Keyboard Studies: Meet the Faculty

Acclaimed Faculty

Our internationally acclaimed resident faculty members are passionate about teaching and performing and maintain active teaching studios and performance careers, both as solo and collaborative pianists. Piano students work with faculty not only in weekly lessons and studio classes, but also in our unique undergraduate classes such as Keyboard Skills and Collaborative Techniques, Advanced Sight Reading, Advanced Keyboard Harmony, Chamber Music, and Graduate studies.

Ilonka Rus-Edery, Director of Keyboard Studies

ILonka Rus-Edery, DMA


 School of Music 330

Transylvanian born pianist, Dr. Ilonka Rus-Edery distinguishes herself as an artist of unusual versatility. She began her piano studies with her mother at the age of five, in Romania. By the age of ten she gave her first public performance and won her first award at the International Piano Competition “Citta di Marsala” in Italy.

Brooks Hafey, Visiting Professor

James Cho, DMA

Adjunct Instructor, Piano

 School of Music 332

A pianist from southern California, James Cho made his first appearance as the Young Artist’s Guild winner where he performed numerous solo and chamber recitals for a period of five years. During this tenure, Mr. Cho earned his bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University.

After moving to Houston, Mr. Cho completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. During the years of his studies, Mr. Cho’s teachers have included Brian Connelly, Robert McDonald, Robert Shannon, Bruce Sutherland, and has frequently performed in masterclasses of Leon Fleisher, Anton Kuerti, John Perry, Menahem Pressler, and Rosalyn Tureck.

Josu De Solaun, Assistant Professor

Josu De Solaun, DMA

Assistant Professor, Artist/Teacher of Piano

 School of Music 331

As a First Prize winner of the XIII George Enescu Competition in Bucharest (whose list of prize winners includes legendary pianists such as Radu Lupu), the XV José Iturbi International Piano Competition in 2006 and the 2009 European Union Piano Competition, held in Prague, Spanish pianist Josu De Solaun has been invited to perform in distinguished concert series throughout the world, having made notable appearances in Saint Petersburg (Mariinsky Theatre), Washington, DC (Kennedy Center), New York (Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera), Princeton (Taplin Hall), Santa Barbara (Hahn Hall), London (Southbank Centre), Paris (Salle Cortot), Leipzig (Schumann Haus), Taipei (Novel Hall), Mexico City (Sala Silvestre Revueltas), Prague (Nostitz Palace), Rome (Academia de España), Menton (Festival International de Musique), and all major cities of Spain. He is the first pianist from Spain to have ever been awarded the coveted Iturbi Prize in the more than 30 years of its existence.

Josu De Solaun is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where his two main teachers and main musical influences have been pianists Nina Svetlanova and Horacio Gutierrez. In Spain, where he studied until the age of 17, his main teachers were Ricardo Roca, Ana Guijarro, and specially, Maria Teresa Naranjo. Throughout his almost 16 years of study in the USA, he has also benefited from the valuable advice and mentorship of Albert and Miyoko Lotto, Joaquin Achucarro, Matti Raekallio, Edna Golandsky, and Jerome Lowenthal.


Anna Petrova, MM

Adjunct Instructor, Piano
 School of Music 331

Bulgarian pianist Anna Petrova has been praised for her “hallmark performances” of “excellent technical mastery and powerful control of timbre.” – Levante, Spain. Prizewinner of numerous international competitions, including the José Roca (Valencia), Val Tidone (Italy) and Maria Yudina (St. Petersburg), Anna was a semifinalist at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth International Piano Competition in Belgium, 2010, where she performed as soloist with the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia under Paul Goodwin.

At her North-American orchestral debut with conductor Philippe Entremont, which was shortly followed by a second invitation, Anna was praised for her “ultra-smooth playing style”- New York Fine Arts Examiner. Other conductors she has played with include Bruno Aprea, JoAnn Falletta, Ramón Tébar, and Francisco Valero – Terribas.

Anna performs extensively as a chamber musician. Future chamber music engagements include residencies at Málaga Clásica Festival in Spain, Virginia Arts Festival in Virginia; Mozartfest in Würzburg, Germany, where she will work with distinguished artist Jörg Widmann; and Music@Menlo Festival in California, with members of New York's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Her recording of Stravinsky's Les Noces with members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Choir under conductor JoAnn Falletta will be released on Naxos in 2015. Future recordings include works of composer Carl Vollrath with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

Highlights of recent seasons include performances of Mozart Piano Concerto K. 415 with the Monterey Symphony Orchestra of California under Max Bragado – Darman, the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra under David Kunkel, Bach Keyboard Concerti with Valencia Eutherpe Camerata, Chopin Concerto in E minor with Symphony of the Kootenays in Canada under Bruce Dunn, and Mozart Piano Concerto K. 271 with the Manhattan Chamber Sinfonia under Philippe Entremont. She has given solo recitals in halls such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Brussels’ Conservatoire Royal, Carnegie’s Weil Recital Hall, Chicago’s Preston Bradley Hall, Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall in Bratislava, Vienna’s Bösendorfer Hall, Teatro Cervantes in Málaga, Auditorio Ciudad de Leon and Palau de la Musica in Valencia.

Anna is the recipient of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievements. She is currently completing her Doctoral Studies as a full scholarship student at New York's Manhattan School of Music, where her main teachers have been Horacio Gutiérrez and André-Michel Schub, and where she has been a graduate teaching assistant since 2011. She has also been a chamber music student of violinist Sylvia Rosenberg. Anna holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music from MSM, and she now divides her time between New York and Houston, Texas, where she has recently joined the piano faculty at Sam Houston State University as an adjunct instructor, a position which she combines with a very active career as a recitalist, concert soloist and chamber musician. Her performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio, New York’s WQXR, Chicago’s WFMT, and Bulgarian National Radio and Television.

She is managed by Diamond Artists ( in Europe, and by Norman Vega Artists ( in North America.

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Phone: 936-294-1360

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