Anastasia Dedik - Piano
Viktor Antipenko - Tenor
Leonid Sigal - Violin
George Michael - Saxophone
David Guzman - Tenor
Alexandra Lushtak - Soprano
Ilya Lushtak - Guitar and Vocals
Shelests Piano Duo
Michael Shirtz - Composer
President and Founder
of Prima Music Foundation, Inc.
Anastasia Dedik has earned international recognition as an artist who is equally at home in solo repertoire as well as chamber music and vocal literature. Her playing has been praised by New York Concert Artist Review as “flawless and memorable” and “Highly accomplished and authentically Russian pianism” – Peninsula Reviews. Her acclaimed appearances at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and The Great Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia have yielded a dedicated fan base on both continents. She has performed with Fort Worth Symphony, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, NYCA Symphony Orchestra, San Jose Symphony, and Oberlin Orchestra to name a few. Anastasia has been featured on RAI TV in Italy, NDR TV in Germany, WABC in NYC as well as in an episode of NBC’s “Law and Order SVU”, performing Beethoven’s “Appassionata” in an exciting episode entitled “True believers.”
Recent performances have taken Anastasia to Vermont, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Seattle, Miami, Washington DC, Los Angeles, New York, and Saint Petersburg. Her latest recording has been released on “Toccata Classics” and premieres works for piano and violin by Ukrainian composer Theodore Akimenko.
Born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia Anastasia hails from a family of distinguished musicians. After graduating from The Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 2004 she moved to the United States to continue her education at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School. She has been the recipient of a number of international awards, including The Governor of Saint Petersburg Award for Achievements in Arts, Harold and Helene Schonberg Piano Scholarship, and Susan W. Rose Fellowship at Juilliard. Anastasia is a top prizewinner of International Piano Competitions, including “Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU” International Piano Competition, San Jose International Piano Competition, and Pietro Argento International Piano Competition.
Anastasia is a founding member of The Prima Trio, an ensemble that burst onto the international stage when they won the Grand Prize at the Fischoff International piano competition. Since 2007 the Prima Trio has performed over 200 concerts. The Prima Trio is managed by Lisa Sapinkopf Artists.
Anastasia’s début Solo CD was recorded at a live recital in Recco, Italy, and was released by GPM Records in 2008. In 2015 she recorded Tchaikovsky-Pletnev’s “Nutcracker” Suite and “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. The CD “PIANO” was recorded at Yamaha Artist Services in New York City and has been released in 2015.
Anastasia is a committed pedagogue. Anastasia runs Prima Music Academy Music School in NYC, which provides music lessons both in-person and remotely. Anastasia's piano students have performed at Carnegie Hall, Manhattan School of Music, and Seoul Conservatory, and have been recipients of various prizes and awards. In 2022 Anastasia founded the "Rising Stars" piano camp which will take place at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, New Jersey. This festival will offer immersive musical ‘bootcamp’ training as well as performance opportunities with Prima Music Foundation, Inc. for young pianists.
Anastasia is a Doctorate candidate in piano performance at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Music. Anastasia resides in New York City with her husband and their 7-year-old daughter.
Russian-born Viktor Antipenko, praised for his effortless, expansive sound, and excellent technique, continues to sing leading roles to great acclaim and has become a tenor to watch in the dramatic repertoire. During the 2021-22 season, Mr. Antipenko sings Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with Arizona Opera under the baton of Christopher Allen, covers the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera led by Alexander Soddy and will debut as Radames in Aida with Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv.
Mr. Antipenko finished the 2020-21 season singing Siegmund in an Act 1 concert of Die Walküre at the Frischluft und Musick Festival Ortenau alongside Günther Groissböck and Cornelia Beskow under the baton of Michael Güttler. Previously that season he was scheduled to sing the title role in Wagner’s Parsifal with Canadian Opera Company; Prince Vsevolod Yuryevich in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh with Chicago Opera Theater; a return to Theater Dortmund to sing Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre; and Comte Vaudémont in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta at the New National Theatre Tokyo of Japan before the pandemic forced their cancellations. In the 2019-20 season, he sang Prince Guidon in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel at Dallas Opera; the title role in Samson et Dalila at Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck; Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio with Theater Chemnitz; Gabriele Adorno in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra with Tiroler Landestheater; Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre for Theater Chemnitz; and a Don José in Carmen for a semi-staged concert version at Lotte Concert Hall in South Korea.
