National Young Maestro Competition
Young Maestro Faculty
Eliza Bokman, Musical Director
Eliza Bokman was exposed to the world of classical music at the age of 5, and began to excel immediately. After studying for several years at the International School of Music, Dance, Art, and Sport, by 12 years old she was accepted into the studio of the distinguished professor Dr. Lydia Boguslavsky, as well as the Mark Twain Middle School for the Gifted and Talented. In those several years prior to beginning studies for her Bachelor of Music Degree at Rowan University, some of Eliza Bokman’s accomplishments included First Prize at the Young Artist International Competition, Silver and Bronze medals at the Z’ecchino D’oro Music Competition, and performances with some of the world’s most renowned artists such as Leonid Ogonessov and Gennady Kupisok. While studying at Rowan under the chair of the Piano Department, Professor Veda Zuponcic, she placed 3rd in the NJMTA Piano Competition as well as Honorable Mention Recognition. She also had the pleasure of performing with the distinguished St. Petersburg String Quartet and take master classes with some of the world’s most notable pianists such as Tatiana Werkina, former Director at the Kiev Conservatory in Ukraine, and Naum Shtarkman, famous concert pianist and recording artist. Ms. Bokman's extensive accompaniment experience of both vocalists and instrumentalists continued when she was invited by Professor Zuponcic to participate for 5 seasons in the Northern Lights Music Festival both in N.J. and Minnesota. While there, she gave numerous solo and chamber ensemble performances.
Following the completion of her Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance, Ms. Bokman went on to graduate with a Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music under Professor Nina Svetlanova. During her studies, she was on the faculty of the Douglaston School of Music where she led the music class for the youngest of musicians as well as a private studio class. After graduating with her second Masters in Music Education from Columbia University, Ms. Bokman moved to N.J. where she was on the faculty of Monmouth County’s premier music academy, Music University for almost 10 years. In addition to her private piano studio, Ms. Bokman is on the Music faculty at the Taylor Mills Elementary School in Manalapan, N.J. Eliza Bokman is the founding member of the Young Maestro International Competition.
Dr. Lydia Boguslavsy, Artistic Director
One of the most distinguished pianists to emerge from the former Soviet Union, Lydia Boguslavsky has captured audiences throughout the United States, Europe and Russia with a “brilliant combination of technical assurance and sensitivity.”
Ever since her debut with the Byelorussian State Philharmonic at the age of 14, Ms. Boguslavsky has been recording and performing extensively, both with orchestras and in solo recitals in major cities of the Soviet Republics. Among her many honors and awards are the Byelorussian Government’s Honorable Award, the Superior Teaching Award from the Queens College Cultural Heritage Competition in New York, and top prizes at the Byelorussian National Competition and the Soviet All-State Competition. A major advocate of contemporary music, Ms. Boguslavsky has premiered and recorded many works by leading Russian and Byelorussian composers and many of them wrote some works in consideration of her artistic individuality. Her passion for collaborative work resulted in a highly successful partnership with the celebrated Metropolitan Opera soloist, Dimitri Kavrakos. Lydia Boguslavsky began her distinguished teaching career early, becoming one of the youngest piano professors at the Byelorussian State Conservatory upon receiving her Doctorate at the age of 25. Among her students are many successful soloists, chamber musicians and collaborative artists who actively perform and teach both in Russia and abroad. A highly sought-after pedagogue, Ms. Boguslavsky has published numerous scholarly works, including Working on New Repertoire and The Art of Legato, where she introduced her own methods that reflect on the celebrated Russian school of piano playing. Lydia Boguslavsky has presented master classes in St. Petersburg, Moscow, New York, as well as in Lithuania, Latvia, Germany and Spain and has served as a judge at various competitions, including the MTNA State Competition and The Young Pianists Competition in New Jersey. Ms. Boguslavsky holds degrees from the Moscow Gnessin Pedagogical Institute (DMA), the Moscow Conservatory, and the Byelorussian Academy of Music. Among her teachers are such renowned performers and pedagogues as Yakov Milstein, Alexander Yoheles and Eugene Malinin. Lydia Boguslavsky is a member of the piano faculty of the Rowan University in New Jersey and Summit Music Festival in New York. She has also taught and performed at Burgos International Music Festival in Spain, Northern Lights Music Festival in Minnesota, Weimar Festival in Germany as well as serving on a faculty at the College of Staten Island, the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase and Wagner College.
