2021 Adjudicators

2021 Adjudicators

Piano Divisions:

Praised by the New York Times for his “Lisztian thunder and deft fluidity,” and the San Francisco Chronicle as “ferociously virtuosic,” pianist Paul Barnes has electrified audiences with his intensely expressive playing and cutting-edge programming. He has been featured seven times on APM’s Performance Today, on the cover of Clavier Magazine, and his recordings are streamed worldwide.   Celebrating his twenty-three-year collaboration with Philip Glass, Barnes commissioned and gave the world premiere of Glass’s Piano Quintet “Annunciation.” Barnes latest recital A Bright Sadness: Piano music inspired by Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Native American chant features a contemplative and cathartic program of piano works inspired by the mystical world of chant.  Barnes is Marguerite Scribante Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music.

Peter Dabrowski is the Music Director and Conductor of the Valley Symphony Orchestra in McAllen, Texas. A native of Warsaw, Poland, Dr. Dabrowski is also a Professor of Music and the Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

In the past, he served as the Associate Conductor of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, as the Music Director and Conductor of the Chicago Philharmonic, UTRGV Symphony Orchestra, South Texas Youth Symphony in Edinburg, American University Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and the American Youth Concert Orchestra in Northern Virginia. 

As a guest Conductor, Maestro Dabrowski has appeared with many prestigious orchestras such as: in Poland, the National Philharmonic and Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Warsaw; in Mexico, the Mexico City Philharmonic; in Russia, the Rossia Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Youth Symphony Orchestra and Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra; and, in Moldova, the Moldova Philharmonic Orchestra in Cisinau. 

His artistry was recognized by Moscow International Music Festival and the Cross Drumming Festival in Warsaw. He has also received special acknowledgments from the Cities of McAllen, Edinburg and the City of Hidalgo’s Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame, as well as recognitions for the Promotion of Mexican Music by the Mexican Consulate in McAllen and by the University of Texas Pan American as a Distinguished Faculty. 

With Bella Davidovich, Annie Fischer and George Cziffra considered as the most influential people in his career, concert pianist Kálmán Dráfi (b.1955) has always been regarded an outstanding representative of the Hungarian piano school founded by Liszt. A graduate of the Liszt Academy of Music and the Moscow Tchaikovsky
Conservatory Dráfi is currently the chair of the Keyboard Department of his Alma Mater, fulfilling the position since 2011. His notable recordings and competition results earned his fame as a Liszt specialist; however, all romantic and early 20th century composers are in his concert repertoire as well.  Known for being a passionate and supportive professor with a long list of highly successful students, Dráfi is a sought after teacher and juror especially in Japan
and all across Europe.

Pianist Jay Hershberger is president of the American Liszt Society. He has played throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His domestic performances include the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Library of Congress. He has also been frequent guest artist at the Great Romantics Music Festival in Canada. He has performed in Europe, most recently in Finland, and has appeared in European music festivals such as the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in southern Italy and the South Bohemia Music Festival in the Czech Republic. He toured major cities in China, and has performed at music festivals in Scotland and Italy. Jay is currently Professor of Piano, Organ, and Church Music, and is Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. An active adjudicator, Hershberger has judged for the Chicago International Music Competition and Festival, the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the Los Angeles Young Musicians International Competition, the Phoenix Young Artist Competition, the San Angelo Symphony Sorantin Awards, the Lee Biennial Competition, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Young Artist Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Performance Competitions. His compact disc Transfigured Shadows, selected piano works by Franz Liszt, was featured on Michael Barone’s New Releases radio program on Minnesota Public Radio. Hershberger is also an active church musician, and is currently the director of music at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo, ND. He is also orchestral pianist for the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony.

Jooyoung Kim has been critically acclaimed oninternational stages for her dazzling technique and superb musicianship. Since making her debut at the age of twelve as a soloist with the Korean Symphony Orchestra, Kim has presented numerous solo and chamber recitals in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Her Carnegie Hall debut was described as “a forceful, poetic, sensitive and at times even playful reading of Liszt. Technically wonderful playing of a very high level.” An award-winning artist, Kim has taken top prizes in national and international competitions. Kim, who holds degrees from Yonsei University, Universität der Künste Berlin, and Ball State University, serves on the piano faculty at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is also a member of The American Liszt Society. 

