Mississippi university sending four musicians to perform at Carnegie Hall

Published 9:54 pm Friday, January 5, 2024

Three faculty members and a student from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Music will perform a chamber music program in the Weill Recital Hall at renowned Carnegie Hall on Jan.11 at 8 p.m.

The chamber music program, presented in part by the Blueprint Foundation, includes a world premiere of music by Kazandjiev, a United States premiere of music by Poturlyan, and selections by Piazzolla and Brahms. Tickets are available at the Carnegie Hall website.

“I am very honored to have the continued support of the Blueprint Scholarship and to be invited again to perform a chamber music recital with my colleagues,” said Dr. Borislava Iltcheva, USM professor of violin.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

She is joined by Southern Miss faculty Dr. Michael Bunchman, piano, and Dr. Hsiaopei Lee, viola. Also performing is Alexander Ilchev, a master’s student at USM.

The program includes the world premiere of Vassil Kazandjiev’s “Elegy;” the U.S. premiere of Artin Poturlyan’s  “With Artin Visiting Ilchevi’s Place;” Brahms’ Piano Q in F minor, Op 34; and Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango” and “Oblivion.”

“I could not be prouder for our School of Music to be represented on one of the most iconic stages in the world,” said Dr. Colin McKenzie, Director of the School of Music. “Having an opportunity to showcase the excellence which exists within the School of Music at such a venue is humbling, exciting, and a well-deserved honor for our faculty and this student.”

Iltcheva held the position of visiting professor in violin at USM for the 2022-23 school year. She holds degrees from the Bulgarian National Academy of Music, Louisiana State University, and Indiana University. Her principal teachers include Alexander Iltchev, Evgenia Maria Popova, Kevork Mardirossian and Mauricio Fuks. She serves as the Around the World assistant for Professor Mauricio Fuks.

ltcheva frequently performs and teaches masterclasses around the world. In the U.S., she has performed several concerts at Carnegie Hall where she’ll be returning for an evening of chamber music in the fall of 2023. She is also the concertmaster of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Her students have won major national and international competitions including First Prize at the Rudolpho Lipitzer International Violin Competition, among many others.

Taiwanese violist Lee joined the string faculty at USM in the fall of 2005. She has previously taught viola and chamber music at the Starling String Project, University of Cincinnati. Additionally, she coached many talented violists as the long-time teaching assistant to the viola studio at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Lee holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music from the National Taiwan Normal University, a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Columbia University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Viola Performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers include Masao Kawasaki, Catharine Carroll Lees, Lawrence Fader, and Ting-Hui Chen.

​A passionate chamber musician, Lee has been a chamber music collaborator in such cities as New York, Paris, and Taipei. She regularly performs with the Mississippi Chamber Circle and the Impromptu Piano Quartet. Hsiaopei is an advocate of new music, her first CD, Viola Music Written by American Female Composers, was released by Centaur Records in 2014.

Ilchev began learning the violin at the age of seven with Ekaterina Dramalieva as his teacher. Later, he continued his studies with his father, Professor Alexander Petrov Ilchev. He took part in the following festivals: New Bulgarian Music (2010)  and Sofia Music Weeks (2020) where he performed music from contemporary Bulgarian composers.

In 2021, together with his parents, he recorded Trio Concertante by Vassil Kazandjiev for the Bulgarian National Radio. As a soloist, he performed multiple times with the Academy Symphony Orchestra. Solo performances include Bach Double Concerto for Two Violins and violin concertos by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms. With Dr. Borislava Iltcheva, they presented music for two violins by Dinos Constantinides. Alexander has attended violin master classes led by Gil Shaham, Shlomo Mintz, Vadim Repin, Kevork Mardirossian, Albena Danailova, Liliana Bernardi and Svetlin Roussev.

He graduated from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” with a master’s degree. He is currently studying with Dr. Borislava Iltcheva at USM. His awards include the 2021 XII Academy Violin Competition “Ludwig van Beethoven” – first prize; the 2018 X Academy Violin Competition – first prize; the 2017 XII International Competition for young performers, Pernik – first Prize; the 2015 XXIII International Competition for Instrumentalists and Composers, “Music and Earth,” Sofia – first prize, section Chamber Music; and the 2014 XXIV National Competition for Instrumentalists and Singers, “Svetoslav Obretenov,” Provadia – first prize.