Season 2018/2019

The 2018/2019 inaugural season featured eight concerts from November 2018 to May 2019 which garnered critical praise from the community. Six of the concerts were in collaboration with the Miami International Piano Festival, presenting pianists of the highest echelons of classical music, such as Francesco Libetta, Julien Libeer, David Kadoush, Jorge Luis Prats, Amir Katz, Florian Noack.

In addition, we offered two other special events: Frank di Polo and Edepson Gonzalez, a concert outside of the classical arrangements with the program “Baroque to Jazz, and something more,” a total improvisational feat by two South American artists. The festival also hosted a concert benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, performed by two child prodigies, Carlotta Maestrini and Jacob Velazquez.

The Piano Festival’s inaugural season’s success encourages us to strive even further in the 2019-2020 season, which we are already deeply immersed in and have confirmed the artists for next season.




“He takes his wonderful fingers for granted and he is a master of every period or style represented…the pieces sing. I have no hesitation calling him an important pianist.” – Harold Schonberg
With his multiform career as a composer, conductor and pianist, Francesco Libetta has given concerts all over the world. He has received commissions from European, Japanese and American associations and festivals for orchestral, chamber and electro-acoustic compositions. His repertoire as a conductor includes symphonic works by Wagner, Debussy and Mozart, as well as his own works, and ballet (Fredy Franzutti’s productions of Sleeping Beauty and Nutcraker, with Balletto del Sud).
John Ardoin declared that of the new generation of pianists, Francesco Libetta is “the most inspired and creative”. Harold Schonberg wrote that: “master of every period and style, Libetta is the best representative of this modern style (…) who accepts virtuosity not as tightrope walking but as a species of literalism, where musical meaning is more important than knock’-em dead fingerwork (American Record Guide). Paolo Isotta wrote in the Corriere della Sera newspaper of “such a miraculous virtuosity and such a delicate sense of the language of melody as to prompt the question: what other artist of his generation, not only in Italy, can be compared to him?”
He performed and recorded the cycle of all 32 Beethoven’s Sonatas (1993/4), and the first performance of what for decades had been regarded as an unperformable “corpus monstre”: the 53 Studies by Godowsky based on the 27 Studies by Chopin (1990, repeated in 1994/95 and 2006).
His DVD with the recording of La Roque d’Anthéron recital, filmed by Bruno Monsaingeon, was awarded the Diapason d’Or and the CHOC de Le Monde de la Musique. Among his recordings: various works of Chopin and Schumann, the Diabelli Variations by Beethoven, the complete set of Liszt’s transcriptions from Wagner operas, as well as works by Debussy, Brahms, Ravel and Mozart. His compact discs and videos are published by V.A.I. (U.S.A.) and Nireo ( .)
Francesco Libetta is a recipient of support of Patrons of Exceptional Artists and is in the Piano Faculty of the Miami International Piano Festival Academy since 2015.



“The complete musician, who unites, at any musical moment, a true understanding of the piece, a solid intellectual approach and an infallible instinct for the impalpable.” Maria João Pires
Born in 1987 near Brussels, Belgium, Julien Libeer’s earliest musical memory was the famous documentary on the recording of West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. The piano, which he took up at age six, quickly became the faithful companion for expressing a love of music that, until today, thrives as much on opera, orchestra and chamber music as on the piano repertoire.
For five decisive years, French-Polish pedagogue Jean Fassina was the patient, demanding, wise teacher that any aspiring musician should have the chance to encounter. This experience was followed by the equally intense collaboration with Maria João Pires at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, whose advice and support strongly influenced Julien Libeer’s views over the last years and continue to do so.
Julien Libeer has been the guest of the Palais des Beaux-Arts and Flagey in Brussels, the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), the Barbican Hall in London, the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Other tours take him to Japan (Tokyo, Sumida Tryphony Hall), Lebanon (Beirut Chants festival), the US (Miami International Piano Festival). He is artist in residence at Flagey, Brussels.
He has performed with the Brussels Philharmonic, the Belgian National Orchestra, deFilharmonie, Sinfonia Varsovia and the New Japan Philharmonic among others, under conductors like Michel Tabachnik, Augustin Dumay, Hervé Niquet, Serge Pehlevanian, Joshua Weilerstein, Enrique Mazzola, Christopher Warren-Green…
An accomplished chamber musician, he works on regular basis with Augustin Dumay, Camille Thomas, Frank Braley, Maria João Pires and Lorenzo Gatto, with whom he performs the complete Beethoven violin sonatas.
Julien Libeer has studied piano with Daniel Blumenthal (Royal Conservatory of Brussels), Jean Fassina (Paris), and is an associate artist of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, where he also specialized in chamber music with the members of the Artemis Quartet. Furthermore, he has received the advice of Dmitry Bashkirov, Alfred Brendel, Abdel Rahman El Bacha and Gerhard Schulz (Alban Berg Quartet).
Although he consciously avoided engaging in any kind of competition, has received such honorary prizes as the Juventus award (most promising young European soloist) in 2008, and was elected Young Musician of the Year by the Belgian Music Press Association in 2010. The Klara award 2013 was attributed to him by the audience of the national radio for classical music. Much appreciated for his eloquence, Julien Libeer is a regular guest of media at home and abroad. His work has been subject of a TV documentary (“Technique doesn’t exist”, 2013), also available on YouTube.
Based in Brussels, he spends most of his free time reading, swimming or enjoying a good series, and is actively engaged in several social projects, all rooted in the idea that music, far beyond its esthetic value, can be a force of change for anyone ready to listen.



