mark clinton, piano
Mark Clinton has worked extensively with some of the world's foremost pianists, among them Leon Fleisher, John Perry, Carlo Zecchi, and Tatiana Nikolayeva. This critically acclaimed pianist has garnered prizes at such prestigious international competitions as the 1987 William Kapell International Piano Competition and the 1991 Joanna Hodges Piano Competition. He has been featured frequently on national radio and television broadcasts and has also appeared throughout the United States as a soloist with numerous orchestras, including the National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, and the United States Air Force Symphony.
Clinton’s current concert activities reflect his commitment to a wide range of performing experiences. Highlights of his recent calendar include enthusiastically received recitals at the American Cathedral in Paris, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, and the historic rotunda of Steinway Hall in New York City. Other noteworthy performances have included an appearance as guest soloist in Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, an international tour with the Montecristo Ensemble (together with violinist Mihai Craioveanu, violist Lisa Nelson, and cellist Nina Gordon), a performance of Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A major with the Chiara Quartet, and numerous performances at the 2014 Illinois Chamber Music Festival.
Mark Clinton has shared his musical insights with gifted students from around the world while serving on the faculties of Salisbury University, the Aspen Institute, Missouri Southern State University, the Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, and the International Chamber Music Festival in Kyustendil, Bulgaria. He also frequently serves as an adjudicator for important national and international competitions. Clinton is currently Hixson-Lied Professor of Piano and Head of the Keyboard Area at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mark Clinton is a Steinway artist.
IRINA KATS, PIANO
Pianist Irina Kats enjoys a career as a teacher, soloist, chamber musician and accompanist. According to The Washington Post, she is a "splendidly able accompanist" with "considerable emotional powers." Ms. Kats' career began in her native Russia, where she graduated with honors, studying with the great pianist and teacher Vasily Pavlov, from the Astrakhan Conservatory and the Kazan Post-Graduate Music School.
During her time in Russia, Ms. Kats was an active piano performer with a broad repertoire that included classical, romantic and contemporary masterpieces of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt Moussorgsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. In addition, she has been a frequent performer on television and radio broadcasts.
In 1996, Ms. Kats came to the United States where she taught privately before taking a position at Levine Music in Washington, DC in 1998. Since joining Levine's piano faculty, she has resumed her performance career as a chamber musician and accompanist, performing throughout the Northeast region of the United States. She has collablorated with such musicians as Slovakian sopranos Eva Blagove and Sisa Sclovsk, chellist John Gevorkian, horn soloist Eric Rusk and baritone Jerome Barry in such venues as the Austrian Slovakian Embassies, The Lyceum in Alexandria, VA and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. ms. Kats also collaborated with violinist Mihai Craioveanu at the Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC, Holland,
ilia radoslavov, piano
A native of Bulgaria, pianist Ilia Radoslavov obtained his Doctoral Degree in Piano Performance as a Paul Collins Distinguished Graduate Fellow, an award celebrating outstanding performing ability and musicianship, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with Christopher Taylor. Professor Radoslavov has graduated with high distinction and holds degrees in Piano Performance from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, where he worked with Wilfred Delphin, and the State Conservatory of Music, Sofia, Bulgaria, where his teachers were Stella Dimitrova, and Ilya Tchernaev. He has also studied with world-renowned Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, and Ann Shein.
Throughout his career, Dr. Radoslavov has been welcomed warmly and with accolades by audiences and critics alike, while appearing in numerous solo and chamber performances in prestigious venues in the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Some of his festival appearances include the Johannesburg’s Olde’n’New Recital Series, the Fairbanks New Music Festival, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Festival of Contemporary Music, March Days of Music in Ruse, Bulgaria, and the Festival for Young European Talents in Potsdam, Germany. His performances have been broadcast on King FM Evergreen Channel, Seattle, WSIU TV 8, Illinois, and the Bulgarian National Radio.
Professor Ilia Radoslavov is in high demand as an adjudicator, clinician, and master teacher both in the US and Europe.
Dr. Radoslavov's teaching career ranges widely and encompasses applied piano, accompanying, chamber music, class piano, and music theory. Before joining the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University, Ilia Radoslavov taught at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and Truman State University.
R. KENT COOK, PIANO
Dr. R. Kent Cook is Professor of Piano and Head of the Keyboard Department at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. He keeps an active schedule as soloist and chamber musician, having performed in venues throughout the United States and abroad. Regionally, he has appeared in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, while in Europe, he has performed in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany and Italy.
R. Kent Cook hails from Odessa, Texas where he began to play the piano at age six. He attended Baylor University to pursue dentistry, but quickly began serious study of the piano. After finishing a Piano Performance Degree with honors under the guidance of Roger Keyes, he continued his studies at Indiana University receiving both his Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Piano Performance. He has worked with distinguished pianists Leonard Hokanson, Eteri Andjaparidze, Michel Block, James Tocco, and Karen Shaw, and in 1992-93, he studied with Herbert Seidel as a Fulbright Scholar at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt, Germany.
Before joining the piano faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University in 1999, Dr. Cook served on music faculties at DePauw University, the Indiana University Piano Academy, and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He is currently active as an adjudicator and master teacher throughout the Midwest, and during the summer he teaches at the Illinois Chamber Music Festival. In 2009, he joined the faculty of the International Chamber Music Festival based in Kyustendil, Bulgaria.
Cook released his first recording in 2002 on the Novitas label. Entitled Nachtstück, it is a recording of twelve Nocturnes by seven different composers including Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann. Soon to be released are two recordings, one featuring Debussy’s Préludes for Piano and trio recording with longtime collaborators oboist Roger Roe and violist Michael Isaac Strauss.
nancy pounds, piano
Nancy Pounds is an Adjunct Faculty Accompanist and Instructor of Piano at Illinois Wesleyan University. She received the MM in Piano Performance from Illinois State University where she studied with Tella Marie DeBose. Nancy maintains a very active performing and teaching schedule working with students, colleagues, and visiting artists. She regularly appears at the IWU contemporary music programs, the Illinois Chamber Festival, and for several summers as faculty accompanist for the IWU Cello Camp.This past year she performed David Vayo's Seis Cosechas at the October IWU New Music Cafe and a series of fall recitals with colleague and friend, Nina Gordon. Nancy is also a member of the team of artists for the Summer Music Fest, Poco a Poco, directed by Kate Tombaugh, an IWU Alumna.