Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

prep school faculty members

June 30, 2019

Announcing the Newest Preparatory School Faculty Members

The School of Music Preparatory School is pleased to welcome Ching-Wen Hsiao, Konstantinos Valianatos, Nanette Kaplan Solomon, and Dr. Sarana Chou.

These faculty members will be joining the program as instructors in the Fall 2019 semester.

Ching-Wen Hsiao has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Hsiao has appeared with esteemed conductors, such as Kurt Masur, James DePriest, and James Conlon in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and David Geffen Hall. First Prize winner of the Taiwan National Piano Competition, Dr. Hsiao won the Gina Bachauer Piano Competition at The Juilliard School and was the recipient of the “Rising Star" Award granted by the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan. Dr. Hsiao holds her B.M., M.M., and D.M.A degrees in Piano Performance from Juilliard, where she studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Jerome Lowenthal. Upon graduation, she received the “Outstanding Pianist” Award. Dr. Hsiao is Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of the Keyboard Area at West Virginia University. Previously, she was on the piano faculty at Juilliard’s Pre-College Division and Assistant Professor of Piano at Southeastern University. A founding member of the Lyon Piano Trio, Dr. Hsiao is the Regional Director of the Elite International Music Competition and Director of the West Virginia International Piano Competition and Festival.

Konstantinos Valianatos has performed extensively in Europe, Asia, and the United States as a soloist and chamber musician. A prize-winner of multiple national and international piano competitions, Mr. Valianatos has recorded with Naxos and LP Classics labels. He has been heard in prestigious venues such as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and Weill Hall, the White House, Salle Cortot in Paris, Kosciuszko Foundation in NYC, Merkin Hall, Thessaloniki Megaron, and Athens Megaron, and has performed with the Athens State Orchestra, Thessaloniki State Orchestra, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, “Sinfonietta”Orchestra, and the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra. In 2004, Valianatos’s artistic integrity and work ethos were officially acknowledged when the President of the Hellenic Republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, presented him with the highest accolade from the Athens Academy, the most prestigious academic institution in Greece. Mr. Valianatos has been featured on WQXR’s McGraw-Hill Young Artist’s Showcase along with pianist Edward Neeman, performing Grigory Smirnov’s Stained Glasses. A native of Greece, Mr. Valianatos holds degrees from Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and the Juilliard School and has recently joined the piano faculty at West Virginia University as a Lecturer in the School of Music.

Nanette Kaplan Solomon, pianist and Professor of Music Emerita from Slippery Rock University, performs frequently as soloist and chamber musician. She has performed at numerous national and international conferences on five continents. Dr. Solomon’s involvement with the works of women composers has led to invitations to perform lecture recitals at festivals and conferences throughout the United States. She has been a soloist with orchestras in Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, as well as a featured artist with the Butler (PA), Youngstown and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras.  Dr. Solomon has also performed at the Phillips Collection and the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., Wigmore Hall in London, the Lincoln Center Library in New York City, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.  Her four compact discs - piano music of Nikolai Lopatnikoff (Laurel), Character Sketchesand Sunbursts (Leonarda) and Badinage: Piano Music of Mana-Zucca(Albany) have received critical acclaim. Dr. Solomon received her early training as a scholarship student at the Juilliard School. She received a B.A. degree magna cum laude from Yale College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, an M.M. from the Yale School of Music and a D.M.A. from Boston University.

Dr. Sarana Chou received her degrees in music composition from The Juilliard School (B.M.), University of Chicago (M.A.), and Eastman School of Music (D.M.A).  Described by The New York Times as "modern and thorny," her music is known for its distinct expressiveness and intense musical language. The Birmingham News praised her as "a composer with a convincing point of view and the facility to get her ideas across." Dr. Chou has received numerous composition awards since her student years including first prize at ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Her music has been performed at such venue as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, Canada, and Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Germany. 
Dr. Chou currently teaches music theory for the Preparatory School at Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. She was Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Studies at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama from 2008-2013, and taught composition and music theory classes at West Virginia University School of Music from 2014-2018.