Ronald Sachs International Music
Competition Artistic Director

Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi – Competition Artistic Director

Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi was born in Croatia where she began her violin studies in 1984. At the age of eleven she joined the Zadar Chamber Orchestra as its youngest member. Her college level studies began in 1993 at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia, studying violin performance with Professor Eugenia Tchougaeva. In 1998 she graduated from the Academy and joined the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra that same year. In the 1990s Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi concertized throughout Central, Southern and Eastern Europe, performing in Serbia, Austria, Croatia, Italy, and Montenegro.

Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi moved to the United States in 1999 to pursue graduate studies in music. In 2001 she graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a Master’s degree in music. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Georgia earning a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Since moving to the U.S., Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi has performed throughout the country, including two performances in Carnegie Hall, as well as on Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage. She has proven herself an amazingly adaptable musician, performing as a soloist (both orchestral and recital), chamber musician, and orchestral musician (as violinist and violist). Her musical career is noted for collaborations with remarkable musicians, including Evgeny Rivkin, and contemporary composers Augusta Reed Thomas and James MacMillan.

In January 2008 she became a founding member of the Balkan Quartet, a string quartet which focus is to involve and inspire composers to create new music that would use an indigenous Balkan language, reviving the rich Balkan folk heritage on a high artistic level.

Prior to her current position as a Violin and Viola Instructor and an Artistic Director of the Community Music Academy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Dr. Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi served on the faculty of Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, GA.


Elizabeth Lopartis – Competition Accompanist

Elizabeth Loparits has performed solo and collaborative recitals in Hungary, Costa Rica and the United States. She has made guest appearances at Indiana University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, University of Miami, Chicago College of Performing Arts, the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, Focus on Piano Literature, UNCW Presents, with the Wilmington Symphony and on the UNCW Piano Masterworks Series. She performed the world premiere of Meira Warshauer’s Ocean Calling III (2014), the North Carolina premiere of Ocean Calling I-II (2013), and the world premiere of Stacy Garrop’s Tantrum (2002).

Loparits served for two summers as Young Artist coach/accompanists at the prestigious Opera North Company in New Hampshire, and since 2014 has been the coach/accompanist for Opera Wilmington.

Elizabeth began her musical studies as a teenager. In just two years she was admitted to the Conservatory for Arts, then the Pécs Institute of Hungary’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Her graduate studies continued at Illinois State University (Master of Music) and the University of North Carolina Greensboro (Doctor of Musical Arts) under the guidance of Gellert Modos, George Kiorpes and Andrew Harley. In open masterclasses she worked with Tamás Vásáry, Malcolm Bilson, Jenő Jandó, Ann Schein, and László Baranyay among others. Top prizes include the National Bartók Piano Competition in Hungary (1995), the Kodaly-Bartok Chamber Music Competition (1996), and the North Carolina Symphony/UNCG concerto competition (2000).

Currently Elizabeth works as staff accompanist and faculty for the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.