20th Anniversary Fourth Friday Concert & Celebration – Friday, June 23rd, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Jun 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

As we celebrate two decades of Fourth Friday Concerts, we are excited to announce the return of our original emcee, Eric Hale, and accompanist, Sue Timmons, for this extraordinary evening. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of the performers and devoted audiences who have supported Fourth Friday Concerts over the last 20 years. We hope you will be able to join us!

Founded in June, 2003, the Fourth Friday Concert series, formerly know as the 4th Friday Mix, stands as one of our area’s longest-running concert series. We remain committed to providing free and inclusive concerts that welcome musicians with a passion for sharing their talents. All attendees, including children capable of listening attentively, are warmly welcomed. Fourth Friday Concerts typically feature 2-4 performers or performance groups, although special occasions may showcase a single performer or group for the entire concert. Contact Richard Ruggero at if you or your group are interested in performing!

Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, September 22nd, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Sep 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Click here for Livestream link!

Performer Bios 

15-year-old Olivia Li from Cary, NC studies the piano with Florence Ko and has over the years garnered myriad awards and scholarships. She placed first in various competitions including the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs (NCFMC) Young Artist Auditions, 6 years consecutively from divisions Senior I until Concerto IV, as well as the Princess category of the NCFMC Royalty Competition, the SYMF Southwestern Youth Music Festival Competition, the USA IMAE Music & Art Exchange International Piano Competition where she had a masterclass with the renowned Gary Graffman, RTPA Scholarship Competition, CAPTA Bullard Competition, and 2nd prize of the prestigious NC symphony concerto competition and 3rd Annual Hayes School of Music Piano Competition. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys sharing her music with others and frequently hosts performances at local retirement centers, and hospitals. She has also been invited to perform at various events, such as 5 consecutive meetings for the 2023 Cary Environmental Symposium at the Cary Arts Center, where many esteemed speakers and mayor are invited as well.

Chris (Yuanduo) Li, who is 17 years old and currently in the 11th grade, attends Green Level High School in Apex, North Carolina. He was born in China in 2006 and began his musical journey when he was just six years old. He started taking piano lessons in June 2021 after moving to the United States, and he’s been guided by Florence Ko. Since then, Chris has achieved some impressive accomplishments: he came in second place in the 2022 Young Artist Auditions (YAA) competition at the Prince level. He also got first place in the Senior level of the 2022 Raleigh Piano Teacher Association (RPTA) scholarship competition, the Bullard piano competition (High School level), and the Raleigh Music Club Scholarship Auditions. It’s worth noting that he got second position in the Senior division of the 2022 Music Teacher National Association (MTNA) competition, and he won in the Senior division of the International American Protege competition. Additionally, he had the chance to be part of the East Carolina University piano festival and their master classes. In 2023, he achieved second place in the North Carolina Royalty Competition at the King level. He also won the National Federation of Music Clubs competition at the King level and the Hinda Honigman piano scholarship in Statesville, NC, performed in Environmental Symposium at Cary Arts Center. Apart from his dedication to playing the piano, Chris enjoys taking part in basketball and tennis, which brings him joy.

Jared Alan Yoakem is a pianist from Grand Rapids, MI. As a recitalist, he has performed at the Brendle Recital Hall, Wake Forest University, NC; Covington Arts Center, Radford University, VA; Katzen Arts Center, American University, DC; and Porter Arts Center, Brevard College, NC. As a collaborative artist, he has performed with ACDA, NATS, the National Orpheus Competition, and a variety of choral projects including two national PBS broadcasts at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He has been awarded with the Dean’s Advisory Council Award for outstanding achievement in music from Belmont University in 2019. Yoakem has participated in the Collaborative Piano Institute at Louisiana State University, the Leon Fleisher Academy of Washington D.C., and the Vivace Music Foundation of Wilmington, NC. He has participated in masterclasses by Stanislav Ioudenitch, Marina Lomazov, Julian Martin, Anne-Marie McDermott and Robert McDonald. Yoakem holds degrees from Belmont University & East Carolina University, under the instruction of Elena Bennett and Kwan Yi. He currently serves as a piano faculty member at the Cary School of Music and as a teaching assistant to Kwan Yi.




Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, October 27th, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Oct 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Click here for Livestream link!

