2014 IPFW Gene Marcus Piano Competition Final Round Judges
David Abbott has been Professor of Piano at Albion College since 2005. Previously he lived for ten years in Switzerland where he was frequently heard both as soloist and collaborative artist through Switzerland, Germany and on tours in Australia as a member of the Swiss Chamber Soloists. His recording with that ensemble on the Swiss Claves label of Schumann’s piano quartet and quintet won the coveted Prix d’or prize for that year’s outstanding chamber music recording.
Dr. Abbott has dedicated a great deal of his career as mentor and teacher, serving on the faculties of the Zürich and Schaffausen Conservatories of Music (Switzerland), and earlier at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2010, he was asked to serve on the faculty of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University as a sabbatical replacement for Edmund Battersby. He has also directed summer courses in both piano and chamber music in Europe as well as in the United States for over 25 years. In 2003, he founded the Con Brio Music Academy at the Hindemith Music Center in Blonay, Switzerland where he works with students across Europe and from the United States in piano and chamber music.
In 2011, Dr. Abbott was invited to teach and perform in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and also appeared in recitals with his wife Lia Jensen-Abbott in France and Switzerland. He was awarded a Bronze medal and two special prizes at the 1980 International Music Competition in Geneva. A graduate of the Eastman and Juilliard Schools of Music, Dr. Abbott remains active in historically informed performance practice as a result of work with renowned fortepianist Malcolm Bilson. He recently completed a two-CD recording project of solo and chamber music by 20th-century composer Dmitri Shostakovitch.
Margarita Denenburg won her first piano competition at the age of eight, gave her first European concert tour in her teens, and has been garnering awards and honors ever since. Dr. Denenburg graduated with distinction in piano performance from the University of Southern California in 2012.
A recent project included a celebratory duo concert series with the pianist, Dr. Gerald Evans which centered around the Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” performance, marking the 100 year anniversary of its’ premier. The concerts were held at the Stocker Arts Center, Lorain; Brenneman Ohl Concert Hall, Tiffin; Glick Recital Hall, Cleveland; and Ludwig hall in Kent State University. All received rave reviews with a Cleveland Music critic calling their performance “breathtakingly beautiful,” while an American composer Jeffery Mumford hailed it as a “refreshing fidelity to the composer's intentions.”
Dr. Denenburg received her Bachelor of Music and Master’s degrees in piano performance from Arizona State University. Born in the Soviet Union, she began her piano lessons at age 4 with Larisa Bogdanova and her mother Alla Denenburg who was a piano professor at the local music conservatory. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, Margarita immigrated with her family to Israel and made her orchestra debut at age 14 playing the D Major Haydn concerto with the Ashdod Youth Orchestra. In Israel, Margarita won many awards and placed first in both the King’s Way competition, and the Young Artist competition. She received yearly awards and scholarships from Givataim and Ashdod Conservatories, the New Artist Award, and the America Israel Cultural Foundation Award.
Prior to her arrival at ASU, Dr. Denenburg attended the Samuel Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, where she studied with Dr. Tomer Lev. While getting her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in piano performance at Arizona State University, under the instruction of Dr. Meir, Dr. Denenburg was awarded a full scholarship for both degrees. In addition, she was also awarded the Regent’s Scholarship, the Lincoln Kerr Music Endowment, the Liberace Scholarship, and the Joan Frazer Memorial Award in the Arts.
During her studies at ASU, Margarita won the concerto competition in 2004, and performed with the ASU Symphony Orchestra that same year. This performance was recorded live and put in a standard rotation on the classical radio station (KBAQ). Furthermore, she was a semifinalist at the prestigious Bösendorfer
International Piano Competition in 2006. During this period she also attended the exclusive Mannes College of Music International Keyboard Institution and Festival in New York and was one of just eight pianists admitted to the Sergei Babayan International Piano Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2007 and 2008. While at USC she was awarded a full scholarship to pursue her Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Furthermore, she was the Maestro Foundation’s Steinway Grand Piano recipient from 2009-2011. In addition to her academic and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Denenburg has been performing regularly.
Teaching is as much a love for her as performing. She has been a part of the Music Teachers Association of California for four years where she served on the Board as a Director during 2010-2011. She is also a part of the Music Teachers Association of Ohio and the College Music Society. She enjoys teaching all aspects of music for all ages and strongly believes in the potential of each of her students. In addition, Dr. Denenburg is an active pedagogy researcher. Recent project includes participation in the Keyboard Wellness Seminar in Denton, TX and exploration of the Taubman approach.
Currently, Dr. Denenburg resides with her husband in Huron, Ohio, she is a full time Assistant Professor of Piano at Heidelberg University and a part time faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory-Community Music School. In addition, Dr. Denenburg is judging multiple piano competitions, one of which is a Carmel
International Piano Competition.
Silvia Roederer is a professor of music at Western Michigan University, where she serves as chair of the keyboard area, teaches piano and keyboard pedagogy and coordinates class piano instruction.
Her extremely active career as chamber musician has taken her all over the world. As pianist of the Verdehr Trio since 1997, she has performed in Moscow, Athens, London, Vienna, Warsaw, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Puerto Rico and throughout the United States. The trio is a violin-clarinet-piano ensemble, which has created a new chamber music medium over the past 32 years by commissioning over 200 works for its unusual combination. The trio plays yearly in New York City and twice a year in Washington, D.C., where they are an ensemble in residence at the Phillips Collection.
This focus on new music had its early seeds in study with David Burge at the Eastman School. In graduate school at the University of Southern California, she studied with John Perry, and was coached in chamber music at summer festivals by Menahem Pressler.
Roederer was the 1981 winner of the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, as well as the 1994 winner of the fifth annual First Coast Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Fla.
In March 2008, she was invited to present a lecture recital at the national convention of Music Teachers National Association in Denver. At WMU, she is the faculty mentor for the student chapter of this organization.
Enthusiastically reviewed CD recordings with Roederer as pianist are on Crystal Records (five with Verdehr Trio) and Centaur Records (with trumpeter Scott Thornburg).