Meet the Rising Star Competition Judges

PIANO DIVISION

AVGUSTE ANTONOV

Born in Bulgaria, Avguste Antonov studied piano in Bulgaria (Dobrich), France (Ecole Normale de Paris, Conservatoire de Bordeaux Jacques Thibaud) and the United States (2000: University of Missouri-Kansas City; 2001-2004: University of Kansas; 2006-2008: Texas Christian University).

Currently, Avguste Antonov resides in France and holds a position as a professor of piano and accompaniment at the Conservatoire de Châteaubriant. Pianist Avguste Antonov is at home in all repertoire, with a special interest for the 20th and 21st century music. Avguste Antonov has performed recitals and has been featured as soloist with various Symphony orchestras; he has performed World and USA premieres at venues across North America and over the years he has worked with composers Carter Pann, Gregory Hutter, Michael Colgrass, Raina Murnak, Matthew Lewis, Till Meyn, Matthew Saunders, Robert Rollin, William Vollinger and others.

In addition to performing, Avguste Antonov has presented lectures for the Carrollton Music Teachers Association, Frisco Music Teachers Association, Kansas Music Teachers Association, Oklahoma Music Teachers Association and Wisconsin Music Teachers Association. He is an adjudicator for various competitions including the ENKOR Piano Competition, the Sound Espressivo Global Competition and the Music International Grand Prix. In 2021, Avguste Antonov was named on the advisory board of the Sound Espressivo Global Competition.

Avguste Antonov
Rebecca Sorley, publicity picture (2)

REBECCA SORLEY

Dr. Rebecca Sorley holds the position of Professor of Music at the University of Indianapolis where she is Director of Student Support and Coordinator of the Music Business Concentration. She teaches piano to all levels from Pre-College through Piano Majors.

Dr. Sorley holds degrees in piano from Butler, Indiana and Ball State Universities and an MBA from the University of Indianapolis. Recent performances include participation in the National Association of Music Merchants “Roomful of Pianos” in Anaheim, California, lecture-recital entitled “Musical Immigrants” for the College Music Society International Conference in Sydney, Australia and “Women Make Music” with daughter, Allegra, for the Mu Phi Epsilon International Convention in Denver, Colorado. In November, 2019, Rebecca taught as a masterclass clinician for the National Collegiate Honors Conference in New Orleans.

Sorley serves on the International Board for Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity as 4th-International Vice-President, Music Advisor. She has worked as an orchestral keyboardist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and the Evansville Philharmonic.

VOCAL & THEATER ARTS DIVISION

DANA ZENOBI

Soprano Dana Zenobi’s work as an interpreter of Art Song by women composers has garnered both regional and national attention. Equally at home on the opera stage, she appeared in the American Premiere of Philip Glass’s Waiting for the Barbarians with Austin Opera, and performed with Lyric Opera Cleveland in the first production of Mark Adamo’s Little Women directed by the composer.

Dr. Zenobi joined the Butler University voice faculty in 2018 after a decade at Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas). At Butler, she teaches Studio Voice, Diction, Vocal Pedagogy, and Song and Opera Literature courses. She also directs the Butler University Vocal Competition for high school students. Her studio teaching was nationally recognized in 2014, when The American Prize competition issued her an “Inspiration in Teaching” award. Winner of the 2020 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Vocal Pedagogy Award, Dr. Zenobi has presented lectures and lecture recitals at numerous conferences and festivals including the NATS Texoma Regional Conference, the Music by Women Festival, and the Associated Colleges of the South Gender Studies Conference.

She holds a BA in Music and Women’s Studies from Duke University, and both MM and DMA from The University of Texas at Austin.

CHRIS LEWIS

Chris Lewis is Executive Director of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time GRAMMY Award nominee Michael Feinstein. One of the goals of the foundation is to inspire and educate students by celebrating the timeless songs of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood.

Lewis is an accomplished musician with experience as a professional vocalist, choral director and voice teacher, and was a member of the vocal jazz octet, Pieces of 8, along with his wife, Kelly. He oversees all the organization’s activities, including management of the Songbook Archives & Library, the Songbook Exhibit Gallery, the Songbook Hall of Fame and all educational and outreach programming.

During his tenure, Lewis has spearheaded the national expansion of the Foundation’s most prominent education program, the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive, which gathers top high school vocalists from coast to coast for a rigorous week of mentoring from performing arts and entertainment professionals. Many of the Academy graduates have performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, on television shows and many other venues.

Lewis holds a master’s degree in education from Mercy College as well as a graduate certificate in nonprofit executive leadership through the IUPUI School of Philanthropy and is a graduate of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy. Lewis is a member of the Indianapolis Consortium of Arts Administrators, the National Association of Music Educators, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Jazz Education Network and the Recording Academy.

COMPOSITION

VALERY EVLANOV

Valery Evlanov is a guitarist, composer, the winner of the International Competition “Many Faces of Guitar” in jazz-rock nomination, a member of the Russian Composers’ Association and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. . Born in Moscow, Russia, he began his music education at an early age, studying guitar and piano at a full-time music school and the Moscow College of Pop and Jazz music.

He received his Bachelor and Master’s degree at one of the most famous schools – the Gnesins Russian Academy of Music. During his early music career, Valery was a member and a composer for a variety of music groups including “Sky of Russia”, “The Fifth Ocean”, as well as the jazz quartet “Vintage” which he founded in 2002. His world-wide performances include collaborations and works with many popular musicians and singers, including the Symphony Jazz Orchestra “Globalis”, Pavel Kogan Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestra, conductor Erik Ochsner (New York, USA), conductor Shih-Hung Young, and the Ivan Dyma quintet. Additionally, he worked as a leading guitarist, sound engineer, and composer at the “Lucky-double” sound recording studio in Moscow, Russia, where he also created his first musical “Flowers’ Fairy Tale”.

In 2018, he released his first album “On the Other Side”, which he wrote, produced, and recorded himself. Valery has over 13 years of teaching experience, teaching guitar at Saulsky Moscow State School of Arts as well as at his own Studio in Carmel, Indiana, USA.