Performer Bios 

[caption id="attachment_10955" align="alignleft" width="150"] Grace Ueng[/caption]

Grace began studying piano last year to honor the memory of her mother, her first teacher. With an older sister who consistently placed first in their state and would go on to compete nationally and internationally, Grace quit after only a few years of lessons. She went on to study at MIT and Harvard Business School, pursuing interests outside music. Her sister, Vivian Fang, went on to earn two degrees from Juilliard and her doctorate from Peabody Conservatory. Vivian teaches in her private studio, serves on faculty at The Fay School outside Boston, and is President of New England Piano Teachers’ Association. After purchasing her Steinway from Ruggero, Grace started studying with Teddy Robie.  Additionally, Vivian provides sisterly coaching. Grace also enjoys being a part of the Presto piano performance group. Grace is an ardent lifelong student of positive psychology studying under Tal Ben Shahar, the creator of Harvard’s most popular course ever on happiness, Arthur Brooks of Harvard Business School and Noa Kageyama, Juilliard’s performance psychologist. Grace is the founder of Savvy Growth, a leadership coaching and strategy consulting firm, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Prior to that, she served on the leadership teams of five technology companies. She writes a weekly column on Happiness & Leadership and has been covered in Inc. Magazine, The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal.

[caption id="attachment_10957" align="alignleft" width="150"] Triocha[/caption]

This trio features Erin Munnelly, flute, Sanford Enslen, cello, and Stephanie Schmidt, piano.






[caption id="attachment_10956" align="alignleft" width="150"] Newnew Hong[/caption]

Kangqi Hong, also known as “Newnew,” is a 14-year-old student born in Zhuhai, China, and currently resides with her aunt and uncle, Hong Schulte and Stuart Schulte, in Moore County, North Carolina. She attended Episcopal Day School from 3rd to 5th grade and is now a 9th grader at the O’Neal School. Newnew started learning to play the piano at the age of 6 in China, taught initially by her mother. She studies under Dr. Kristina Henckel and practices daily on a 1931 Baldwin grand piano. In February 2023, Newnew had her first public performance at a sold-out concert sponsored by the Arts Council of Moore County. She performed pieces by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns, impressing the audience with her skills. Newnew has taken part in numerous music competitions, winning first place in the solo piano category at Carmel Klavier 2022, Carmel IN, Fayetteville Piano Teacher’s Association competition in 2022, Fayetteville, NC, and Weymouth Young Musician’s Festival in 2020, Southern Pines, NC. Furthermore, she was a finalist in the 2023 North Carolina Symphony Concerto Competition. Newnew is also a laureate of the Piano League competition, participated in the MTNA competition, and received the Grand Prize in the Rising Talents Festival 2021, allowing her to perform at Carnegie Hall. Apart from concerts and competitions, Newnew has performed for local nursing homes, art shows, fundraisers, and Habitat for Humanity. In addition to her love for music, she is also interested in art, history, and science-fiction.


Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, January 26th, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Jan 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Click Here for Livestream Link

Program Notes

Mozart: Sonata KV 570 in B-flat Major

Mozart’s Sonata K570 is a late work which shows the composer at his absolute best. The opening movement is unusual: each theme serves as a springboard to the next one. Thus, the opening melody is a counterpoint to the second one, and the second transfigures to become the third one. In fact, the contrapuntal mastery must have been so appealing that soon after Mozart’s death the Sonata was reworked for violin and piano by an admirer, and is still sometimes performed in that manner, ostensibly as an authentic Mozart piece.

The second movement is an extensive rondo, drawing on the wealth of vocal and instrumental traditions, almost ready to be orchestrated. The frequent use of strophic variation allows the performer to introduce a variety of ornaments, something which was expected in both vocal and instrumental performances of the time.

The last movement is yet another, very much abbreviated rondo; in its center lives a pecking bird, engulfed by contrapuntal lines, very reminiscent of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 and violin sonata K. 378. In both cases, the tempo suddenly accelerates for the sake of that very bird, and I have taken the brazen liberty of doing the same.

Beethoven: Sonata Op. 28 in D Major

The so-called “Pastoral” Sonata owes its nickname to a publisher. This is, without a doubt, inspired by the ostinato in the left hand, prominent in movements one and four, clear stand-in for bagpipes. Yet, while as certain pastoral feeling cannot be denied, it by no means shapes the entire work. In his second and last D Major sonata, Beethoven chooses yet again to keep all four movements in the home key, with the second, slow movement, taking the minor mode. But the contrast between major and minor in our sonata is much less violent then in the earlier Op. 10 No. 3. A possible musical twin for the work is rather the “Spring” sonata for violin and piano, written at about the same time; undeniably handsome, tender, poignant, and positive, with a dash of humor.