Yahan Liu, Artistic Advisory
Yahan Liu is an active solo and collaborative pianist based in New York City. She has won multiple competitions and awards, including the Clifton Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award, first prize in the National Young Maestro Competition, and the Rowan Soloists’ Competition, which resulted in a solo performance with the Rowan University Orchestra. Her solo and chamber music performances have been heard at Manhattan in the Mountains Music Festival, Techne Music Festival at Moravian College, Summit Music Festival, Northern Lights Music Festival, and in halls including Kimmel Center Perelman Theater, Steinway Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and others.
Yahan began her piano studies at the age of six and holds a Bachelor of Music from Rowan University as well as a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, where she currently serves as the secretary of the Manhattan School of Music Alumni Advisory Council. Her primary teachers have included Joanne Polk, Lydia Boguslavsky, and Pei Sun. She has additionally studied harpsichord with Kenneth Cooper and Jocelyn Stewart, piano accompanying with John Forconi, and piano pedagogy and literature with Veda Zuponcic.
In addition to her performing career, Yahan is also a dedicated piano teacher, having taught private lessons and masterclasses in the United States and in China. She currently holds the position of Asian Business Development Representative for Steinway & Sons at Steinway Hall, where she enjoys the opportunities to connect with Steinway Artists, Educational Partners, and aspiring pianists.
Raffi Besalyan, Piano Faculty
Hailed as “a true heir of the mainstream of Russian pianism, like Horowitz” (Chopin Magazine,Japan), “a keyboard phenomenon” (Fanfare Magazine), “a formidable pianist with a commanding presence and rich interpretive gifts” (American Record Guide), ”a master of his art” (The Record Geijutsu Magazine, Japan), Raffi Besalyan has established an international reputation of a magnetic and passionate performer.
Associate Professor of Piano at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Dr. Raffi Besalyan has toured North and South America, Europe, Russia, and Asia. His performances have been applauded in such prestigious venues as Carnegie and Merkin Hall (New York City), Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Atlanta Symphony Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center (Detroit), Moscow Conservatory’s Rachmaninoff Hall and Maly Zal (Russia), Izumi Hall and Phoenix Hall (Japan). He dazzled his audiences appearing as a soloist with many prominent orchestras, including the Osaka Symphony and Kansai Philharmonic in Japan, the Orchestra Sinfonica Del Festival Di Chioggia in Venice, Italy, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, Yerevan Symphony Orchestra in Armenia, Belgorod, Symphony in Russia, Kharkov Symphony in Ukraine, the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, and Moscow Chamber Orchestra among others. Besalyan’s solo recitals have also been broadcast live on National Public Radio. Critics on both sides of the Atlantic have praised his performances for their virility, poetry and extraordinary technical command. Among his competition awards are top prizes received from the Josef Hofmann International Piano Competition, Artists International Competition, the New York Frinna Awerbuch International Competition, and the MTNA National Piano Competition. Besalyan visits Japan on a yearly basis for concerts, master classes and adjudication for PTNA, Osaka International Music Competition and the International Chopin Competition in Asia arranged by IMC Music in Tokyo and MAS management in Osaka. In 2012 Besalyan established himself as an award-winning recording artist, receiving international accolades for his album “Dance, Drama, Decadence” (IMC Music, Japan). The album received the prestigious Jun-Tokusen Award from The Record Geijutsu, Japan’s leading classical music magazine, and was chosen as the “Classical Album of the Month” by Mainichi Shinbun, one of Japan’s largest newspapers. “Dance, Drama, Decadence” was selected as the “Best New Release of the Month” by Tokyo FM. Besalyan is also featured on “Bach-Busoni Edition, Vol.I” for KochInternational Classics. Besalyan’s critically acclaimed recording of solo works by S. Rachmaninoff and A. Babajanian for the GRAMMY® Award-Winning record label Sono Luminus entitled “The Return” was released in March of 2015, and is distributed by Naxos. “The Return” has been aired on practically every major radio stations across the U.S. and Canada, such as the NPR, WGBH Boston, the SiriusXM Washington D.C., Wisconsin Public Radio, The King FM Seattle, WFMT Chicago, The Grand FM Ontario and CBC Public Radio. WQXR, New York’s premier classical radio station featured the album as the New and Noteworthy Release of September 2015. Besalyan’s newest recording of solo works of A. Khachaturian, O. Levant and G. Gershwin for Sono Luminus is titled “The Sound of Black & White”, and it will be released worldwide in July of 2021.
