Winner of our first concerto competition, Cynthia Elise Tobey spent her early childhood amongst the culture and musical traditions of Cameroon, Africa, where her parents were medical missionaries. She entered Juilliard’s Pre-College division at age 10, and received her Bachelors degree from Curtis Institute and Masters in Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Columbia’s prestigious Music, Educational Leadership, and Teaching of Performance & Music in Higher Education degree program. Her teachers have included Margaret Shafer, Blanca Uribe, Herbert Stessin, Seymour Lipkin, Todd Crow, and Gerald Stofsky. She has also studied and taught at the Koservatorium Wien.
Tobey has performed in Spain, Germany, and Austria as well as many U.S. concert halls. She is a laureate of numerous competitions, including the New York Gifted Pianists Competition, the Juilliard Concerto Competition, the New York International Piano Competition, Jacob Flier International Piano Competition, and The Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition. She has been featured many times on “From the Top” and her performances are broadcast frequently on WMHT radio. She is scheduled to perform Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the Lake George Chamber Orchestra in the 2013-2014 season.
2003 runner-up Michael Brown is an equally committed composer and pianist. His works have been described as “striking” by The New York Times and “intriguing” by The Washington Post and he is the recipient of the 2011 Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Award and the 2009 Palmer-Dixon Prize from Juilliard. Recent commissions include a multimedia work for cello, piano, and film to be premiered on the 2013 Look & Listen Festival, a set of songs for mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell, and Folk Variations for solo piano for Adam Golka. His work Constellations and Toccata, written for pianist Orion Weiss, was premiered at the Kennedy Center in January 2012.
Michael Brown was the first prize winner of the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. As the winner of the 2012 Juilliard William Petschek Piano Debut Recital Award he was presented in a solo recital and at Alice Tully Hall as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert. He is currently a participating artist at the Marlboro Music Festival. His calendar includes numerous appearances with orchestra as well as solo recitals and chamber music collaborations.
Michael Brown’s debut solo CD features works by Schubert, Debussy, and Brown and was released by CAG Records in 2012. Upcoming CD projects include an all-Schubert disc for Naxos and the solo piano works of George Perle for Bridge Records.
[For further updates to Michael’s bio, please see his web site: michaelbrownmusic.com.]