2018 Piano Faculty & Guest Artists



Ji-Hyun Cho

Enrico Elisi

Thomas Lanners

Tian Ying

Bellini Symphony Orchestra

Violetta Egorova

Johann-Sebastian Guzman

Clara Nguyen Clara Nguyen

Marcello Ravveduto


Ten Strings Duo




Internationally acclaimed pianist Ji-Hyun Cho has been praised by the critics for her beautiful tonal colors and the florid lyricism. As a winner of the Artists International Competition, Ms. Cho made her New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1995. Since then, she has been active as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. In 2016, she made her successful debut at the Musikverein Goldener Saal in Vienna, where she performed Mozart Piano Concerto K.488 with the Budapest Sinfonieorchestra.
She has also appeared with a number of orchestras including the Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Sung-Nam Philharmonic Orchestra (2006 Orchestra Festival), the Ulsan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Korea Chamber Orchestra, the Seoul National University Alumni Symphony Orchestra, the Kang-Nam Philharmonic Orchestra, the KT Chamber Orchestra, the Prime Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Swan, Budapest Sinfonieorchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica de Elche, Euro Sinfonietta Wien and the Kaunas Chamber Orchestra among others.
Ms. Cho has a prolific international career, performing at prestigious venues such as New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, the Musikverein Goldener Saal, Solti Hall, Novomatic Forum Hall, Auditorium de Aguilas, Gran Teatro de Elche, Seoul Arts Center, Sejong Culture Center, Kumho Art Hall and Sung-Nam Art Center among others.
As an active chamber musician, she frequently collaborated with renowned musicians on stage. In 1996 and 1999, she performed at the United Nations’ Concerts for World Peace, held in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium. As a member of Seoul Chamber Society, she performed on a concert tour throughout Southeast Asia in 2013. She was the featured artist at the music festivals such as ‘Bol Summer Festival (Croatia)’ and the ‘Armonie della Sera Chamber Music Festival (Italy)’ in 2016.
Born in Incheon, South Korea, Ms. Cho began her piano studies at age seven and she received her Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University. She obtained her Master of Music degree at The Julliard School, and later earned her D. M. A. degree at The Manhattan School of Music. She has studied under Kye-Sook Suh, Oxana Yablonskaya, and Constance Keene, and has also had several sessions with Lazar Berman at the Kleipeda Music Festival in Lithuania. She has won numerous prizes throughout her career including the IBLA International Competition and the Trani International Competition.
Ms. Cho has also had her performances aired on numerous Korean national radio stations including ‘KBS-FM’ and ‘TBS-FM.’ She recorded an album devoted to romantic dances by Chopin, Liszt and Brahms, which was released in 2006. She has performed series of recitals entitled ‘Piano Album (2002-2010)’, ‘Mozart Highlight Series(2011-2013)’ and ‘Schubert Highlight Series (2013-2016)’, all of which were favorably received in Korea.
She is now well into the ‘Beethoven Cycle’, performing all the instrumental sonatas of Beethoven. Ms. Cho has been a Professor of Piano at Dankook University in Korea since 2003.



