International Summer Academy (Salzburg), and the Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy.

Charlotte Tang
University of Toronto

– Honorable Mention, 2021, Millersville International Piano Competition

– Hegarty Award, 2020, National Society of Arts and Letters, Bloomington Chapter

– Alternate, 2019, Music Teachers National Association Performance Competition, Indiana (Young Artist Piano)

– Honorable Mention, 2019, Marian Garcia International Piano Competition, Collegiate Division

– Honorable Mention, 2019, William Knabe International Piano Competition, Concerto Division 2

Starting piano lessons at the age of six, Charlotte is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the tutelage of James Parker and the late Marietta Orlov at the University of Toronto, with the generous support of the Dina and Hosie Austin Graduate Piano Fellowship and the Nour Private Wealth Award. Before relocating to Canada, she had the privilege to study with Jeffrey Cohen at the Manhattan School of Music and Roberto Plano at Indiana University. Besides the modern piano, Charlotte enjoys playing other keyboard instruments. She has worked with Elisabeth Wright on historical piano and harpsichord, with a special interest in works by Schubert and Schumann.

Charlotte has attended prestigious music festivals and benefited from master classes and coachings by Anton Nel, Douglas Humpherys, André Laplante, Logan Skelton, John Perry, Marina Lomazov and Ian Hobson, among others. She has brought exciting performances to concert venues in Italy, Spain, Croatia, Canada, the United States and Hong Kong.

Paul Di Folco
Manlius Pebble Hill School

– Honorable mention, September 2021, senior division of the Nazareth College Piano Competition

– Honorable mention, 2020, the Civic Morning Musicals and Symphonia 49th Annual Concerto Competition

– Honorable mention, 2020 and 2021, Skaneateles Festival Robinson Award

– Five-time recipient of a superior rating at New York Federation of Music Clubs Tompkins County Festival

– Three-time recipient of the Annie Styles Ripley Scholarship Fund for summer music programs

– Recipient of the Advanced Bach Award in the American College of Musicians National Piano-Playing Auditions, 2019

Paul has played piano for over eleven years and has studied under his current teacher, Russell Posegate, for nearly eight. He has studied a wide variety of music, most notably the Well-Tempered Clavier and Goldberg Variations by Bach, several sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven, the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, the Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor, the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, the Op. 10 and Op. 25 Études by Chopin, Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage, the first book of preludes by Debussy, Images book one by Debussy, Brahms’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, the twelve Op. 8 Scriabin études, the ten pieces from Romeo and Juliet for piano by Prokofiev, the Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel, the second and seventh Prokofiev Piano Sonatas, and the four Études Op. 7 by Stravinsky.

His program appearances and other musical experiences include a live virtual performance of the Goldberg Variations in June 2021, a performance with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra Youth Orchestra in Bloch’s Concerto Grosso No. 1, and participation in the Ithaca College Summer Piano Institute in 2018, 2019, and 2021, and upcoming participation this year. Paul is also involved in several musical and academic pursuits through his school. He plays the viola in the high school orchestra, participated in the New York State School Music Association Festival playing the viola in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, and has qualified for participation at the All-State Festival. He has also been a member of the school’s chorus and occasionally performs with the jazz band on piano or electric bass. Paul enjoys math and science and is a member of his school’s math league team.