Recently Raffi Besalyan signed with the Muse Press Publisher of Tokyo, Japan. His editions of E. Baghdasarian’s 24 Preludes for Piano and Oscar Levant’s Sonatina are slated for publication in the Fall of 2021. A native of Yerevan, Armenia, Besalyan studied at the Tchaikovsky Special Music School for Gifted Children. He received his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the
Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory as a student of Sergey Barseghyan. He received an additional Master of Music degree from Rowan University under Veda Zuponcic, and studied at the Manhattan School of Music with legendary American pianist Byron Janis and Sara Davis Buechner. His studies at the Moscow State Conservatory included classes with Alexei Nasedkin, Victor Merzhanov and Naum Shtarkman. Former Professor of Piano at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Rowan University inNew Jersey, Besalyan has also been a guest artist/teacher for Festival Musica in Laguna in Venice, Italy, the International Music Festival at Rowan, the Cap Ferret International Music Festival in France, and the International Summer Music Performance Program at Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2019 Dr. Besalyan received the Steinway & Sons coveted Top Teacher Award in recognition of his hard work and commitment to teaching and inspiring young people in their study of piano. The award also acknowledged his guidance of helping students lay the foundation for a lifetime of musical and artistic expression.
Marc Silverman, Piano Faculty Judge
Exceptional authority and impeccable taste” was the description in the New York Times for the playing of pianist Marc Silverman. His “richly colored sonorities” and “thrilling surges of power” have prompted critics to compare him to the legendary Josef Hofmann. Dr. Silverman has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician, performing televised concerts, conducting master classes, and presenting lecture-demonstrations on the tradition of romantic pianism and interpretation. Marc Silverman is a founding member of the Carnegie Trio. In addition to their international touring and summer festival residences, they have recorded many works from the standard repertory. As a soloist, Dr. Silverman has recorded 20th-century works in RCA’s iconic Studio A for international release. An award winner of the Kapell International Competition, the Gina Bachauer International Competition and the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, Dr. Silverman is frequently quoted in publications including Chamber Music America, Piano and Keyboard Magazine, the New York Times and the Washington Post. In 1999, he was named International Consultant to the Nanyang Academy, Singapore’s flagship arts institution. The Australian government engaged Dr. Silverman in 2003 and 2007 to serve as Visiting Artist at the Australian National Academy of Music, the country’s premier institution for the training of classical musicians. In 2009, he was awarded the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service by the Manhattan School of Music, the highest award bestowed by the school. Dr. Silverman has been Chairman of the Piano Department at Manhattan School of Music since 1989 and has coordinated piano chamber music at the school since 1985.
Alexander Timofeev, Composition Faculty
Philadelphia‐based composer and pianist Alexander Timofeev merges various Eastern European and American influences to create music of intense emotion, lyricism and dynamic movement. His compositions have been described as ‘a great wealth of expression’ (Romania Libera), ‘a symphony from the East’ (The Whit), ‘Hindemith on steroids’ (Lawrence K. Moss), ‘multidimensional...avoiding the serial approach’ (Galina Cocearova).
