Piano Judge Panel

Chong Hung

Since moving to Hong Kong in 1981, Mr Chong Hung held numerous piano recitals. He was also invited by TVB for an interview and by RTHK for piano recordings.

Mr. Hung held teaching position HK Bapitist University, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Education University of Hong Kong. He was also on the judge panel of Hong Kong – Asia Piano Open Competition and Asia Youth Music Competition.

Rachel Cheung

Young Steinway Artist Rachel Cheung has received top honours at numerous prestigious competitions worldwide, most recently in June 2017 she became the winner of the Audience Award and a finalist at the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. She was also a prizewinner at the 16th Leeds, the 28th Alessandro Casagrande and the 67th Geneva international piano competitions.

Cheung has collaborated with renowned orchestras including the Halle Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder, Sydney Symphony under Vladimir Ashkenazy, the London Chamber Orchestra with Christopher Warren-Green, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra with Nicholas McGegan and Leonard Slatkin, and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra with Gábor Takács-Nagy. She also conducted and played concerto with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris at the Play-Direct Academy led by Stephen Kovacevich, where she was also awarded the Prix du Jury at the closing concert.

As an active chamber musician, Rachel has worked with world-renowned musicians such as Vladimir Mendelssohn, Dong-Suk Kang, Jan-Erik Gustafasson, Ning Feng, Trey Lee, Latica-Honda Rosenberg, Jens Peter Maintz, Virpi Räisänsen, Jian Wang, and Michel Lethiec, Bruno Canino , the Brentano String Quartet and Quatuor Leonis. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Cheung graduated with First Class Honours at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts under the tutelage of Prof. Eleanor Wong, and later with Prof. Peter Frankl at the Yale School of Music where she was awarded the Elizabeth Parisot Prize for outstanding pianists.

Charles Tsui

A native of Hong Kong, Charles is currently the pianist of the Topeka Symphony. He recently performed in the Emerald Coast Music Alliance Festival, collaborated a recital with violist Boris Vayner, and broadcasted through the Kansas Public Radio with soprano Jennifer Forni. He is also the collaborative pianist of Youth Chorus of Kansas City, and the organist of Avondale United Methodist Church. Charles is currently a Doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, supervised under the world-renowned pianist Alon Goldstein.

He obtained his master's degree and received his undergraduate degree at the Longy School of Music of Bard College and Hong Kong Baptist University. Charles holds the Licentiate of Trinity College London and the membership of Music Teachers National Association. He also served as the judge of the Young Artist Competition in Topeka.

Kowoon Lee

A native of South Korea, Kowoon Lee started piano at age 4 and made her solo debut at age 16 with the Chungnam Symphony Orchestra. She has since performed internationally with many orchestras and ensembles in South Korea, United States, Czech Republic, and Italy, such as Janacek Concert Chamber Orchestra, Romania Banatul Timisoara Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Ballet, Percussions Ensemble, Seoul National University Orchestra, and Sookmyung Festival Orchestra. She won numerous competitions and played at masterclasses of Freddy Kempf, Alain Jacquon, Klaus Schilde, Francois Thinat, Sontraud Speidel, Billy Eidi, Peter Barcaba, and Hey Young Park.

A devotee of new music, Ms. Lee has performed music by living composers, such as Chen Yi, James Mobberly, Karen Tanaka, Juri Seo, Wang A-Mao, and Vera Ivanova at Musica Nova and Composers’ Guild concert series. She was invited to perform at the national conference of SCI (Society of Composers, Inc.). Her lecture-recital “21st Century Music for Solo Piano by Living East Asian Women Composers” was selected to present at the 2018 Women Composers Festival of Hartford (Hartford, Connecticut) and the 10th World Piano Conference (Novi Sad, Serbia).
Ms. Lee has participated in national/international festivals and conferences, such as Enmyoun Piano Academy Music Camp, J&R Music Academy Music Camp, Rebecca Penny’s Piano Festival, Society for American Music, and PyeongChang Music Festival. She was also selected to present her research “Tools and Techniques to Improve Sight-Reading Skills” at the national conference of the Music Teachers National Association. At the Interlochen Arts Camps, Ms. Lee worked as a teaching assistant and a collaborative pianist/coach. She also served as a collaborative pianist at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Ms. Lee now is an adjunct assistant professor of music at Cottey College and as a faculty at Young Artists Music Academy. She is pursuing her DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) in Piano Performance with a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she studies with Dr. Thomas Rosenkranz. She earned her MM (Master of Music) and PD (Performer Diploma) from Indiana University with Dr. Karen Shaw, where she received her full scholarship as an Associate Instructor. She graduated from Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea with Dr. HyeSoo Jeon.