“A pianist in complete command and with an understanding of the subtle power of music” –The Arts Desk
Born in Nice in 1985, Kadouch began his studies at the Nice Conservatoire with Odile Poisson. At the age of 14 he entered the Paris Conservatoire in the classes of Jacques Rouvier. After receiving First Prize with Honors from the Paris Conservatoire, he moved to the Reina Sofia School in Madrid, where he studied with the legendary Dmitri Bashkirov. He has been perfecting as well with Murray Perahia, Mauricio Pollini, Maria-Joao Pires, Daniel Barenboim, Vitaly Margulis, Itzak Perlman…
He is quickly becoming one of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation. A prize winner at the Beethoven Bonn Competition in 2005 and Leeds International Piano Competition in 2009, Kadouch has become a regular guest of some of the most important orchestras, recital series and international festivals. At the age of 13, Kadouch was invited by Itzhak Perlman to play under his baton at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 2008, Perlman invited him again to perform the Schumann Piano Quintet, this time at Carnegie Hall.
He performs at major festivals: Contemporary Music Festival in Lucerne under Pierre Boulez, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Gstaad Festival, Verbier Festival (where he was awarded the Verbier Festival Prix d’Honneur in 2009), Montreux Festival, Schwetzingen Festival, Jerusalem Festival, La Roque d’Anthéron Festival, Les Flâneries Musicales de Reims, “Folles Journées” in Ekaterinburg, Nîmes, Nantes, and in Japan, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse and China, Tonhalle in Zürich. He is playing chamber music with Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Edgar Moreau, Antoine Tamestit, Michel Dalberto, Nikolaj Znaider, Radovan Vlatkovic, Frans Helmerson, as well as the Quartets Quiroga, Ebène and Ardeo.
In 2010, David Kadouch is nominated “Young Talent of the Year” by French Victoires de la Musique and in 2011 he is the winner of the International Classical Music Awards in the category “Young Artist of the Year”.
In 2011 he made his New York debut recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He performs with the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zürich under David Zinman, Orchestre Philarmonique de Monte Carlo, Orchestre National de Lille and the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra under Jean-Claude Casadesus, Orchestre de Strasbourg under Marc Alrecht, Halle Orchester under Robin Ticciati, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra…
He gives recitals in Paris, Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence, La Roque d’Anthéron, Nîmes, Madrid, Verbier, Luzern, Bruxelles, Elmau, Munich, as well as solo recital and duo concert with Renaud Capuçon and Edgar Moreau.
Highlights of the season 2017/2018: The Insula Orchestra with Laurence Equilbey, The Hong-Kong Sinfonietta, the National Orchestra of Montpellier, the Orchestre de Marseille and Lawrence Foster, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Matthias Pintscher.
He will also play some solo recital in Evanston, Biel, Bruxelles, but also in duo with Edgar Moreau in Wien, London, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Lyon, Heilbronn…
Kadouch’s recordings include a live recording of the Beethoven Concerto No. 5 with the Cologne Philharmonic (Naxos), Shostakovich’s Preludes (TransArt Live), Schumann Concerto without orchestra and Piano Quintet (Decca/Universal), a CD of Russian music including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Medtner Sonata and Taneïev Prelude and Fugue, a solo recital CD Bach, Janacek, Schumann, Bartok for Mirare.
Recent release: A duo recital with Edgar Moreau around Franck, Strohl, Poulenc, de la Tombelle.