Schumann: Kreisleriana Op. 16

Every December, our country falls under the spell of the German author E. T. A. Hoffmann. In fact, we eagerly await the experience of seeing a most garbled version of his short novel “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” now in the form of a famous ballet. Hoffmann, a near-contemporary of Schumann and his undeniable alter ego, had a double career as an author and a musician (Schumann’s stated aspiration as well); his views, aesthetics, and artistic goals were also very close to Schumann’s. And just like Schumann with his Florestan and Eusebius, the fiery and the meek aspects of oneself, Hoffmann had invented for himself a literary stand-in, a certain Kapellmeister Kreisler, is whose bizarre personality these aspects are fused in a strange way, compelling in the eyes of some, repulsive for most others. Such split personality is more than a child of an erratic mind, sophisticated one moment and childish the next; here, we also have the inability, and the unwillingness to put up with the world the way we see it. Kreisler’s life, inasmuch as Hoffmann’s or Schumann’s, is a struggle against a mounting tide of mediocrity, indifference, and pointless small talk. Ironically, Hoffmann tells us, Kreisler’s unpublished autobiography became scrap paper for a memoir by… a cat. Schumann’s eight scenes are not, apparently, descriptive of specific Hoffmann moments; they describe mental states.


Performer Bio

A native of Moscow, Dmitri Shteinberg holds a Doctorate in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and is currently the Clifton Matthews Distinguished Professor of piano at UNCSA. His performance credentials include Jerusalem Symphony, The Italian Filarmonica Marchigiana, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel Camerata Orchestra and Porto National Symphony under the batons of Massimo Pradella, Roger Nierenberg, Florin Totan and David Shallon, among others. In the United States, he appeared with the Baton Rouge, Richmond, Charlottesville, Salisbury and Manassas symphony orchestras. In 1995, he won the first prize at the Senigallia International Piano Competition in Italy, where he was the youngest competitor.  Shteinberg was a guest artist at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Summit Music Festival, Music Festival of the Hamptons, the ”Oleg Kagan” Festival in Germany, Festival Aix-en-Provence in France and Open Chamber Music in Cornwall, England. Chamber music appearances include the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Alice Tully Hall in New York and the Saunders Theatre in Boston. Most recently, he gave the world premiere of Permutations for piano and orchestra by Robert Chumbley.

Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, February 23rd, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Feb 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Click Here for Livestream

We are so excited to have students and faculty from Community Music School performing for this month’s Fourth Friday Concert Series! Repertoire to include selections from Bach, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and others from a variety of genres and styles.

Performer Bio

Founded in 1994, CMS is the only organization in Wake County that provides private, 1:1 personalized music instruction in multiple genres at just $1 per lesson for children who have limited or no access to music education. For the last 30 years, CMS has worked to ensure that every child with a passion for music has access to affordable, high quality music education; and empowers families to foster their children’s love for music; and raise awareness of the benefits of musical instruction in the development of the whole child. Please join in supporting the young musicians of Community Music School by donating $30.00 in honor of the school’s years of service OR become a CMS sustainer at $19.94/month, reflecting on the school’s year of establishment! Learn More Here

Ruggero Presents Maestro William Henry Curry, Conductor of the Durham Symphony Orchestra @ Ruggero Piano
Feb 29 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Ruggero Piano presents a *FREE CONCERT* featuring R. Larry Todd, piano, Katharina Uhde, violin, and Sanja Uhde, cello @ Ruggero Piano
Mar 5 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Ruggero Piano presents a *FREE CONCERT* featuring R. Larry Todd, piano, Katharina Uhde, violin, and Sanja Uhde, cello @ Ruggero Piano

Katharina Uhde is the author of The Music of Joseph Joachim (Boydell & Brewer, 2018). She is Assistant Professor for Violin and Musicology at Valparaiso University. She holds a DMA degree from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Musicology from Duke University. As a soloist, quartet and piano trio member she has won first and second place prizes in international competitions in Prague, Germany, the Netherlands, and she has also won the 2004 University of Michigan Concerto Competition. She has released a CD Brasilianische Kammermusik and is preparing a Beethoven Violin Sonata cycle with R. Larry Todd for 2020. Her work has been supported by generous grants from Fulbright, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the American Brahms Society, and the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.