Previous roles also include Lensky (Eugene Onegin), Hermann (Pique Dame), Andrey (Mazeppa), Enzo Grimaldo (La Gioconda), Luigi (Il Tabarro), Grigori (Boris Godunov), Riccardo (Oberto), Erik (Der fliegende Holländer), and the title roles in Wagner’s Parsifal and Lohengrin. Mr. Antipenko has sung at the Bolshoi Theatre, Ópera de Oviedo, Opéra de Rouen, Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, Opéra de Lyon, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, and Hawaii Opera Theater. On the concert stage, he has appeared as the tenor soloist in Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with The Philadelphia Orchestra; Shostakovich’s Jewish Folk Poetry at the Staatstheater Kassel; Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus with the New York Metamorphoses Orchestra; Stravinsky’s Les Noces at the Grand Philharmonie Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia; and at the Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele Musikfestival in an “Hommage a Sevilla” gala performance. Mr. Antipenko has worked with esteemed conductors Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Jurowski, Yuri Bashmet, John Neschling, Yuri Temirkanov, as well as with stage directors Peter Konwitschny and Tomer Zvulun.
Mr. Antipenko studied voice and choral conducting at the Glinka Choral College in St. Petersburg. After graduation he joined the Mariinsky Theatre, performing as a choral and solo artist. In 2007 he graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. From 2009-2012 he studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia with Bill Schuman.
Leonid Sigal has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as recitalist, chamber musician, orchestra leader and soloist, as well as conductor. Since early performances he was praised by audiences and critics for his virtuosity and musical sensitivity. The Miami Herald wrote: “He demonstrated what a fine violinist he is, playing passionately and cleanly with a soaring tone”; and the Hartford Courant echoes: “His tone is consistently sweet. He brings a clear sense of phrasing, articulation and effortless virtuosity.” And most recently: “The richness of his interpretive voice remains fascinating.”
Mr. Sigal’s vast performing experience includes recitals, chamber music performances, festival and orchestral appearances in the U.S., Canada, Brazil,
Russia, Japan, South Korea and throughout Europe. He has performed under Sir Georg Solti, Leonard Bernstein, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Tilson Thomas and Herbert Blomstedt, among others. A passionate chamber musician, he has collaborated with Mstislav Rostropovich, Evgeny Kissin, Edgar Meyer, James Ehnes, Roberto Díaz, William Wolfram and Jason Vieaux. He founded and has served as Artistic Director of the celebrated Sunday Serenades, a popular chamber music series at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. Mr. Sigal’s appearances as soloist include highly acclaimed performances of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Bach’s Double Concerto with Joseph Silverstein, Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, concertos by Mozart, Brahms, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Barber, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy and Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and Strings. In 2011, he performed a world premiere of Stephen Michael Gryc’s violin concerto Harmonia Mundi, specially commissioned and written for him.
Recent and upcoming seasons’ highlights include Brahms’ Double Concerto with cellist David Finckel, concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Glazunov, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Margreet Francis and Wendy Warner,and Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade to commemorate the composer’s centennial, as well as Winton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto. In addition to a busy performance schedule, he had served on faculties at the University of Florida and University of Hartford’s The Hartt School. Mr. Sigal has been serving as Concertmaster of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, and since 2012, at the invitation of Music Director Gerard Schwarz, he has been part of the Emmy Award-winning nationally syndicated program The All-Star Orchestra alongside fellow principals from major American orchestras, including Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Minnesota, among others. Previously Associate Concertmaster of the Florida Philharmonic, he has performed with the San Diego Symphony and Boston Symphony, and is in demand as a guest concertmaster and conductor. He served as Artistic Director of the Miami Chamber Symphony, and has made frequent returns to podium, most notably in recent performances of Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven symphonies, Poulenc’s Sinfonietta, Bachianas Brazileiras by Villa Lobos, Tchaikovsky’s orchestral suites and works by Glazunov, Prokofiev and Schnittke, as well as crossover projects like Focus: The Stan Getz Tribute and The Classical Mystery Tour.
