Faculty Biographies


Volker Banfield

Banfield is an eminent pedagogue who holds a full professorship for piano at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Hamburg. He has toured extensively in the USA, Iran, England, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, France, Austria and throughout South America. He has also performed as soloist with the orchestras of the following radio stations: WDR Cologne, SFB (RSO) Berlin, SR Saarbrucken, NDR Hamburg as well as Hannover, BR Munich, WF Baden-Baden, SRG Basel, BBC (London Sinfonietta), Kopenhagen, Ljubljana, KUT (Texas), Tallinn, RAI Milano, KBS Seoul (Korea). He recorded the Liszt E-flat concerto for ZDF national TV in Germany and Frank Martin's 2nd concerto as well as d'Albert's 2nd concerto for Swiss TV (SRG), the latter of which won him a gold medal at the New York TV-Film festival in 1988.

Banfield's interpretation of works by Skriabin, Killmayer, Villa-Lobos, Muller-Siemens, Ligeti and Messiaen have been published by WERGO on four records. CPO released seven CD's, which include the world-premiere recording of Pfitzner's piano concerto with the Munich Philharmonic, Busoni's piano concerto (Symphony Orchestra of Bavarian Radio Munich) and the two piano concertos by Hermann Goetz (Radio Philharmonie Hannover) among others. The Busoni CD won the DIAPASON d'OR, Paris and the "Record of the Month"-distinction of FONOFORUM, Germany.

Maria Stiepanovna Gambarian

Maria Stiepanovna Gambarian is a distinguished profesor of piano at the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow where she teaches numerous advanced students. Formerly she was professor of piano at the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Conservatory. She has worked under Lev Oborin, Heinrich Neuhaus and Konstantin Igumnov - all leading teachers at the Moscow Conservatory.

Gambarian has performed all over the former Soviet Union including appearances with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, she has perfomed in Spain, Japan, South Korea, Germany and France.

Her recordings include piano works by Chopin, Schumann and the French piano repertoire. She has been on the faculty of the Prague International Piano Masterclasses since 1995.


Vit Gregor

Vit Gregor is professor of piano at Charles Univeristy, Prague - one of Europe's oldest and most distinguished universities. He performs regularly in concert and is involved in the leadership of the Interpretational Courses for young pianists organized by Charles University. Professor Gregor won first prize in the 1978 Jesenik Competition and performed with the Czech Philharmonic.

Professor Gregor is a very active concert artist and chamber musician. Possessing a considerable piano repertoire, Prof. Gregor has recently been concentrating on the interpretation of contemporary Czech music.

He graduated from the Prague Academy of Music, where he studied piano with Zdenek Jilek. During the summer of 1999 Vit Gregor taught and performed in an artist residency at the Gnessin Music Academy. In August 2000, Professor Gregor had an extensive artist residency in Japan.

Ian Hobson

Ian Hobson is Professor of Music and Professor in the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Besides his international reputation as a pianist and teacher, Hobson is sought after as a conductor, particularly for performances in which he doubles as piano soloist. He made his debut with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra as conductor and soloist in October 1997. He has led the English Chamber Orchestra, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra, the Fresno Philharmonic, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, the Tallahassee Symphony, the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra of Israel, as well as his own Sinfonia da Camera - a chamber orchestra he formed in 1984 which quickly gained international recognition through its recordings.

In January 1998 Ian Hobson formed Zephyr Productions, Inc. as the parent company for his new label, Zephyr Records. The inaugural releases on the Zephyr label included the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas as well as the Sousa opera. Other recent releases include works by Falla and Ravel; two volumes of concertos by Ignaz Moscheles; the Schubert/Godowsky transcriptions for piano; and David Johnson's Twelve Preludes and Fugues for Piano. Upcoming releases will include music for two pianos by Saint-Saens/Liszt.

He is currently preparing a series of concerts entitled: "Evolution of a Genius: The Complete Solo Piano Works of Frederic Chopin" The nine programs cover the great Polish pianist's output from his very early youth to his death in 1849.

Thomas Linde

Since accepting a faculty position at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan in 1986, Thomas Linde has been active as a pianist and teacher throughout the Far East.  He has been invited to Japan seven times and has performed in Tokyo, Kyoto, Utsonomiya and many other cities.  In the United States, Mr. Linde has served as a visiting professor at Eastern Michigan University and has given masterclasses at colleges and universities throughout the country. 

Active as a teacher with students ranging from pre-college to the graduate level, he has taught students who have won first prizes in international and all-Taiwan competitions.  Mr. Linde holds a doctorate in piano performance from Indiana University where he graduated with distinction.  He is also the recipient of an alumni achievement award from his undergraduate school, Baldwin-Wallace College.  Since 1994 he has been the director of the Tunghai Summer Music Festival, inviting artists from around the world to come to the campus at Tunghai to teach and perform. 

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Eugene Pridonoff

Professor of Piano and Artist-in Residence at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, Eugene Pridonoff has maintained an international performing and teaching career for over four decades.  A laureate in the Leventritt, Montreal, Brazil, and Tschaikowsky competitions, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski.

