Meet the Distinguished 2019 Lyra Competition Judges

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Tomoko Fujita, Cellist

Hailed as “first-rate” by The Boston Globe, cellist Tomoko Fujita enjoys an active musical life as soloist, chamber musician, and educator. She has recently performed on the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and at the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City with pianist Luba Poliak. She was a founding member of the Bryant Park Quartet, and played with the group during its ten year history which included a self-titled album in 2014. She has also collaborated with esteemed artists such as Itzhak Perlman, members of the Cleveland, Emerson, and Juilliard String Quartets, dancer Wendy Whelan, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Currently, Tomoko is a member of the New York Chamber Music Co-Op, a new creative performance collaborative in New York City.

Tomoko has premiered and performed many contemporary works as a soloist – she was praised in Strad magazine for her “haunting” performance of Morton Subotnick’s Axolotl – and in ensembles such as Argento Chamber Ensemble, Mimesis Ensemble, New Fromm Players, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, and New Juilliard Ensemble. On baroque cello, she has performed with the Aulos Ensemble, and at the Boston Early Music Festival and the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts series.

Tomoko graduated summa cum laude from Rice University with a double degree: a Bachelor of Music in cello performance and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology. Having earned a Master of Music at The Juilliard School, she received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University. In addition to being the Director of the Stony Brook University Young Artist Chamber Music Program, she is on the cello faculties at Montclair State University and Hofstra University, and coaches at the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program. In the summers, Tomoko is in residence at the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, VT. For more information, visit www.tomokofujita.com.


Photo Credit: Carlos Andres Dueñas

Photo Credit: Carlos Andres Dueñas

Renana Gutman, Pianist

Praised by the New York Times for her “passionate and insightful” playing, Renana Gutman has performed across four continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and collaborative artist. She has played at venues such as The Louvre Museum, Grenoble Museum, (France), Carnegie Recital Hall, People's Symphony Concerts, Merkin Hall (New York), St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia (Russia), Stresa Music Festival (Italy), Ravinia Rising Stars (Chicago), Jordan Hall, Gardner Museum (Boston), Herbst Theatre (St. Francisco), Menuhin Hall (UK), UNISA (South Africa), Marlboro (VT), and National Gallery, Phillips Collection, and Freer Gallery (Washington DC).

Her performances are heard frequently on WQXR Young Artists Showcase, NY, WFMT Dame Myra Hess, Chicago, and MPR Performances Today, MN. 

Renana was one of four young pianists selected by the renowned Leon Fleisher to participate in his workshop on Beethoven piano sonatas hosted by Carnegie Hall, where she presented performances of “Hammerklavier” and “Appassionata” to critical acclaim. Her recording of Chopin etudes op.25 will be released in 2018 by "The Chopin Project".

A top prize winner at Los Angeles Liszt competition, International Keyboard Festival in New York, and Tel-Hai International Master Classes, she performed concerti such as Brahms 2nd, Rachmaninoff-Paganini Variations, and Beethoven’s “Emperor” with the Jerusalem Symphony, Haifa Symphony, Belgian “I Fiamminghi”, and Mannes College Orchestra.

Her festival appearances included Marlboro and Ravinia, where she collaborated with prominent musicians like pianist Richard Goode, clarinetist Anthony McGill and members of the Guarneri string quartet, to name a few.

High in demand as a chamber musician, Renana toured with "Musicians from Marlboro", and serves regularly as the collaborative pianist of Steans Institute at Ravinia Festival, where she performs chamber music and lieder extensively. 

In last seasons she performed chamber music with violist Kim Kashkashian, violinist Miriam Fried, and clarinetist Charles Neidich. 

She tours regularly with violinist Alexi Kenney, winner of Avery Fisher Grant. 

Renana premiered newly commissioned music by Paul Schoenfield, Tamar Muskal, Judith Zaimont, and other living composers. As a member of “Echoes of Hope” project, she is also dedicated to performing obscure pieces by Jewish composers who perished in the Holocaust; Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann, and others.

A former founder of the piano trio “Terzetto”, Renana won first Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition, Ohio, and performed Beethoven Triple Concerto with Lansing Symphony. The trio was featured at “Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival”, the Banff Center, Canada, Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival, North Carolina and Saugatuck Music Festival, Michigan.  

From 2008-2010, Renana had been on the piano faculty of the Yehudi Menuhin Music School in the UK, alongside prof. Marcel Baudet. She currently teaches at 92nd Street Y, and Bard College Preparatory in NY.

A native of Israel, Renana started playing at the age of six, and soon after, garnered multiple awards and honors. She received scholarships from the America Israel Cultural Foundation, and the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women. 

She completed her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at Mannes College of Music, NY, where she studied with Richard Goode. In Israel, her teachers were pianists Natasha Tadson, Viktor Derevianko, and the Israeli composer Arie Shapira.

Renana became an American citizen in 2015 and makes her home in NYC. She also pursues her passion for Argentinian Tango, languages, and poetry. 


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Siwoo Kim, Violinist

Siwoo Kim is an “incisive” and “compelling” (Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times) violinist who plays with “stylistic sensitivity and generous tonal nuance” (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune). Siwoo performs as soloist and chamber musician and is also the founding co-artistic director of VIVO Music Festival in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

Siwoo made his New York concerto debut at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium with James DePreist and the Juilliard Orchestra. He made his Walt Disney Concert Hall concerto debut shortly after. In addition, he has given concerto performances with the Columbus, Houston, Johannesburg, Kwazulu-Natal, Seongnam, Springfield (MO), and Tulsa symphony orchestras, among others. Siwoo gave the world premiere performance of Samuel Adler’s violin concerto and will be recording the work in Germany this season to coincide with the composer’s 90th anniversary.

An enthusiastic collaborator, Mr. Kim founded Quartet Senza Misura. Praised for their “whip-smart performances” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), the string quartet has performed at an array of venues such as Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, Terrace Theater of The Kennedy Center, Seoul Arts Center, La Fundacion Juan March in Spain, and the Simon Bolivar Conservatory of Music in Venezuela. In recent seasons, Siwoo has been a violinist of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect (ACJW) and the Marlboro Music Festival. He has been featured internationally as guest artist at the Tivoli Festival in Denmark, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa, and with Ensemble DITTO in South Korea. He has performed chamber music with Itzhak Perlman, Joyce DiDonato, Jeremy Denk, Kim Kashkashian, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard and Takacs String Quartets.

Siwoo was named the recipient of the 2012 King Award for Young Artists. He took second place at the 2010 Corpus Christi International Competition for Piano and Strings, where he was also awarded special prizes for the best performance of solo Bach and violin performance. He has also been named top prizewinner in the California, Chengdu, Crescendo, Hellam, Ima Hogg, Juilliard, Schadt, Sejong, and WAMSO competitions.

Siwoo studied with Roland and Almita Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago. He went on to receive both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Robert Mann, Donald Weilerstein and Ronald Copes.