Radmila Stojanovic-Kiriluk

Dr. Radmila Stojanovic-Kiriluk, a NCTM certified teacher, performer, editor, and presenter, works as an adjunct faculty at the MCC School of Music in Mesa, Arizona, where she teaches private piano, piano pedagogy, group piano, and literature. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher and in 2018 she was awarded the Honor Teacher Award from the ASMTA association.
Radmila earned a Doctorate of Music Arts degree under Dr. Caio Pagano at Arizona State University in 2004 and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Belgrade, Serbia. Her dissertation was published by VDM Verlag in August 2007 and her recording of Marko Tajcevic’s complete piano music was published by Toccata Classics (London) in May 2009. She also edited two volumes of Tajcevic’s music published by Schott Publishing Company (Germany), in 2012 and 2014.

Radmila has worked with many piano teachers, including I. Laszko, A. Valdma, Y. Airapetian, N. Starkman, S. Drakulic, N. Popovic, and G. Nikolic. She also spent three months in Moscow under the tutelage of E.Y. Liberman. Radmila has performed in Serbia, Macedonia, Italy, Russia, and the United States. She was a member of the “New Music Workshop” ensemble for contemporary music and also performed with several orchestras, variety of soloists, and choirs. Her recordings have been played on radio and television.

Radmila regularly adjudicates piano competitions, national exams, and festivals and has presented at the conferences and workshops on topics such as “Expanding Music Expression by the Thoughtful Use of Hands, Wrists, and Arms”, “The Folk Influences in Music of Bela Bartok and Marko Tajcevic”, “Explorations of Piano Music through History”, “Teacher Burn-Out”, “Balancing the Repertoire: Finding the Right Choices for Your Advanced Students”, and “Never Ending Paths to Piano Technique”. She has been a board member of her local (EVMTA) and state (ASMTA) organizations and have performed various duties, such as EVMTA piano competition chair, ASP program evaluator and judge, and ASMTA State Conference chair. She was also on the board of the first Arizona Summer Piano Institute in 2014 and currently serves on the Avanti Piano Competition committee. She lives with her husband and two children in Mesa, Arizona.

Riley McKinch

Pianist Riley McKinch has enjoyed success as a soloist and in collaboration across the United States and abroad. Originally from Wisconsin, Riley has studied at Wheaton College (IL), BMA Piano Performance and Literature; and Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, MM and PD Piano Performance and Literature and PD Collaborative Piano. While pursuing his doctorate he was awarded the prestigious Herberger Scholarship. He currently a doctoral candidate in collaborative piano. In addition to teaching piano and coaching singers, he has also enjoyed teaching positions in Music Theory at each of his institutions as well as a faculty position at Spotlight on Opera. He made his orchestral debut playing Ravel’s Concerto pour la main gauche and most recently performed Saint-Saens 2nd concerto alongside many local Phoenix colleagues. He finds particular joy in his collaborations with singers where he is able to join his love of varied musical styles, language, and the art of singing as a pianist and a vocal coach. His recent performance highlights include many recitals across the greater Phoenix area, the debut recital at Winterthur Museum, complete performances of Puccini's La Boheme with Spotlight on Opera, and the premiere of a song cycle commissioned from composer Juliana Hall for the SongFest program in Los Angeles.

Thomas Weaver

Thomas Weaver is an American pianist and composer currently on faculty at Curtis Institute of Music and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. His playing has been hailed as displaying “sensitivity,” “deep resonance,” and “incredible dexterity.” Weaver has appeared in cities including New York (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), Philadelphia (Field Concert Hall), Boston (Jordan Hall), Chicago, Washington DC (Phillips Collection), and Berlin, in addition to festival performances at Tanglewood Music Festival and Red Rocks Music Festival. He has performed along many eminent musicians including Jess Gillam, Elmira Darvarova, David Amram, Jennifer Frautschi, and members of major symphony orchestras. Weaver is a part of the Amram Ensemble and New England Chamber Players and has had over twenty works written especially for him. His chamber music recordings of the music of David Amram and Astor Piazzolla are available on the Affetto label.

