New: Elite Conducting Program

IMA 5th edition introduces an elite, intensive conducting program led by Maestro Allan R. Scott and Artistic Director Ovidiu Marinescu. The program offers 40 minutes of daily podium time with Sinfonietta Vidin, performing in concert, and the unique Off the Podium workshops drawing on Maestro Scott’s experience as a successful artist and leader, and Ovidiu Marinescu’s eclectic background as a recording artist, entrepreneur, and university educator. Learn more here.

Artist Feature – Tudor Cioceanu

Romanian pianst Tudor Cioceanu (b. 17 June 1998) was one of the participants in the first edition of IMA in August 2018.  He currently studies Classical Piano with Prof. Katia Veekmans in Conservatorium Maastricht (NL).  Born in Ploiești, he started playing the piano in the local school of arts. He started performing on stage from the age of seven, having his debut as a soloist in January 2016 with Ploiești Philharmonic Orchestra. Between 2005 and 2015, he won multiple prizes in France and Romania in both solo and chamber music competitions.

His performance of the Ravel Concerto for Left Hand with Vidin Sinfonietta elicited praise from the musicians of the orchestra, his colleagues, as well as the audience.  Marked by expressive colors in the first movement and technical fireworks in the second, his playing showed a keen sense of style.  At the Academy Tudor also performed Beethoven Sonata for Piano and Cello op 102, no. 1, with Russian cellist Yaroslav Tschistov, and Schubert’s Trio in B Flat Major with Professor Sylvia Ahramjian and Mr. Tschistov.

3rd Edition Dates

We are delighted to announce the dates for the 3rd edition of the IMA for July 27- August 7. Cheung Chau, Blanka Bednarz and of course Artistic Director Ovidiu Marinescu will return.  For 2020 the masterclasses are offered by our string faculty.   All participants are invited to perform.

Conductor and cellist Cheung Chau joins the IMA faculty

Cheung Chau is Music Director of Sinfonietta Polonia in Poznań, Poland, and principal guest conductor of the Changsha Symphony in Hunan, China.  He is Director of Orchestral studies at Utah Valley University and Music Director of the Utah Valley Youth Symphony in Orem, Utah.  He served as Music Director of the Bloomington Symphony in Minnesota, the Central Pennsylvania Symphony and the Manchester Symphony in Connecticut, as principal guest conductor of the Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra in Lublin, Poland, and held director of orchestra positions at the Haverford College and the University of Connecticut.

As guest conductor, Chau conducted the Moscow Symphony in Russia, the Nordhausen Philharmonic and the Pro Artibus Hannover in Germany, the Filharmonica Marchigiana in Italy, the Gavle Symphony in Sweden, the Vassa Symphony in Finland, the Williamsport Symphony, the Charlottesville Symphony, the Ballet West Orchestra, the Utah Valley Symphony,  and the Utah Chamber Orchestra in the United States, the Białystok Philharmonic, the Kielce Philharmonic, the Lublin Philharmonic, the Sudecka Philharmonic, and the Olsztyn Philharmonic in Poland.

In China, he led the China National Symphony, the Tianjin Philharmonic, the Wuhan Philharmonic, the Xiamen Philharmonic and the Hunan Symphony in Changsha.  He was named permanent guest conductor of the Inner Mongolia Orchestra in 2007.  Invited by Edo de Waart, Chau served as assistant conductor to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, conducting the orchestra in projects including the 2007 live world broadcast opening ceremony of the 10th anniversary celebration of Hong Kong’s Handover, with Chinese President Hu Jintao in attendance.

As ballet conductor Chau conducted productions of Giselle and Nutcracker with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the Ballet West at the Harrisburg Whitaker Center and the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City.  He is a regular guest conductor at the Grand Opera and Ballet Theater in Poznań, Poland, where he conducted the world premiere of Alice in Wonderland in 2014.  Chau also led the world premiere performance of Snow Queen in March of 2016 at the Grand Theater in Poznań. Since then, Chau led Alice in Wonderland and Snow Queen regularly in Poznań and at the prestigious Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz, Poland.  In 2017, the world premiere recording of Snow Queen with leading Polish label Acte Prealable was awarded a Global Music Awards Silver Medal.—Marek Zaradniak, Glos Wielkopolski, Poznań, Poland

With Youth Orchestras Chau conducted, among others, the Sibelius Academy Orchestra, the Utah All-State Orchestra, the Changsha Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as the Interscholarstic Association of Southeast Asian Schools Orchestras in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jarkata.