He has performed with orchestras throughout the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Central Opera Orchestra of Beijing, and the San Salvador Symphony Orchestra, under such conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Izler Solomon, Andre Kostelanetz, Michael Gielen, Frederic Prausnitz, Nicholas Harsanyi, Howard Mitchell, John Barnett, Gerhard Samuel, William Smith and Lawrence Leighton Smith. He has also given solo and duo recitals, as well as master classes throughout North, Central, and South America, Russia, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, and Italy.  Twice yearly, he is in residence at the Ichionkai School in Tokyo, Japan, and in the summer months teaches at the Amalfi Festival in Italy, and International Piano Week of Belgium. 

His former students hold collegiate positions internationally and have been first-place winners in the Horowitz, Missouri Southern, American Pianists Association, Shreveport Wideman, and Midland-Odessa competitions. In March of 2005, he and his wife Elizabeth Pridonoff (Professor of Piano at UC-CCM) were interviewed and featured on the cover of Clavier Magazine.  Eugene Pridonoff is a Steinway Artist.

Logan Skelton

Logan Skelton is Professor of Piano, Chair of the Piano Department and Director of Doctoral Studies in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan. He is a much sought after pianist, teacher and composer whose work has received international critical acclaim. He has concertized widely in the United States, Europe and Asia and has been featured many times in the US on public radio and television stations, as well as on radio in China, and national television in Romania. To date he has recorded ten discs of solo and chamber repertoire for Centaur, Albany, and Crystal Records in addition to performing on two pianos with composer/pianist William Bolcom on a disc for Naxos Records.

Skelton regularly appears in prominent music festivals, has given countless performances and masterclasses at colleges and conservatories throughout the world, and is a frequent juror for international piano competitions. His own students at the University of Michigan have repeatedly won awards in many competitions including Hilton Head Island, San Antonio, Cincinnati World, Fischoff, Jacob Flier, Iowa, Frinna Awerbuch, Eastman, Missouri Southern, Shreveport-Wideman, New York, Oberlin, Idyllwild, as well as numerous Music Teachers National Association competitions. His former students hold positions of prominence in music schools and conservatories throughout the world.

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Boaz Sharon

Boaz Sharon is Professor of Piano at the University of Florida School of Music and is Visiting Professor of Piano at Shenyang Conservatory, China. He is also on the artist faculty of the International Certificate for Piano Artists (in collaboration with the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris-Alfred Cortot) and is an Honorary Fellow at Charles University, Prague.  He is winner of the Jaen International Piano Competition, Spain and is on the juries of the Rudolf Firkusny International Piano Competition, Prague and the International Piano Competition Compositores de Espana in Madrid.  He is a Steinway Artist.


He has recorded CD’s of piano music by Milhaud, Debussy and others on the Nonesuch, Unicorn, Hyperion and Arcobaleno labels (“among the best classical recordings of the year, Newsweek) and has given recitals in Europe, Asia and South America including recitals at Taipei National Recital Hall, Kingston University Steinway Celebrity Series, England, Gasteig Music Center, Munich and others. Recently he gave a 13 recital and orchestra appearance tour from the Far East of Russia to Moscow and masterclasses at Seoul School of the Arts.  


In 2006 Sharon performed in Montreal, Canada, Beijing and at the Ruza piano festival in Russia. He will be giving recital and masterclasses in the course of 2007 in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou and will be returning to the Ruza music festival in Russia.

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Yun Ha Hwang

Korean Pianist Yun Ha Hwang, was written about in New York as "a true crowd-pleaser with a large, power-house sound and an unveiled artistic temperament". She has won several Competitions such as "The Artist International", "The Urbino Americani Musicisti Festival Competition", "The Pusan Competition", and "The KBS competition"

Ms. Hwang is currently a member of the faculty at the Seoul National University, the Korean National University of Arts in Korea. Besides teaching and performances, Ms. Hwang formed the Korean Liszt Society in 1999 and has been filling the president of the society up to date. For her continuous devotion to the cultural exchange between Korea and Hungary, Hungarian government awarded her the 'Pro Cultura Hungarica' medal in 2004.


Milos Kodejska

Doc. Paed Dr. Milos Kodejska, CSc. is a teacher at the Music Department of the Pedagogical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. His professional orientation is music teaching methodology, music psychology and integrative pedagogy. Mr. Kodejska is a chairman (head) of the team of authors which prepares various didactic projects, teaching aids and texts for the artistic education of pre-school and primary school children. His work has been widely acknowledged and highly appreciated in many international exhibitions and conferences.

Together with the pianist Prof. Boaz Sharon, Mr. Kodejska has laid the foundation stone of an international project of piano masterclasses for university students. This project was highly estimated by The Czech Universities Development Fund and the Grant Agency of Charles University in Prague.

Since 2002, he is a main organizor of the Vischegrad Initiative which brings together four universities from the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Poland and Hungary in order to promote the development of the instrumental chamber music on grammar schools and to support interest choir singing groups in the project "With Music to Joy and Friendship". Through the above mentioned scope of activities, he participates in the work of the European Association of School Music Teaching (EAS) with its head office in Belgium.