Federico Ercoli
Eastman School of Music

– First Prize, 2016, Concorso Pianistico Internazionale “Andrea Baldi,” Bologna

– Top Prize, 2018, IBLA Grand Prize International Music Competition, Ragusa Ibla

– Alumnus, 2019, Roche Continents

– 2021, Richard-Wagner-Stipendienstiftung

Born in Crema in May 1995, Federico Ercoli trained as a musician at the Conservatorio “G. Verdi” in Milan, where he first studied in Maestro Annibale Rebaudengo’s studio, then with Professor Silvia Limongelli. Under the artistic guidance of the latter, he was able to expand his repertoire and develop his own personal approach to the instrument, graduating with top marks and honors. Among other locales, he has performed in the Sala Verdi of the Milan Conservatory for festivals such as the “Chopin-Schumann Festival” and the “Liszt-Mahler Festival”; in the Auditorium Manenti in Crema for the “Mario Ghislandi” International Piano Festival; and in 2016 in the Sale Apollinee of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. In 2017 he participated in the Gran Galà Armonie della Sera, performing with the Solisti Aquilani the Concerto in D major by J. S. Bach in the prestigious Teatro dell’Aquila in Fermo. In 2018 he closed the ASAM season at the Teatro Comunale di Siracusa, performing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony transcribed by Franz Liszt. Already a winner of several national competitions, in June 2016 he was awarded the First Prize at the Concorso Pianistico Internazionale “Andrea Baldi” in Bologna and in 2018 he was among the winners of the Ibla Grand Prize, an honor thanks to which he was given the opportunity to perform at the Recital Hall of the V. Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire, at the KIOI Hall in Tokyo, and at the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York. In 2017 he was chosen as the sole representative of the Milan Conservatory at the International Music Festival in Kyoto, Japan. In 2019 Federico was selected to participate in the Roche Continents as part of the Salzburg Festival, while in 2021 he was awarded the prestigious Richard-Wagner-Stipendienstiftung. In 2021 he took part in the first modern performance of the oratorio “The Garden of Olivet” by Giovanni Bottesini, playing the symphonic transcription for piano. In 2022 he performed at Kodak Hall in Rochester, NY with the Eastman Wind Ensemble in the premiere performance of ESM 100 by Brad Lubman. Federico has also a M.A. musicology degree with highest marks cum laude at Università degli Studi di Pavia, Cremona Department, with a thesis exploring new perspectives on staging Wagner. As a pianist, he participated in masterclasses held by Giovanni Bellucci, Fabio Bidini, Federico Colli, Vsevolod Dvorkin, Riccardo Risaliti, and Natalia Trull and he also attended the International Piano Academy “Incontri col Maestro” in Imola, where he studied under M° Piero Rattalino, and took the performance specialization course at the Fondazione Santa Cecilia, Portogruaro, under the guidance of M° Alessandro Taverna. He is currently pursuing a doctorate under the guidance of Alexander Kobrin at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Rodolfo Faistauer
Northwestern University, Bienen School of Music

Brazilian pianist Rodolfo Faistauer has appeared in solo and chamber music recitals across Europe and North and South America. He has performed at the Hungarian Institute in Paris, Palais Rohan and Cité de la Musique et de la Danse in Strasbourg, Florentinersaal in Graz, Konzertsaal of the Musikhochschule in Munich, Galvin Recital Hall in Chicago, and the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in São Paulo. He now lives in Chicago and has recently earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. At Northwestern he studied piano with James Giles and eighteenth-century music theory with Danuta Mirka; while there, he was the recipient of the Alvia S. and Helen Cottongin Award for musical and academic excellence.

Before moving to the United States, Rodolfo spent several years in Europe. At the Académie Supérieure de Musique de Strasbourg in France, he studied with Amy Lin, who instilled in him a passion for the Viennese repertoire. Under Ms. Lin’s guidance, he earned a Performance Diploma and a master’s degree in piano with honors. Determined to continue exploring this repertoire, Rodolfo went on to study with Margarita Höhenrieder at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, Germany, sponsored by the European Union’s Erasmus Program. Rodolfo also worked extensively with pianist Cristina Ortiz and participated in her musical ateliers and recitals in the south of France.

Rodolfo began his musical studies in Brazil with Dirce Knijnik, a pupil of Guiomar Novaes, and later with Cristina Capparelli at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. It was while in Brazil that he became interested in performance practice research and collaborated in the first translation into Portuguese of the book Liszt-Pädagogium by Liszt’s pupil Lina Ramann. Later, he collaborated with the Fondazione Istituto Liszt in Bologna and took part in the documentary film Artur Schnabel: No Place of Exile (Artur Schnabel: Komponist im Exil), which was broadcast by Franco-German TV-channel ARTE in February 2018.

