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. He has His Poulenc and Auric catalogues have established the numbering systems now in use for each, and
his Entrancing Muse is the most significant English-language Poulenc biography. He has also edited four Poulenc
works including the famous Flute Sonata and early Trois Pastorales, the modern-day premiere and first recording of
which were both by Ms. Erdely-Sayo.
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. A biography of Thompson is now finished, but not yet published, and they
have recently edited his early string quartet The Wind in the Willows. In October 2015 A History of the Handel Choir of
Baltimore (1935-2013): “Music Spread Thy Voice Around” was also published. Schmidt lectures widely in the
Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington area and has received significant grants from the National Endowment for the
Humanities, Harvard University, and Music and Letters.
Schmidt lives in Baltimore with Betsey, his wife of nearly fifty years. They have three grown children and five thriving
grandchildren. Performing and recording with Ms. Erdely-Sayo over the years remains one of Carl’s greatest
Vasco Dantas, Portuguese pianist born in Porto in 1992, obtained his Bachelor in Music at the London Royal College
of Music with Dmitri Alexeev and Niel Immelman. Recently he concluded the Master in Performance under the guidance
of Professor Heribert Koch at University of Münster, in Germany, where he was accepted for the postgraduate study
Vasco has been awarded over 50 prizes and distinctions in international competitions, including: “Grand Prix” at Valletta
International Piano Competition (Malta), “Prix Spécial” at Concours International de Piano SAR La Princesse Lalla
In 2015 Vasco made his Asia debut, playing with Hong Kong Symphonia; In 2014 made his American debut playing
with Orquestra Sinfónica Espírito Santo in Vitória, Brazil; In 2013 made his European debut with Porto Symphony
Orchestra; In 2011 Vasco made his piano recital debut in the renowned “Sala Suggia” at Porto Casa da Música.
He has also performed solo with orchestras including Russian String Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra (Croatia),
Hong Kong Symphonia, Orquestra Sinfónica do Espírito Santo (Brazil), and other orchestras around the world.
Vasco performed live for the first time on Portuguese National Television (RTP1) when he was six years old. On the
same year he made his first public appearance at the Porto Tram Museum, selected for his virtuosity among the
students of the Estrelita Yamaha Music School in Porto where he had started learning the piano at age of 4.
In 2000 he was admitted with honours at Porto Music Conservatory, where he studied with Prof. Rosgard Lingardson.
Since the age of 7, Vasco also has been studying the violin. He worked with professor José Paulo Jesus. He achieved
distinction as a violinist at the Momentum Perpetuum Orchestra directed by the British conductor Martin André, at the
“Official Youth Orchestra of Portuguese Music Conservatories” (OJCOM) and as concertmaster at the Lisbon
Metropolitan Young Orchestra.
Vasco has performed in hundreds of musical events in a series of renowned auditoriums of 4 different continents,
including Brazil, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Russia, Singapore,
Spain, Sweden, Thailand, UK and USA.
Vasco is supported by AVA Musical Editions.
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
Soprano, Dr. Barbara Di Toro, is a native of Glenside, Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor and Master of Music
degrees in vocal performance at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance and most recently completed a
doctorate in Higher Education Administration at Temple. Barbara’s academic achievements include the Boyer-Griswald
Award, the Milliard E. Gladfelter Scholarship, a Presidential Scholar Award, and membership in the Pi Kappa Lambda
(Music Honor Society), Golden Key National Honor Society, and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
Her operatic roles include Susanna in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and First Lady in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Monica in
Menotti’s The Medium, Amour in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, and Sr. Anne of the Cross in Poulenc’s Dialogue of the
Carmelites among others. Barbara has also performed roles in musical theater such as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady,
Robin in Godspell (Keswick Theater) and Patti in the Wyncote Players’ production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
Active as a church soloist, she is the soprano soloist and section leader at Calvary Presbyterian Church, and also
cantors at two other local churches. In addition to maintaining a private voice studio, Barbara’s teaching experiences
have included lecturer in voice at Temple University, music director and co-producer of the annual musical theater
productions at Gwynedd Mercy Academy H.S., and classroom music teacher at the elementary and pre-school levels.
Barbara currently serves as Associate Director of Temple University Music Preparatory Division of the Boyer College of
Music and Dance and joined the Arcadia University voice faculty in the summer of 2013.
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 her 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
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 such major cities 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.
a r t i s t s
April 13-14-15, 2018