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B i o g r a p h y

Theodora is a concert pianist and a Musicology PhD candidate at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Her previous teachers and mentors include Xak Bjerken, Martha Wasley, Hans Boepple, and Carmen Enescu. She holds B.A.s in Music and English and a minor in German Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Theodora's deepest investment, both as pianist and scholar, is promoting and embracing the charisma, adventurousness, and seductiveness of nineteenth-century artistic spaces and atmospheres.

Academically, Theodora's attention falls in and out of the nineteenth century, from the height of pianistic virtuosity, to the history of human sexuality, medicine, and gender, and to the materiality of literary texts, among many other things. Particularly drawn to notions of excess and ecstasy and the limit of the real, Theodora is interested in the way certain artistic materials, essences, and events shape, limit, expand, and constrain the shapes of particular bodies; how cultural conceptions of (dis/over)ability, perversity, and fetishism have been represented in art, especially performance; and how freedom has been experienced by differently gendered and sexed psyches and embodiments. Theodora's dissertation, to be completed over the next year, explores different case studies of virtuosity and its gendered expressions in nineteenth-century pianisms — namely, those of Franz Liszt, Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Frederic Chopin — in the context of some of the ideas outlined above.

As a pianist, Theodora has appeared internationally throughout Europe and the United States, performing concertos such as Brahms's Second, Prokofiev’s Second, and Scharwenka’s Fourth with ensembles such as the Kostroma Symphony, UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Saratoga Symphony, and the Peninsula Symphony.  Theodora is the recent winner of the Third Prize and a Special Prize at the 2021 Los Angeles International Piano Competition, and of the Bronze Hands Award at the Carles & Sofia Piano Competition 2021. She was also a quarterfinalist in the 12th International Liszt Utrecht Competition before the official COVID cancellation in 2020.


Her other performance awards include first place in the Pacific Musical Society, American Fine Arts Festival, Young Pianists’ Beethoven and MTAC Concerto competitions, and the 2016 Eisner Prize in the Creative Arts from UC Berkeley. She has attended numerous summer festivals throughout Europe such as the International Piano Academy in Freiburg and the Dublin International Festival, and participated in master classes with professors such as John O’Connor, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Seymour Lipkin, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron and Jura Margulis.

Theodora’s academic accomplishments include paper presentations and lecture recitals at numerous musicology conferences such as the Annual American Musicological Society meeting in 2020, and the “Intellectual Worlds of Johannes Brahms” conference at UC Irvine in 2019. Theodora was also the organizer of the conference-festival “Performing Clara Schumann” at Cornell University in 2019, and she is currently planning a Liszt festival in collaboration with Cornell's Center for Historical Keyboards, which will involve her additional expertise in historically informed keyboard performance. 

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