College of Visual and Performing Arts

2016 IPFW Gene Marcus Piano Competition Final Round Judges

Solungga Fang-Tzu LiuSolungga Fang-Tzu Liu

With a wide-ranging repertoire, pianist Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu has enjoyed an active career as a soloist and collaborator in venues across four continents. A dedicated performer of new music, Liu has performed music by many composers of our time, including the Lutoslawski Piano Concerto with Ossia, Steve Reich’s The Desert Music and Tehillim with Alarm Will Sound, and Meandering River and Three Braided-River for solo piano by Robert Morris (both are dedicated to her).  With AWS Liu has recorded two CDs of Reich’s major works, and a recording of Meandering River has been released by Albany Records.  In addition, Liu premiered Gregory Mertl’s Piano Concerto with the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble, conducted by Craig Kirchhoff.  Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, this concerto was written for Liu and the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble and she has recorded it for INNOVA Records. This album will be released in 2015.

Liu’s 2010 release, The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan: Piano Works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes (Centaur), was praised as having, “excellent sound, sensitivity and beguiling color” by the American Record Guide and “thoughtful interpretations” by the prestigious Clavier Companion.  Of it, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote, “This is an excellent recording. Liu has done justice to this sometimes overlooked body of work with her playing, as she pays tribute to a unique and evocative composer.”

Liu has concertized throughout the globe, including the USA, Canada, Austria, Romania, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.  Her major performances include Ravel’s Concerto in G Major with Taipei Metropolitan Orchestra, a collaborative recital with Paul Merkelo, Principal Trumpet of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, solo recitals at Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, the Goethe Center in Bangkok, the Central Conservatory in Beijing, the Thailand International Mozart Festival, and a chamber concert with new music ensemble Open Gate at Carnegie Hall. Her upcoming fall 2014-spring 2015 performances include recital tours in ten states in the US, Canada and China, chamber music tour in Taiwan, and a guest artist piano recital at the MUBE Concert Series in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Liu is Associate Professor of Piano at the College of Musical Arts, Bowling Green State University. In addition to her dedication to her students at BGSU, Liu maintains a vigorous schedule as a guest artist teacher and as an adjudicator at major international conservatories and competitions, among them the Central Conservatory in Beijing, China, National Taiwan Normal University, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, the First Thailand International Mozart Competition and the Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition. Within the US, she has also presented master classes and lectures at numerous venues, among them the Eastman School of Music, the Providence Keyboard Festival, the Virginia Tech, and the University of Minnesota.

Liu holds a doctoral degree in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Alan Feinberg, Douglas Humpherys and Elizabeth DiFelice.

Derek PolischukDerek Polischuk

Derek Kealii Polischuk is associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy at the Michigan State University College of Music. He has received critical acclaim for his performances throughout the United States. He was a prizewinner in the Carmel International Piano Competition and the California International Young Artists Competition. Born in San Diego, Polischuk studied with Krzysztof Brzuza before attending the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with distinction under the tutelage of renowned piano pedagogue and concert artist Daniel Pollack. On graduating from the Thornton School in 2006, Polischuk was named Most Outstanding Graduate. An enthusiastic supporter of the education of young musicians at every age and ability, Polischuk has presented at meetings of piano teachers in the United States and Canada, including the Music Teachers National Association, the National Group Piano and Pedagogy Conference, and the Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy Conference.  He has served as a judge of piano competitions across the United States and teaches a studio of prizewinning pianists at the undergraduate, graduate, and pre-college levels. He has published in Clavier Magazine and in the MTNA e-journal on the topics of improvisation, outreach, and piano instruction for students with autism spectrum disorders. At MSU, Polischuk has developed a stimulating piano pedagogy curriculum in which piano pedagogy students have the opportunity to hone their private and group piano teaching skills while working with underserved young pianists from Lansing and Detroit. At Michigan State University, Polischuk has been the recipient of the Curricular Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award, and the Teacher-Scholar Award, given in recognition of exceptional skill in teaching. His piano solo and chamber music recordings appear on the Centaur and Blue Griffin labels.  

Richard RatliffRichard Ratliff

Richard Ratliff has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout much of the United States and in Europe, with solo recitals at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, Carnegie Recital Hall, Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago, and the South Bank in London. Highlights of recent seasons include solo and chamber repertoire at the 10th-anniversary Chateau La Gesse Summer Festival near Toulouse, France; an acclaimed series of concerts devoted to music of Mozart and contemporaries on period instruments; and numerous concerto and two-piano collaborations with Maestro Raymond Leppard at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. In addition to nationally syndicated broadcasts by the WFMT (Chicago) Concert Music Consortium and the Parkways Fine Arts Broadcasting System, he has been heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network in live performances from the Schubert Club of St. Paul. More than 200 solo and chamber performances at the University of Indianapolis since 1980 have been praised for “conviction in every phrase” and “splendors in clarity and precision” by the Indianapolis Star. A “Year’s Best” citation from the Star honored his “Chopin Celebration” concert as a “Top Five” event for 2010.

 

Originally from northern California, Ratliff holds degrees through the doctorate from the Eastman School of Music (where he graduated with highest distinction and earned the Performer’s Certificate and the Easley-Hardenbergh Prize) and has also studied at Cornell University, the Curtis Institute, and University of the Pacific. His principal teachers were Cécile Genhart, Barry Snyder, Menahem Pressler, and Malcolm Bilson. Ratliff is Professor of Music and Director for Artistic Initiatives at the University of Indianapolis, where he teaches applied piano, piano ensemble, advanced theory courses, and special topics in analysis and criticism. Former students of Dr. Ratliff have pursued advanced study at Indiana University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, and the Universities of Michigan, Miami, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida, and Southern California, among others. His UIndy students have come from Athens, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Korea, Jordan, Japan, Singapore, Shanghai, and the Republic of Georgia and have performed to enthusiastic audiences on four continents. Ratliff was named 2009 Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Music Teachers Association and received a UIndy Teacher of the Year Finalist Award in 2005.

 

For more than two decades, Ratliff has served as coordinator of the university’s acclaimed Faculty Artist Series. Reaching out to larger audiences through the Fine Arts Society on WICR, he was producer and host of the long-running radio series “Keyboard Kaleidoscope” and wrote more than 50 episodes of the Peabody-nominated series “Art for Ears.” His own performances on campus and at other venues in the area include the complete cycle of Mozart sonatas for fortepiano and violin (with colleague Dean Franke); all of the piano trios of Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms; the piano quartets and quintets of Schumann, Brahms, and Dvoák; and important works of the past century from Debussy and Stravinsky to Zwilich and Crumb. Concerts with the Ronen Chamber Ensemble at the Circle Theatre Wood Room have been characterized by the late Charles Staff of the Indianapolis Star/News as “high energy” (Beethoven Trio, Op. 11), “a strikingly dramatic reading” (Brahms C-minor Piano Quartet), and “a jam session in a madhouse” (Michael Schelle’s Godzilla Brillante). “It’s the pianist [in the Brahms Quartet] who makes all the difference and Ratliff is a pianist who can and did make that difference.” He has also premiered more than two dozen significant solo and chamber works by composers Andrew Fox, John Berners, Michael Schelle, Stanworth Beckler, Haskell Small, James Aikman, and others.