Piano Faculty


Natalia Lavrova

Natalia Lavrova

Natalia Lavrova is a highly-regarded performer of multi-faceted artistry, whose sincerity of interpretation and beguiling charm upon the stage has won the hearts of audiences across the United States and Europe. Ms. Lavrova enjoys a diverse career upon the international platform, and additionally holds substantial positions in the worlds of arts administration and pedagogy.

Solo and orchestral performances have taken Ms. Lavrova throughout her native Russia to Canada, France, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States, to include notable New York venues such as Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall.  Ms. Lavrova has captured top prizes at the New Orleans, Isabel Scionti, Frinna Auerbach, Heidi Hermanns, Music Academy of the West, Silver Lake, and Senigallia International Piano Competitions. Upon her debut at the Leeds International Piano Competition, Ms. Lavrova was the youngest performer of 1996 admitted to the quarterfinal round.

Natalia Lavrova was born in Moscow. She entered the Moscow Conservatory at the age of five, and was subsequently accepted to The Juilliard School Pre-College Division, as a pupil in the studio of Herbert Stessin.  Ms. Lavrova went on to earn her Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music degrees at Juilliard, under the tutelage of Jerome Lowenthal.

Natalia has enjoyed teaching piano for over fifteen years and believes in a clear and fun method of teaching, while introducing her students to discipline and dedication from the very first lesson. She incorporates several methods of teaching in order to adapt to each individual student, but uses her skills and knowledge of the Russian Piano School as her base. Most importantly, she is passionate about keeping music in our children’s lives and is sure that music training is essential to every child’s development.
Ms. Lavrova is the founder and president of Music School of New York City and together with Vassily Primakov, she is the co-founder and partner of LP Classics, a new record label dedicated to unearthing rare, never-before released recordings and live performances of celebrated artists and emerging stars.

Natalia Lavrova is a Yamaha Artist in Education.

Sun Ah Choi


A native of South Korea, Sun Ah Choi began piano studies at the age of five, and continued her musical studies at the Seoul Arts High School in Seoul.  She received her Master of Music degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, as a student of Marc Silverman. She earned her doctorate degree in classical piano performance at Mason Gross School of Arts, Rutgers, New Jersey State University,as a student of Daniel Epstein
In her native country, Dr. Choi was the First Prize winner of the Korean Piano Association Competition, and was also awarded Second Prize in the Teenager Competition. In the U.S.A., she was the winner of the Special Presentation Award of the Artists International Competition.  In addition, she performed in the Sin Choon Music Concert of the Sejong Cultural Center, the Sin Youn Joo Ja Music Concert of the Seoul Arts Center, and in a concert for the Korean Piano Association at the Ewon Cultural Center. As an active soloist and collaborative pianist, she has performed in many solo and chamber recitals in U.S.A., including her Carnegie Hall recital debut in New York City. She has also performed solo recitals at Greenfield Hall, Baisley Powell Elebash Recital Hall, Schare Hall at Rutgers University, and so on.  She has participated in the masterclasses of Lazar Berman, and Yong Hi Moon. In addition to performing, Dr. Choi is an experienced educator. She has taught at Hunter College of City University of New York as an adjunct professor. Furthermore, she has served as a judge for music competitions. As a piano instructor, she has received a best teacher award from the senator in New York State, Tony Avella.  From this professional career, she believes that the most important principal in education of piano performance is fundamental establishment. Theory is also a fundamental basic, since it can be very helpful when learning a piece more efficiently.

Nina Phillips

South African pianist Nina Phillips made her orchestral debut at the age of nine with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra. Since then she has performed with various orchestras, received numerous awards, prizes, and scholarships, and has performed around the globe both as soloist and chamber musician. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pretoria, Nina relocated to the United States in 2013 to pursue her Master’s Degree at Mannes College in New York City, where she also obtained a Professional Studies Diploma. She also holds Performers- and Teacher’s Licentiate diplomas form the University of South Africa, for which she achieved the highest national average. Nina has been teaching for over ten years, and her students have reached great success in both New York state examinations and competitions. She loves working with children and specializes in young beginners.

Vassily Primakov

Vassily Primakov

Since the release of his recording of the Chopin Piano Concertos, Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world class importance. Gramophone wrote “”Primakov’s empathy with Chopin’s spirit could hardly be more complete”, and the American Record Guide stated “This is a great Chopin pianist. Primakov’s timing is perfect.” MusicWeb-International called the CD “one of the great Chopin recordings of recent times. Primakov’s interpretations of the two Chopin piano concertos combine grace and fire in the service of unflagging intensity. These are performances of extraordinary power and beauty.”

Vassily Primakov was born in Moscow in 1979. He entered Moscow’s legendary Central Special Music School at the age of eleven as a pupil of Vera Gornostaeva. While in Russia, Mr. Primakov won First Prize in the Rachmaninoff International Young Artist Competition. At seventeen, after a summer at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, he came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist Jerome Lowenthal, himself a student of Alfred Cortot and Willam Kapell. At Juilliard Mr. Primakov won the William Petschek Piano Recital Award, which presented his debut recital at Alice Tully Hall. While a student at Juilliard, aided by a Susan W. Rose Career Grant, Mr. Primakov placed among the top two laureates of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, and won both the silver medal and the Audience Prize in the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. Vassily Primakov began his American career after winning First Prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions, an award which presented him in solo and concerto performances throughout the USA. In 2007, he was named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year. Vassily Primakov’s recordings for Bridge Records include Beethoven Sonatas (BRIDGE 9251), the Chopin Concertos (BRIDGE 9278) a disc of Tchaikovsky’s Grand Sonata, Op. 37 and The Seasons, Op. 37-bis (BRIDGE 9283), and a disc of Chopin Mazurkas (BRIDGE 9289). Upcoming recordings for Bridge include a Mozart piano concerto cycle with the Odense Symphony Orchestra, Schumann’s Carnaval and Kreisleriana and Arabesque, and Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Concerto, Op. 33 coupled with solo works by Dvořák.

