The Russian-born American pianist, Svetlana Belsy, began piano lessons at the age of 7, and was soon performing in the major concert halls of her native Kiev. Her playing has been critically acclaimed as "passionate," "impressive," "hypnotic" and ". . . (possessing) a high degree of musical maturity and sensitivity." After immigrating to America, she studied with Chicago's beloved Emilio Del Rosario at Music Center of the North Shore (1979-1983). In 1985, she particpated at Ravinia Festival Piano Masterclass Series (Four performances at the Martin Theater), and in 1986 at Aspen Summer Festival (Selected to perform at the Wheeler Opera). She received her Bachelor of Music Degree Summa cum Laude (Piano Performance, 1986) and Master of Music Degree ( Piano Performance, 1987) Degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Ann Schein, a student of the legendary Arthur Rubinstein. In 1994, she earned her Doctorate in Performance at the Manhattan School of Music, while working under Mme. Nina Svetlanova, an heir to the tradition of Heinrich Neuhaus. Thesis: Grigory Kogan's Busoni as Pianist (annotated translation from the Russian). She has also been privileged to coach with Leon Fleisher, Menahem Pressler, Dmitry Paperno, Mischa Dichter, Daniel Pollack, Phil Levin (harpsichord) and other great artists. She has won prizes in numerous national and international piano competitions, including the Frinna Awerbuch and the AMSA World Piano Competition.
Critically acclaimed as "a passionate pianist and scholar", Svetlana Belsky is an in-demand recitalist and chamber pianist, noted for her remarkable rapport with audiences and stylistic versatility. She has appeared in the Ukraine, Russia, Poland, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and throughout the USA. Her performance credits include Carnegie Recital Hall, Kiev Philharmonic Hall, Dame Myra Hess Series, Music in the Loft, countless university concert series, Mostly Music, Southern Illinois Summer Festival, Chicago Cultural Center and many others, as well asw live recitals on Chicago's WFMT and New York's WQXR. In the past few seasons, she has performed with the University of Chicago Symphony, Southern Illinois Symphony, Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the Tutti Orchestra.
Although she trained mainly in the USA, Svetlana Belsky has an unmistakably Russian temperament and tonal gift, with which she combines her stylistic versatility and love for a wide variety of music. She has played early music with original instrument ensembles, and received awards for her interpretation of new American works, performing the New York premiere of 3 Evocations by Jay Weigel in Weill Recital Hall as a result. Recently, she has had the honor of premiering the works of a number of living composers, including Terry Riley, April Mok, Gia Comolli, Jeffrey Hoover and William White.
Svetlana Belsky's love for a wide variety of music has led her to play early music with original instrument ensembles, and receive awards for her interpretation of new American music. In the past few years alone, she has introduced, in world and local premieres, compositions by no fewer than a dozen living composers.
Her new passion is the music, writings and pedagogical legacy of Ferruccio Busoni. Her recently published book, an annotated translation of Busoni as Pianist by the renowned Russian musicologist Grigori Kogan, was published by the University of Rochester Press in January of 2010, to great reviews, and has been nominated for the prestigious Claude V. Palisca Award (for Outstanding Translation) by the American Musicological Society. Belsky's lecture-recitals have helped to introduce wide audiences to of F. Busoni's music, and her CD of F. Busoni's Piano Transcriptions (along with her other recordings) has been heard on 137 radio stations around the world. According to a recent review, Belsky "has some claim to call herself Ms. Bach-Busoni".
Svetlana Belsky's busy teaching schedule includes students from four continents, many of whom are competition winners, professional musicians and performers themselves. Her students have gone on to pursue musical careers, win scholarships to music conservatories, and, most importantly, become music lovers. Dr. Belsky is the Coordinator of Piano Studies at the University of Chicago. In this capacity, besides teaching individual lessons and coaching chamber ensembles, she organizes student performances and masterclasses. She is also in great demand as a lecturer on the subjects of piano pedagogy, masterclass guest teacher, and competition adjudicator. She has written widely on music history, appreciation and piano literature. Besides her book, she has to her credit numerous CD liner notes for Russian Disc, Consonance and Triton Records labels.