Carl B. Schmidt, Professor Emeritus of Music History and Culture at Towson University in Maryland, received his MA and
PhD from Harvard, his BA from Stanford, and enjoyed conducting studies with Nadia Boulanger at Fontainebleau,
France. She invited him to bring his Wabash College Glee Club to perform for the 50th anniversary of her Écoles d’Art
Américaines in 1973. His Poulenc and Auric catalogues (Oxford University Press and Mellen Press respectively) have
established the numbering systems now in use for each composer, and his Entrancing Muse (Pendragon Press) is the
most significant English-language Poulenc biography. He has also edited four Poulenc works including the famous
Flute Sonata, Suite française for cello and piano, Quatre poèmes de Max Jacob for voice and five winds (recorded by
Charles Dutoit), and the early Trois pastorales¬–the modern-day premiere and first recording of which were both by Ms.
Erdely-Sayo. His articles have been published in a number of Festschriften and peer-reviewed periodicals, and he has
read papers for both the International Musicological Society and the American Musicological Society.
More recently Schmidt has turned to American studies. His book concerning Randall Thompson’s iconic Alleluia was
published in 2010 and The Music of Randall Thompson (1899-1984): A Documented Catalogue, co-authored with his
wife Betsey, was released in January 2015 (both ECS Publishing). In May 2018 their book The Road Not Taken: A
Documented Biography of Randall Thompson was published by Pendragon Press. This is the first full-length biography
of the man who until his death in 1984 was called “The dean of American choral composers.” In addition, they have
edited his early string quartet The Wind in the Willows and his 1970 Wedding Music (also for string quartet).
Carl published A History of the Handel Choir of Baltimore (1935-2013): “Music Spread Thy Voice Around,” (Lexington
Books), edited Walter Piston’s Salute for four B-flat trumpets (with Luis Engelke), and is currently writing the biography of
his father Harold Schmidt (1909-94), a founding member of the Stanford University Music Department in 1947. A choral
conductor, he prepared choruses for Pierre Monteux, Bruno Walter, William Steinberg, Joseph Krips, and Seiji Ozawa
among others. Carl lectures yearly for the Johns Hopkins University Shriver Hall concert series and has received
significant grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, American
Philosophical Society, Music and Letters, Harvard University (Houghton Library Fellowship), and other universities.
Schmidt lives in Baltimore with Betsey, his wife of over fifty years. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.
Performing and recording Poulenc’s L’histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant with Ms. Erdely-Sayo and seeing this festival
grow and thrive remain among Carl’s musical pleasures.
Elizabeth Peña, Narrator and Co-Director of the Piano on the Rocks International Festival, is currently the director of the
Spanish Language School in Philadelphia. After studying in Cali, Colombia, where she was born, she immigrated to
the United States in 1991. Her interest and love for languages took her to a different path. She specialized in the field
of languages and became an expert in teaching Spanish as a second language. With a great talent in prose and
narrative, Elizabeth Peña received a proposal to work with artist Sandrine Erdely-Sayo. In 2010, she narrated Platero y
Yo in New York City for the annual NPR conference, repeating it in 2014 in Carnegie Hall. Since then she has
performed it in many different states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Texas and Arizona.
In 2012 Elizabeth Peña, made the recording of Platero y Yo in Texas with pianist/composer Sandrine Erdely-Sayo
followed by a second recording called "Intelligent Series" of The Dove and the Jaguar. With her lyrical voice, she brings
words to life and life
Sandrine Erdely-Sayo, pianist, composer and Artistic Director of the Piano on the Rocks International Festival, began
piano studies at age four and has won numerous prizes across a career that began in Perpignan, France. She
continued her musical studies with Denyse Rivière in Paris and with Christian Manen at the Paris Superior Conservatory
where she received first prize for specialization in solfège. There, she pursued special studies in harmony, counterpoint
and fugue. At fourteen she wrote Three Pieces for Chamber Orchestra that were played at the Chatelet Theater in Paris.
She became the youngest recipient of the French Minister of Culture Prize at the age of thirteen, and four years later won
first prize at the Scène Française International Piano Competition in Paris. She was also a prize winner at the Ibla
In 1990 she came to Philadelphia to study with Susan Starr at the University of the Arts, receiving a master's degree in
piano and composition. Her Chicago debut took place at Preston Bradley Hall for the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert
in 1999, and in 2014 she made her Carnegie Hall debut. She has played the major repertoire by Poulenc, Messiaen,
Bartok, performing as a soloist, in chamber music and with orchestras in Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, the United
States, and for radio and television in various countries.