José López is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Keyboard Studies Program at Miami’s Florida International University,president of the South Florida Chapter of the American Liszt Society, and Honorary Secretary of the United Kingdom’s Alkan Society. He has performed throughout the United States, Italy, Japan, Central and South America as a recitalist and chamber musician. His varied discography for the Toccata Classics recording label includes dodecaphonic Italian composer Riccardo Malipiero; Charles V. Alkan’s complete Mozart transcriptions and an ongoing series dedicated to forgotten Cuban/Spanish composers. López received his MM and DMA degrees from the University of Miami School of Music, where he studied with Rosalina Guerrero Sackstein, a former pupil of Claudio Arrau, thereby tracing a common pianistic legacy through Liszt’s pupil Martin Krause.


Canadian pianist Derek Parsons had his orchestral debut at age 12 and has been performing for appreciative audiences in a career spanning four decades ever since.

Critics have hailed him as “a wonderfully sensitive musical artist” and his performances, “…a drama of epic proportions,” and “…in total command.” He has performed on three continents and throughout the United States as orchestral soloist, recitalist, and collaborative artist. Parsons has appeared on several American Liszt Society programs and served as Artistic Director for the 2018 Festival.  His solo disc, Liszt: The Poet Inspired, was released in June 2015.  His latest research has involved a performance edition of the lesser-known Healey Willan Piano Concerto. Parsons is performing his arrangement in hopes of presenting this under-appreciated work to a wider audience.

Dr. Pamela Mia Paul is both a brilliant performer and a deeply dedicated teacher. Onstage, she has performed with the world’s great orchestras. She has given concerts throughout the United States, and in Europe, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea and Turkey both as soloist and as chamber musician. In the studio, or in the setting of a masterclass, she is an internationally sought-after pedagogue whose students hold teaching positions throughout the United States and Asia, and who have participated in and won competitions including the Nina Widemann Competition and Naumburg International Piano Competition. Ms. Paul has commissioned and premiered works for the piano; Robert Beaser’s Piano Concerto, which was written for her, had its world premiere in the United States with the St. Louis Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin, and New York premiere in 1992 at Carnegie Hall, with Dennis Russell Davies conducting the American Composers Orchestra. 

Miss Paul has received critical acclaim for her appearances with orchestras in the United States and Europe, which include the Vienna ORF Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Berlin Stadskapelle, Dutch Radio Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, symphonies of Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Houston, American Composers Orchestra, Boston Pops, New York Pops, Minnesota Orchestra, and Caramoor Festival Orchestra. In both orchestral performances and recitals, Ms. Paul has appeared in the world’s major concert halls including Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, and the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam. As a chamber musician, she has been an invited guest artist at the Salzburg and Bregenz festivals in Austria, Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and Music Mountain in Connecticut. 

She has presented masterclasses in Europe, the People’s Republic of China, Turkey, South Korea, and throughout the United States. Pamela Mia Paul received the doctor of musical arts, master of music, and bachelor of music degrees from the Juilliard School. Dr. Paul was selected as one of five judges for the international screening jury of the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She is currently regents professor of piano at the University of North Texas and is a Steinway artist.


Dr. Edward Rath was Assistant/Associate/Interim Director of the University of Illinois School of Music for a total of 24 years.  Previously, he served on the facultiesof Lawrence University, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Rath was a student of György Sebök for nine years at Indiana University. A Steinway Artist, Dr. Rath’s performance career includes solo recitals and guest appearances with orchestras; he has been a chamber music partner with cellists Laszlo Varga and Leonard Rose, among others. For 22 years, Dr. Rath was the administrative director of the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt/Vienna, Austria. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The American Liszt Society and both its webmaster and editor of the society’s Newsletter.

