JUDGES' BIOGRAPHY

PIANO: 1st - 6th GRADES

 

Pianist Ralitza Patcheva has been called a “phenomenon” (The Washington Post) and praised for her “elegant pianistic technique”, “courageous, innovative interpretation” and “crystal tone; amalgamation of witty virtuosity, powerful expression and profound sensitivity”. She is a prizewinner of the 51 st  International Piano Competition " Ferruccio Busoni" and the Washington International Piano Competition,  as well as the  "Accademia di Citta di Pinerolo" International Chamber Music Competition ( in a duo with cellist Vasily Popov). 

 

Dr. Patcheva has presented numerous recitals in Europe and the United States. She is known for daring programming, equally dedicated to presenting historically informed readings of works dating as far back as the 17 th century and the staples of the classical concert repertoire, as well as to premiering works by composers of our time. Dr. Ralitza Patcheva holds advanced degrees in piano performance and art song interpretation from the Peabody Institute, the Hochschule für Musik in Munich and a doctorate from the University of Maryland. Her early training took place at the Levine School of Music in Washington DC and the State Music School in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has studied with Nina Aladshem, Helmut Deutsch, Julian Martin, Irena Orlov, Santiago Rodriguez, Eliso Virsaladze and Andre Watts. She has also studied harpsichord with Webb Wiggins and Lois Narvey and organ with Harvey van Buren.

 

Since 2002 she co-directs the Brown Bag Music Series at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC with cellist Vasily Popov. The series offer free concerts on the first Thursday of every month (currently at the Goethe Institute in DC). Ralitza also presents performances at the Kreeger Museum's "Conversations". Since 2015 she commenced a highly popular series of lecture/performances called Great Composers Club at Levine Music, exploring the symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert in solo piano arrangement, as well as other chamber and piano solo works.   

 

At present Ralitza Patcheva is the associate chair of the chamber music program and a member of the piano faculty at Levine Music and a lecturer at Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America. 

 

 

PIANO: 7th-12th GRADES

 

Hailed as a “stunning pianist with incredible dexterity” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Canadian pianist Audrey Andrist has thrilled audiences around the globe, from North America to Japan, China and Germany with her “passionate abandon”, “bright energy”, and “great intelligence.” Ms. Andrist grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and while in high school traveled three hours one-way for piano lessons with William Moore, himself a former student of famed musicians Cécile Genhart and Rosina Lhévinne. She completed Masters and Doctoral degrees at New York’s elite Juilliard School, studying with Herbert Stessin, and garnered first prizes at the Mozart International, San Antonio International, Eckhardt-Gramatté, and Juilliard Concerto Competitions. She has performed in many of North America’s most prestigious venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Place des Arts in Montreal, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, and Alice Tully Hall in New York.   

She is a member of Strata, a trio with her husband, James Stern, violin, and Nathan Williams, clarinet, recipients of a major 2009 grant from the Rauch Foundation. She is also a member of the Stern/Andrist Duo with her husband, recently celebrating their thirtieth year of performances together. An avid performer of new music with many world premieres to her credit, Ms. Andrist can be heard on over a dozen recordings of both standard and modern repertoire on the Albany, Centredisques, and New Focus labels, among others. She currently lives in the Washington, DC area, where she serves on the faculties of the Washington Conservatory and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Since moving to the Washington area in 2001, she has established herself as one of the most sought-after local pianists, regularly appearing with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, National Chamber Players, and 21st Century Consort, and collaborating on performances and recordings with members of the National Symphony and artist faculty at all of the area Universities. Her CD of major solo works by Robert Schumann is available on Centaur Records. 


 

STRINGS

Kathy Judd has led a multi-faceted musical life as a teacher, performer, and arts administrator. She received a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from New England Conservatory of Music and a Master of Musical Arts degree from Yale University, after which she became a member of the St. Paul (MN) Chamber Orchestra, with whom she performed in the United States, Germany, Amsterdam, Rumania, and the former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.  She was a soloist and Concertmaster of the Boulder (CO) Bach Festival, The Las Vegas Symphony and the Nevada Chamber Orchestra. Judd also has a background in commercial music as a string contractor and lead musician in showroom orchestras.

 

As a teacher, she was a faculty member and department chair at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, an international residential high school in California and a member of the Idyllwild Trio, that performed throughout the Southwest and Taiwan. She was Assistant Professor and member of the resident piano trio at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and adjunct faculty at Elizabethtown College (PA).  She teaches currently at the Washington Conservatory of Music.

 

She is Artistic and Executive Director of the Washington Conservatory of Music, a nationally accredited community school, where she founded the Washington Conservatory Concert Series.  She was Artistic and Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s Music at Gretna, a year-round chamber music and jazz concert series in Mt. Gretna, and at Elizabethtown College. She has served on national, state, county and private foundation music grants panels.

 

 

CHAMBER

David Lonkevich received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music and was a member of the premiere class of the Masters in Orchestral Studies program at the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers include Baxtresser, Baker, Parloff. He teaches at the Washington Conservatory of Music and at his private studio and is also a frequent clinician and ensemble coach throughout the region. He is principal flute of the Wolf Trap Opera Orchestra and has also performed frequently with the National Symphony, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the Baltimore, Mid-Atlantic and Alexandria Symphonies. He is also a member of the Third Millennium Ensemble and performs solo and chamber music frequently.

WINDS

Peter Pirotte hails from Raleigh, North Carolina and joined the US Navy Band in 2014. Prior to his move to Washington DC, Pirotte was an active freelancer in Houston, TX, where he maintained a private studio of more than 60 trumpet students and performed with the Texas Brass, Musiqa, and many other ensembles.

 

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he had the opportunity to join the internationally acclaimed Fountain City Brass Band. Pirotte earned his Performer’s Certificate from the Lynn University Conservatory studying with members of the Empire Brass.

VOICE

Nancy Almquist, soprano, began her formal education at North Park University where she received her BM in Voice. She earned her MM in Voice from Indiana University before moving to the Washington DC Metropolitan area, where she continued voice training with Todd Duncan, Maurice Allison and Tom Reilly, as well as acting training with Michael Russoto, Jim Gagne and Nancy Robinette.

Nancy has performed as a soloist with area ensembles including the Washington Bach Consort, the Cathederal Choral Society, the Folger Consort, Hesperus, The Annapolis Opera, the Other Opera Company and the Washington Savoyards. As a recitalist she has teamed with pianists Jaewon Lee, Jeffery Watson and Cheryl Branham and with guitarist Ginger Hildebrand and lutanist Scott Horton.  She has collaborated with the indie band Prinze George, landing a feature on their first self-titled EP and performing with the group at Howard Theatre (Washington, D.C) Firefly Festival (Dover, DE) and on tour in Montreal, Canada. She particularly enjoys the intimacy of house concert settings for the purpose of sharing her love of art song.

Nancy is a private voice teacher of more than 30 years currently serving on the faculty of the Northwestern High School (Hyattsville, MD) Visual and Performing Arts Magnet, as well as maintaining a private voice studio in her home in Mount Rainier, MD.  She rounds out her classical training with certification in Contemporary Commercial Music, the LoVetri Method, from Shenandoah Conservatory.