Pre-Screening, April 27th

Hello friends! Pre-screening for the Artist’s Division took place on April 27th. While we work to get the word out to those who will be competing, we thought we would supply you with the full bios of the pre-screening jury.

POLINA BESPALKO

BespalkoDescribed as an, “amazing virtuoso,” by the world renowned Nikolai Petrov
and having a, “complex, vigorous and demanding energetic attitude at the
piano,” by Brazilian newspaper Correio Brasilense, Polina Bespalko is rapidly
establishing herself as one of piano’s brightest stars.

Ms. Bespalko began her performance career at the age of 8. Throughout her
years at the Moscow Central Music school she appeared regularly in the most
prestigious venues in Russia – including performances in Bolshoi Hall and for
the Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II at the age of 13.  Her career continued after her
acceptance to the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, where she was
personally requested by the Minister of Culture to perform in every major cultural
center and arts festival in the region.

Polina made her American debut in 1998 as an honored member of the
Russian-US Cultural Music Exchange. This launched a period of intense U.S.

concertizing, with performances as varied as Cincinnati’s Matinee Musicale,
concerts at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City, where
she twice performed at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

While in America, Polina furthered her Masters degree from Moscow
Conservatory by earning an Artist Diploma at the University of Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music. After breaking for several years to focus on
performing, Polina entered into the DMA program at CCM and is currently a
Doctoral Candidate, having successfully completed all classes and tests while
studying under under Elisabeth Pridonoff, Eugene Pridonoff, and Awadagin
Pratt. During her time at CCM, Polina won the CCM Concerto Competition,
thus performing Rachmaninov’s 3rd Concerto with the CCM Philharmonia under
Maestro Mark Gibson. This was followed by a string of domestic and international
successes on the competition circuit. A winner of the Silver Medal in the 2001
Wideman International Piano Competition of Louisiana, Ms. Bespalko went on
to become a prizewinner in the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati (2005)
as well as the Iowa International Piano Competition (2008). Polina captured
another first place finish by winning the Grand Prix in the Rachmaninov Concerto
Competition in Catania, Sicily.

In addition to serving on the faculty of Xavier University as Coordinator of the
Piano Department since 2007, Polina has maintained active performance and
teaching profiles with numerous domestic and international engagements,
including two performances at Xavier University Music Series (2006 and 2007)
and a New York City appearance at Steinway Hall in 2010. She can often be
found holding master classes and giving performances at universities throughout
the region.

While balancing her performance schedule with her teaching and administrative
duties at Xavier, Polina has continued to performed extensively abroad. After
performing with the Moscow Philharmonia Society while studying with Nikolai
Petrov, Polina was appointed resident soloist immediately after graduation. She
returned to Moscow every year from 2001 through 2008, giving highly acclaimed
solo and orchestral performances.  Concurrently, Polina toured internationally
in Sweden, Sicily, and Brazil, returning on three separate occasions to Rio
de Janeiro and Brasilia. So popular was her first performance at the Claudio
Santoro Theater in 2005 that she was invited back in 2007 and 2008 for both a
solo performance and a nationally broadcast radio engagement on Super Radio
Brazil.

FRANK WEINSTOCK

Weinstock copyAmerican Frank Weinstock has had a distinguished career as a performer,
teacher, and adjudicator. His appearances as recitalist, soloist, and chamber
musician have taken him throughout the United States, as well as to South
America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. As concerto soloist, Mr. Weinstock has
appeared with such conductors as Jesús López-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, Keith
Lockhart, Jorge Mester, Gunther Schuller, Mark and Thakar, and Luthero
Rodrigues. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Weinstock has performed with
the Tokyo and American String Quartets, Leonard Rose, Larry Combs, Glen
Dicterow, the Percussion Group Cincinnati, and with members of the Guarneri,
LaSalle, Manhattan, and Berkshire Quartets.

Frank Weinstock is Professor Emeritus of Piano at the University of Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music where he taught for thirty-one years until his
retirement in 2011; towards the end of that time, he also served as that school’s
associate dean and interim dean. He is featured in Benjamin Saver’s book,
The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the USA. Mr. Weinstock has been a
member of the performing faculties at the Aspen and Eastern Music Festivals,
the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, and the Opera Theater
and Music Festival of Lucca (Italy), and has been a juror for many competitions,
including the Gina Bachauer, Hilton Head, Virginia Waring, as well as the
Canadian Music Competition and American Pianists Association Competition.

A native of Oberlin, Ohio, Mr. Weinstock received performance degrees from
the Oberlin and New England Conservatories of Music, studying with Emil
Danenberg, Victor Rosenbaum, Claude Frank, Lilian Kallir, and Edith Oppens.

ROBERT WEIRICH

Weirich copyRobert Weirich has performed in musical centers throughout the United States,
including Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall,
and at such summer festivals as Tanglewood, Ravinia and Marlboro. Recent
performances include solo recitals in Florida, New York, Illinois, Ohio and the
dedicatory recital of the Choukas Performing Arts Center at Vermont Academy.
Since 2004 he has been the convention artist for the Music Teachers National

Association state organizations in Massachusetts, North Carolina, California,
Arkansas, and Indiana. Chamber performances include a tour of Thailand
and Hong Kong with UMKC colleague Carter Enyeart, a presentation on four-
hand piano with wife and colleague Karen Kushner at the 2005 MTNA national
convention in Seattle, and a boundary-breaking lecture-recital with several
UMKC colleagues on Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion given at
UMKC and at the 2006 national meeting of the College Music Society in San
Antonio.

Since 2004, he has presented master classes at several important schools
of music, including the Oberlin Conservatory, Indiana University, and the
College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He gave three
performances of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the
Syracuse Symphony in 2005, and performed Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto
last June with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. His first solo CD, Piano
Music of Aaron Copland, was released in 2008; The New York Times called
his performances, “brilliant, probing and austerely beautiful.” He has held the Jack
Strandberg Missouri Endowed Chair at the UMKC Conservatory since 1998,
serving as head of the keyboard division from 2004-08, and as associate dean
for performance studies from 2005-07. He is justifiably proud of his students,
who regularly win major competitions, hold university positions throughout the
country, and challenge him on a daily basis in the studio.

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