PAUL OLEFSKY is Emeritus Professor of Music from the University of Texas at Austin. He has performed and conducted master classes internationally including master classes at Oxford and Cambridge, sponsored by the European String Teachers Association. His students fill key positions as professors and principals worldwide. He was awarded first prize of the prestigious Naumburg and Michael Memorial International Solo Competitions. He matriculated from the classes of legendary greats Piatigorsky and Casals. After graduating from Curtis Institute of Music, he appeared as a soloist and the youngest principal cellist with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Carnegie Hall under Maestro Ormandy. He is a solo recording artist for the Americus Records, Amatius Classics, Monitor, Musical Heritage, Vox, and Voice of America Records, and his broadcast credits include NBC, CBS and BBC-London. He was on the jury panels of the Piatigorsky International Competition (Violoncello Society of New York), and Interlochen International Competition (General Motor & Seventeen Magazine). Prof. Olefsky has been awarded the Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professorship and was the director of the UT Plan II Chamber Music Program in the College of Library Arts. He was also a professor of Cello/Chamber Music at Peabody Conservatory and Hart School of Music. Prof. Olefsky and his cellist wife, Hai Zheng have recorded Vivaldi's double cello concerti with the English Chamber Orchestra and appeared with the Chicago Strings for Bach's double violin concerti on two cellos and their live performance was broadcast over PBS in Chicago.
NANCY BURTON GARRETT, Professor of Piano has been a member of the piano faculty since 1965. Garrett was the First Prize winner of the G. B. Dealey Competition, first prize winner of the KRBE National Piano Competition and has won numerous other awards including a Fulbright Award for study in London, and Finalist Diploma in the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. Critically acclaimed as "a very important pianist", she has performed throughout the United States, in Europe, Mexico and Taiwan. Also an accomplished fortepianist, Garrett has, since 1991 been teaching and performing with 18th and 19th century fortepianos. A member of Duo Cristofori with Penelope Crawford she has appeared in duo-fortepeiano and four-hand recitals in major U.S. cities and festivals, including the Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln center, Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and the International Festival Institute at Round Top, Texas. Garrett students have performed in Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, the Smithsonian Institute, Europe, Mexico, and China and hold teaching positions in universities and colleges throughout the United States. Garrett received the BM with Distinction and Performer's Certificate from Eastman and the MM from the University of Texas. She has also studied at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her teachers include Cecile Genhart, Dalies Frantz, Leonard Shure, Silvio Scionti, Ilona Kabos, and Charles Rosen.
Dr. WILLIAM C. RACE (1923-1999), Priscilla Flawn Regents Professor of Piano at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Race was a member of the keyboard faculty at The University of Texas for thirty-two years, and served as its chair for twenty years, during which time he was largely responsible for establishing the national and international prestige of the piano faculty and its programs. His highly-regarded reputation as artist/teacher was complemented by an acclaimed career as soloist, chamber musician, and collaborator. Always a favorite performer on the University campus, he concertized all over the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia. His Town Hall, New York City, debut heralded an important career that won admiration and respect from performers and teachers in all musical circles, including major national and international schools of music. He received accolades from prestigious critics in New York and Los Angeles, and in many other important locales, and recorded an impressive range of piano literature. His dozen of recordings include a complete stylistic variety from Mozart to Bartok on the Educo, Orion, Elan and Musical Heritage labels.
Concert cellist HAI ZHENG has recorded as soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra in London and the Amatius Orchestra in New York at Lincoln Center. She has performed as soloist with orchestras in Europe, North America, and Asia, with Paul Olefsky in England and with Aldo Parisot in China. She made her European debut at the Oxford Town Hall in England and her New York City debut at Carnegie Recital Hall. Her appearances include solo/chamber music concerts at Wigmore Hall in London, at the Bösendorfer Saal in Vienna, New York's Steinway Hall, Barge music series in NYC, and a Canadian debut at the Guelph International Music Festival. These concerts were highly acclaimed by The New York Times, Oxford Daily Mail, and Strad Magazine. As a winner of the Feuermann International Cello Competition, she participated in the 2nd International Cello Festival in Kronberg, Germany. She has recorded five CDs. Her recording of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the English Chamber Orchestra was chosen as a “top pick” by the magazine Recording Direct. She has been a guest cellist with the Enso, Miró and Shanghai Quartets. Her recent visits to China have included a special concert for the Asia Society in Hong Kong, master classes and recitals at Shanghai, Guangzhou and Macau conservatories. She just returned from performing a special homecoming recital at famous Gulangyu concert hall at the invitation of the Xiamen University. Her recent concerts also included master classes and recitals at Duke University and Chinese Culture University in Taipei, Taiwan. Ms. Zheng has been an Assistant Professor of Music and Artist in Residence at Southwestern University and is on the faculty at St. Stephen's Episcopal School. She is the Artistic Director for the Young Musicians Festival Competition at Asian American Culture Center.