AdvPgDip Pianists

Meet some of the musicians who have studied our Advanced Postgraduate Diploma (Professional Performance) in the past...

Daniel Lebhardt

Daniel Lebhardt In 2014 Daniel Lebhardt won 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in Paris and New York. A year later he was invited to record music by Bartók for Decca and in 2016 won the Most Promising Pianist prize at the Sydney International Competition. The 2019/20 season will see Daniel make his Hallé Orchestra debut performing Beethoven No. 5, a work he also performs at his Barbican and Symphony Hall Birmingham concerto debuts. Other concerto performances include Shostakovich No. 2 with Venice Symphony in Florida. In recital he has debuts at the Lucerne International Festival and in Dublin and Kiev, with further appearances in Oxford and London. Daniel will give several North American recitals with regular collaborator, violinist Benjamin Baker, performing in several major cities including New York and Baltimore. Together they also embark on an extensive tour of Argentina. Last season’s engagements included debut recitals at the Aldeburgh, Heidelberger-Frühling and Tallinn International Festivals, as well as recitals at Wigmore Hall, Merkin Concert Hall in New York, St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, Bath International Festival and L’Eglise Saint Germain in Paris as part of the Week-end à l’Est Festival. Daniel’s concerto performances included Brahms No. 1, Mozart No. 19 and No. 21 (at the Royal Festival Hall) and Tchaikovsky No. 1.

Other recent highlights include Daniel’s debut with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg and the CBSO Youth Orchestra in Birmingham. He returned to the Louvre in Paris, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany and gave concerts in the USA, Canada, China, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. In the UK he took part in the Nottingham, Oxford and Birmingham International Piano Festivals (the latter broadcast by Radio 3), performed Mozart with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and appeared at Saffron Hall as soloist and chamber musician.

Since 2016 Daniel has performed widely in the US, giving recitals at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Gardner Museum in Boston, Morgan Library and Merkin Concert Hall in New York (to critical acclaim in the New York Times), and in Florida, Seattle, Arizona and Pittsburgh. Solo highlights include performances of Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 2 with the Auburn and Dearbor Symphony Orchestras in Washington and Michigan. As a chamber musician, Daniel also regularly collaborates with the Castalian Quartet. He took part in the BBC Proms Composer Portrait of Olga Neuwirth broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and has worked with Mark van der Wiel, Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad and Jonathan Bloxham. International awards include 1st Prize at the 2009 Russian Music Competition in California, 2nd Prize at the 2011 Lagnysur-Marne International Competition in France and 5th Prize at the 2013 China International Piano Competition.

Born in Hungary, Daniel studied at the Franz Liszt Academy with István Gulyás and Gyöngyi Keveházi and at the Royal Academy of Music with Pascal Nemirovski. He has participated in masterclasses with Alfred Brendel, Stephen Hough, Leslie Howard, Natalia Trull, and more recently with Ferenc Rados and RIta Wagner at IMS Prussia Cove. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2015 currently based in Birmingham, where he is enrolled on an Advanced Diploma in Performance at the Royal Conservatoire.

Edward Leung

Edward LeungLauded as one of '16 Incredibly Impressive Students at Princeton University’ by Business Insider, American pianist Edward Leung has performed in concert halls across North America, Europe, and Asia. Highlights of his 2019 – 2020 season include debuts at the Wigmore Hall and Laieszhalle in Hamburg, solo and chamber music recitals in London Winchester, Wiltshire, Ulverston, and Wye Valley, and a recording contract with violinist Usha Kapoor for Resonus Classics. He is also a 2019–2020 Live Music Now artist.

He has won First Prizes in the Oxford Music Festival, Thomas Harris International Piano Foundation Beethoven Concerto Prize, Watford International Piano Competition, Appelbe Piano Prize of the North London Festival, and the Springboard Brighton & Hove Concerto Competition. He has swept all the major prizes at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, including the Donohoe Gold Medal, Andrew Downes Performance Prize, Delia Hall Accompaniment Prize, Herbert Lumby Prize, and Sheila and Colina Hodge Memorial Prize. A passionate chamber musician, Edward has collaborated with Marie Bitlloch, Viviane Hagner, Robin Ireland, Sibylle Mahni, Charles Neidich, Eckart Runge, Alexey Stadler, Nathaniel Vallois, and Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne. He has appeared at Musicworks Sundays at Kings Place, Hellensmusic Festival, Kinnordy Chamber Music Festival, Krzyżowa Music Festival, Wilhelm Kempff Academy, Music Mountain, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, International Keyboard Institute & Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, where he was invited to perform at the annual Tanglewood On Parade concert. He has coached with Alasdair Beatson, Gilbert Kalish, Mihaela Martin, Harald Schoneweg, and members of Sō Percussion, the Nash Ensemble of London, Emerson, Brentano, and Daedulus String Quartets.