Mr. Primakov, a distinguished faculty at Music School of New York City, accepts students by audition only.

Antonio Truyols

As an internationally performing pianist and composer, Antonio Truyols has enraptured audiences across four continents at an incredibly young age. His performance credits include multiple appearances at the French Embassy in Washington D.C., feature performances in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France, and across the United States in the jazz and classical genres. Unit Three, the piano trio founded and led by Truyols was invited to compete in the Bucharest International Jazz Competition in Romania and earned the prize of Best Band. As a soloist, Truyols served as Artist in Residence at the Tianjin Grand Theater in mainland China as the debut jazz performance in Tianjin where his performance was described as “Magic on the Piano.” He served as faculty at the Music Academy of North Carolina where he began a number of student ensembles. His work whether it be in jazz, popular music, film music, or concert composition reflects the unique blend of his Spanish, Peruvian, and Puerto Rican heritage. Truyols uses his world experience to bring the best out of each of his students of all ages.


Saman Samadi

(b.1984) is a contemporary Persian composer and pianist residing in New York City. His work has been performed internationally—in the mid & far East, Europe, and on both coasts of the U.S. His prolific repertoire of orchestral, chamber, solo and electro-acoustic music has been performed and recorded by many musicians, including: Miranda Cuckson, Austin Wulliman, Linda Wetherill, Anthony Izzo, Kristin Samadi, Ensemble ECHO, Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, Jaram Kim, Erika Dohi, Dan Keene, and Jared Redmond.

Samadi’s works have been extensively performed at numerous venues, among them, Lincoln Center, Spectrum NYC, The Firehouse Space, Abrons Arts Center, LeFrak Concert Hall at The Aaron Copland School of Music, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Scholes Street Studio, ShapeShifter Lab, Harvestworks, Drawing Room, Sky Gallery, The San Francisco Center for Music,  Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook, Hanyang University of Seoul, South Korea, The Museum of Modern Art André Malraux (MuMa) in Le Havre, Avini Hall at the University of Tehran, and Roudaki Hall, Iran’s most prestigious music space.

Samadi has been active in New York City’s downtown scene performing there since 2015. Most recently, Saman formed the Saman Samadi Quintet, an improvisational collaboration with various alumni from the Manhattan School of Music.  In 2016, Samadi invited German Buchla player, Hans Tammen, and American clarinetist Blaise Siwula to collaborate in structured, yet free, improvisational performances, which led to the formation of the Āpām Napāt Trio.  The trio performs around town.

Saman Samadi’s music was inspired early by those composers who are known under the rubric “New Complexity” (James Dillon, Brian Ferneyhough, Richard Barret, and Michael Finnissy); however, in 2010, he developed his own unique compositional method, one which entails a new system of pitch organization, using microtonal scales derived from traditional Persian modal music, multilayered textures, complex polyrhythms, and polymeter; all traced within a detailed system of musical notation permitting replication. An interest in electroacoustic music led him to prepare 30 pieces from which four albums have so far resulted. Saman has recorded several albums of music, including Microtonal Piano Solos, Shekasteh Mouyeh, U-Turn, Paj, Scheherazade, Tears’ Scratch, Āpām Napāt, Chamrosh, and Nostalgia.

Samadi received his degree in mathematics from NODET, an Iranian educational institution for mathematical prodigies.  He then entered the University of Tehran as an undergraduate student in Music Performance, where he earned his Masters’ degree in Music Composition. While studying there, Alireza Mashayekhi, an internationally regarded composer who also utilizes the Persian microtone system in his work, became his teacher. Mashayekhi has deeply influenced Saman’s musical sensibilities, and his mentorship lit the flame that kindled in Saman his abiding passion for modern music.

From 2006-2009 Samadi was the director and conductor of Concentus Chamber Orchestra, a mix of musicians from Tehran Conservatory of Music and the University of Tehran. Their repertory incorporated Baroque and contemporary works, including Saman’s own compositions.

In 2009, Samadi won an award for one of his chamber music compositions at the 24th Fajr International Music Festival.  His composition “Paj,” won first prize at the 2012 Counterpoint-Italy International Composition Competition. His work, “Magnapinna in Abdomen of a Newborn,” was selected for a premiere at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival in June 2014. In 2015, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) awarded Samadi an Artist Diploma in Multimedia and Performing Arts.

Upon completing his M.A. in Tehran, Samadi was offered a full scholarship for a Ph.D. in composition at the State University of New York in 2013. While at SUNY, he studied with Daria Semegen, an award-winning American composer. Saman was also her assistant at the analog studio of electronic music which Semegn designed, there, in collaboration with Bülent Arel, in the 1970s. During that same year up to 2017, Saman acted as an assistant to Dr. Sandra Sprecher, director of the contemporary music venue, The Firehouse Space in Brooklyn, New York. Saman is the director and co-founder of the Samadis’ organization, a contemporary music record label based in New York City. The Samadis’ label also organizes an annual international composition competition and concert series. Samadi is currently on the faculty at the City University of New York, the Music School of New York City, as well as the Piano School of NYC.