NYC based saxophonist and educator George Michael has been performing at various venues around NYC including but not limited to Carnegie Hall Music Educators Workshop, Stephen NYC Jazz Workshop and the Michael Shirtz Quartet. George is one of the founding members of the Washington Heights Jazz Festival which features numerous musicians from upper Manhattan and the surrounding New York City area.
George holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from The University of Texas-Pan American (now known as The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley) and a Master’s in Performance with a concentration in Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University. He has over 20 years of professional musical experience as a music educator, performer, clinician, composer and arranger.
George began his teaching career as a band director for both middle and high schools in the South Texas area. In his time there, many if his students earned numerous awards and went on to study at schools such as Berkeley College of Music, The Peabody Institute and the University of North Texas. Throughout this time, he remained active in the community, performing with a number of groups in a variety of settings throughout the south Texas and northern Mexico area.
Upon completion of his Master’s degree, George was invited to join the faculty at Bowling Green State University where he taught jazz improvisation and applied jazz saxophone. In addition, he was also on faculty at Terra State Community College where he taught various courses in both music and humanities.
Currently George is employed as a music teacher with the Department of Education here in New York City. While spending the last three years in the South Bronx, he has curated an affinity for teaching students of high needs in an urban environment. George is also keen to point out that everything he listens to directs his musical development in some way. However, he would certainly reference Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock amongst his biggest influences.
Assistant Professor of Voice, Boston University
Hailed by the Tampa Bay Times as the “one to watch,” rising star, Colombian tenor David Guzman, is known for his exquisite tone and impeccable musicianship. He has been praised for his “impressive tenor, singing with force and ease throughout his range, with ringing tone at full voice, thoughtful in quieter moments.” (Houston Chronicle) The tenor begins the 2019 – 2020 season with the tenor soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana and the tenor soloist in Hayden’s The creation with the Hudson Valley Singers in New York City and COVID-19 canceled performances of Don Jose from Bizet’s Carmen with Orlando Opera and Don Jose from Peter Brook’s La tragédie de Carmen with Ballet Orlando.
During the 2017 – 2018 season the tenor portrayed Orpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld in a return engagement with Western Plains Opera. Other engagements include the role of Alfredo in La Traviata with Sarasota Opera, the tenor soloist in Carmina Burana with both the Minot Symphony Association and the Hartford Symphony, the Duke in Rigoletto with Western Plains Opera, Leicester in Maria Stuarda with Knoxville Opera, and cover the role of Edgardo with in Lyric Opera of Chicago in Lucia di Lammermoor.
As Ramiro in La Cenerentola with Opera Tampa, he was singled out for his “bright and power tenor that hits a bull’s-eye on distant targets.” (Tampa Bay Times) During the previous season he performed as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Heartbeat Opera, and covered the role of Aureliano in Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira at the Caramoor Center for Music and Arts.
Recent highlights include the Duke in Rigoletto with Opera Tampa, Rafael of Foglia/Martinez’s To Cross the Face of the Moon with Arizona Opera, as well as performances with Lyric Opera of San Diego, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
Mr. Guzman made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in Gonzalez’s Misa Azteca with Mid-America Productions followed by performances of Mozart’s Coronation Mass at Alice Tully Hall and Mozart’s Vespers at Avery Fisher Hall with DCINY in New York City. Additional performances of note include The Duke in Rigoletto with North Shore Opera Festival in New York, Rodolfo in La Bohème with Opera in the Heights in Houston, Don Jose in Carmen with Long Island Opera, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with Divaria Productions, Alfredo in La Traviata with Bronx Opera and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with Salt Marsh Opera and Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with Stony Brook Opera.
A passionate and captivating singer, New York based soprano Alexandra Lushtak has been lauded for her “tawny-rich tone”, vocal agility, and the ability to transport audiences with refined, exquisite musicality.
