Caroline Hong   Director


Hailed for her “expressive and powerful playing,” “formidable technique,” as well as her “keen sense of lyricism and the classical style,” Korean- American pianist Caroline Hong continues to flourish in her career as an internationally active soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, master class teacher, lecturer, adjudicator and recording artist. Pulitzer Prize and Academy award-winning composer John Corigliano referred to her as “one of the greatest pianists I have ever heard” after a performance of his Etude Fantasy (1976). Critics wrote that it was “breathtaking” and “hard to imagine a better performance”. She has been favorably reviewed by the American Record Guide and has recorded all three Carl Vine piano
sonatas further establishing herself as an interpreter of 20th and 21st century piano solo music.  As a chamber musician, she has performed with many fine artist groups including the Vermeer String Quartet and the Dorian Wind Quintet, and toured extensively in the U.S. as a member of the piano-violin duo, Duo Viardot.

Caroline Hong received her training from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (BM, scholarship student, graduating with performance honors), The Juilliard School (MM), and Indiana University (DM) where she also served as an associate instructor for theory and secondary piano. She has served on faculty for the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Indiana University Summer Piano Academy, Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Vianden International Festival and School (Luxembourg), Longwood University, and was the first female faculty member at the Piano at Peabody Roads Scholar summer program (2005). Currently, she is serving as Area Head and Professor of Piano at The Ohio State University. She has a strong teaching record reflected by successful students who have won international competitions and positions in music academia.  Her past teachers include Martin Canin, Jerome Lowenthal, Sergei Babayan, Dmitrii Paperno, Ann Schein, Karen Shaw, James Tocco, M. Deitzer, and Fernando Laires; and Claude Frank, John Browning, Leon Fleisher, Gyorgy Sebok, and Menahem Pressler as master class teachers.  Her first teacher, with whom she began study of piano at age two and a half, was her mother, Mrs. Koon Ja Hong.

During her competing years, Caroline Hong made her debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall as a winner of the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition. She was also a laureate of the Van Cliburn International Audition, the Robert Casadesus International Competition, William Kapell International Piano Competition, UNISA International Piano Competition, Beethoven Foundation, Distinguished Performer of the Palm Beach International Piano Competition, Winner of the Society of American Musicians, Bach Festival of Southern California, among others. She has been featured on radio broadcasts worldwide, as a performer for the Serge Babayan International Piano Academy, Robert Sherman’s “Young Artists Showcase” (New York Times Radio), and South Afrikaans radio, among others. She is a Steinway Artist, principal founder of the American Liszt
Society Ohio Chapter, and holds the Reinberger Foundation Chair at Columbus Symphony where she serves as the de facto principal keyboardist. She is on the Board of Directors at the American Liszt Society. This season, she has been invited to give masterclasses at Boston University and UCLA, and to serve as jury member for competitions at Manhattan School of Music, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Young Artists Competition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Eastern Music Teachers Association in Washington. She is under artist management with Price Attractions.


Ryan Behan  Co-Director


Ryan Behan, Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Indianapolis, has performed throughout the US, in Europe and China, with radio broadcasts on ORF (Austria), BBC, and NPR. Recent performance highlights include: concerto soloist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Franz Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage, recital appearances with the Indianapolis Quartet, and with sopranos Sumi Jo at the Mozarteum, and Jolana Slavíková at the Salzburg Festival. 


Dr. Behan is Co-Director of the Franz Liszt International Piano Festival and Competition (OH), and with a strong profile throughout the Midwest he has concertized with members of the Indianapolis Symphony, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic, been guest artist at Indiana University-Bloomington and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, adjudicated for the Ohio MTNA Young Artist State Competition and the Columbus Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, and he continues to present master classes throughout the US and abroad.  Since 2012 he has served on the collaborative faculty of the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria where he has taught piano students participating in the Lied classes of Wolfgang Holzmair, and coached instrumentalists and singers alongside many of the great artists and teachers of our time: including opera singers Grace Bumbry, Wolfgang Brendel, and Hedwig Fassbender; violinists Zakhar Bron and Michael Frischenschlager; cellists Umberto Clerici, and the late Heinrich Schiff at Attersee. 