Born and raised in Bologna, Italy, Enrico Elisi has been hailed for his mastery of elegance, refinement, and fantasy (La Nueva España). He regularly performs to acclaim throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia and his interpretations reveal “remarkable sensitivity, imagination and polish,” (Baltimore Sun).
In Italy he has appeared in historical settings such as La Fenice Theatre, Venice; Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; Bibiena Theatre, Mantua; Pavarotti Opera House, Modena; Teatro Comunale and Sala Bossi, Bologna; Sant’Anna dei Lombardi Church, Naples, as well as Amalfi Cathedral and Museo diocesiano. He has also given recitals in various European countries including France, Germany, Slovak Republic and Spain. In Asia he performed in South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Recent engagements include recitals at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Library, New York’s Morgan Library, Washington’s National Gallery of Art and the Italian Embassy, Lima, Peru, as well as several performances in Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Tennessee.
Elisi has appeared with the Florence Symphony, Italy; Orchestra Classica de Porto, Portugal; Bay Atlantic Symphony, Greeley Philharmonic, Williamsport Symphony, Pennsylvania Centre, Penn State Philharmonic, Penn’s Woods, UNLV Chamber and Johns Hopkins Symphony orchestras, USA. He also debuted as soloist/conductor with the Green Valley Festival Chamber Orchestra.
Among Elisi’s awards are top prizes in the Venice Competition (Italy) and the Oporto International Competition (Portugal). After winning nine first prizes in competitions in Italy and the US, and having garnered a dozen of other top prizes and awards, Elisi performed in Toulouse, France, and New York’s Weill Recital Hall as a La Gesse Fellow.
Via Classica, a German radio station, offered a two-hour broadcast of Elisi’s live recital in Hamburg followed by an interview (2008). Additional radio broadcasts include Montebeni Classica FM (Italy), WCLV Cleveland, UNC, KCNV Nevada Public Radio, and KGCS (USA). He also appeared in a TV broadcast for WPSU and Portuguese national TV.
An avid chamber musician, Elisi has performed at the Taos and Ravinia Festivals, and collaborated with principal players from the Baltimore, Chicago, and American Symphony Orchestras, as well as other well-known soloists. As a champion of new music, Elisi has commissioned works from composers of many nationalities and premiered Paul Chihara’s Two Images, at Weill Hall—a composition he subsequently recorded (Albany Records).
A frequent guest at music festivals, Elisi appears and performs regularly in such settings as Cincinnati Art of the Piano, Montecito, Lee University, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Texas State University, and Chautauqua Institution (USA); Associazione Umbria classica and Amalfi Coast Festival (Italy); Ameri-China Foundation and Sichuan International Piano Festival (China).
Elisi recently joined the distinguished Faculty of Music of the University of Toronto as an associate professor, having previously taught at the Eastman School, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Nevada L.V. His current and former students include prizewinner in competitions; hold teaching posts; performed with orchestras (including the Rochester Philharmonic and Dallas Chamber Symphony); gave debut recitals from New York to Caracas, Paris and Seoul; garnered fellowships and scholarships at summer programs and have been accepted in artist diploma, MM, and DMA programs in prestigious institutions in the US and abroad.
Elisi also presented hundreds of master classes, both in conjunction with his performing engagements, at Northwestern University, Boston University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory, Temple University, the University of Michigan, USA; University of British Columbia, Canada; National Conservatory of Lima, Peru; Accademia delle Marche, Italy; Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan; China Conservatory, Shanghai Conservatory, China; Academy of Performing Arts, Hong Kong; Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Singapore; Jakarta Conservatory, Indonesia; Seoul National, Yonsei, Hanyang, Ewha Woman’s, as well as most other major universities in Korea. Elisi also held a two-year guest professorship at the China Zhejiang Art School in Hangzhou, China and since 2013 he has been teaching an annual workshop in Seoul.
As an adjudicator, he has taken part in the Tremplin International and the Concours de Musique du Canada, the Iowa, the Peabody Yale Gordon, the Julia Crane International, the Fite Young Artist competitions, as well as the Nevada, Maryland, Virginia, and Texas State Music Teachers Associations’ competitions, as well as the Ameri-China Foundation Competition in Chengdu, China. In 2017 he will also adjudicate the Dallas International Piano Competition.
After studying at the Conservatory of Florence and the world-renowned Incontri col Maestro International Piano Academy of Imola, Elisi worked with Schnabel’s disciple Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. A year after graduating, at Fleisher’s invitation, he performed at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in a joint recital with his mentor. Among his teachers were pianist Lazar Berman and Boris Petrushansky, respectively pupils of Goldenweiser and Neuhaus, as well as Alexander Lonquich, Franco Scala and Giuseppe Fricelli.
Elisi’s latest CD, Mozart Piano Album, has been released in 2011.
Enrico Elisi invites his audience to interact with him on Twitter and “like” his page at www.facebook.com/enricoelisipiano.



