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Ancora 1


6th Edition 2023

from 8th to 16th of August

Massimo Marenzi, president

George Vatchnadze, artistic director

Kyomi Sugimura, managing director

Each student will receive 8 times of individual lessons of 45 minutes with 3 Professors

Lodge at the hostel Verbania

2 students x room

3 meals included

Fee 2600€


This edition of the Villa Sandra Piano Academy will take place at the Teatro Maggiore in Verbania

The huge facility include:

- rooms for practice and lessons

- rooms for the masterclasses

- hall with 600 seats and steinway concert piano on stage

- bar and restaurant

- big lake view arena


The organization provides the pick-up and transportation from and to Malpensa airport

For other arrivals or destination there will be a transfer from and to Stresa train station

Arrivals and departures are intended on the days before and after the Academy

The Academy will provide 6 practice Pianos (different rooms) and the students will rotate following a daily time table


Each student will receive 8 times of individual lessons of 45 minutes with 3 Professors


Each student will perform at the Concert Hall in front of the audience and chosen students will participate in the final concert of the academy


Faculty members will give performances

The staying of the students will be organized in near by hotels, depending of the requests, like:

Payment must be completed before June 30th 2023

write to to have all the details


George Vatchnadze

“Deep authority and a stunning and reliable technique”

Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times


“George Vatchnadze is one of the freshest and most exiting young pianists to come along in a long, long time”

Patrick Meanor, Listener



George Vatchnadze has appeared with orchestras and in recital throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Israel, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, as well as Central and South America. He has performed at the Hollywood Bowl Festival, Ravinia Festival, Stresa Festival, and Rotterdam Philharmonic’s “Philips Gergiev” Festival. He has also been a frequent guest of St. Petersburg’s “White Nights” and “Mikkeli” (Finland) festivals. In 1997 Mr. Vatchnadze made a sensational recital debut at the prestigious Edinburgh International Music Festival and received the “Herald Angel Award” presented by the “Scottish Herald” newspaper. He has appeared on live broadcasts of the Dutch National Radio, BBC and NPR’s “Performance Today”. In 1999 Mr. Vatchnadze made his New York recital debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.  Critic and writer Faubion Bowers wrote in American Record Guide: “Vatchnadze is a consummate artist, now at the height of his musical and intellectual powers. He can do absolutely anything he wants at the piano. He commands delicate pianissimi, massive diapasons and everything in between”.

Mr. Vatchnadze’s engagements have included performances with the marrinsky Orchestra under the direction of Gianandrea Noseda, at the St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater and London’s Covent Garden, as well as appearances at the Salzburg Festival, Maggio Musicale Festival, Stresa Festival, Gilmore Festival, Ravenna Festival, London’s Wigmore Hall and New York’s Miller Theater.


His most recent engagements include appearances at the Marrinsky Piano festival in St. Petersburg, Stravisnky and Shostakovich Festivalsin Washington DC, Woodstock Festival (NY), Stanford Stravinsky Festival, Pacific Symphony Rachmaninoff Festival, SYArts Festival in Taiwan, performances in Japan, Georgia, and others.



Mr. Vatchnadze recorded two CDs with the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Jansug Kakhidze featuring Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 and Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand for the Sony and Excelsior Labels. Both recordings were reissued several times and received the highest critical acclaim. He was also part of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony CD recording alongside Alexander Toradze and Paavo Jarvi. Mr. Vatchadze’s new CD is being released this year with the piano music of Gia Kanceli and music for cello and piano of Sulkhan Tsinstadze.




Mr. Vatchnadze studied at Indiana University South Bend, Mannes College of Music, Tbilisi State Conservatory and Tbilisi Central Music School for Gifted Children. Among his teachers were Alexander Toradze, Arkady Aronov, Wanda Shiukashvili and Larissa Bakhtadze. He is a winner of numerous International Piano Competitions including 1994 Gina Bachauer Competition, 1998 Palm Beach invitational Competition, 1996 Alabama competition, and 1997 World Piano Competition.



Currently Mr. Vatchnadze is the Associate Professor at DePaul University School of Music in Chicago. Throughout his teaching carrier, his students have won top prizes at the numerous international competitions and have performed extensively throughout the world.



Katsunori Ishii won the 3rd place prize at the 59th Japan Music Competition while studying at Tokyo College of Music as a scholarship student. He won the 4th prize at the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition in Cleveland, and the 1st prize at the Hamamatsu International Piano Academy Competition in 1997.