Rodolfo is a Fellow of the 2022 Gilmore Piano Festival and has participated in masterclasses and festivals across Europe and the United States. This summer, in addition to his participation in the Forte/Piano Academy at Cornell University, Rodolfo will be performing and recording music by eminent French composer Hugues Dufourt in France and playing recitals in his native Brazil.

Matthew Figel
Eastman School of Music

– First Prize, Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition

– First Prize, Harold Protsman Classical Period Competition

– First Prize, Eastman School of Music Concerto Competition

“With a tone and approach entrancing from the outset,” (New York Concert Review, Inc.) Matthew Figel is a recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music, having received a master’s degree in Piano Performance & Literature. Beginning in the fall, he will continue his studies at Eastman to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He presently studies with Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers, and serves as the Teaching Assistant for the studio. Matthew received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Music and Musical Arts from this institution as well, studying previously with Nelita True. Here, Matthew was admitted into the music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda, in addition to graduating with Highest Distinction. While in his sophomore year, Matthew was named winner of the Eastman Concerto Competition, becoming one of the youngest students to solo with the Eastman Philharmonia in the school’s 100-year history. He was further awarded the Anne T. Cummins Prize in Humanities as well as the John Celentano Award for Excellence in Chamber Music and the Verdehr Trio Award at the Eastman Commencement ceremony to recognize his commitment to these fields.

The first musician in his family, Matthew began his piano studies at age ten in Midland, Texas, making his recital debut that same year. Since then, he has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe, in venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Eager to specialize in 18th and early 19th-century repertoire, Matthew has studied harpsichord and fortepiano with Eduardo Bellotti in addition to lessons in historical performance practice under Paul O’Dette. His successes in competitions have included top prizes in the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition and the Harold Protsman Classical Period Competition. He is also an avid collaborative pianist, performing in masterclasses for artists such as Renée Fleming and Jon Nakamatsu while receiving coachings from the Ying Quartet, Steven Doane, and Natalya Antonova. A past fellow at PianoFest in the Hamptons and PianoTexas International Festival and Academy, he has also attended summer festivals such as the Gijón International Piano Festival and the Aspen School of Music.

Matthew was recently named a fellow at the Gilmore Piano Festival, and upcoming summer engagements include appearances at the Southeastern Piano Festival in Columbia, SC and a featured solo recital as part of the Arts at Messiah Summer Concert Series in Savannah. An alumnus of Interlochen Arts Academy, he was chosen as the school’s first-ever Senior Performer, an honor given to a student to represent the graduating class with a solo performance at the final commencement ceremony. His teachers at Interlochen included Thomas Lymenstull and Michael Coonrod, following studies with Mark Puckett. Matthew has performed in masterclasses instructed by Richard Goode, Simone Dinnerstein, Paul Lewis, Pascal Rogé, Hung-Kuan Chen, and Emanuel Ax. An enthusiastic teacher, Matthew currently teaches secondary lessons at Eastman and has received the Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Matthew currently serves as the Artist-in-Residence at Valley Manor Living Center, where he performs monthly recitals for the community of Rochester, New York.

Wenhao Shou
New England Conservatory, Boston

– Third place, 2022, Music International Grand Prix

– Second place, 2022, London Classical Music Competition

– First prize, 2022, Best Beethoven Performance Competition

– Third place, 2021, Bellagrande International Music Competition

– Final winner, 2021, NEC Piano Department Honors Competition

– Final winner, 2019, NEC Piano Department Honors Competition

Wenhao Shou is currently a first-year master’s student at the New England Conservatory studying piano performance with Professor Meng-Chieh Liu. Wenhao started playing piano at the age of six and was taught by his mother Jie Xu, Professor of Piano Performance at Zhejiang Conservatory of Music. In 2021, Wenhao was accepted by NEC again after finishing his bachelor’s degree. Later in May, Wenhao graduated from NEC with academic honors and was nominated for the Pi Kappa Lambda (ΠΚΛ) award.