An American Prize finalist in Conducting in 2016 and 2017 and a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducing in Aspen, Chau conducted concerts in venues including at the Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg, Grosser Sendesaal des Landesfunkhauses in Hannover, Beijing Concert Hall, Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, and the Adam Mickiewicz University Concert Hall in Poznań, Poland.

Please visit his page on IMA site for more details. Cheung Chau

Cellist Lily Eckman

Our new Executive Assistant is cellist Lily Eckman​ who returns to IMA after performing Boccherini Concerto in D Major last year. Besides coordinating many of the logistics this summer she will perform the Elgar Concerto.  This fall she will start her senior year as a performance and music education double major at West Chester University as a student of Ovidiu Marinescu.

Meet our piano participant Kaiyan Qian

Kaiyan Qian who comes from Shanghai China, is now taking her master degree on California State University Northridge, her major is piano performance. She started learning piano at age 9 and have taken part in several piano competitions and summer programs in China. Working with Vidin sinfonietta at the IMA is her first time to play a concerto with orchestra and she’s looking forward to extending more performance experience with orchestra!

Distinguished conductor Vera Volchanski joins the faculty

Vera Volchansky, described as a conductor of “impeccable taste…whose artistic ability transforms a performance into a meaningful event,” has worked with orchestras and various instrumental and choral ensembles in the United States as well as Europe and Russia.  She most recently led four staged performances of Lucia di Lammermoor with Vocal Productions NYC, and on July 5, 2016 was featured on Moving Forward Podcast with John Lim (  Her 2013 performance of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale was featured on LCTV 66.  Her appearances also include the Karaganda Symphony Orchestra in Kazakhstan, the Washington Conservatory Orchestra in Bethesda, MD, Wednesday’s Club Youth Orchestra in Harrisburg, Parnu City Orchestra in Estonia, Congress Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society, Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, KU Symphony Orchestra and Constanta Opera in Romania, among others.

Read more on the faculty page: Vera Volchansky

Spotlight on resident composer David Brown

Aspiring to art that is equal parts intellectual and beautiful, Philadelphian composer David Matthew Brown synthesizes modality, quartal and quintal harmony, dense polyphony, distinct melody, and a keen sense of direction to create “that which he most wants to hear.” His compositions have been performed, commissioned and/or recorded by The New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, The International Opera Theater, Philadelphia’s Network for New Music, NYC’s LINK Ensemble, The 6ixwire Project, and the Csik Chamber Orchestra of Csíkszereda, Romania.
An active and ardent violinist, David has performed as a soloist with the Csik Chamber Orchestra  – with which he was also guest concertmaster, the Newark and University of Delaware Symphony Orchestras as the winner of each respective concerto competition, and the West Chester University Chamber Orchestra. Chiefly, he is the founder of illumine, a violin-voice-piano trio ensemble (with his wife and mother, respectively) that champions their unconventional instrumentation, works by living composers, obscure works of history, and performance practice reform.
Additionally, David is a conductor, tuba player, Celtic fiddler, mandolinist, and has composed over fifty Celtic jigs, reels, hornpipes, and other dance forms. He holds music degrees from West Chester University (BM, ‘11) and the University of Delaware (MM, ‘13).

David Brown February 19, 2017,  West Chester, PA. © Ed Hille

Participant Spotlight – Alan Murray

  International Musicians Academy welcomes long time friend Alan Murray.  Maestro Marinescu – Artistic Director – has collaborated with Mr. Murray on several occasions in concerti by Mozart and Saint-Saens.  In Vidin Alan Murray will perform Piano Concerto no. 2 by Saint-Saëns, as well as Chopin 2nd.  

Alan brings to his artistry a very diverse background, as he is a member of the Financial Institutions Group management team at Moody’s Investors Service in New York, where he oversees ratings and quantitative analytics in the Insurance sector, and has over time overseen ratings and research for the Latin America region, in Bermuda and Canada, and in the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions.

He resides in Westchester County, New York with his family, where they also own and operate Galápagos Books, a bookstore specializing in world languages and literature, cultural materials and children’s literature. Mr. Murray holds a degree in physics and languages from Cornell University, where he also received a special University Award for distinguished piano soloist.

