Manhattan School of Music - New York City
Willanny Darias - Cuba
Willanny Darias was born on January 11, 1993 in Havana, Cuba.
In 2014 she graduated from the Bachelor of Music degree program at Manhattan School of Music (MSM), as a recipient of the International Advisory Board Scholarship, under the tutelage of Dr. Solomon Mikowsky.
Her recent performances include: an appearance with Cuba’s National Symphonic Orchestra this past June, playing Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations; solo recitals in Cuba and New York - at MSM’s Greenfield Hall and Mikowsky Hall, and at the Americas Society; and other performances at the Juilliard School (in David Dubal’s class), and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (as part of the Young Musicians Concert organized by the AMT League).
She also performs both vocal and instrumental chamber music, and has taken part in the chamber music festivals at MSM.
Willanny took her first piano lessons at the age of 4 with Prof. Rosalia Capote.
At age 7, she started at the Manuel Saumell Music Conservatory and made her first-ever public performance at the Amadeo Roldan Concert Hall. Her first performance with a symphonic orchestra was at age 13 with Mozart's Piano Concerto no.12 in A major.
At age 14, Russian professor Dr. Stanislav Pochekin invited her to the Music & Dance course held in Andorra.
She was later accepted at Cuba’s National School of Arts, where she was taught by Dr. Teresita Junco as her major teacher, and Dr. Iliana Garcia in Harmony and Musical Analysis. In that same year she performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no.1 with Cuba’s National Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Mexican maestro Eduardo Sanchez Zuber, and a few months later he invited her to tour in Mexico with the Michoacán Symphonic Orchestra, having the final performance at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl in Mexico City.
In 2010 she went to the UNEAC Piano Contest, Cuba’s most important national classical music event, in which she won the First Prize and all special mentions and recognitions granted by the jury, becoming the youngest performer ever to win this competition.
Her other awards include: five grand and first prizes in national and provincial contests held in her homeland; First Prize at the Maracaibo International Piano Competition in Venezuela; and First Prize at the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in New York.
Guy Mintus - Israel
pianist and composer
Guy Mintus, 22 years old Israeli born pianist and composer, is a recent recipient of the 'Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award' by ASCAP and of two 'Down Beat Magazine Student Awards' for Outstanding Jazz Performance and Arrangement.
Guy currently resides in New York City, studying at the Manhattan School of Music on a full scholarship, whilst performing around the New York area in major venues, such as: Symphony Space, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola - Jazz At Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Washington DC, Berklee Performance Center, Boston, Chris' Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia Alvin Ailey Dance Center, Times Square Studios, Smoke, Smalls, Zinc Bar, Cornelia St. Cafe and others.
As a result of a strong natural curiosity coupled with the privilege to interact and bond with the best of mentors, Guy is deeply invested in a variety of musical traditions. In his own unique style he combines elements from: Stride piano, Bebop, Turkish classical music, Gypsy music, European classical music and Rock while maintaining the ultimate goal of spreading joy and love to audiences through music.
His recent performances include: debut of "Strings Connection" - special duet between piano and Kanun, concert for the "Art Tatum Jazz Society" in Toledo, Ohio, "Pictures at the Exhibition" - piano duet with contemporary pianist Erika Dohi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a feature on the latest record of the Israeli-Turkish world music artist, Yinon Muallem.
Guy has also produced and arranged the project "Yoni Bloch & the Big Band" for the israeli top rock artist, Yoni Bloch, and has given solo classical piano recitals.
During his career Guy was lucky to travel the world and play in different cities such as: Rome, Istanbul, Capetown, Banff, Detroit, Toledo and to share the stage with masters of several traditions: Sheila Jordan, Frank Wess, Jimmy Owens, Miles Okazaki, Ambrose Akinmusire, Grammy Winners 'Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra' led by Arturo O'ffarril, Turkish Neyzen Volkan Incüvez, Santur Master Qui Hagigi, African Kora player - Yacouba Sissoko and more.