Guest Adjudicators

Nicole Esposito, flute

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.

 

Joseph Rackers, piano

Hailed as an “American Virtuoso” (Audiophile Audition), “enormous power and intelligent, instinctive interpretation” (Spoleto Today), and “simply dazzling” (The State), pianist Joseph Rackers has performed for enthusiastic audiences in New York, Chicago, Kiev, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Rome, Shanghai and Washington D.C., at venues across Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine and extensively throughout the United States. His performances around the world include the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, Shanghai and Sichuan Conservatories of Music and Yantai International Music Festival, Kiev International Music Festival, Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, Indiana University Piano Festival, Varna International Piano Festival and Society of Composers International Conference, to name a few. Gramophone writes “the results are consistently compelling…as if Rackers response were primarily to his relationship with the composer as some sort of kindred spirit”.

Joseph Rackers is an International Steinway Artist and serves on the artist faculty of the Perugia International Music Festival in Italy, Burgos International Music Festival in Spain, Texas State International Piano Festival and Southeastern Piano Festival in the United States. His recordings as soloist, collaborative pianist and producer are available on the MSR Classics, Navona, Centaur, Equilibrium and Beauport Classics labels and his performances have been broadcast on radio and television across the United States and Europe.  His recent solo release with MSR Classics was widely recognized by the press; “…unflappable virtuosity…highly expressive…committed to letting the composer’s voice—as he hears it—come through” (American Record Guide), “compelling power, rhythmic persuasiveness…consummate style…complete mastery” (Audio Society).

Rackers is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. His principal teachers were Natalya Antonova and Raymond Herbert with additional study or masterclasses with Julian Martin, Misha Dichter and Blanca Uribe, among others. Also active as a chamber musician, he has performed widely as a member of the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo. The duo garnered significant attention as the Second Prize Winners of the Sixth Ellis Competition for Duo Pianists, the only national duo piano competition in the United States at that time. As advocates of modern repertoire for piano duo, they have given premieres of numerous works across the United States, including several works written specifically for them.

A devoted teacher, Rackers has taught at the Eastman School of Music and was awarded the school’s annual prize for Excellence in Teaching. He has given masterclasses at Indiana University, University of Michigan, Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival, UCLA, Sichuan Conservatory and University of Colorado among others. His students have been prizewinners in numerous national and international piano competitions.  Rackers is Associate Professor of Piano at the University of South Carolina School of Music where he teaches an international class of pianists and serves as Co-Director of the Southeastern Piano Festival, one of the premiere venues in the United States for the training of young pianists and presentation of distinguished artists in concert. He is in demand as a jury member for national and international piano competitions, including the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, National Federation Biennial Young Artist Awards, Pepsico National Concerto Competition and Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.

 

Kevin Lawrence, violin

Kevin Lawrence‘s own depth of musical conviction, his rich experience with several important figures in the history of violin playing, along with continuing engagement with prominent performers and teachers—both as director of Green Mountain and through ongoing international contacts—gives him an unusually broad perspective on how a student may attain success as a violinist.

Credentials

Career Highlights