MEET OUR JUDGES
LISA NAKAMICHI, known for her exquisite performances of Mozart has been called “born to play Mozart” by Honolulu Advertiser critic on her concerto performance with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. The successful Tokyo solo debut recital sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Culture launched Ms. Nakamichi’s career in Japan. Ms. Nakamichi has since appeared in concerto performances throughout Japan among them the New Star Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo, the Kyushu Philharmonic in Nagasaki, Kyoto Symphony in Kyoto and the Hiroshima Symphony in Hiroshima. Her performance with the Hiroshima Symphony was reviewed as “brilliant Mozart playing”. Most recently, in February 2019, Nakamichi appeared with world-acclaimed pianist, Jon Nakamatsu in Mozart’s double concerto with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Hans Graf. Concerto performances with the Honolulu Symphony and Hawaii Symphony have totaled over a dozen times and her performance of the Mozart Concerto was reviewed in the Honolulu Advertiser as “above all beautiful”. Notable performances with the HSO includes the inaugural concert of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Naoto Ohtomo in March 2012. Nakamichi has also collaborated with the Hawaii Youth Symphony in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, celebrating Louis Vuitton’s 150th anniversary concert. Ms. Nakamichi has appeared in numerous recitals in major cities of the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. Notable venues include the residence of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C., Consul General of Japan in Honolulu, Corcoran Art Theater (Washington, D.C.), Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo, Japan), Eroica Saal (Vienna, Austria), residence of the Japanese Ambassador to Austria in Vienna, Libby Hall (University of Utah), University of Alaska in Anchorage, Montreal City Hall (Montreal, Canada), Portland Japanese Garden (Portland, Oregon), among others. Since 2000, Ms. Nakamichi has been on the artists’ roster of the Japan Foundation for Regional Art Activities (JAFRA). She has appeared throughout Japan in the Foundation’s outreach program holding workshops, masterclasses and performances to promote the regional development in arts and culture. As juror, Nakamichi has served on the jury of the Cooper International Piano Competition (Cleveland), Waring International Piano Competition (Palm Springs), and Alaska MTA, where she also conducted masterclasses. In August 2018, she served on the jury of the PTNA Competition (Piano Teachers’ National Association) for their national finals in Tokyo. Ms. Nakamichi is the founding artistic director of the Aloha International Piano Festival which is held annually in June at the Hawaii Convention Center. Focusing on the highest level of piano education by world acclaimed pianists, the festival hosts local students and students from the mainland U.S. and Asia. Lisa Nakamichi received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Martin Canin and doctoral degree awarded from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Hailed as “first-rate” by The Boston Globe, cellist TOMOKO FUJITA enjoys an active musical life as soloist, chamber musician, and educator. She has recently performed on the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and at the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City with pianist Luba Poliak, and has collaborated with esteemed artists such as Itzhak Perlman, members of the Cleveland, Emerson, and Juilliard String Quartets, dancer Wendy Whelan, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. As a founding member and the cellist of the Bryant Park Quartet for ten years, she has presented numerous concerts and interactive outreach presentations, nationally and internationally, and released a CD album entitled “BPQ”. Currently, she is a member of the New York Chamber Music Co-Op, a performance collaborative which seeks to explore issues of social justice in the context of classical music programming. Tomoko graduated summa cum laude from Rice University with a double degree: a Bachelor of Music in cello performance and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology. Having earned a Master of Music at The Juilliard School, she received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University. In addition to being the Director of the Stony Brook University Pre-College, she is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Cello at Montclair State University and Hofstra University, and coaches at the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program. In the summers, Tomoko is in residence at the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, VT. For more information, visit.
Violinist XIAO-DONG WANG entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of ten. Mr. Wang was First Prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition and First Prize winner in the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Violin Competition at the ages of thirteen and fifteen. He was brought to the attention of Dorothy DeLay of The Juilliard School who arranged for him to begin a four-year scholarship starting in 1986. A guest soloist of considerable experience, Mr. Wang has performed with orchestras around the world, including the Royal Philharmonic in London, the London Mozart Players, Adelaide, Perth, Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and Sydney Opera Orchestra. His recording credits include the Bartok Concerto No.2 and Szymanowski Concerto No.1 for Polygram Records. He has also appeared performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia and in many other festival and musical events worldwide. Mr. Wang is the resident soloist of the Shanghai Symphony for the 2012-13 Season, he will appear three times as soloist with the orchestra during the season as well as presenting chamber music concerts and Master classes. During his residency, Mr. Wang will also perform as a soloist with three other major symphony orchestras in China, including The China Philharmonic in Beijing. Mr. Wang is the artistic director and a founding member of the renowned chamber music group Concertante, where he has collaborated with world renowned musicians and made a vast number of chamber music recordings.
A charismatic and versatile flutist, JANET ARMS has been a member of the New York City Opera orchestra since 1988. She has also performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, as guest principal flutist with the St. Louis Symphony in the US and throughout Europe, as well as with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, at Tanglewood, and on tour. She has a long-standing association with the Bard Festival Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra, has worked with the NYC Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New Jersey Symphony, as well as subbed on Broadway in The King and I, Finding Neverland and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. As a faculty member of the Hartt School, Janet holds the title of Senior Artist Teacher as well as the Associate Chair of Chamber Music of Winds and Brass. She has been a faculty member of the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy – PRISMA in Powell River, BC for many years and has spent several summers in Brazil, teaching and performing with the faculty of the renowned Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Fortaleza. As an active performer in commercial recording here in NYC, Janet can be heard on a number of film documentaries for PBS. Scored by Michael Bacon, these include Jewish Americans, The Kennedy Years, and The Roosevelt Years to name a few. She made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall as a prizewinner of the Concert Artists International competition while completing her Masters degree at Juilliard. Ms. Arms’ chamber music career has included appearances with her NYC Opera colleagues at Lincoln Center, performances at the Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival, with the Concordia Chamber Players, the New York Chamber Soloists and appearances at PRISMA where her colleagues from the Chicago Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, LA Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, and Victoria Symphony Orchestra. Her most recent chamber music project, The Pandora Duo, is a collaboration with guitarist and fellow Hartt faculty member Christopher Ladd.
SHARI HOFFMAN is currently the second clarinetist with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, and the Stamford Symphony, and enjoys an active career as a freelance musician in the New York City area. She regularly performs with many of the country’s finest orchestras, including those of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera, as well as the New York City Ballet, and the New Jersey Symphony. Comfortable performing in many musical styles, Ms. Hoffman has been a member of numerous Broadway show orchestras including “My Fair Lady”, “The King and I”, and “South Pacific”. She is an active chamber musician, and a passionate teacher. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Ms. Hoffman completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Her principal teachers were Jon Manasse, Eli Eban, and Ken Grant.