Sanja – Božena Uhde, concert cellist, received her first cello lessons from Edvard Adamić, principal cellist of the Ljubljana Philharmonic and Opera Orchestra. She studied with internationally famous cellist André Navarra at the University of Music in Vienna with the support of a scholarship from the Austrian Ministry of Education. She later studied in Freiburg with the renowned Spanish cellist Marçal Cervera. She completed her training by attending courses at the “Accademia Chigiana” in Siena with André Navarra and with Mstislav Rostropowitsch in Basel. Following her studies, she received inspiration from Pierre Fournier and William Pleeth. Solo performances with orchestra include the cello concertos by Haydn, Schumann, Brahms (double concerto) and Beethoven (triple concerto). Sanja – Božena Uhde is an active internationally sought-after concert cellist, whose career has taken her to numerous European concerts and to non-European countries such as the USA and Brazil, where she gave master classes at various universities. Sanja – Božena Uhde regularly teaches as a professor at the Karlsruhe University of Education.

Larry Todd is Arts & Sciences Professor at Duke University. His books include Mendelssohn: A Life in Music, described as ‘likely to be the standard biography for a long time to come’ (New York Review of Books), and Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn, which received the ASCAP Slonimsky Prize. A fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and National Humanities Center, he edits the Master Musician Series (Oxford University Press).  He studied piano at the Yale School of Music and with the late Lilian Kallir, and has recorded with Nancy Green the complete cello/piano works of the Mendelssohns for JRI Recordings.



Triangle Youth Philharmonic Honors Recital @ Ruggero Piano
Mar 13 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, March 22nd, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Mar 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Click Here for Livestream Link!

Performer Bio

Czech pianist Kristina Henckel and Cuban pianist Amanda Virelles formed 4HANDS Piano Duo in 2019. Their duo repertoire includes master pieces from the Classical, Romantic and 20th century periods. Both pianists started performing careers in their countries of origin, and completed doctoral degrees in piano performance and pedagogy in the United States. Currently, both Kristina and Amanda hold faculty positions in North Carolina, at Sandhills Community College and Fayetteville State University.

Dr. Kristina Henckel, an accomplished pianist and teacher, is a native of the Czech Republic. She is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, under the tutelage of Professor Peter Toperczer. During her study she received several awards in competitions held in the Czech Republic: third prize in the Chopin Piano Competition and Smetana International Piano Competition, and first prize in the National Piano Competition of Conservatories, including an award for best performance of Antonín Dvořák’s composition. At 18 Kristina debuted with Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 Op. 73 “Emperor” with the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra. She further collaborated as a soloist with other regional orchestras in the Czech Republic.

After relocating to the United States in 1999, Kristina continued her studies by earning a doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. In Oklahoma she acquired additional awards for her performances: first prize in the Donna Turner-Smith Piano Competition and first prize at the Graduate Concerto Competition 2012. In addition, her dissertation “Pianistic Analysis of Bedřich Smetana’s Piano Cycle Dreams” was nominated for the University of Oklahoma Provost’s Dissertation Prize 2016.

Kristina has performed numerous solo and collaborative recitals in Europe and United States. She also made several recordings for Radio Vltava, Czech Republic. In the fall of 2015 she became a Ritmüller piano artist. In May 2016, she released a CD with the piano trio Turnía featuring the piano trios of Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana. In April 2016 the ensemble was featured on the radio show Northwest Focus on King FM 98.1 in Seattle, WA. Kristina is also a member of the 4HANDS Piano Duo with Cuban-American pianist Amanda Virelles.

Currently she serves as music faculty at Fayetteville State University and Sandhills Community College in North Carolina.

Amanda Virelles has played for audiences around the world captivating them with her unique sound and deep interpretations. Her performances have been described as sensible, profound, and energetic. She has performed as a soloist as well as collaborative artist throughout the United States, Europe, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Amanda began her piano studies in Cuba with Emilio Morales, and later with Serguei Leschenko, continued with Heirinch Neuhaus’ protegé Margarita Fyodorova at Moscow State Conservatory Tchaikovsky, and received her Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Russian Academy of Music Gnessins in Moscow, Russia, under the guidance of Inna Malinina, former disciple of Alexander Goldenwieser. Virelles also holds a Master Degree and a Doctoral Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she received both a full assistantship and a fellowship as the winner of the Doctoral Assistantship Competition. While at USM, Amanda was a student of Dr. Lois Leventhal.

