GFA Piano Masterclass

21 - 30 July

Caroline Sageman (Piano) France | Michael Bulychev-Okser (Piano) USA | Gülsin Onay (Piano) Turkey |
Caroline Sageman

Caroline Sageman

Difficult, when one meets Caroline Sageman, to forget what a child prodigy she was; her unchanged gaze betrays her. A determined look that has always revealed the same truth: Caroline Sageman did not learn music; she was born into it. It’s not surprising, then, that her biography lacks the usual milestones of ordinary careers.

Educated at home, she grew up amidst Chopin’s waltzes by Rubinstein and piano lessons from Denyse Rivière, herself a disciple of Marcel Ciampi and the teacher of Jean-Marc Luisada.

At the age of nine, she won the first prize at the Kingdom of Music, which led her to the stage of the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The audience then discovered a staggering image: a blonde and tiny girl, feet dangling above the piano pedals, facing off with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Haydn’s Concerto in D major.

Like Claudio Arrau, who would soon follow with benevolence the development of this unique artist, other masters would cross Caroline Sageman’s path: Germaine Mounier with her tireless generosity, Milosz Magin, Hubert Guillard, and of course, Merces De Silva Telles, one of Arrau’s few students.

At seventeen, alone and against everyone’s advice, she prepared for the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Hindered by stage fright, she won the sixth prize in this much-feared competition and remains, to this day, the youngest laureate in the history of the Chopin Competition.

Afterward, Caroline Sageman played extensively in Italy, Japan, and discovered the joys of chamber music. Before taking some time to enter adulthood, explore Johnny Hallyday, culinary art, and fine wines.

In May 2000, her first Chopin album with Lyrinx is that of a great master. Then she records Liszt’s Sonata, confirming to everyone’s ears that she is a unique personality in the world of piano. This is fortunate because Caroline Sageman, more than ever dedicated to her art, is now ready for a career befitting her immense talent and extraordinary personality.” – Arièle Buteaux

A regular guest at major festivals (La Roque d’Anthéron, Chopin Festival in Paris…) or on big stages (La Criée in Marseille), Caroline Sageman enjoys less conventional adventures or simply meeting others.

Enthusiastic about travel and discovering new cultures, in 2010, she gave a series of concerts for the Alliance Française network in the Caribbean and the United States.

One of her most beautiful projects is a show created in 2015 with Patrick Bruel, featuring the texts of Alfred de Musset set to the music of Frédéric Chopin.

Passionate about teaching and transmission, she is an assistant to Jean-Marc Luisada at the Alfred Cortot School in Paris and has a piano class at the Blanc-Mesnil Conservatory. She regularly conducts masterclasses.

Caroline Sageman has recorded in recent years for the Lyrinx label, Chopin’s Polonaises, Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano and Violin with violinist David Galoustov, and a Russian Trios album with David Galoustov and cellist Maja Bogdanovic.

Recently, she recorded an album with her niece, violinist Sarah Jégou-Sageman, featuring Chopin’s Preludes, again for the Lyrinx label.

Michael Bulychev-Okser

Michael Bulychev-Okser

Michael Bulychev-Okser is an American pianist, composer, and pedagogue.

Hailed by New York Times as “enticing and brilliant”, Michael Bulychev-Okser debuted with Manhattan Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jonathan Strasser. Michael has performed thousands of solos, chamber, and orchestral concerts, collaborating with conductors like Kynan Johns (USA), Dmitri Yablonsky (Israel), and Robert Lehrbaumer (Austria).

Critics praise Michael’s “imaginative and intelligent style” (David Dubal), “Ellegance and grace the piano is destined to produce” (Cosmo Buono), and “Sheer poetry and panoramic vision” (Las Provincias, Valencia).

Bulychev-Okser’s extensive piano career has showcased him in solo recitals and orchestra appearances around the globe in the world’s most prestigious stages: Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall (New York), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), La Salle Pleyel (Paris), Wigmore Hall (London), Heichal Hatarbut (Tel Aviv), The Saal Palace (Alexandria), IBK Concert Hall (Seoul), and Universidad Nuevo Leon (Monterrey).

Bulychev-Okser’s discography includes recordings of Beethoven’s “Pathetique” Sonata and “Goyeskas” by Granados (RCA label), “Transcriptions from Past to Future” (Neue Sterne, Germany), and “Music by living New York composers”, recorded live at the Barge Music Festival in New York. Recordings 2023 include complete Ballades and Scherzos by Frederic Chopin (Odradek Record Label) and an album on Convivium Records Label/Naxos as a duo with the British violinist Miriam Davis, celebrating the legacy of Marcel Proust.