During Wenhao’s years at NEC he won numerous competitions. In October of 2019, he won the annual piano department Honor Competition and gave his debut as a soloist at Jordan Hall in November 2019. In 2021, Wenhao won the same competition again and his performance of the Wagner-Liszt “Liebestod” was live-streamed on YouTube by NEC. Also in 2021, Wenhao won third prize in the Bellagrande International Music Competition, and in the same year he won first prize in the Best Beethoven Performance competition. In the final round of the 2022 London Classical Music Competition, Wenhao won second place. He is also the recipient of first place winner among New York semifinalists of the Music International Grand Prix and third place in the final round.

A chamber musician, Wenhao Shou is part of the PERC Quartet which received year-long instructions from Professor Alexander Korsantia and the esteemed composer John Heiss. The PERC Quartet performed several times in Jordan Hall, Williams Hall, and Brown Hall of NEC and is widely praised by both professional musicians and Boston local audiences.

Aurelia Vişovan
University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

– First prize, 2019, Musica Antiqua International Fortepiano Competition, Brugge

– Fifth prize, 2018, Takamatsu International Piano Competition

– First prize, 2015, Santa Cecilia International Piano Competition, Porto

– Second prize, Paola Bernardi International Harpsichord Competition, Bologna

Aurelia Vişovan is an internationally acclaimed Romanian pianist, harpsichordist and fortepianist, and winner of the Musica Antiqua Competition Brugge (fortepiano) in 2019. She is currently professor of piano at the University for Music in Nuremberg. She has performed concerts in halls such as the Großer Saal of the Berliner Philharmonie, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, BOZAR, Auditorio de Zaragoza, Brucknerhaus Linz, Casa da Musica Porto, Musikverein Vienna and Romanian Athenaeum. She has performed as soloist with the Philharmonisches Kammerorchester Dresden, the Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Seto Philharmonic Orchestra, and Das Sinfonieorchester Berlin, among others. In 2017 Aurelia Vișovan performed the world premiere of the Piano Concerto by George Enescu. She has made CD recordings for Ricercar, Passacaille, Berlin Classics and KNS Classical on both modern piano and historical instruments. She has won over 25 competition prizes, among them 1st Prize in the Santa Cecilia Piano Competition in Porto, 5th Prize in the Takamatsu Piano Competition and 2nd prize in the Paola Bernardi Harpsichord Competition in Bologna. Aurelia Vișovan has studied with Adriana Bera, Monica Chifor and Gerda Türk in her native country and at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with Martin Hughes (piano) and Gordon Murray (harpsichord). In 2021 she obtained a doctorate with a thesis focused on historical keyboard instruments.

Stella Zhu
New England Conservatory, Preparatory School

– Third prize, 2019, 14th International Music Festival & Academy, Beijing

Stella first touched the piano in primary school and began her music studies at the age of ten after being continuously enchanted by a variety of concerts. She is currently a tenth-grader at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Massachusetts and has studied under Roberto Poli at the New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory School since fall 2020. Stella was awarded third prize in the junior group at the 14th International Music Festival & Academy, Beijing, in 2019.

Pedro Sperandio
Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart

– 2020, Scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State Nordrhein- Westfalen, Germany

– 2013–2017, Full scholarship at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris (Fond Hubert Jousset)

– 2017, Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste from Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris

– 2014–15, BNDES scholarship, Brazil

The path of Brazilian pianist Pedro Sperandio has been marked by a host of outstanding multicultural academic environments, resulting in a bachelor’s at the University of São Paulo with Eduardo Monteiro, a master’s at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln with Claudio Martinez-Mehner and Fabio Bidini, and a Diplôme de Concertiste at the École Normale de Musique de Paris with Rena Shereshevskaya. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in fortepiano at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Künste Stuttgart with Stefania Neonato, has worked with historically informed performance specialists at Fondation Royaumont, and is connected to the Centre la Nouvelle Athènes in France.