After winning First Prize and an Special Prize for best Cuban and Latin-American music performance in the “Amadeo Roldan” Piano Competition, in Cuba, she was given a full scholarship to study in Russia. She appeared as a soloist with several orchestras in Europe and South America under the direction of renowned conductors such as Yoshikatsu Fukumura, Mikhail Shervakov, Dmitir Manolov, Fillipo Zigante, Kimbo Ishii – Eto, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya. She was a featured winner of the William T. Gower Concerto Competition with the USM Symphony Orchestra under conductor Jay Dean. She has also performed under the baton of Raul Munguia and Alejandro Drago.

As a pedagogue Dr. Virelles has served as an Associate Professor of Music at Universidad del Atlántico in Colombia, in the fields of classical piano, theory, and chamber music from 1997 to 2003. Previously, she was on the piano faculty at the Conservatorio Nacional in Lima, Peru. Since her arrival to the United States, she has also served at Lane College, Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and at the School of Music of Belmont University. Currently, Dr. Virelles is an Associate Professor of Music at Fayetteville State University, in Fayetteville, North Carolina and teaches piano at Fayetteville School of Music

Amanda is an avid performer of chamber music and plays regularly with “Duo Guitiano” with Colombian-American guitarist Carlos Castilla and 4HANDS Piano Duo, with Czech pianist Kristina Henckel. Her solo and duo recordings are available in digital platforms.

Founded in June, 2003, the Fourth Friday Concert Series, formerly know as the 4th Friday Mix, stands as one of our area’s longest-running concert series. We remain committed to providing free and inclusive concerts that welcome musicians with a passion for sharing their talents. All attendees, including children capable of listening attentively, are warmly welcomed. Fourth Friday Concerts typically feature 2-4 performers or performance groups, although special occasions may showcase a single performer or group for the entire concert. 

Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, April 26th, 2024, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Apr 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Click here for live stream!

Performer Bios

Andrew Wood, 18, graduated from Enloe High School with the International Baccalaureate Diploma last spring (2023). He is currently completing a gap year of intense preparation for a college degree in piano performance. Andrew has given solo recitals at Meredith College, Saint Mary’s School, and at private residences and retirement communities in Raleigh and Winston-Salem. As part of his study last summer at Krakow Piano, he performed in group recitals across Poland at Dębno Castle, Liszt Hall at Hotel Saski in Krakow, and Fazioli Concert Hall at the School of Music of Jastrzębie Zdrój. In addition to his study at Krakow, Andrew has studied in summer programs at the New Orleans Piano Institute and the Eastern Music Festival. Now in his second and final year with the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute, Andrew has been a member of two piano quartets. Currently he has serves as collaborative pianist for the Enloe High School Choral Department, and volunteers by teaching conducting, music theory, and choral music at Enloe. Andrew has won and received honors in local festivals and competitions such as the Young Artist Auditions, NC Music Teachers Association, and the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association Scholarship. He has placed twice in the Music Teachers National Association Competition, Senior Division. Andrew thanks his family and his teacher, Dr. Margaret Evans, for their support and for providing many wonderful opportunities.

Hrishikesh Ram (Hrishi) is a piano student of Dr. Olga Kleiankina of NC State University, and is pursuing chemical engineering and chemistry as a first-year undergraduate student. He previously was a student of Mr. John Herrmann of Durham, NC, and is also coached by Ms. Elizabeth Beilman of the NC Symphony in chamber music, as a member of the Tre Voce Piano Trio, North Carolina Chamber Music Institute. Hrishi has won prizes at the national, regional and international level in both solo piano and chamber music.


Fifteen-year-old Benjamin Luo, a ninth grader who hails from Apex, North Carolina, began his piano study with Florence Ko at age five. Since then, he has garnered first-prize awards in a myriad of piano competitions at state, national, and international levels. Benjamin has been the first-place winner in the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA) Piano Competition in both Junior and Senior Solo categories in the state round for five consecutive years, beginning in 2019. He was also a two-time MTNA Junior Piano National Finalist. In addition, along with his brother Brandon, Benjamin placed second nationally in the 2022-2023 MTNA Senior Piano Duet Competition, following a first-place win in the state and divisional rounds. Benjamin has performed with several orchestras after winning concerto competitions, including the Hampton Roads Philharmonic, the Chapel Hill Philharmonic, and the Tar River Orchestra. Recently, Benjamin played the full Rachmaninoff No. 2 Piano Concerto with the Long Bay Symphony of South Carolina.