A recipient of Who’s Who in Music, Michael has been featured on CBS and Channel 12 programs and WQXR and WWFM radio stations, in addition to international media: TV1 (Russia), TV3 (Estonia), RAI 1 (Italy), and Nippon TV (Japan).

An avid collaborative musician, Michael Bulychev-Okser collaborated with pianists Olga Kern, Dmitri Bashkirov, Daniel Pollack; violinists Shlomo Mintz, Albert Markov, Miriam Davis, Alyssa Margulis; cellists Raphael Wallfisch and Colin Carr; violists Paul Neubauer and Alexander Zemtsov; clarinetist Julian Milkis and Metropolitan Opera soprano, Olga Makarina.

Committed to innovative programming and celebrating the world’s cultures, Bulychev-Okser has performed rare Italian paraphrases (Ravenna, 2014), presented recitals of music exclusively by Baltic composers (in Estonia and Latvia), and has transcribed Chinese folk songs in a jazzy style; his performance of transcriptions on the bank of Yangtze River was shown to over a million viewers worldwide.

An educator with 22 years of experience, Michael Bulychev-Okser is a Piano Professor at Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center and Long Island Conservatory. He also held teaching positions at New York University, Rutgers University of New Jersey, and Mokwon University in South Korea. While teaching piano to a variety of students aged 7-36, Bulychev-Okser has developed his own method of piano education, which is focused on developing critical thought processes. Bulychev-Okser summarized his method in a book “Conversations with students”, which is to be published in 2022 in New York.

Bulychev-Okser is a frequent guest at many music festivals, competitions, and concert series, including Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, U. K.; Todi International Music Festival, Italy; Kaufmann Music Center, New York; Latvian Academy of Music in Riga; Changsha Music Competition, China; Valencia International Piano Festival, Spain; Piano Island Festival, Singapore; International piano festival in Universidad de Nuevo Leon, Mexico; Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University, Israel; Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatory: Tbilisi, Georgia; SUMY International Festival (Ukraine); Rachmaninov Concert Hall in Moscow, Russia; Isidor Bajic Piano Competition – Novi Sad, Serbia; XX Scriabin International Competition – Grosetto, Italy; XVI Compositores des Espagna – Madrid, Spain; Piano Competition “Vals de travers” – Nouchatel, Switzerland; XI MozArte Piano Competition – Aachen, Germany; XI Lyon International Piano Competition – Lyon, France; Palais Auersperg in Vienna, Austria, and Paderewski and Chopin International Competitions in the United States and Poland.

Bulychev-Okser’s commitment to initiating multi-cultural musical forums and curating concert series has inspired him to establish George Gershwin International Music Competition in New York, and Classical Hugs International Music Festival, a large-scale annual event, presenting master classes, lectures, and concerts in 4 countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Finland.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Bulychev-Okser has performed numerous online concerts, including the United States premiere of Thin Air by Calliope Tsoupaki on behalf of Festivals for Compassion. Michael’s online concerts in support of New York medical and emergency workers were awarded Honorary Diplomas by the New York Assembly Member, William Colton. Michael Bulychev-Okser also organized Classical Hugs – Online Music Festival, which supports musicians across the globe with educative and performance opportunities, during the time of health crises.

Concert season 2023-2024 features Bulychev-Okser performance of Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto with legendary Shlomo Mintz, solo recitals at multiple festivals in France, Spain, Italy, and at Washington International Piano Festival, D.C., and appearance with Cita de Reus XXI Orchestra in Barcelona, as well as in Estonia Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, and upcoming release on Convivium Records a CD of French repertoire with sensational British violinist, Miriam Davis.

Gülsin Onay

Gülsin Onay

Gülsin Onay’s truly international career has spanned 80 countries across all continents, from Venezuela to Japan. She has given concerts in the major musical centres such as Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall, National Gallery of Art and Miller Theater. Onay has performed as a soloist with such leading orchestras as Dresden Staatskapelle, Philharmonia Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony. Conductors with which she has performed include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Erich Bergel, Jorg Faerber, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Neeme Jarvi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jose Serebrier and Stanislaw Wislocki.

Cambridge-based Turkish State Artist, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, in high demand for her unique and sensuous Chopin, Saygun and Rachmaninoff interpretations. Onay was in 2007 honoured with the award of a State Medal by the Polish nation. She is also acknowledged worldwide as the finest interpreter of the music of A.Adnan Saygun, whose works feature prominently in her concerts and recordings, and whose 2nd Piano Concerto was dedicated to her