Keyboard Festival Adjudicators

Valentin Bogdan

Columbus, Mississippi

Valentin Mihai Bogdan is an award-winning composer and pianists who currently serves as Professor of Music at Mississippi University for Women. A native of Romania, he toured as a teenager throughout Europe and Asia, in Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Jordan.  Throughout his career, he has received many awards including:  the 2018 Mississippi Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, Second Prize at the International Varna Symphonic Workshop (Concerto Competition), winner of the WSU Concerto Competition, semifinalist in the American Prize, and winner of Livonia Arts Commission Award, Mu Phi Epsilon Prize, ASCAP PLUS Award, Lougehead Eldrige Scholarship, and Rebecca Katzaman Frowman Award. In 2017, he and his piano duo partner, Julia Mortyakova, won the 2nd prize at the Ellis Duo Piano Competition. 


As a pianist, Valentin has performed solo and chamber music in Europe,  Canada, at venues such as the Assisi Festival of Performing Arts (Italy), Moscow Composers' House (Moscow, Russia), Prokofiev Museum (Moscow, Russia), Spectrum Festival (Kazan, Russia), Sala Patria (Brasov, Romanian), Transilvania University Concert Series (Romania)and in the US (in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia).  He was a soloist with the Starkville Symphony, Assisi Performing Arts Orchestra (Assisi, Italy), Varna Symphony (Bulgaria), Wayne State Symphony (Michigan) and the Arizona Western College Wind Ensemble.  He has also released two solo albums, “The Grands of Piano” and “Live in Concert.”, and two piano duo albums “Journey for Two” and “Music by Women”, part of the Mortyakova/Bogdan piano duo.

An active clinician and pedagogue, he has conducted workshops and master classes in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arizona, West Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and Michigan, and is constantly called upon to judge numerous piano competition across the southeastern US. Dr. Bogdan is the current president as the Mississippi Music Teachers Association.  He has received his Doctor of Music Degree from University of Miami Frost School of Music (Miami, Florida), two Masters of Music degrees (University of Miami and Michigan State University respectively) and his Bachelor of Music Degree from Wayne State University. 

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Frances Covalesky

Morristown, New Jersey

Frances Covalesky, D.M.A., American Lithuanian, enjoys a vibrant career as a classical pianist, music professor and music teacher. She has performed nationally and internationally, the recipient of awards spanning performance and teaching. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Miami School of Music, Coral Gables, Florida and her Master of Music degree in piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music, NY.  As a doctoral student, she placed second in the City of Miami International Piano Competition and was featured in concert.  As a freshman undergraduate at Rutgers University, she won the University Concerto Competition and performed Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor in concert.  Her notable teachers include Julia Rajauskas-Petrauskas, Maria Valgoczy, Ernest Ulmer, Phillip Evans, and Donn Alexandre-Feder.

Dr. Covalesky is on the music faculty at Saint Elizabeth University (Morristown, NJ) where she teaches classical piano.  She is a vocal music teacher for the Dover Public School System (Dover, NJ). She has served on the music faculties of Don Bosco College (Newton, NJ), County College of Morris (Randolph, NJ) and Caldwell University (Caldwell, NJ). She has adjudicated for MENC piano competitions and was selected to Judge Lifetime Television’s Pitch Slapped, A cappella Finalists SOPAC, NJ.  She can be found in Who’s Who Lithuanian Americans.


Julia Mortyakova

Columbus, Mississippi

2017 Mississippi Honored Artist pianist Julia Mortyakova maintains an international performing career. The 2018 concert season included concerto soloist appearances with the Assisi Performing Arts (Italy), Starkville Symphony (USA) and Yaroslavl Gubernatorial Academic Philharmonic (Russia) orchestras performing four different piano concerti. The 2019 concert season included solo, duo piano, and concerto soloist performances throughout the United States, Russia, Romania and Italy. The Mortyakova/Bogdan Piano Duo are the Second Prize winners of the 2017 Ellis Duo Piano Competition. Julia is a laureate of the 2014 American Prize for her performance Cécile Chaminade, and the winner of the 2012 Sigma Alpha Iota Career Performance Grant. Julia’s research focuses on the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre and the life of Cécile Chaminade. She has presented her research at numerous conferences. Dr. Mortyakova serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at the Mississippi University for Women and is the Founder/Artistic Director of the International Annual Music by Women Festival.  She is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, Vanderbilt University, New York University, and the University of Miami. Dr. Mortyakova’s piano students have won state, regional, and national competitions, have attended prestigious graduate schools and have established successful careers in music. Equally active in the lives of her colleagues, Julia serves on the Board of the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Board of Directors, and is President of the College Music Society Southern Region.

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Hae-Young Yoo

Seoul, Korea

Acclaimed widely for her virtuosity and musicianship, pianist Hae-Young Yoo has performed with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors in various cities on three continents. She was featured in a Carnegie Hall series, which celebrated the bicentennial of Mozart’s death, and was part of an American-Korean Concert Tour with the New York Chamber Orchestra in 1991.


She also has toured as a soloist with orchestras such as the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the Romania National Symphony Orchestra, the Rzesew Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland, the Seoul Chamber Orchestra, the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, the KBS Orchestra, Yonsei University Symphony Orchestra, Busan City Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University Festival Orchestra, and the European Master Orchestra.


Born in Seoul, Korea, Hae-Young has been a top prize winner of several competitions, such as the Joong-Ang Music Competition, the Yook-Young Music Competition, and the Teenager Piano Competition in Korea. After graduating summa cum laude from Yonsei University, she received the Master of Music degree at Indiana University, studying with Menahem Pressler, where she won the Mozart Concerto Competition. She completed the Doctor of Musical Arts at the Shepherd School of Music in Houston, where she performed with Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra as a winner of the Shepherd School Concerto Competition.


Dr. Yoo, a former Chair of Education Subcommittee in the Piano Society of Korea and a jury member of the Music Journal Competition, has previously served as a faculty member at Yonsei University, and is currently teaching at Sookmyung Women’s University. She also has a wide range of chamber music repertoire from her experiences with a number of great musicians including duo recitals and solo recitals, and is now performing as a NWA Music Artist, as well as working as a member of operating committee of the Beautiful Mind Charity.


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