An active composer and recording artist, Sandrine has recorded the integral piano music of Primitivo Lazaro for Randolfo
Records, as well as music by Poulenc, Liszt, Thalberg, Scriabin, Debussy, Christian Manen, and Piazolla. She made the
first recording of Poulenc's early Trois Pastorales (discovered by Dr. Schmidt), that she played at Towson in 1995. As a
composer, she has written a number of works including Platero y Yo for piano and narrrator and the Hymn to Sedona
that was nominated for the American Song-Writing Award. She is also a member of the International Society for
Philosophical Enquiry and of the Mega Society. From Bach to Liszt, from Fauré to Yiddish and Contemporary music,
Sandrine Erdely-Sayo is an eclectic pianist who handles a range of styles and emotions with the greatest of ease. She
has been described as "electrifying" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and as "A pianist with idealism, passion and lyricism" (La
Barbara Di Toro, soprano, joins us for the fourth season of Piano on the Rocks International Festival. Her operatic roles
have included Susanna in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Papagena, First Lady, and First Spirit in various productions of
Mozart’s Magic Flute, Monica in Menotti’s The Medium, Amour in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, among others. Barbara
has appeared in local musical theater productions as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Tuptim in King and I, Robin in
Godspell, and Patti in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Active as a church musician, she is the soprano soloist and
section leader at Calvary Presbyterian Church of Wyncote, and a cantor at both St. Hilary of Poitiers and Our Lady Help of
Barbara earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in vocal performance at Temple University’s Boyer College
of Music and Dance. She then completed a doctorate in Higher Education Administration at Temple while working full-
time as the Associate Director of Temple University Music Preparatory Division. In addition to being on the voice faculty
at Temple Music Prep and maintaining a private voice studio, Barbara’s teaching experiences over the years have
included being a lecturer in voice, a music director and co-producer of musical theater productions and a classroom
music teacher at the elementary and pre-school levels. Barbara recently retired from her duties at Temple and is
enjoying time with family and friends. She continues to share her love of singing with her wonderful voice students and
with congregations and audiences like you.
A b o u t t h e A r t i s t s
© 2017 Piano On The Rocks
Barbara Di Toro
Cynthia Raim, who was unanimously chosen as the First Prize winner of the Clara Haskil International Piano
Competition, has been acclaimed for her concerto and recital appearances throughout the United States and abroad. In
summing up the performance that won Ms. Raim the coveted Clara Haskil prize, La Suisse (Geneva) noted that “Miss
Raim showed a musical nature that has gone far beyond technical mastery. Without affectation, without useless
bravado, Cynthia Raim has imprinted herself on us and cannot escape our admiration. Le Monde (Paris) called her “a
new Clara Haskil.” Ms. Raim has won the prestigious Pro Musicis Award and, in 1987, was the first recipient of the
“Distinguished Artist Award” of The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia (America’s oldest continuing musical
organization), which was given for “outstanding achievement and artistic merit.”
Ms. Raim has made numerous recital as well as radio and television appearances. She has appeared as soloist with
leading orchestras in major cities such as Detroit, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Prague, Hamburg, Lausanne,
and Vienna. She has also participated in many leading international music festivals including Marlboro, Ravinia,
Tanglewood, Meadow Brook, Grand Teton, Bard, Mostly Mozart, Santa Fe, Luzern, and Montreux. She has recorded for
Gallo, Pantheon, and Connoisseur Society. Before graduating in 1977 from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she
studied with Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Ms. Raim had won the Festorazzi Award for Most Promising
Pianist at Curtis, as well as first prizes in the J.S. Bach International and Three Rivers National Piano Competitions.
This is Ms. Raim’s third appearance at the Piano on the Rocks International Festival.
a r t i s t s
April 13-14-15, 2018
Vasco Dantas, Portuguese pianist born in Porto in 1992, obtained his Bachelor in Music with 1st Class Distinction at
London’s Royal College of Music, studying piano with Dmitri Alexeev and Niel Immelman, and conducting with Peter Stark
and Natalia Luis-Bassa. He concluded a Master in Performance degree with highest honors under the guidance of
Heribert Koch, at the University of Münster, where he was accepted to the doctoral study Konzertexamen.
Vasco has been awarded more than fifty prizes in international competitions in Germany, Italy, Greece, Malta, Morocco,
Portugal, Spain, and the UK. Recent prizes include: GianClaudio International Prize (Rome), Grand Prix at Valletta
International Piano Competition (Malta), Prix Spécial at Concours International de Piano SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem
Morroco), 1st prize at Porto International Competition Santa Cecília, 1st Prize at Estoril Lisbon Music Competition (Portugal)
and 3rd Prize at Münster Steinway & Sons Competition (Germany).
In 2017 Vasco made his Russian debut performing with the Kremling Chamber Orchestra at the Grand Hall of Moscow’s
Tchaikovsky Conservatory. His German orchestral debut was in 2016 performing with both the Jülich Sinfonieorchester
and Junges Sinfonieorchester Aachen. In Asia in 2015 he played with the Hong Kong Symphonia at the Hong Kong City
Hall Concert Hall, and in 2014 he made his South American debut playing with "Orquestra Sinfónica Espírito Santo" in
Vitória – Brazil, In 2013 Vasco made his Portuguese debut with the Porto Symphony Orchestra. He has been a soloist with
numerous other orchestras and worked with a number of prominent conductors.
Vasco performed live for the first time on Portuguese National Television when he was six. That same year he made his
first public appearance at the Porto Tram Museum, selected for his virtuosity among students of the Estrelita Yamaha
Music School in Porto where he had started learning the piano at age four. In 2000 he was admitted with honors to the
Porto Music Conservatory where he studied with Rosgard Lingardson, concluding his studies in 2010 with the highest
mark. Since age seven he has also studied violin working with Professor José Paulo Jesus.
He has a Master’s degree in Music Teaching from Aveiro University, the diploma Art of Teaching from London’s Royal
College of Music, and has taught privately in London. In addition, he teaches a limited number of private pupils and often
gives masterclasses at importante festivals.
He has been invited to record for the Galician Radio, Antena 2, for the CD label KNS Classical: Promenade (2015), and
Golden Liszt (2016), which are available online and were broadcast by Antena 2 (Portugal) and the German radio’s MDR
Klassik and WDR 3. Supported by AVA Musical Editions, this is Vasco’s second appearance at Sedona’s Piano on the
Rocks Inernational Festival.