A Vocal Performance graduate of the world-renowned Saint- Petersburg Conservatory, Alexandra’s professional performance credits are extensive. Engaged as a soloist by "Lege Artis", a chamber choir in Saint-Petersburg, she has made several recordings with the group produced by Sony Classical. She toured throughout Europe and USA with the ensemble, performing in major classical music venues, including St. Petersburg Shostakovich Philharmonic Hall, State Academic Capella, the Russian State Museum, and other major venues. She was honored to perform for the Queen Elizabeth of Britain, and sang as the soloist at the International Festival “Northern Flowers” in Saint Petersburg,
Ms. Lushtak’s US credits include extensive long-term collaboration with the Hudson Valley Singers and New York Metamorphosis Orchestra. She was heard in a variety of programs with the Orchestra, including “Purcell Celebration", title roles in Gluck’s Orfeo, Handel’s Solomon, and as soloist in Handel’s Ode for the Queen Anne, as well as selections by Schumann, Mozart and Handel. She has authored, produced and performed a program of masterpieces of baroque music with New York Metamorphosis Orchestra under the direction of Eugene Sirotkine.
With roots running deep in Russian classical music tradition, Ms. Lushtak is an experienced and sought -after recitalist. She has performed in collaboration with outstanding pianists such as Leon Livshin and Anastasia Dedik. Her recital repertoire includes songs by Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky- Korsakov, Rachmaninov, Brahms and Mahler.
"…Music for a while...shall all your cares beguile," Ms. Lushtak sang with her tawny-rich tone; and for a while as the evening progressed the daily concerns of life did truly seem to vanish.” - Oberon’s Groove
Ms. Lushtak resides in NYC with her husband, jazz guitarist and singer Ilya Lushtak and their two artistic children.
“Be warned- it will knock you right off your seat!” -the Whole Note
“…refreshing delight… boisterous dexterity” -Stage & Cinema
Praised for their “stirring performances of rare repertory” (Fanfare Magazine), Shelest Piano Duo is a husband and wife team of Anna and Dmitri Shelest that takes their roots to the music school in Ukraine. At their official Carnegie Hall debut in February 2018, their CD Release of Ukrainian Rhapsody brought the renewed attention to the music of their homeland. Since then, the CD has been featured as the Album of the Week on a number of radio stations nationwide (KUSC Los Angeles, WCRB Boston, etc.)
Having been classmates since middle school, the Duo began performing together after their marriage in the US. Their inventive programs brought them to a broad array of venues from concert stages to state functions, and, in words of Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon “realized diplomacy through music.”
A performer, educator, composer, and conductor, Michael Shirtz is known for his versatility with jazz, contemporary, and classical music audiences. As an entertainer his vocal style and arrangements featuring jazz, Blues, Funk, Rock, Gospel, and Singer/Songwriter styles into his performances. At the piano, Shirtz remains deeply influenced by the innovation of Brubeck’s keyboard styles, which are infused into Michael’s groups. Credited as a “songsmith,” his shows highlight 20th Century American music and legendary artists through multimedia performances.
His conducting credits include vocal coaching and directing educational, repertory theatre, masterwork, and pops music productions for choral, symphonic, and music festival organizations. His album Blue Skies is available online and his compositions include works for choirs, orchestras, jazz bands, and theater.
Holding degrees in jazz studies and conducting from Capital University Conservatory of Music and California State University, Los Angeles, Shirtz has served on the faculty for Capital University, American Music Academy, Terra State Community College, director in residence for Pellissippi State-Knoxville, and Tri-C Jazz Fest.
Currently, Shirtz and is active as a guest artist and leads the Michael Shirtz Quartet, teaches at Heidelberg University School of Music & Theatre, and conducts the Symphony Chorale with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra & School of Music. Shirtz is a member of ASCAP, African American Jazz Caucus, American Choral Directors Association, Jazz Education Network, and an advocate for mental health awareness. During the 2022-2023 season, Shirtz is serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Jazz Education Network.