A prizewinner of numerous competitions, pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak has garnered international praise for her versatility, energy, and technical mastery. Her most recent achievement was in the 2021 Lyon International Music Competition in France, where she won third prize and received concert engagement from the Association Freědeěric Chopin aĚ Lyon. Gwak was the first prize winner of the Sicily International Piano Competition, the Seattle International Piano Competition, the MFMC Rosamond P. Haeberle Memorial Piano Award, the High Point University International Piano Competition, the Michigan MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition, and the Eastman Concerto Competition. She was also a semi-finalist at the Concours musical international de Montreěal, and the Ricard VinŢes International Piano Competition. Gwak holds a BM in piano performance from Seoul National University and a MM in piano performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. She is currently pursuing graduate studies at SMTD under the tutelage of Professor Christopher Harding.
PengCheng He has been hailed by Vladimir Krainev as an "extremely talented young pianist with unbelievable technique”. During the Ravinia Music Festival, Menahem Pressler remarked, after hearing his Op. 106 and Archduke Trio, that “…not only the Hammerklavier, but everything he touched was beautiful.”
PengCheng He has appeared as both soloist and chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. He was the first prize winner of the 9th Taipei International Chopin Competition, and a participant in the 16th edition of the Warsaw Chopin International Competition, where he advanced to the second round. He also won the first prize of American Protege. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music with Marc Silverman and Solomon Mikosvsky with full scholarship and was awarded the Helen-Cohn Award from Manhattan School of Music for his outstanding work in chamber music. In 2015, He was admitted by Leon Fleisher with a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
In 2016, He was invited to play at the Ravinia music festival and performed a solo concert at the Chicago cultural center which was broadcast by WFMT in Chicago. In 2017, he played the complete Beethoven 32 Piano Sonatas in a marathon recital at Peabody Institute as one of five students of Leon Fleisher.
Currently, PengCheng is pursuing his DMA degree at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he is a full scholarship awardee. He is under the guidance of James Tocco and Dror Biran. He will play all Beethoven 32 sonatas at CCM during the 2021-2022 season.