As a chamber musician, he has been invited to perform at the inaugural grand banquet commencing the historic first research exchange between Princeton University's School of Engineering and the University of Tokyo in 2014. He is the cofounder of Opus 21, an innovative chamber music collective dedicated to bringing an eclectic repertory of chamber music to Princeton University and beyond. Hailed by The Daily Princetonian for its 'dramatic, exciting performances' and 'a true need in the Princeton arts community', Opus 21 has formed chamber music collaborations with Harvard and Columbia Universities, and has performed at the Harvard Club of New York, Richardson Auditorium, and the 2015 APAP|NYC for the North American premiere of Sam Wu's 'dolphin song'. He has performed in masterclasses for Christian Blackshaw, Bernd Goetzke, Richard Goode, Norma Fisher, Leslie Howard, Joseph Kalichstein, Seymour Lipkin, Ferenc Rados, Matti Raekallio, and Natalia Trull.

As a keen advocate for new music, Edward has worked with Louis Andriessen, Samuel Adler, Chris Rogerson, and Nick DiBerardino on their solo and chamber works. He has also performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, United Nations, Consulate of the General Republic of Poland in New York, National Arts Club, Symphony Space, Yamaha Artists Services in New York, and the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. As a former violinist, he has served as a violinist and concertmaster of the Long Island Youth Orchestra, where from 2006 to 2009, he has performed in summer concert tours in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Russia, where in 2008, the Long Island Youth Orchestra became the first American symphony orchestra in history to perform in the Russian Far East.

Edward received a Bachelor of Arts in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, where he studied piano with Francine Kay. In 2016 - 2017, he was named the inaugural Aske-Princeton International Fellow at The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School in Hertfordshire, England. After receiving a Master of Music from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, he continues his studies in the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma programme with Pascal Nemirovski. He is gratefully supported by the Keyboard Charitable Trust and Talent Unlimited.

Nafis Umerkulova

Born in Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Nafis Umerkulova started piano at the age of five and commenced her musical studies in the Uspensky Specialist Music School when she was six. Only two years later Nafis made her debut as a soloist after becoming a 2nd prize-winner at the Republican Piano Competition in Tashkent.

This was followed by a Diploma and a special prize award at the International B. Dvarionas Piano Competition in Vilnius, Lithuania and the 1st prize at the Internatitional N. Rubinstein Piano Competition in Paris.

In 2004 Nafis was awarded a full scholarship to continue her musical education in the UK at the Purcell School of Music with William Fong. Soon after becoming a prize-winner of the Purcell School’s annual Concerto Competition she performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with. Nafis continued her musical career in London, where she was awarded a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with William Fong and Tatiana Sarkissova. In 2008 she won the Edith Steinitz award.

Nafis participated in masterclasses with Dmitriy Bashkirov, Mikhail Olenev, Lev Natochenny, Pascal Devoyon, Pascal Roge, Steven Osborne, Stephen Kovacevich, Andrei Gavrilov and many others. Her numerous performances in the UK include solo and chamber music recitals at Wigmore Hall, Drapers Hall, Purcell Room, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Winchester Cathedral, Glasgow City Halls, Manchester Bridgewater Hall.

In 2012 Nafis graduated from the Masters degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she was receiving a full scholarship to study with Aaron Shorr. During her studies there she won the prestigious RCS Concerto Competition, Bamber–Galloway and Webster Prize piano competitions and has performed Prokofiev’s 1st Piano Concerto in Glasgow City Halls under baton of Christian Kluxen.

She has also recorded Schubert’s Sonata D958 for a Schubert documentary by BBC 2. While in Scotland, she won the 3rd prize at the International BRANT Piano Competition in Birmingham and did a concert tour in Slovenia playing in a duo with a cellist Katarina Majcen following the invitation from “Glasbene mladine Slovenije”.This tour featured an evening recital at the Philharmonic Hall in Ljubljana that was broadcasted on Slovenian radio and television. Recently, Nafis has successfully completed the Advanced Independent Study programme at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, studying with Deniz Gelenbe. Since 2013 she became a recipient of numerous scholarships including Arthur Haynes Scholarships, and the Myra Hess award generated by Help Musicians UK.

Since September 2015, Nafis has pursued the Advanced Performance Diploma course at Birmingham Conservatoire and was awarded a scholarship for her studies by the Denis Matthews Memorial Trust. Nafis is deeply grateful to Fagus Anstruther Memorial Fund and Help Musicians UK for their support and interest in her career.

Magdalena Wajdzik

Magdalena Wajdzik was born in Wroclaw, Poland on 13th of March 1985. She started playing the piano at the age of 7 at the A. Rubinstein Primary Music School in Bydgoszcz.