A prize-winner of several piano competitions, Pedro has performed extensively both as solo recitalist and chamber musician, in different formations such as the Lied Duo Heinecker-Sperandio (voice and piano with soprano Nicola Heinecker), Blanc et Noir-Duo (piano duo with Anton Gerzenberg), the Alpen Trio (with cello and clarinet), and the Rhein-Trio (with cello and flute), among others. He is also an integral part of the contemporary Ensemble Musikfabrik Köln and has collaborated with the Centre de Musique de Chambre de Paris. During tours across Brazil and Europe, Pedro has performed in important concert halls such as Salle Cortot (Paris), Palau de Musica Catalana (Barcelona), Sala São Paulo (Brazil), WDR Funkhaus (Köln), and Sala Cecília Meirelles (Brazil), and has worked with noted conductors such as Marin Alsop, Victor Hugo Toro, Aylton Escobar, and Flavio Florence, among others. He has also taken masterclasses with world renowned pianists and musicians such as Malcom Bilson, Olga Pashchenko, Edoardo Torbianelli, Piet Kuijken, Clive Brown, Maria João Pires, Nelson Goerner, Jacques Rouvier, François-René Duchâble, Sonia Rubinsky, Paulo Álvares, André Laplante, and Cristina Ortiz.

Gabriel Merrill-Steskal
University of Michigan

– Second Prize, First SFZP International Fortepiano Competition

Gabriel Merrill-Steskal is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance at the University of Michigan, where he studies with Logan Skelton. An avid performer and collaborator on both modern and period pianos, he recently won second prize at the 1st SFZP International Fortepiano Competition and studies fortepiano with Matthew Bengtson. Before completing two master’s degrees at the University of Michigan (in piano performance and fortepiano performance), he graduated summa cum laude from Whitman College, where he studied piano with David Hyun-Su Kim. At Whitman, he completed a double major in music and chemistry, receiving honors in both majors and the Campbell Award for outstanding senior recital. He has also studied with Malcolm Bilson and Norman Krieger, and he was a fellow in residence at the 2022 Gilmore Piano Festival.

In addition to performance activities as a soloist and chamber musician, Gabriel is an active teacher and scholar. He is currently a Graduate Student Instructor at the University of Michigan, teaching class piano and private lessons to undergraduate students. His most recent research project involves studying prolongational aspects of folk-based pitch structures in Bartók’s music. Aside from all things piano, he enjoys spending time outside running and rock climbing.

Guest Speakers

David Breitman

David Breitman is Associate Professor of Historical Performance at Oberlin Conservatory where he teaches fortepiano and clavichord as well as courses in performance practice. He has recorded all of Beethoven’s violin sonatas with Elizabeth Wallfisch, the cello sonatas with Jaap ter Linden, the Mozart violin sonatas with Jean-François Rivest, as well as 4 CD of vocal music with the late Sanford Sylvan, whom he partnered in recital for over 30 years. In a collaboration of a different sort, he is one of seven fortepianists on the 10-CD recording of the complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle on CLAVES. With his book, Piano-Playing Revisited: What Modern Players Can Learn from Period Instruments which appeared to critical acclaim in 2021, Breitman summarizes a lifetime of experience as a performer and teacher.

Charles Metz

Charles Metz studied piano at Penn State University, beginning his harpsichord studies through private lessons with the legendary Igor Kipnis. In the process of earning a Ph.D. in Historical Performance Practice at Washington University in Saint Louis Missouri, he studied with Trevor Pinnock. He has performed solo recitals at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Oberlin Conservatory. He has appeared with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Ars Antigua and the Newberry Consort of Chicago. Guest clinician and recital-lecturer at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Penn State University in State College PA. As an early keyboard specialist, he is currently performing on his historic Italian virginal, harpsichords and fortepianos. He released a CD with Navona Records “William Tisdale: Music for Virginal” in February 2021. As an owner of an 1805 Clementi square piano he has a keen interest in the music and instruments of Muzio Clementi.