“A Cuban marvel: Jorge Luis Prats: the best pianist you haven’t heard of, this master pianist is unlike any other” BBC Music Magazine
Since May 2007, when Jorge Luis Prats gave his first recital at the Miami International Piano Festival, his career has undergone a dramatic ascent. His debut recitals at the prestigious “Meister Pianisten” series at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam having been received with standing ovations, in 2010 he returned to the same series for the third time, an honor uniquely reserved for Brendel and Sokolov previously.
Prats is simply extraordinary, not only because of his extraordinary life story, but because of his extraordinary gifts. The piano is merely the tool he uses to create music. The music he creates is stunning — it enthralls and amazes, while simultaneously stimulating the mind. His entire life fits inside a piano. From one end to the other of the keyboard, this Cuban knows how to do things like no one else, or perhaps like many others whom he has added to his sensibility. This may look like a paradox, but it isn’t. Since its beginnings, Cuba has woven a history rich in supreme artists in that instrument, like Nicolas Ruiz Espadero, Ignacio Cervantes, Ernesto Lecuona, Jorge Bolet and, in Jazz, Chucho Valdes. That’s why Prats rises above them as a guide to continuity in such a respectable exercise.
Prats is a player who digs deep to uncover the humanity within the music he plays, his life experiences color his performances.

Forty-two years ago, he overcame serious geopolitical obstacles and traveled to Paris where he won the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud competition. The result was overnight stardom. His achievement made all the papers and a shining career lay before him. He remained abroad, studying with renowned teachers in Paris and Moscow and Vienna, then decided to return to Cuba to be with family.
He was stuck. Visa restrictions made it impossible for Prats to develop his concert career. He played regularly for Cuban audiences but could not travel. There were complicated reasons for his domestication having to do with family obligations and political challenges. Finally, he managed to get out of Cuba and begin the process of re-introducing himself to international audiences.
In May 2010 Jorge Luis replaced Nelson Freire at his Salle Pleyel recital, to a tremendously enthusiastic response from the public and in September of the same year he again triumphed at the festival “Piano aux Jacobins” in Toulouse. Following these successes, he has been invited by the organizers of several prestigious French series to perform in Autumn 2011 at the Grand Interpretes in Lyon, at the Grand Theatre de Aix en Provence, a re-invitation from the Piano 4 Etoiles series at Salle Pleyel and to perform Rachmaninov with the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi.
Regularly invited as professor by the respected institutions such as National University of Columbia in Bogota, National School of the Arts in Havana, the Arts Centre in Mexico, the Conservatory of Cordoba in Spain and Royal Conservatory in Toronto, he was also the Artistic Director of National Orchestra of Cuba from 1985 to 2002.
Jorge Luis Prats was born in Camaguey in Cuba in 1956, studying with Cesar Perez Sentenar, Barbara Diaz Alea, Margot Rojas and Alfredo Diez at National School of Arts. On graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow where he studied with Rudolf Kerer and he continued his studies at Conservatoire de Paris and later at the Hochschüle für Müsik und Künstler in Vienna with Paul Badura Skoda and Magda Tagliaferro. At 21 years old, Jorge Luis won the first prize at the prestigious Concours Marguerite Long – Jacques Thibaud in Paris as well as the special award of best interpretation of works by Ravel and Jolivet.
Jorge Luis Prats discography includes the first recording ever of Scriabin’s 24 Preludes, concerti by Beethoven, Grieg, Rachmaninov and Chopin as well as works by Cuban composers. His concert at Broward Center for the Performing Arts for the Miami’s International Piano Festival was recorded and released as DVD by VAI.
Jorge Luis signed an exclusive recording contract with Decca and his first recording with them was Granados by Goyescas, released in June 2011. Mr. Prats is represented in the US by Patrons of Exceptional Artists.


AMIR KATZ (Israel)

