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.
Coordinator, Piano Project
Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Martin Kesuma is currently pursuing his DMA degree in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Anton Nel at the University of Texas at Austin, where he had recently completed his Master’s degree. Martin received his Bachelor of Music at Texas State University in San Marcos, under Jason Kwak and Washington Garcia.
As an active pianist, Martin has performed as a guest artist at the St. Giacomo Music Festival in Bologna, Italy, the Piano at Peabody at the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University, and in international venues such as the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall. Mr. Kesuma is the first prize winner at the Dickinson Piano Competition, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) International Concerto Competition, the Petroff College Piano Competition, the New York International Music Concours, and the Texas State Concerto Competition. Mr. Kesuma has also appeared as soloist with the Round Rock Symphony, the UT University Orchestra, the Texas State Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Indonesia. In 2013, Martin was selected as one of few young musicians to perform on NPR’s show, “From the Top.”
On top of piano, Martin enjoys performing and teaching other instruments, such as violin and cello. In 2010, Martin served as Concertmaster at the Youth National Symphony Orchestra of Indonesia and Principal Cellist at the National Symphony Orchestra of Indonesia in 2012; in 2015-2016, Martin was a member of the Texas State Symphony Orchestra violin section. Mr. Kesuma was recently appointed as violin instructor at the Austin Harmony Youth Chamber Orchestra.
At the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, Mr. Kesuma works alongside Prof. Sophia Gilmson as part of the Piano Project and Teaching Assistantship. He also serves as Vice President of the UT Austin chapter of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).