Faculty and Staff

Sophia Gilmson

Associate Professor of Piano
Director, Piano Project


Sophia Gilmson, Russian-born pianist, graduated cum laude from the Leningrad (St. Petersburg ) Conservatory, where she studied with Professor Vitaly Margulis. She is a recipient of numerous awards, among which are the First Prize in the Young Artists Competition in New York City, followed by a recital in Carnegie Hall, and the Piano International Recording Competition. Radio Leningrad, Radio Vatican, WQXR and WNYC in New York City, among others, have broadcast her performances.

She has concertized extensively in her native Russia, Italy, and the United States to a high critical acclaim. Carl Cunningham of The Houston Post described Ms. Gilmson’s playing as a “…brilliant, driving performance.” Michael Huebner, of the Austin American-Statesman, referred to her performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations as “one of the most refreshing and thought-provoking performances this season.” In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Mount Everest Award by the Austin Critics Table for this performance, in which she played the Goldberg Variations on harpsichord and piano in the same evening. Michael Barnes, chief arts critic of the Austin American-Statesman, ranked this as one of the top ten arts events of 2001, calling it “unforgettable”. In the celebration of its 20th anniversary, Austin’s Performing Arts Center included this concert in the list of twenty most memorable programs of its history, one per year.

Sophia Gilmson is active as a teacher as well as a performer. Her students have won major prizes on state, national, and international levels. Her unique pedagogical skills are universally recognized at both pre-college and collegiate levels. She has received an array of excellence in teaching awards, including 2001 Collegiate Teaching Achievement Award of Texas.

Dedicated educator, Sophia Gilmson is the co-founder of both Houston and Austin Young Artists Concerts, the programs designed for musically gifted children. Sophia has been an artistic director for both programs for twenty years, since its inception in 1987 to 2007. These programs were hailed as “outstanding,” “fabulous,” “unique,” and “cultural treasures” by musicians from all over the country.

She presented papers, master-classes and lectures at the World Piano Pedagogy Conferences, Music Teachers National Association Conventions as well as various state conventions and international music festivals.

She has been published in Keyboard Companion, official journal of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.

Presently Sophia Gilmson holds the position of Associate Professor of Music at the University of Texas Butler School of Music.

For more information, visit www.sophia-gilmson.com.

Leanna Lam - PianoLeanna Lam

Coordinator, Piano Project

Leanna Lam, a native of Sydney, Australia, is currently pursuing her DMA degree in Piano Performance under Anton Nel at the University of Texas, Austin. She recently completed her Master’s degree in Piano Performance under Boaz Sharon at the College of Fine Arts, Boston University in 2015; and attained her Bachelor of Music at The Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, with John Perry in 2013.

Ms. Lam previously studied with Margaret Hair in Australia and has made several appearances performing in the United States, Canada, Germany, Asia and Russia. She has also performed in master classes for Marc Durand, Gary Graffman, Robert Levin, Susan Starr, Jacques Rouvier, Richard Raymond and Sarkis Baltaian.

Leanna began her piano studies at age six and violin studies at age eight. At age 11, Ms. Lam performed the Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26 (“Coronation”) with the East West Symphony in Sydney, under the baton of Henryk Pisarek. Ms. Lam has also soloed with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and was invited to play at the City of Sydney Cultural Council Outstanding Performer’s Concert in April 2008. She has placed in several Australian competitions and is a two-time winner of Sydney’s “Theme and Variations” Outstanding Pianist Award and a three-time finalist for the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer’s Award. In 2006, Ms. Lam was one of three students honored by the Cultural Council at the Sydney McDonalds Arts Challenge. She made an appearance at the Sydney Opera House as a result of being awarded third place in the 2007 national Australian Higher School Certificate Music Extension course. In 2008 Ms. Lam won the Werner Baer Memorial Award and the audience prize in the Cochem International Piano Summer Festival in Germany. Most recently, Leanna participated at the Banff International Piano Master-Classes in Canada and the Sarasota Summer Music Festival in Florida.

At The Colburn School, she was selected to be a Teaching Fellow through which she had several young private students. She was also selected as a Teaching Assistant at Boston University, and taught several students both privately, as well part of the faculty at Page Music Lessons in Boston. Now, she is working alongside Professor Gilmson as part of the Piano Project and Teaching Assistantship at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, Austin.