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 and RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany in Ireland, among many others.
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. Most recently, he has presented master classes at Yonsei University in Seoul, and in China at the Sichuan Conservatory, Shanghai Conservatory and Conservatory Middle School, Zhejiang Conservatory, East China Normal University and Beijing Normal University. Thomas gave a master class on the NYU Steinhardt School of Music’s Piano Artist Master Class Series in 2012 and served as a performer, master class clinician and adjudicator at the Lee University International Piano Festival and Competition in Tennessee. He performed in Bangkok and Hua-Hin, Thailand in 2014.
Other 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), and Iowa; Northwestern, Syracuse, Louisiana State, Southern Methodist, 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 Belgium and performed on the Classical Mondays recital series in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center.
His latest recording, Ned Rorem: Piano Works, Volume 2, was released worldwide by Centaur Records. The disc received great critical praise, including this from the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “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.” An American Record Guide review of Thomas’ previous CD, Ned Rorem: The Three Piano Sonatas, read: “Anyone who cares about mainstream 20th Century piano music should seek out this superlative recording.” In a review of Lanners’ recording of Leonard Bernstein’s solo piano works, Jed Distler wrote for ClassicsToday.com: “All told, Lanners’ loving mastery easily holds its own in any company. Warmly recommended.”
His championing of American piano music was the topic of an interview article in a 2010 issue of Fanfare. He is an active writer on musical topics, with several feature articles having been published in American Music Teacher magazine, among others. Always in demand as a clinician, he has presented numerous sessions at both Music Teachers National Association conferences and various state associations. Thomas will be featured, for the fifth consecutive year, in the annual MusicEdConnect.com National Conference, a four-day online piano pedagogy event.
Lanners received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Eastman School as a student of Barry Snyder. He also studied under John Perry at the Aspen Music Festival and Jerome Lowenthal at the Music Academy of the West. Designated the 2014 Distinguished Music Teacher by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association, he currently serves as Professor of Piano at Oklahoma State University.



Praised by the Boston Globe as “one of the finest pianists active in America,Tian Ying, winner of many prestigious awards, including high honors at the Eighth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1989, has become well-known for his eloquent, poetic, and dramatically intense performances. Ying’s reputation for unusually searching and profound interpretations played at the highest level of virtuoso accomplishment has earned him a distinguished place among today’s most exciting, original and accomplished artists of his generation.
Tian Ying has appeared with numerous orchestras, such as the Rochester Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta at Orchestra Hall, and the symphonies of Atlanta, Fort Worth, Toledo, Columbus, Colorado, Hartford, Jacksonville, Spokane, Oakland, Madison, Wichita, Ann Arbor, Shanghai, and Hong Kong Philharmonic, among others. Solo recitals have taken Tian Ying across North America, Europe, and from Casablanca to Seoul; he has performed at Jordan Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Mondavi Center, Bass Hall in Fort Worth, Woodruff Arts Center, Shanghai Grand Opera Theater, Taipei National Theater, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, and among others.
During the 2003-04 season alone, Tian Ying performed 9 different concerti with orchestras across the U.S. The Boston Globe chose Tian Ying’s Bank of Boston Celebrity Series concert as one of the Top Ten in classical music events; The Miami Herald chose Tian Ying’s performance of Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 at the Opening Concert at the 2009 Festival Miami as the Top Five performances of the year. There have been many articles written about Tian Ying, including profiles in The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and People Magazine.
Recent and upcoming engagements include recitals at Universities of Louisville, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Coker College, Lee University, and festivals at Southeastern, Eastern Music, Pine Mountain and many others. International performances also brought Tian Ying abroad to Bangkok, Thailand for the 2011 inaugural concert of the “C-Clef” Concert Series.
Tian Ying is currently professor of Keyboard Performance at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in Coral Gables, Florida, a position he has held since 2002. Tian Ying records for Centaur Records and DeMA Records.



The “Bellini Symphony Orchestra” aims to spread both the lyric and symphonic repertoire with considerable flexibility. Particular attention is given to the artistic and interpretative levels, as noted by all the performers and conductors who collaborated with it. The members of the orchestra almost entirely belong to the official lyric orchestra of the Teatro Massimo “Vincenzo Bellini” in Catania and have experiences and collaborations with the greatest conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Alain Lombard, Yuri Temirkanov, Michel Plasson, Georges Prȇtre, and many others.