Nathan Mondry

A professional organist, harpsichordist and fortepianist with international recognition as an improviser and composer, Nathan Mondry is a D.M.A. student in the Keyboard Studies program at Cornell University. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan, Nathan earned a Master’s Degree in Harpsichord Performance and an Artist Diploma in Organ Performance at McGill University, followed by a Master’s Degree in Historical Improvisation at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. Nathan is the recipient of numerous prizes, including a Special Prize at the First International Competition for Basso Continuo and Partimento Realization at Katowice (2019), a First Prize (with Arnie Tanimoto) at the Bach-Abel Competition (2018), and a prize for composition at the International Competition for Organ Composition in Pordenone (2019), additionally being a finalist in the 2017 Sweelinck Competition. As a rising improvisation specialist, he covers a range of styles from as early as the 15th and 16th centuries to the present day; collaborations include with La Cetra Barockorchester (2018) and a silent film accompaniment concert sponsored by the Birds Eye Jazz Club Basel (2019). Furthermore, he has been commissioned to reconstruct and compose original works for various musicians and organizations, including the Projet Myrelingues of the Association Ephémère classique in France, Les Idées heureuses in Montreal, and organist Alberto Gaspardo in Basel. Nathan is also an active chamber musician; his group Les Barocudas, based in Montreal, released an album in 2020, La Peste, which was nominated for a Juno Award.

Available Instruments

Instrument makerYearRegionRangeLocation
(copy by McNulty)
1749SaxonF1 – E6Lincoln 107
(copy by McCobb)
1784South GermanF1 – F6Lincoln 142
Broadwood & Sons (restored by Beunk)1799EnglishF1 – C7Lincoln B20
(copy by Wolf and Wolf)
1800VienneseF1 – G6Lincoln B20
Walter and Son
(copy by McNulty)
1805VienneseF1 – C7Barnes Green Room
(copy by McNulty; on loan from Malcolm Bilson)
1815VienneseF1 – F7Lincoln 149
(restored by Swenson)
1825VienneseC1 – F7Barnes Auditorium
(copy by Regier)
1825VienneseC1 – F7Lincoln B21
(restored by McNulty; on loan from Malcolm Bilson)
1825VienneseF1 – F7Lincoln 140
(restored by Casiglia)
1835VienneseC1 – G7Lincoln B08
(restored by Eschete and Walkup)
1843FrenchC1 – G7Barnes Auditorium
Broadwood & Sons
(restored by Beunk)
1849EnglishF1 – F7Lincoln B21
Pleyel pianino
(restored by Walkup)
1850FrenchA0 – A7726 University Ave
J. B. Streicher
(restored by Swenson)
1857VienneseA0 – A7Lincoln 124
(restored by Casiglia)
1865FrenchA0 – A7726 University Ave
(restored by Janmaat)
1868FrenchA0 – A7726 University Ave
(restored by Walkup)
1878GermanA0 – A7Barnes Green Room
Mason & Hamlin1930AmericanA0 – A7Lincoln B20

Explore the complete collection here.


Applicants under 35 years of age (by July 31, 2022) of any nationality are welcome. We particularly encourage pianists with no prior experience with historical pianos to apply. While we welcome all backgrounds and experiences, we envision participants to be music students (pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate) or young professional musicians.


Applications were due on May 15, 2022
Decisions were released by May 20, 2022


All participants are invited on full-tuition waiver, made possible by the generosity of our donors and the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboards. Room-and-board: $500 for the duration of the Academy. Applicants can apply for a limited number of need-based scholarships to aid in the costs of international/domestic travel and room-and-board.