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.
Ināra Zandmane – Competition Accompanist
Ināra Zandmane is one of the leading collaborative pianists of North Carolina. She has performed with such artists as Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Augustin Hadelich, Ray Chen, Sergei Antonov, Yura Lee, Martin Storey, Paul Coletti, Ian Clarke, and Branford Marsalis, in addition to regularly performing with Blue Mountain Ensemble and in duos with saxophonist Susan Fancher and violinist Fabián López. In 2008, Ināra teamed up with Latvian violinist Vineta Sareika on a tour leading them to Boston, Cleveland, and Toronto, before culminating in an invitation-only performance at the Kennedy Center arranged by the Latvian Embassy in the United States. In 2012, Ināra stepped in on a short notice to perform with violinist Ray Chen at the Aspen Music Festival, followed by a recital in Lima, Peru. In 2014, she was invited to the International Saxophone Symposium and Competition in Columbus, Georgia to present a recital with Vincent David.
Ms. Zandmane is frequently invited to serve as an official accompanist at national conferences and competitions, among them the North American Saxophone Alliance conference and MTNA National competition since 2005. She is the accompanist in residence for the South Eastern Piano Festival that takes place in Columbia, SC every June. Ināra Zandmane is on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she performs with students and faculty more than fifty different programs per year.
Ināra Zandmane’s solo recordings include the piano works by Maurice Ravel, recorded together with her husband Vincent van Gelder, and the complete piano sonatas by Alexander Scriabin. Ināra Zandmane has collaborated with leading Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, giving Latvian premieres of his piano works The Spring Music and Landscapes of the Burnt-out Earth and recording the latter one on the Conifer Classics label. She also can be heard in various chamber music collaborations on Navona Records and Centaur Records.
See Chang-Hee – Competition Accompanist
Chee-Hang See is a prize-winning Singaporean pianist, composer, and conductor who has been called “a cool and confident performer” by the Charleston City Paper. After an appearance at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, CharlestonToday.net wrote that “he displayed absolute clarity and through his refined dynamic range brought gorgeous contrasts to each section.” He has performed in concert series and festivals such as the Internacional Festival de Colonia (Uruguay), Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Musicale (SC), South Carolina Chamber Music Festival, Chicago Duo Piano Festival, Hawaii International Cultural Arts Festival, and Piccolo Spoleto Festival (SC). He has soloed with the Montevideo Philharmonic (Uruguay), Charleston Symphony, Toa Payoh West Chinese Orchestra (Singapore), Bela Bartok Orchestra (Italy), among others.
His debut album “Violin Transcriptions”, featuring works by Rachmaninoff and Muczynski, was released in 2014. In 2022, with trumpeter Antonio Marti, the CD “Spanish Journey” with works for trumpet and piano was released on Centaur Records.
Chee-Hang currently is faculty at the Charleston Academy of Music, where he founded and conducts its New Music Ensemble. He is also music director of the Remington Concert Series in Mt. Pleasant, repetiteur/assistant conductor of Holy City Arts and Lyric Opera, and pianist with Charleston Symphony, Astralis Chamber Ensemble, and Chamber Music Charleston. He performs as the Sandberg-See Duo with his wife, violinist Nina Sandberg, and has won the Boosey and Hawkes Score-Video Contest.
In 2010, Chee-Hang formed the Tan and See Piano Duo with his colleague, Malaysian pianist Amy Tan. They have been described as “emanating a sense of pure fun that is always infectious to audiences” (CharlestonToday.net). They have been finalists of the International Web Concert Hall Competition and performed in festivals and concert series in Europe, Asia and North America. Their solo and orchestral appearances have been broadcast on National Public Radio and have taught at the Chicago Duo Piano Festival. They have attended masterclasses with the Aebersold/Neiweem Duo, DUO Stephanie and Saar, Oleyuria Duo, and Stenzl Duo.
Chee-Hang holds degrees and diplomas from the Cleveland Institute of Music, College of Charleston, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College London. He has studied with Sandra Shapiro, Enrique Graf, and Dr. Wong Joon Hwang, and participated in masterclasses with such world-renowned pianists as Ilana Vered, Michael Lewin, Eric Larsen, Anne Epperson, and Beatrice Long. He has received prizes in the Carl E. Baldassarre Composer/Performer Competition, International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington, D.C. and LaGrange Orchestra Young Artist Competition in G.A., among others. As a composer, his works for small and large ensembles have been premiered in Singapore and in the U.S.