In 1992, Ishii was invited to join the fellowship program at the Tanglewood Music Festival, and studied piano and chamber music with Leon Fleisher and Peter Serkin. At the graduate school of Mannes School of Music in New York, he studied piano with Rudolf Serkin's beloved disciple Stephanie Brown, music analysis with Carl Schachter, conducting with Michael Charlie, and graduated with the J. Fiedelman Piano Prize in 1996. He returned to Japan temporarily in 1994 and held his Tokyo debut recital at the recital hall of Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, co-sponsored by the Japan Federation of Musicians and the Agency for Cultural Affairs.


Katsunori Ishii has performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras including Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra New York, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Costa Rica National Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyusyu Symphony Orchestra, Osaka Symphony Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra and Hamamatsu Philharmonic Orchestra, and has appeared on Nippon TV’s “Midnight Concert” and others.

In Haydn Year 2009, he was invited to the Viana do Castelo International Music Festival in Portugal, where he performed Haydn's concerto in F major with his own cadenza, which was well received. In recent years, he has been invited to perform at Weikersheim Music Festival in Germany, Engers Music Festival in Germany, Xi'an Conservatory of Music in China, Piano Summer Academy at Lago Maggiore Lesa in Italy, etc. He has also held masterclasses around the world and put his effort into teaching young pianists.

He has sat on the juries of international piano competitions such as Shigeru Kawai international Competition,

the 3rd ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition in Malaysia, California International Young Artists Piano Competition and Japan Music Competition, Screening jury of Sendai international Competition and has been a member of Experts & Screening Committee of Hamamatsu International Piano Competition since 2006.

He is currently Professor of piano at Tokyo College of Music.

CD: Los Requiebros: Granados, Stravinsky, Schubert (OVCT-00133)

Schubert: 4 Impromptus, D.935; Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (SONARE-1002)

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“Intensely poetic and dramatic... with a diamond clarity and precision.”

(Sutton Coldfield News)


Yoojung Kim has performed with orchestras throughout the United States and internationally, including the Prague Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Budapest Chamber Orchestra, North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Mozart Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, and NYU Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as a soloist and collaborative artist at venues such as Wigmore Hall (London), Sutton Coldfield Town Hall (Birmingham), Konzerthaus (Vienna), Smetana Hall (Prague), Bartók Saal (Budapest), Daehakro Arts Theatre Hall (Seoul), Seoul Arts Center (Seoul), Arnoff Center for the Arts (Ohio), Roy and Edna Disney Redcat Theatre (Los Angeles), National Gallery of Art (Washington), Steinway Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Merkin Hall (New York). Most recently, she was invited to perform at the newly opened Steinway Hall in Seoul, and was featured at the International Healthcare Metaverse Conference in her own solo arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, captured in 360-degree video.


A passionate chamber musician and collaborator, Dr. Kim has performed with members of the New York Philharmonic and with artists at the Euro Music Festival, Summit Music Festival, and Burgos International Music Festival. Her collaborators have included Yehudi Menuhin, Albert Markov, Felix Andrievsky, Mignon Dunn, Tania León, and Gillian Anderson.


Dr. Kim is active internationally as a musical curator and entrepreneur. She directs an annual summer concert series at the Raum Arts Center (Seoul), and is the founder of MusicY, a creative performance and educational management firm. In 2019, she directed a piano showcase involving multiple venues in New York City (notably, The Oculus and Saint John’s in the Village) in collaboration with Make Music New York Winter Festival, Steinway & Sons, and Music Traveler, for which she serves as an ambassador. She is also in demand as a clinician, most recently presenting masterclasses and lecture-recitals at Steinway Hall, Busan University and Sejong University in South Korea.


A student of Nikolai Demidenko and Ruth Nye at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Dr. Kim was awarded the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Scholarship for undergraduate study at the Royal College of Music. She holds a master’s degree in solo piano performance, a Professional Studies certificate in collaborative piano from the Manhattan School of Music, and a PhD degree in piano performance from NYU Steinhardt as a recipient of the Phillip J. Zlatchin Memorial Scholarship.


Dr. Kim is currently a member of the Artist Faculty in Piano Studies at NYU Steinhardt. She has recently released a recording of Scriabin's piano works on the Bridge Records label.

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