An award-winning composer, Weaver has had works performed throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, Japan, and Australia. Works have been premiered by notable musicians and ensembles including the Boston University Symphony Orchestra, Daraja Ensemble, Alea III, and Kenneth Radnofsky. An active educator, Weaver has given lectures or master classes throughout the United States, including Austin Peay State University and Murray State University.

Michael Shui

Global Times praised Michael Shui, “mature and passionate, deliberately voiced phrase with dynamic life and creativity.” Dr. Shui earned both of Master Degree and Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from Arizona State University, with full scholarship awarded by the school, where he studied with Regen t Professor Caio Pagano and Professor Robert Hamilton.
Michael appeared as a soloist in several countries, includes Korea, China, Hong Kong, United States and Germany where he was invited to play at the Hammerberg Summer Music Festival. He had also played at the Steinway Piano Gallery, Katzin Concert Hall, Kerr Cultural Center, Tempe Center For For The Arts, United Nations. As being an apprentice early, he had also won several prizes, includes Young Musician of the Year, the winner of the concerto competition at Arizona State University, Silver Prize at the ASIA International Piano Academy & Festival and the Bach Arts Award from the International Youth Piano Open Competition. He was widely appraised and invited to perform at the piano master classes given by the celebrated pianist like Menahem Pressler, Sofya Gulyak and Martha Argerich.

Michael’s dissertation “A Rediscovered Genius, Carl Czerny and his F minor Grand Piano Sonata, Op.178: A Critical Analysis and Performance Guidance” received scholar grant from ASU and published in ProQuest. His article “Developing a positive mindset of learing instruments at early age” was published both on Phoenix Chinese Press and Arizona Chinese News.
As a music and piano educator himself, he been working as a Faculty Associate at the ASU and also piano instructor at ASU Community Music School. Michael had nomiateed the “Excellent Teaching Award” in 2016. He served as jury for Avanti Steinway Piano Competition and adjucator for Arizona Study Program. Recently, he engages in series of chamber music concerts, includes the Mozart Piano Quintet with Arizona Pro Arte and chamber music concerts at Paradise Valley Chamber Music.

Dr. Shui currently holds a Piano Faculty at the Arizona State University Prep. He is also a member of several music orangizaitons in the US, such as Music Teachers National Associaiton, American College of Musicians, Chamber Music Association and National Piano Foundation.

Yu-Yu Hsieh

A Taiwanese versatile musician base in Italy, Ms. Hsieh has received in Piano, Chamber m usic, Voice and Vocal coach 4 highest diploma with distinguished honor from Conservatorio di Verona “F. E. Dall’Abaco” and Conservatorio di Brescia “Luca Marenzio”. Awarded by Italy Government scholarship for 3 years.

At Conservatorio di Verona “F. E. Dall’Abaco”, she works as an assistant for Soprano 朱苔麗, Pianist Adriano Ambrosini, Coach Andrea Ambrosini, and Conductor Luisa Russo.
Beside her teaching, she has been performing comtemporary piano music at Sweden 哥德堡 GAS Festival, Lizst 200 universary concert. Since 2015 she was invited as pianist by “Amici della Musica di Verona” in collaborating with composer Paolo Ugoletti, conductor Maurizio Barbacini, Soprani Nina Muh and Marily Santoro.

Chi-Fen Tsai

Ms. Tsai is passionate in teaching and performing in Taiwan for 20 years. She also served as judge in many piano competitions. Chi-Fen was awarded Master of piano performance and music education at Institute of Music, National Chiao Tung University where she studied with Dr. Mo-Li Chiang, who was a pupil of famous musician Leon Fleisher, and Bachelor degree in Music at Soochow University where she studied with Ching-Yun Wang. Her continue music journey has led her to “L’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris” where she studied with Emile Naoumoff, Jerome Rose, Dr. JY-Song. Furthermore, she was pointed as pianist for violinists Henry Gronnier and Tanja Becker-Bender, performing in Salle Cortot Concert Hall in Paris.
Besides piano and harpsichord recitals, Chi-Fen’s diverse music activities include collaboration with Soochow University Symphony Orchestra, and chamber music in many different venues. She was invited by Taoyuan Government and Po-Ya School, Tunghai University performing all kinds of classical and Jazz concerts in Taiwan. International concerts has brought her to Paris, France, Poland and Russia.

Currently she devotes her life in both family and creative education for the young generation. Her creativities and wisdom in teaching was praised by many parents and students.