Laureate of numerous piano competitions – the Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition, Terni, Italy; Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Salt Lake City, USA; “Gian Battista Viotti” International Piano Competition in Vercelli, Italy and others, Violetta Egorova performs successfully as soloist and as chamber musician in Russia and Europe-wide.
Violetta Egorova began to play and improvise on the piano age of four. At the age of six she made her performing debut on TV playing pieces from “Children’s album” by Robert Schumann. Violetta entered the Moscow Central Special Music School for Gifted Children at the age of six, where she studied with A. Artobolevskaya and A. Mndoyants. She gave her first solo recital in Moscow at the age twelve.
Violetta Egorova is the Winner of the First Prize of Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition in Terni, Italy; G. Viotti International Competition, Italy; Gina Bachauer Piano Competition in USA and many other international competitions.
Her early career was powered by ability, which she had absorbed from her great mentor Lev Naumov, to make every note sing. In 1991, while still studying under Professor L. N. Naymov at the P.Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, Art and Electronics a joint Russian-American recording enterprise honored Ms. Egorovas talent by recording a CD with the music of Mozart and Prokofiev in celebration of the anniversary of those two composers birth. Furthermore, Ms. Egorova has recorded several CDs under the various labels, such as Universal Music & V., Teichiku Records and has been featured on radio and television broadcasts in Italy, Turkey, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, France, and Russia. Ms. Egorova has performed in some of the most famous concert halls in the United States, Italy, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Egypt, Monaco, Romania, Austria, Russia and China. Violetta is a regular guest artist with many renowned ensembles such as the State Academic Orchestra of Russia, Utah Symphony Orchestra, the chamber orchestra Kremlin, Orchestra del Festival Pianistiñî Internazionale di Bergamo e Brescia, Orchestra Sinfonica di Perogia, The George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Harbin Phylharmony Symphony, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Moscow State Symphonic Orchestra, as well as the orchestra ‘Young Russia’, and has played under the direction of Pavel Kogan, Joseph Silverstain, Arnold Katz, Epifanio Comis, Mark Gorenstein, Juliano Silvery, Urij Tsuruk, Ilarion Ionescu-Galati, Augustino Orizio and Constantine Orbeljan.
She has also appeared at international musical festivals in Spoleto “Del Due Mondi” and Sermonette “Pontino di Musica” (Italy), “Sanat Haber” in Istanbul (Turkey), ETNAFEST in Italy, Rachmaninov International festival 2013 in Ukraine as well as “Music in Exile”, “Music of 20th Century”, “Christmas at the Kremlin” and “Russian Winter” in Moscow (Russia), among others.
Violetta Egorova is a teacher of Piano High Specialization Courses at the Rachmaninov Academy in Catania, Italy.
Ms. Egorova’s pianistic repertoire encompasses a wide variety of eras and styles, from concertos and solo monographic works by Schubert, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Liszt to those by contemporary composers. Through her well-established relationship with Vladimir Markovich, Eva Gosser, Nina Kotova, Vladislav Bezrukoff, Robin Meyforf, Anna Kruger, Astrid Shvinn, Lark String Quartet, Quintet Sikelikos and other musicians, Ms. Egorova has also built a reputation as world-class chamber musicia.
​Violetta Egorova is the President and founder of the Sergei Rachmaninov International Award, Artistic director of the International Festival Moscow ConcertFest, the active member of the International Informatization Academy in general consultative status with the United Nation since 1995.



Johann-Sebastian Guzman is very excited and grateful to be returning to AmiCaFest for his second consecutive year. As a young conductor, he has had the great privilege and honor of working with and shadowing conductors all over world including Maestro Ramon Tebar, Maestro Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Maestro Daniel Harding, and Maestro Franz Welser-Möst. His passion and talents have taken him to encounter and shadow these great Maestros with some of the world’s greatest orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Sinfónica de Galicia, Palm Beach Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana and with artists such as Hilary Hahn, Javier Perianes, Plácido Domingo, and Leo Nucci. Johann is looking forward to a wonderful experience in Sicily and thanks everyone who has made his musical journey a reality.



Clara was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She started piano at age 5 and has performed in the U.S. and at Lake Como, Italy. She played at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on August 12, 2009 and at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on December 18, 2011. She made her orchestral debut with the Symphony of the Americas on September 22, 2013. She currently studies with Santiago Rodriguez, the 1981 Van Cliburn Silver Medalist and has played in masterclasses for Nelita True, Philippe Entremont, Nelson Delle-Vigne Fabbri, Andre Laplante, Evelyne Brancart, John O’Conor, William Nabore, Stanislav Ioudenitch, Dang Thai Son, Abbey Simon, Kevin Kenner and Dmitri Bashkirov. Clara is fluent in 7 languages: Vietnamese, English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, and German.