Anastacy Golovidov is a sophomore at North Carolina State University pursuing her Bachelor in Graphic & Experience Design along with a minor in Music with Dr. Olga Kleiankina. She began her piano study with Olga Urick and at age six entered her first competition. From 2011-2017 she earned several 1st place, 2nd place, and Honorable Mention awards at the Young Artist Audition piano competition. Her achievements include multiple North Carolina Music Teachers Association and North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs district awards. In 2018 she received 2nd place at the Elizabeth Bullard competition. In 2019 she won first place at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts piano weekend festival. Her most recent awards include 2nd place in Young Artist Audition piano competition in 2021, 1st place at NCFMC Royalty 2022 and she is a CAPTA Scholarship Competition award recipient for College Minor in Music.

Sam Prochnau is a sophomore at North Carolina State University studying aerospace engineering with a minor in piano performance. Sam has played piano for 14 years, studying first under Irene Fix and currently under Dr. Olga Kleiankina. As a soloist, Sam has experience performing recitals in both North Carolina and his home state of Pennsylvania, and has performed in numerous masterclasses with distinguished piano professors from across the country. Sam also enjoys accompanying, reaching the 2022 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State choir conference, accompanying the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra, as well as playing with various other ensembles and soloists. Outside of music, Sam plays club ultimate frisbee for NC State, enjoys hiking, and is a member of NC State’s Design Build Fly aerospace engineering club.

Brandon Luo, 17, is an eleventh grader from Apex, NC, who began his piano study with Florence Ko at age five. Since then, he has competed in numerous piano competitions and has won many competition awards, including first place in North Carolina Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Senior and Junior Piano Competitions, East Carolina University Young Artist Piano Competition, Hayes School of Music Piano Competition, United States International Music Competition, Great Masters International Piano Competition, American Protégé International Music Talent Competition, Charles F.T. Nakarai Piano Competition, RPTA Scholarship Competition, RPTA Young Artist Audition, as well as the State Royalty Competitions, NC Federation of Music Clubs State Scholarship Competition “Mary Davis Memorial Award”, “Maxine Taylor Fountain Award”, “NCFMC Past Presidents Award”, and “Thursday Morning Music Club Of Winston-Salem Award.” Brandon, along with his brother Benjamin, placed second nationally in the 2022-2023 MTNA Senior Piano Duet Competition, after winning first place in the state and divisional rounds. Recently, Brandon received first place in the RPTA Young Artist Auditions Concerto Competition and Federation of Music Clubs Competition “Estelle Brady Senior Piano Concerto Award”.

Founded in June, 2003, the Fourth Friday Concert Series, formerly know as the 4th Friday Mix, stands as one of our area’s longest-running concert series. We remain committed to providing free and inclusive concerts that welcome musicians with a passion for sharing their talents. All attendees, including children capable of listening attentively, are warmly welcomed. Fourth Friday Concerts typically feature 2-4 performers or performance groups, although special occasions may showcase a single performer or group for the entire concert. 

Solomon Eichner in Concert @ Ruggero Piano
May 14 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Performer Bio

Consistently in demand on the concert stage, Polish-American Concert Pianist Solomon Eichner has garnered international acclaim with performances in England, Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria and throughout the U.S.  Declared by the American Liszt Society as “A sensitive pianist, Solomon’s playing is poetic, beautiful and moving with deep feeling”, “A young Arthur Rubinstein”.

In the 2023 season commemorating Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday, Solomon performed many concerts showcasing the composer at various universities and concert series from San Francisco to Sarasota to Southampton.

An avid chamber musician, Solomon debuted on the 2023 Newport Music Festival, Rhode Island with Cellist Amit Peled.

Solomon performed in the 2022 season with the North Carolina Symphony, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto under Conductor Christoph Koenig.  In 2021 Solomon debuted with the NC Symphony playing Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals.

Sponsored by the March of the Living Foundation, Solomon performed for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz at the Krakow Philharmonic Hall, Jewish Cultural Center and at Auschwitz in front of a crowd of 20,000 people.