During this period she took part in the Chopin National Competition for Young Pianists in Szafarnia, Poland. In 2004, she started her higher musical education at the F. Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz under Professor Maria Murawska. While studying there she participated in several Masterclasses with famous Polish pianists, inter alia, Andrzej Wodnicki.

In 2007 she took part in 7th National Competition of Contemporary Music For Young Performers in Radziejowice/Warsaw in Poland, in which she was the only pianist chosen to perform in the Final Stage.

After three years of studying in Poland, she continued her musical education at Birmingham Conservatoire under Margaret Fingerhut and Professor Malcolm Wilson. Magdalena has participated in several Masterclasses with John Lill, Peter Donohoe, Mikhail Kazakevitch, Andrew Ball, Martin Jones, Orit Wolf and Ashley Wass.

She completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2009, and gained the Postgraduate Certificate in Piano Performance the following year. She also completed a Master of Arts Degree in Piano Performance on a Polish distance-learning course in December 2010. She is now one of the small band of students on the Conservatoire’s flagship Advanced Postgraduate Diploma course.

Magdalena has been a joint-winner of the Birmingham Conservatoire Piano Prize, and a finalist of the Renna Kellaway Piano Prize; she also received a special prize (runner-up) at the Ambache Prize for the Performance of Music by Women Composers.

Apart from competition prizes, she was also awarded the John Campbell Prize for a Keyboard Player (2008), Marjorie Hazlehurst Piano Award (2009) and the PgCert (Music) Course Prize (2010) for over-all excellence. In August 2010 she was awarded the Third Prize in the XIV International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music in Crakow, Poland; and in 2011 she won the inaugural Peter Donohoe Prize.

Magdalena is a very creative artist’ both as a soloist and chamber music performer. While her repertoire is wide, she has a particular interest in twentieth-century music, particularly Polish music with folk influences, and is currently principal pianist in the Interrobang group.

Ashok Gupta

After attending Dean Close School, Cheltenham, Ashok went on to study at Clare College, Cambridge, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

Ashok now pursues a varied musical career as accompanist, repetiteur, organist, fortepianist, harpsichordist, solo pianist and continuo player. He has collaborated with artists such as Dame Ann Murray and Daniel Pailthorpe.

He has worked with English National Opera, Dijon Opera, Dutch National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera and has performed as organist at the BBC Proms, Chapel Royal and Westminster Abbey. He has worked with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, the Corelli Ensemble and recently collaborated with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed as pianist and organist on several live BBC broadcasts.

As a pianist he has performed in various international festivals and made his debut at Birmingham Symphony Hall in November 2014. In February 2015 he performed the Skryabin Piano Concerto with Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra.

Ashok also maintains a busy career as a continuo player and has recorded a number of times for the Hyperion label, most recently with the Arcangelo ensemble. He is currently studying for an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma at Birmingham Conservatoire and, in November 2015, received the Silver Medal for excellence in performance from the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

Ashok has also worked as a répétiteur for some of Europe’s leading opera companies, including Glyndebourne Festival Opera, English National Opera and Dutch National Opera. In 2016 he devised and performed a “Scott Joplin Cabaret” for Cheltenham International Festival, exploring the composer’s life and influences with an ensemble of singers and players. 

Yen-Ting Wang

Yen-Ting Wang was born in Taiwan in 1989 and first came to study at Birmingham Conservatoire in 2012. She is currently establishing her career as a soloist under the guidance of British pianist, Anthony Hewitt and the Italian, Fabio Bidini, on the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma: Professional Performance course.

Yen-Ting is becoming well-known for her passionate interpretations of Stravinsky, Skryabin and Chopin and alongside her solo career, she is flourishing as an accompanist and chamber musician.

Yen-Ting has performed on multiple stages throughout the UK, Europe and the United States. Festival appearances have included the 2011 Lee University Piano Festival, the 2009 Aspen Music Festival, and the 2009 Eastern Music Festival in the USA.

Yen-Ting received the Denis Matthews Memorial Trust Award in 2012, was awarded the PgCert course prize for the highest mark in 2013, in 2014, she won the Birmingham Conservatoire Piano Prize and was ranked 1st place in the 2014 Renna Kellaway Piano Recital Competition. In 2015 she also gained the Accompanist Prize for The Stuart Cameron Smith French Song Prize.

Yen-Ting has participated regularly in masterclasses by renowned visiting pianists including Peter Donohoe, Idil Biret, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Gergely Boganyi, Andrei Gavrilov, Jon Nakamatsu (1997 Van Cliburn Gold Medal Award), Russell Sherman, Mikhail Kazakevich, and Vitaly Berzon.