Orsolya Szabó, professor at the Kodály Institute of The Liszt Academy Budapest, is an internationally acclaimed concert pianist having performed throughout Europe, Singapore and China. Her awards include acknowledgement of her masterful interpretations of contemporary Hungarian piano works. She is also a devoted performer of Liszt’s music, which has been recognized by the Los Angeles Liszt Foundation with a life achievement award. She regularly holds masterclasses in Hungary and around the world. She also frequently adjudicates at international piano competitions, including Italy, Greece, South Korea and the USA to mention a few.
Her experience and knowledge in rhythmic sports gymnastics (8 times Hungarian youth champion ) inspired her to create an internationally acclaimed movement system for musicians (So-system: “Music, is your body”), which she implements in her teaching. She has had several exhibitions of her paintings, drawings, sculptures, including an exhibition at the Hungarian Cultural Institute, London.
Dr. Szabó was one of the leading Hungarian members of the International Jeaunesses Musicales federation, and by invitation of Yehudi Menuhin, has participated in its MUS-E Project. She is Member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts (HAA).

Pianist Heidi Louise Williams has concertized across North America and internationally and has won numerous prizes. Praised by New York critic Harris Goldsmith for her ‘dazzling performances’, her playing has been described as ‘veritably operatic’, ‘provocative andstimulating’ (Fanfare), possessing ‘muscularity and poetic power’ (American Record Guide). She has recorded solo, concerto and chamber music on Naxos, Albany, and Neos labels. Currently Associate Professor of piano at Florida State University, Williams holds three degrees from Peabody Conservatory, having studied with Ann Schein and chamber music with Earl Carlyss, Samuel Sanders, Stephen Kates, and Robert McDonald. She is an invited featured performer at the upcoming International Liszt Society Conference to be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. For more information, visit www.heidilouisewilliams.com.

Lizhen Wu’s most recent appearances include performances in Texas and China and an on-air performance on Dallas’ classical radio channel 101.1 FM. He has won several prizes in piano competitions such as Second Prize at the 2013 Dallas Chamber International Piano Competition, Silver Prize and audience favorite performer at the 2017 Texas Young Artist International Piano Competition, and Third Prize at the 2018 Lewisville International Piano Competition. As a piano instructor, Mr. Wu has maintained a private studio, Rick Wu Music Studio, since 2010. Together with Chengyin Lu and Jiahui Zhang, he founded the Royal Music Academy in 2018, one of the largest music schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex where he serves as director of the keyboard department. His students are succeeding in piano competitions and have been winning First Prize at the Dallas Solo and Plano Trophy Competitions among other achievements.

Voice Division:

Hailed by the New York Times for her ‘deeply moving’ interpretation of Cio Cio San in Madama Butterfly at the Los Angeles Opera, Angela Maria Blasi is regarded as one of the most celebrated lyric sopranos of our time. She has performed regularly with the most prestigious international opera houses and festivals of the world. Impeccable musicianship and phrasing, a seamless vocal technique, and an engaging stage presence are just some of the trademarks of her highly-acclaimed performances.A 2004 Grammy nomination (Best Vocal Performance) for her interpretation of orchestral songs by Joseph Marx, other highlights of her illustrious singing career have included recording and film credits, such as the filming of “La Boheme” for ERATO, under the baton of Maestro James Conlon, with Jose Carreras as Rodolfo; the Salzburg/Philips DVD recording of Mozart’s “Il Re Pastore” with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; numerous commercially released recordings with the Bavarian State Opera orchestra and Maestro Zubin Mehta; Mahler’s 8th Symphony with Maestro Giuseppe Sinopoli for Deutsche Grammophone, Mozart Requiem, Brahms Requiem and Mahler’s 4th Symphony with Sir Colin Davis and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and works by Bach and Mozart for Teldec with Nikolaus Harnoncourt.Angela has won a number of vocal competitions, was a 1981 Metropolitan Opera National Finalist and is the recipient of numerous press awards for her interpretations of main stage opera roles in Europe over the years.  

Marco Schindelmann, an Artist Professor at the University of Redlands, has performed, presented and published, internationally (Munich, Beijing, Singapore, Indonesia, Barcelona, Japan, et al.). He is semi-finals and finals judge for the Spotlight Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Past President of the Arts Council for the City of Long Beach, he is presently president of East Village Caravanserai, a Long Beach based, theater company, that presents dynamic, relevant performances (Lyric Theater included), fostering dialogue and community. As a member of FLOOD, he produces and curates soundpedro, the largest sound art event in Southern California.