Born in Israel in 1973, Amir Katz first began his piano studies at age 11. At the age of 15, he was already playing with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. After winning several national competitions and receiving a scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Clairmont Award, Katz moved to Europe, supported by other fellowships, including a DAAD grant, to continue his studies with Sulamita Aronovsky, Elisso Wirssaladze, and Michael Schäfer. At the International Piano Academy on Lake Como, he studied with Leon Fleisher, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and Murray Perahia. In four international competitions Amir Katz won first prize: Maria Canals in Barcelona, Robert Casadesus in Cleveland, Viotti Valsesia in Italy, and the Schubert Competition in Dortmund.
He performs regularly in the most distinguished halls in Europe, Asia and North America, such as the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Tonhalle Zürich, the Philharmonie in Berlin and the Lincoln Center New York. He has also participated in important international music festivals. His concerts are regularly recorded for radio and television. Mr. Katz has played a number of times with the Orquestra Sinfònica de Barcelona, the Israel Camerata, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Symphony of Princeton, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Münchener Philharmoniker.
His performances include the complete Sonatas and Impromptus by Franz Schubert, the 48 “Songs Without Words” by Felix Mendelssohn as well as Frédéric Chopin’s 21 Nocturnes. Amir Katz has recorded various CDs for the Live Classics label, Oehms Classics and Sony Classical. His double CD of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words,” released by Live Classics, was chosen best CD of the last months by the classical music magazine Crescendo in its summer edition 2009. In 2012, he performed in Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Munich as well as with the Vienna Musikverein, followed by a release of his recording of Chopin’s four Ballades and four Impromptus on the Oehms Classics label. Since 2013, Katz has been playing the entire cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas in seven recitals. This project will be followed by a complete recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas.
Amir Katz collaborates regularly with tenor Pavol Breslik. This artistic collaboration has found its expression in highly acclaimed recitals in Munich, Vienna, Paris, and at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, among other locations. In July 2014, Katz made his London debut at the Wigmore Hall, and was reinvited in 2015. In February 2016, his CD with Schubert’s 8 Impromptus was released on the Orfeo International Label. This CD was chosen as CD of the Week by the German radio station RBB Kulturradio. Further engagements are planned for the 2016/17 season, including concerts in Europe, Israel, and the USA, playing a Liszt cycle that includes the entire Etudes of Liszt for piano. In March 2017, Katz’s CD with Chopin’s 24 Études was released on the Orfeo International label.



“He gets to the heart of this music. The lush piano sound is a joy.His sensitivity of touch and strong sense of rhythm are impressive.” –Gramophone
For his CD recording of his own piano transcriptions and paraphrases of orchestral works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninov, the young Belgian pianist Florian Noack was named “Nachwuchskünstler des Jahres 2015, Klavier” (Emerging Artist of the Year, piano”) by ECHO Klassik, a prestigious award which confirms the unique talent of this exceptional musician.
Florian Noack has won numerous prizes at national and international competitions, including the Rachmaninov International Competition, the International Robert Schumann Competition and the Piano Competition in Cologne. He also won the “Grandpiano” Prize from the Belgian Vocational Foundation, and has received grants and scholarships from Spes, the Fondation Banque Populaire and from the Mozart Gesellschaft.
He performs regularly at many festivals in China, South Korea, the United States, France, Germany and Belgium, and gives recitals in among others the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Beijing Concert Hall, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai, the Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, the Konzerthaus in Detmold and the Comédie des Champs-Elysées in Paris.
In France, he is a regular guest of many festivals including the Chopin Festival, the Festival of Annecy, Piano en Valois, l’Esprit du Piano, and Pianissimes. Florian distinguishes himself by his passion for rare works from the romantic and post-romantic repertoire, and for his concert 1 Florian Noack “Here and elsewhere he gets to the heart of this music. … The lush piano sound is a joy.” Gramophone programs which often include composers such as Lyapunov, Alkan, Medtner and Dohnanyi.
He has also authored transcriptions based on orchestral works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and RimskyKorsakov, and which have been attracting the attention of musicians such as Boris Berezovsky and Cyprien Katsaris. As soloist he has performed with orchestras including the WDR Rundfunkorchester, the Philharmonie Südwestfalen, the Charlemagne Chamber Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra of Aquitaine and the Philharmonisches Orchester Zwickau. Florian has recently started recording the complete works for solo piano by Sergei Lyapunov for the German label Ars Produktion.
For his recording of his own transcriptions and paraphrases for the same label he received an ECHO Klassik as well as a nomination for an International Classical Music Award. Florian Noack was born in 1990 in Brussels. He began playing the piano at the age of 4, and aged 12, entered the Queen Elisabeth Musical Chapel in the program for Exceptional Young Talent, where he studied under Yuka Izutsu. He pursued his studies at the Musikhochschule in Cologne with the Russian pianist and composer, Vassily Lobanov, and at the Musikhochschule Basel with Claudio Martinez-Mehner.