Solomon has performed concertos with conductors Uriel Segal – Grieg; John Gordon Ross – Rachmaninoff 3rd; Mark Peterson – Liszt 1 and Chopin 2; David Hagy – Mendlessohn 1; Michelle Di Russo – Saint Saens Carnival of Animals; Tonu Kalam – Beethoven Triple; and appeared with George Mariner Maull on his Discovery Orchestra series. Orchestras Solomon has performed with include NC, Salisbury, Western Piedmont, Wilson, UNC, Discovery, Alicante Spain.

Solomon is a prizewinner of the Liszt-Garrison International Competition, International Young Artists Competition Washington D.C., GoldenKey Carnegie Hall Debut Competition and Miami Music Festival Concerto Competition.

Music Festivals Solomon has performed in include Perugia Italy, Pianofest in the Hamptons, Montecito California, Atlantic Maine, American Fine Arts Festival in Austria, SUNY New Paltz, IKIF Mannes.

Concert series Solomon has recently performed on include Artist Series Sarasota, Noontime Concerts Old St. Marys Cathedral San Francisco, Parrish Museum Water Mill, Community Concerts at 2nd Baltimore, St. Paul’s Church Augusta with Violinist Brian Reagin, Chamber Music Raleigh, Cary Page-Walker House, Paderewski Festival, University of Tampa Sykes Chapel, Tribby Arts Center Ft. Myers, Polish Embassy D.C, Temple Longboat Key, First Presbyterian Naples, Yale Gordon Trust, National City Church D.C, Music in the Great Hall, Bower Chapel Trinity by the Cove, Weymouth Arts Center, Pamlico Music Society, among others.

Originally from Baltimore, Solomon graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and Peabody Conservatory. When not concertizing, Solomon maintains a faculty position for the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute. Currently Solomon resides in Chapel Hill with his wife.


Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, June 28th, 2024, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Jun 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Click here for livestream!

Performer Bios

Born in NYC, New York and based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Alain Arvelo studied voice at Mars Hill University under Dr. Joel Reed. After graduating from Mars Hill University in 2016, Alain has focused on primarily recital and private performances. He now studies privately under Raoul Simon Düsterhaus. Armed with a precocious talent, a bottomless curiosity and an inexhaustible tenacity, Alain has been performing operatic repertoire and recitals since the age of 14. Alain has performed scenes from: Cosi fan tutte, L’elisir d’amore, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Werther, Manon, Rigoletto, Roméo et Juliette, La Traviata & Lucia di lammermoor.

Minseong Joo, 18, was born in South Korea, and he currently lives in Cary, North Carolina. He began learning the piano at the age of twelve under Dr. Moon Choi. He has won several awards which include: 1st place in Raleigh Piano Teachers Association Competition, 1st place at the ECU Piano Competition, 1st at the UNCSA Competition and 1st at RPTA Concerto Competition. He has also performed in many venues such as A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall at ECU, Carswell Concert Hall at Meredith College, and many more. He was a participant at the ECU Piano Festival and the Vivace Music Festival, and has performed in masterclasses with many renowned artists, including Sean Chen, Christopher Guzman, Yakov Kasman, Alexander Kobrin, Meng-Chieh Liu, Marina Lomazov, Jerome Lowenthal, John O’Conor, and Victor Rosenbaum. He is also a founder of the Music Cures All non-profit organization and has performed at several senior centers and other organizations as charity events. In addition to his piano studies, he enjoys watching movies, reading books, playing sports, and spending time with family and friends.

Founded in June, 2003, the Fourth Friday Concert Series, formerly know as the 4th Friday Mix, stands as one of our area’s longest-running concert series. We remain committed to providing free and inclusive concerts that welcome musicians with a passion for sharing their talents. All attendees, including children capable of listening attentively, are warmly welcomed. Fourth Friday Concerts typically feature 2-4 performers or performance groups, although special occasions may showcase a single performer or group for the entire concert. 

Customer Reviews

I had fun at Ruggero Piano, and I don't like to shop for anything, especially clothes, BUT....absolutely no pressure from Richard (father) and son (Chris). Other employees were just as gracious, knowledgeable and friendly. I was in and out several times, playing various pianos, learning, listening. Within a week, the digital piano I bought, a Clavinova, was delivered by professional movers, set in place and off to the keys I went. Wonderful service all around. - Susan Collins

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