Timofeev debuted as a composer and pianist at 19, performing his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2003) with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Moldova. He is the winner of the Audience Choice Award and Commission at the American Composers Orchestra's 2017 Underwood New Music Readings; finalist of International Competition of the Moscow Conservatory for Young Composers ‘New Classics’ (2018); winner of Chicago Ensemble ‘Discover America IX’ (2017); winner of the 2016 Richard Weerts Composition Competition; finalist of the 2016 Thailand International Composition Festival Competition; and National Finalist of the 2010 MTNA Young Artist Composition Competition. Timofeev was honored to serve as the Commissioned Composer for the 2019 New Jersey Music Teachers Association conference. His recent compositions include the one act opera School of Marital Happiness (2019) on a libretto by Janet Fishman, premiered at the Wiener Kammeroper; Wind Fairy, for Orchestra (2019) premiered at Moscow Conservatory’s Rachmaninoff Hall; Concerto for Cimbalom and Orchestra (chamber version 2019) premiered at Solti Hall of the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest; Antiphon for the Angels (2019) for Mezzo-soprano, Mixed Choir, Orchestral Winds, Organ and Percussion premiered at Rowan University, New Jersey, and others. Among the most influential encouragers and supporters of Timofeev’s music are the Romanian soprano Mariana Nicolesco, American mezzo‐soprano Barbara Dever, clarinetists Stanislav Chernyshev and Elizandro Garcia‐Montoya, cimbalist Ion Curteanu, violinist Angela Molodojan, pianists Helen Cha, Yuri Blinov, and Matei Varga, choreographer/dancer Paule Turner. An active pianist, Timofeev has appeared as a soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Radio‐ Television Orchestra of St. Petersburg (Russia), Iasi Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras of Moldova, and Eastman School of Music Orchestra. He won First Prizes at Niš International Piano Competition, Serbia (2006), the Margaret Guthman Piano Competition, Atlanta (2006), and won Third Prize at the 2007 MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition (Toronto).
Alexander Timofeev completed his doctoral studies in piano performance at the University of Maryland, College Park (2012). He holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music (2008) and B.M. double degree in piano and composition from Rowan University (2006). His composition teachers included Zlata Tkach, Lawrence K. Moss and Harold Oliver. He studied piano with Douglas Humpherys, Larissa Dedova, Veda Zuponcic, Victor Levinzon, Aliona Vardanean, and conducting with Mikhail Sechkin. Timofeev is Artist‐in‐Residence and Adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey.
Andrey Komantsky, Composition Faculty Judge
Andrey Komanetsky received his Master of Music Degree in Composition and Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music (NY). Andrey is the winner of the 2011 Trio Anima Mundi Composition Competition (Australia) with his 6 Preludes for Piano Trio.His one-act opera Bobok won the BMO Mainstage Award in the Contemporary American Festival Composers’ Competition and will be performed by the Boston Metropolitan Opera in its 2011-2012 season. He won first prize in the 2005 International Composition Competition for Piano Trio (Austria). His winning work Affinity to Movement was the designated chamber music selection at the 6th International Competition “Franz Schubert und die Musik der Moderne” (Austria). It made its world premiere in the Embassy of Japan in Belgium in January 2006, and was followed by performances in the Kammermusiksaal, and the Stefaniensaal at the Graz Convention Center in Austria in February 2006, and in Europe and Australia thereafter.He was also a prizewinner in the 2001 Discover America Competition for New American Chamber Works. Andrey has had 9 collections of piano works published to date, by FJH Music Company, Willis Music Company and distributed by Hal Leonard International Corporation. His pedagogic compositions are hailed by the Music Teachers National Association as “…substantive and realistic challenges that promote musical and technical growth…evoke some of the most effective pedagogical works of Bartok and Kabalevsky…”.His liturgical vocal work Panis Angelicus was published by Church Publishing Incorporated in 2010. In addition, Affinity to Movement was selected to be published in the annual series of SCI Journal of Music Scores, Vol. 47. Andrey is the Music Director, Organist, and Choir Director at the Roman Catholic Church of St. John (NY). He is an active collaborative pianist, featured frequently in concerts in the tri-states, and is a sought-after music arranger.