Jury Members

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Veselin Ninov

Bulgaria-born pianist Veselin Ninov is the winner of numerous national and international competitions in the USA, Canada, Bulgaria, Russia, Sweden and Turkey. Mr. Ninov has performed with orchestras, judged international festivals and competitions, and has given master classes and solo and chamber music recitals in Merkin Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kimmel Center, Steinway Hall, and others. Veselin is the Artistic Director of the Manolov International Competition and currently runs a private teaching studio in Westbury, New York. In 2018 he received a prize for pedagogical accomplishments awarded by Steinway & Sons.

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Ilya Ishchenko

Ilya Ishchenko began his piano playing career at the age of 8 in his hometown of Buzuluk, Orenburg Province, Russia. After graduating from Buzuluk Music College, he soon began his education at the Long Island Conservatory of Music (New York) with prof. Tamara Poddubnaya. He has been the prize winner of many international piano competitions, including: “Stars of Tenerife” International Music Competition (Spain, 2021), 13th LISMA Soloist Competition (NY, 2017), Manhattan International Music Competition (NYC, 2016), Forte International Music Competition (Carnegie Hall, 2015), Hopes, Talents, Masters" Music Competition (Bulgaria, 2013) and others. Ilya has performed in many classical music festivals such as "Music Without Borders Festival"(Bethel, Maine US 2010-2018); 

"Steinway Performers Showcase" (Steinway Piano Gallery, Long Island, 2015).

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Mark Demidovich

Mark Demidovich started studying piano at age 7 and has been teaching others to play for more than 15 years. A native of Kostroma, Russia, who lives in Florida, Mark came to the U.S. in 2011 to continue his education, which included The Long Island Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School in New York City, one of the world's leading music schools. He has won many international music competitions, performed numerous solo recitals, and appeared as a guest soloist with orchestras in Russia, Bulgaria, Sweden and the U.S., where venues included the White House, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lincoln Center.

Mark is the founder and director of the South Florida Conservatory of Music. 

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Elena Cekic

Elena Cekic (Turkey) – talented teacher and musician, she graduated from Novosibirsk State Conservatory with the Honor Degree. She attended many national and international competitions as a chamber musician, accompanist and soloist in China, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Russia and Turkey. Since 2012 she has been living in Turkey working with  students from several provinces and overseas providing academic consultancy and training. Founder of Elena Cekic Music Academy. Founder of International Piano Festival Piyanonun Yıldızları (Bursa/Turkey).

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Tamara Poddubnaya

Tamara Poddubnaya (U.S.А.) – concert pianist and harpsichordist, professor and director of music and piano department at Long Island Conservatory of Music, New York (USA), permanent Chairperson and Jury member of various International festivals and competitions, holder of Golden Muse and St. Sofia Awards in Bulgaria. Tamara performs and teaches masterclasses all over Europe, America and Asia.