Rowan Pedraza, 15-year-old Music Conservatory of Westchester piano student of Dr. Mikhail Zeiger since 2017, knows his way around the 88 keys. He plays classical, romantic, jazz, ragtime, and other musical styles on piano. In April 2021, Rowan’s exquisite performances of pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Liebermann, and Ravel in the Sixth Annual J.Y Park Piano Competition, Senior Division, won a First Place grand prize of $1,000.
The competition was judged by Greek concert pianist and conductor, Dr. Charis Dimaras, concert pianist and Mannes School of Music faculty, Ann Schein, and Canadian pianist and Yamaha artist, Lisa Yui. At the competition, held by Western Connecticut State University, the judges were wowed by Rowan’s performances. Dr. Dimaras said of Rowan’s rendition of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55: III. Scarbo, “What a fantastic achievement for someone so young, bravo!”
“Rowan has both a talent and a passion for piano. He practices hard and performs brilliantly. His piano technique is constantly progressing as well as his understanding of music deepens,” says his piano teacher, Mikhail Zeiger.
Another of Dr. Zeiger’s impressive students, 18-year-old Benjamin Araujo, has been accepted to study Music Composition at the renowned Royal College of Music in London, Great Britain this September. He has been Dr. Zeiger’s student at the Conservatory since 2013.
“When Benjamin became my piano student, I noticed that he usually comes to the lesson carrying in his hands one of the scores by Stravinsky, Philip Glass, or some other modern composer. He would study the score while waiting for his lesson time,” Zeiger says. “Then, I discovered that he is a talented composer.”
In 2017, Benjamin was selected by the Very Young Composers Program at Lincoln Center under John Deak for his original orchestral composition, “A Postcard from New York City,” which was performed by the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall that year. In 2020, his original composition “Nine Portraits for Solo Piano” was performed at Carnegie Hall by Conservatory faculty member and concert pianist, Irena Portenko. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays piano, trombone, and tuba.
Their piano teacher, Mikhail Zeiger, is a leading contemporary Russian composer and concert pianist. He holds a Doctorate in composition from the Moscow Conservatory and Masters degrees in composition and piano performance from Gorky Conservatory. As a composer, his works include symphonic, operatic, ballet, vocal, choral and chamber pieces. He has been a Conservatory faculty member since 2003.
The Conservatory is so proud of our students and congratulates these two on their amazing musical achievements!