Levon Ambartsumian – Competition Judge

Levon Ambartsumian studied in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1977 he became the First Prize winner of Zagreb International Violin Competition headed by Henryk Szeryng. Two years later he was a prizewinner of the Montreal International Competition, and in 1981 he won the All-Union Violin Competition in Riga. Ambartsumian was distinguished as Honored Artist of Armenia in 1988 and Honored Artist of Russia in 1997.


He has collaborated with conductors and composers such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Fedoseev, Maxim Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian, Alfred Schnittke, and many others. He performed and gave master classes in the USA, Canada, Europe, Brazil, and South Korea. In 1989 Ambartsumian founded the Moscow Chamber Orchestra ARCO which regularly performed in Russia and abroad and now resides in Athens, Georgia, USA.


Ambartsumian joined the faculty of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 1978 where he taught for 15 years. For two years, he was a Visiting Professor at Indiana University School of Music. In 1995, Ambartsumian accepted the position of Franklin Professor of Violin at the University of Georgia School of Music (Athens, Georgia). He has released over 40 CD’s under different Russian and American labels. In May 2009 Ambartsumian was awarded a gold medal of the Moscow Composers’ Union for his contribution to the development of contemporary music and musical culture.


Evgeny Rivkin – Competition Judge

Evgeny Rivkin was born in Russia and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where he studied with Professor Evgeny Malinin. He has been the recipient of many major awards, including top prizes in the USSR National Piano Competition in 1977, the Sixth International Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow, the Bayerishe Rundfunk Competition in Munich, 1985, as well as the L. MacMahon International Competition in Lawton, Oklahoma. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in Italy, France, Hungary, Germany, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Yugoslavia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and other countries in live performances as well as radio and TV broadcasts, always earning enthusiastic praise for his exciting pianism and sensitive artistry.


Mr. Rivkin has made symphonic appearances and presented solo recitals in many world-famous halls, such as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Great Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society, Hercules-Saal in Munich, Gewandhaus Hall in Leipzig,, Wagner Hall in Riga, Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Carnegie Hall in New York and others.


His repertoire includes all the keyboard concertos of J.S.Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and the piano concertos of Schumann, Liszt, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Brahms, Grieg, etc., and the major solo literature from the Classical and Romantic eras.


Mr. Rivkin has recorded for A-RAM and Melodiya labels in Russia, Sintez records of Latvia, and in the United States, ACA Recordings. “Treat yourself to this fine rendition,”wrote Fanfare magazine about his recording of Tchaikovsky’s G major Piano Sonata and The Seasons, adding that Rivkin brings out the best of this music. Mr. Rivkin has been a Professor of Piano at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia) since 1995.


Nicole Esposito – Competition Judge


A charismatic and versatile flutist, Nicole Esposito is the flute professor at The University of Iowa. She has achieved a career as a soloist, teacher, chamber and orchestral musician on an international level having been featured across the United States, Europe, Central and South America. Esposito has performed at flute festivals and events around the world including ten National Flute Association Conventions, the Oklahoma Flute Fair, Florida Flute Fair, Madison Flute Festival, West Virginia Flute Fling, Atlanta Flute Festival, the LA Flute Guild Festival, San Francisco International Flute Festival, The Texas Summer Flute Symposium, FLUTISSIMO!, Festival Virtuosi, Brazil, the International Flute Festival sponsored by the Brazilian Flute Association, the Santa Maria International Winter Festival, the International Flute Festival of Costa Rica, the Spanish National Flute Convention, Bogotá Flute Festival, the International Flute Congress of Argentina, Chilean Flute Encounter, the European Piccolo Festival in Slovenia, the Adams Flute Festival in Holland, Flute Forum in Luxembourg, the Canadian Flute Convention and the British Flute Society Convention.


In addition to her teaching position at The University of Iowa, Professor Esposito has served on the faculties of the Interlochen Arts Camp, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and held a guest teaching residency at the University of Michigan. She has given numerous master classes at prestigious universities and conservatories in the United States and abroad. As an orchestral musician, Esposito has performed under some of the world’s leading conductors, including James Conlon, David Zinman, Gunther Schuller, and Robert Spano. Former principal flute with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, she has also performed with the Quad City Symphony, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Youngstown (OH) Symphony, and the Johnstown and Westmoreland (PA) Symphony Orchestras. Esposito has held the Piccolo Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and has also been Principal Flute of the Ohio Light Opera.


Professor Esposito holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Michigan. She has been a finalist or prizewinner in several prestigious competitions including the National Flute Association’s Young Artist, Piccolo Artist, and Orchestral Competitions, the WAMSO Competition sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition. Additionally she has published articles on Banddirector.com, The Flutist Quarterly, Flute Focus and Flute Talk Magazines and can be heard on the Albany Records, MSR Classics and Con Brio Recordings labels.