FRANK DI POLO (Venezuela)

Born in Caracas. At the age of 4, he started music studies with Emil Friedman and at 14 he got a scholarship to study viola with Francis Tursi at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Upon completion, he returns to Venezuela to join the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela for 6 years.
In 1971, she was selected as the main viola at the World Symphony Orchestra to open the JFK Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center in Washington and also at Walt Disney’s Magic World in Orlando, during the premiere of the festive Overture of Dmitri Shostakovich, under the baton of Arthur Fiedler.
In 1975, together with José Antonio Abreu, he founded the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela and the Civil Society Juan José Landaeta Youth National Orchestra, which he chairs. In 1976, he founded the Inocente Carreño Audiovisual Center.
In 1979 he entered as a founding member of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster, then as main viola and later as the principal of the second violins.
He is founder and director of the Itinerant Academy of Viola of Venezuela and has been invited as a director to numerous chamber groups, both in Venezuela and abroad. He is also a founding member of the Simón Bolívar String Quartet.
His work within the Simón Bolívar Musical Foundation has led him to make extensive concert tours throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America, standing out among other performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Opera Theater in Madrid, the Palau de la Música of Barcelona, the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires, the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, Fine Arts of Mexico, as well as the theaters of Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo in Japan.
He has also participated in the festivals of: Aberdeen, Florence, Venice, Puerto Rico and Montpellier. He was elected in 2006 the main viola of the World Philharmonic Orchestra in Paris, France, where all the main concertinos of the international musical field met.
Di Polo continues to plant the System for Latin America, Europe and Asia, as well as being part of the Missions of the Itinerant Andean Conservatory, attached to the Andean Development Corporation. He was a member of the jury and viola instructor of the National Youth Orchestra of the Americas.



Within the musical career of Edepson Gonzalez, we can mention many facets in which he performs, not only as an instrumentalist, but also as a musical producer and arranger.
He has studied piano at the Conservatory of Los Teques, directed by Juan Bautista Carreño, descendant of the great pianist Teresa Carreño , with David Ascanio at the Conservatory Simon Bolivar. Improvisation studies with the Gerry Weil, Charlie Banacos (Garry Dial), and Clare Fischer, icon of generations of jazz in the West Coast.
Multiple facets in the world of jazz, popular and academic music have given him the opportunity to perform in various stages as “side-man”, soloist and musical director. Such work gives him versatility in terms of the repertoire of world music, from ragtime, stride piano, bebop, blues to works by composers such as Juan Sebastian Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Scriabin, and composers of contemporary Venezuelan music.
He has shared stages in different countries, many places in Japan, Usa, Latin America and part of Europe.
His work as a session musician has led him to an average of more than 300 tracks in productions of different genres, in popular music, jazz, bagpipes, pop, among others.
Currently piano coordinator in the Big Band Caracas, active performer of the musical band Guaco as a keyboardist, producer / arranger of multiple national and international musical productions. The special project Duo Frank Di Polo / Edepson Gonzalez, from the Baroque to jazz and something more, highlights the specialty and versatility in the piano.



Frank Cooper, known and admired for his ability to communicate the pleasures of any subject in the arts to his listeners, is Research Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Miami (UM). Eighteen seasons of twice-yearly special courses in Musical Experiences for Adults have set a record for drawing repeat registrants in Miami. The Frost School of Music’s new building contains two teaching studios named in his honor. A fund has been established to be known as “The Frank Cooper Distinguished Musicology Lecture Series.” In his honor, the Weeks Music Library at UM has created “The Frank Cooper Facsimile Music Collection,” which now includes hundreds of scores in manuscript replica from Medieval to Modern times.
He is lecturer-in-residence for the Miami International Piano Festival. For more than a decade, his concert introductions for the Coral Gables Mainly Mozart Festival were annual occurrences, as were his lectures for the Von Liebig Art Centre in Naples (23 seasons) and Naples Philharmonic (5 seasons). Other South Florida venues that have featured Prof. Cooper include the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Dade County Center for the Fine Arts (now the Miami Art Museum), Bass Museum of Art, Lowe Art Museum, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (Cleveland Orchestra in Miami), and the New World Symphony.
Called by the Miami Herald “South Florida’s cultural maven” and “a Renaissance man,” Prof. Cooper has lectured in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, Indiana University, MacMaster University (Ontario), SUNY Purchase, and the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), and appeared on National Public Radio, the CBC (Toronto), the BBC (London) and Radio Nederlands (Hilversum). Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Van Cliburn Foundation, Ford Centre (Toronto), Rialto Centre (Atlanta), TIME/LIFE, Arabesque Records, RCA Victor, Audiofon Records and the International Piano Archives have commissioned annotations from Prof. Cooper, who is the author of more than 70 published articles about music.
He is the recipient of honors from the State of Gelderland (Netherlands), the Hungarian Ministry of Culture, and the National Federation of Music Clubs.


Start date:20 Oct 2018

Finish date:20 May 2019

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