Through a holistic approach to teaching, rooted in establishing a healthy, natural technique with musical interpretation informed by one’s own inner voice, he seeks professional and personal fulfillment for his students by helping them to be who they are and be that well. Dr. Behan holds degrees from Bowling Green State University, the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, and The Ohio State University, was a student of Jerome Rose, Imre Rohmann, Vedrana Subotic, Caroline Hong, and also studied with Leslie Howard at the International Keyboard Institute in NYC and James Tocco in Cincinnati.

Yingzhou Hu Assistant Director


Dr. Yingzhou Hu is actively involved as a concert pianist, educator, chamber musician, adjudicator, collaborator, and church pianist. Dr. Hu has performed standard literature on stages in the United States and abroad in Asia and Europe.

Dr. Hu Started to play the piano at the age four years old. He was admitted to the Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the top music school in China. He received his Bachelor of Music degree at Capital University, Master of Music degree at Manhattan School of Music, and his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Hu has won many piano competitions and awards worldwide. He has performed extensively in the United States, China, and Italy, in the most prestigious venues such as Carnegie’s Weill Hall in New York City. As the winner of the 2020 Golden Classical Music Awards International Piano Competition, He was engaged to repeat my appearance at the Carnegie Hall in 2021. His performances were highly praised at Amalfi Music and Arts Festival in Italy.

Dr. Hu has been awarded the 2020 Graduate Achievement Award at The Ohio State University. The award honors a student who demonstrates excellence in service to the university and community, also leadership in promoting opportunities in public education. In 2017, he was the winner of the American Protégé International Piano Competition. He earned the Arts and Humanities Graduate Research Award at The Ohio State University the same year. Additionally, he is the winner of the 2011 Karen Jean Foster Keyboard Competition at Capital University. Since 2016, He has toured and performed with the Wind Symphony of Ohio State University around the United States. Moreover, He performed as a pianist in the Choir of the Hilliard Memorial Middle School and Bradley High School across the state. He accepted the offer as the Collaborative Piano Faculty at Ohio Dominican University in 2018.

Dr. Hu was assigned by the Ohio-Hubei Friendship Association as the Stage Director of the series performance “The Imperial Bells of China” celebrating the 40th year of friendship between Ohio and Hubei Province in 2019.  He is a member of the American Liszt Society and served as an assistant director in the Liszt International Piano Festival and Competition. Because of his extraordinary national reputation, he was invited to join the judging committee of the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs. He contributes his passion to the community as well. He served as the Organist at the Riverside United Methodist Church in 2017, and as the Keyboardist at St. Paul Lutheran Church since 2018.

 Dr. Hu has operated a private studio for more than ten years, and his students have won competitions and performances. Currently, he has been a member of the piano faculty of the Piano at Peabody program at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where gave lectures, recitals, and masterclasses. He is currently serving as a full-time instructor of Piano Studies at Clark Atlanta University.

Shitong Sigler  Competition Coordinator


Shitong Sigler, DMA is on faculty at Ashland University, where she coordinates applied piano and class piano studies. As a solo and collaborative pianist, her performing career spans the United States, Europe, and her home country China. She began studying piano with her first teacher, her father at age 3 and started her tutelage under Professor Jinlan Jiang from Shenyang Conservatory of Music at 6 years old, with whom she launched her multifaceted musical path after winning several national and regional piano competitions. Dedicated to the advancement of new music, Sigler has concertized works of living composers and premiered new solo piano, chamber and orchestral works. In addition to maintaining an active career as a committed performer, Sigler has frequently given presentations on piano pedagogy and arts entrepreneurship across various national, regional, and state conferences. Recent professional highlights include performances as concerto soloist with Wooster Symphony Orchestra, premiere performance and recording of composer Stefan Swanson’s complete solo piano and chamber works, coordinating the Franz Liszt International Piano Festival and Competition, as well as presenting her research on piano pedagogy and music entrepreneurship at 2021 and 2019 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, 2020 College Music Society Great Lakes Conference, 2020 Music Teachers National Association National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum, and 2020 Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Symposium. Sigler has earned Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance and Dual Master' Degrees, Master of Music in Piano Performance and Master of Arts in Piano Pedagogy from The Ohio State University with a full teaching assistantship, where she studied with Dr. Caroline Hong and Dr. Kenneth Williams. Sigler hold Bachelor of Arts Degree double major in Piano Performance and Business Economics from the College of Wooster.