Alan Murray has appeared extensively in solo and chamber recitals and as concerto soloist with orchestra. This year marks his sixth consecutive season as soloist in the Moxart Concerto series, with performances of Rachmaninoff’s and Prokofiev’s 2nd, and Bartók’s 1st, piano concertos. Prior season performances comprised those of Bartók (No. 2), Brahms (1&2), Chopin (1), Prokofiev (3), Rachmaninoff (3), Saint-Saëns (4) and Tchaikovsky (1). Mr. Murray’s other 2018 concerto engagements include Saint-Saëns’ and Chopin’s 2nd piano concertos at the music festival in Vidin (Bulgaria) in August, and he returns to the Moxart series in 2019 for performances of Liszt’s Totentanz, Strauss’ Burleske, de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain, and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Other engagements this year include a recital series comprising Beethoven’s complete Sonatas for Violin & Piano and for Cello & Piano, and ‘Archduke’ Trio, at the Rivertowns’ Annual Music Tour in New York’s lower Hudson Valley.

 In prior seasons, Mr. Murray presented the Masters Series and Sunrise Series Concerts in the New York area, each comprising the cycles of solo piano music of Chopin, Schumann, Debussy, Ravel and J.S. Bach, as well as Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas and Diabelli Variations and major works of Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Albéniz (Iberia), Granados (Goyescas), Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Stravinsky. In 2014 Mr. Murray initiated Collectanea, a series of multi-media performances, combining art/poetry/dance-inspired classical piano masterpieces with simultaneous on-stage illuminated displays of paintings, live modern dance and poetry readings. Mr. Murray’s performance repertoire, live concerto and chamber music recordings, upcoming calendar and studio facilities can be found at

Food facts

Bulgarian food is tasty, fresh and hearty. Bulgaria is famous for its quality vegetables and dairy products and its variety of mild spices. Pork and chicken are the most common forms of meat, though seafood, fish and veal dishes are also popular and lamb has a special traditional place in Bulgarian cooking.  On a recent visit to Vidin I had a chance to taste the fresh fish from the Danube – amazing, and less than $5 at a restaurant by the river. 

The photos are from a deli in the center of town.  The chicken with rice or vegetables is at about $1.50/portion, fresh yogurt and fruit $0.90, bean stew $0.25.


Vidin Visit

My first visit to Vidin, Bulgaria, was a quick 14-hour jaunt in the middle of January. The day before I had a concert in Bacău, Romania, in which I was a soloist in Prokofiev’s Symphony Concerto (conducted by Ovidiu Bălan) and I conducted Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 5. Following the marathon performance, I took a night train to Bucharest, ran around the city from one administration office to another (but that’s another story), and took a five-hour car ride with my friend Mihai Paun to Vidin.

I enjoyed crossing the newly inaugurated bridge over the Danube, but the lackadaisical approach to border checking by the Romanian agents was somewhat annoying (the border crossing was closed while they stood for 45 minutes smoking cigarettes, waiting for the next shift to show up). I was lucky to be in a car, so the wait was manageable, but there was a 2-mile-long line of trucks to cross the border, clearly a wait of perhaps 10–12 hours.  It’s still better than the old way of crossing by ferry.

Vidin is a town of contrasts. Beautiful medieval fortresses, a great promenade on the borders of the Danube River, wonderful cafés overlooking the water, but also a sort of “back-to-the-communist-past” feel of the architecture of the suburbs.

I had a fantastic meeting with Miroslav Krastev, the director or Vidin Sinfonietta, ironing out the Academy details over a portion of fresh fish from the Danube and delicious vegetables, all for a price of about five dollars. 

The visit to the concert hall provided a wonderful experience. Housed by a modern building, the hall provides great acoustics – a perfect place for making music.  The theater is across the street, as well as the music school, which will provide space for the participants to practice. Several restaurants are within a stone’s throw. It was rather surprising to see the prices for the delicious looking food. 25 cents for a portion of traditional been stew, about two dollars for a portion of chicken with rice, and the delicious looking yogurt with the fruit was about 75 cents!! 

I can’t wait to be back enjoying the slow-paced life of Vidin, but especially to making music with our Bulgarian colleagues and young participants from the US, Asia and Europe.

Ovidiu Marinescu, Artistic Director