Marcello Ravveduto is professor of Public and Digital History at the University of Salerno and member of the national executive board of the Italian Association of Public History. He teaches graduate courses: in “Public History” at the University of Modena, and in “Analysis, prevention and contrast of organized crime and corruption” at the University of Pisa. He is a columnist for L’Espresso and Fanpage. He is a member of the scientific committee of the magazine Narcomafie as well as the Camorra and Culture of Legality Online Library at the Federico II University of Naples. He is the author of several essays on the relationship between collective imaginary and mafia phenomena and on this theme, he was a consultant for Rai Storia. He has has created and supervises the direction of the Virtual Gallery on the Mafia and the Anti-Mafia in the “Joe Petrosino” House / Museum, in collaboration with Rai Teche. Marcello has written Libero Grassi. Storia di un siciliano normale (Ediesse, 1997), Le strade della Violenza (l’ancora del mediterraneo, 2006), Napoli… Serenata calibro 9. Storia e immagini della camorra tra cinema sceneggiata e neomelodici (Liguori, 2007), Libero Grassi. Storia di un’eresia borghese (Feltrinelli, 2012), Il sindaco gentile. Gli appalti, la camorra e un uomo onesto. La storia di Marcello Torre (Melampo, 2016), La nazione del miracolo. L’Italia e gli italiani tra storia, memoria e immaginario (Castelvecchi, 2018). He edited the anthologies Strozzateci Tutti (Aliberti, 2010), Novantadue. L’anno che cambiò l’Italia (Castelvecchi, 2012) e Dialoghi sulle mafie (Rubbettino, 2015). He is the co-author of the first and the third volume of L’Atlante delle mafie (Rubbettino, 2012, 2015) and of Riformismo mancato. Società, consumi e politica nell’Italia del miracolo (Castelvecchi, 2014). In December 2016, he received the “Pasquale Campanello” award.



Shakalab is a Sicilian collective formed by 4 singers, veterans of the reggae / hip hop scene of the island: Jahmento, Lorrè, Br1 and Marcolizzo.
From Sicily, where for years they fills squares and clubs with people waiting for their concerts, their success has gradually moved throughout Italy, becoming in a few years a musical reference point for many persons. Their influence on the Sicilian territory has been of great impact especially among young people, both for the social messages conveyed and for the many initiatives in which they took part. In 2015 the mayor of Campobello Di Mazara wanted to pay homage to the collective with a tourist sign at the entrance to the village of Torretta Granitola, where Shakalab chose to shoot the videoclip of one of their flagship pieces “The right place”. Shakalab counts two albums in which we find collaborations with the major exponents of reggae music in Italy: Sud Sound System, Boomdabash, Mama Marjas, Bunna (Africa Unite), Lion D and many others.
During the different tours they have taken among the main reggae music shows, they have been opening lives of artists such as Shaggy, Barrington Levy, Ky-Mani Marley.
Their sound is the result of a mixture of musical genres and is very recognizable thanks to the producers who until today have made their contribution to the collective: Gheesa, DJ Delta and Haz.
Shakalab are currently working on their third album, which is scheduled for release next year.



Violinist Marianatalia Ruscica and guitarist Davide Sciacca began their collaboration in 2012. Their intensive work together has led to an extended repertoire of classical works from the early 19th Century including Niccolò Paganini, Mauro Giuliani, Napoleon Coste and Francesco Molino as well as more contemporary pieces by composers such as Astor Piazzolla, Maximo Diego Pujol, Celso Machado, Laurent Boutros, Andrea Amici, Giuseppe Torrisi and Andrea Schiavo.
Their concerts are always warmly received by audiences and critics alike, and have participated in classical music seasons organized by prestigious music organizations in theaters, concert halls, and heritage sites and buildings.
Marianatalia and Davide won 1st Prize at the international Giuseppe Ierna competition, and also at the national competitions AMA Calabria, the Città di Palermo, Alfio Pulvirenti and Magna Grecia.
From 2014 they appeared in the UK, playing at prestigious venuesThe Ten strings Duohasmade numerous TV and Radio appearances in Italy, as well as the invitation they received from the Italian telecast Globus Television, and in the UK, especially at Linda McDermotts late night show on BBC Radio Merseyside, Sandgrounder Radio, Colors and Made in Liverpool Tv.
In the year2016 and 2017 they performed in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth the Second, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Charles and the other members of the Royal Family.
In 2018 Ten Strings Duo debuted in the United States performing for Culture Connection in New York City.
They currently teach Violin and Guitar at Conservatoire in Caltanissetta and Caltagirone, and also in high schools, Sicily.