"…throughout my experience as a piano teacher I realized that the most important thing for me is to continue my education in piano performance…this is the best time for me to improve and excel as a pianist and I would much rather do so outside my country where I can be exposed to different professors and a wide variety of ideas around music."
Cole Scholar and Graduate student, Yianni Iliadis, received a B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, in 2010 and a Piano Diploma graded as "Excellent 10/10." He was awarded the Outstanding Performance Award from the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki in 2014 and was the winner of the Concerto Competition at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki in January 2014. In March 2014 he performed with the Symphony Orchestra of Thessaloniki.
Yianni is excited to be a student of Dr. Shun-Lin Chou and is also the graduate assistant for collaborative piano studies.
As winner of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition in December 2014, Yianni will perform with the University Symphony Orchestra in September. He will also accompany a premiere piece written for three flutes and piano by Dr. John Barcellona in his Faculty Artist Recital on March 23.
What were your first musical influences and how did you choose your instrument?
I began studying classical guitar when I was 9. Even though my father had always played, I had only a slight interest. One evening at a party, while watching a teenager playing, I decided I wanted to be actively involved in music. When I returned home that same night I asked my father to teach me. After a couple of years of training, I entered the 22nd International Guitar Festival and won 1st place. Costas Cotsiolis is artistic director of this festival held in Volos, Greece and it is specifically for students under the age of 15. However, the guitar repertoire failed to keep my interest and match my passion for classical music. I found myself being drawn into a new world and soon began piano lessons, forsaking the guitar. In 2000, when I was 12 years old, I was admitted to the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki and in 2005 I attended the University of Macedonia in the department of Music Science and Arts.
Who or what has been the most impressive influences in your musical pursuits?
Margarita Efraimidou is undoubtedly the most significant thus far. She is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory in Russia and is still teaching at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, Greece. I met her when I began my studies at the Conservatory. Professor Efraimidou’s lessons, coaching, and feedback were crucially essential to my development as a pianist. She continues to be one of my greatest mentors.
Dr. Chou, my current professor, has taught me many things. I appreciate his assistance not only in music, but in other disciplines outside of keyboard. He and Professor Craig Richey are great musicians and teachers. I am also grateful that Dr. John Barcellona persuaded me during auditions to choose the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music. His enthusiasm attracted both Vanessa and I to this campus.
I am glad that Dr. Moni Simeonov was recently hired as the BCCM Director of String Studies. I frequently accompany some of his students in lessons and have found Moni to be also an exceptional talent. He inspires his students and his addition to this faculty will draw many excellent string students to apply.
Do you perfer to perform with a small or large group?
I enjoy both small and large ensembles. Recently I performed with a string quartet and I have been performing with the piano ensemble. Accompanying is what I really enjoy. Several students have asked me to assist them in their upcoming recitals, scholarships, and auditions. My experience with accompanying has given me a large repertoire of music for piano and chamber groups. For the six years in my relationship with flutist Vanessa Fourla (Cole Scholar of the month for October 2014), I have been her accompanist and have gained an extensive knowledge of the flute repertoire.
What are your plans for the future?
I am very open-minded and excited about new prospects. I would love to gain expertise in certain musical periods and composers, to play with chamber music groups, to perform in solo recitals and so forth. I have also applied to participate in several summer music festivals and hopefully I will spend a couple of exciting months at one of them. After this program, I can see myself continuing my studies with a DMA in Piano Performance, but I also believe that the BCCM faculty can help guide me in making the right choices when the time comes.
Do you have a favorite composer, American or otherwise?
Before coming here I hadn't played any American music but I am now becoming familiar with works by Samuel Barber and George Crumb. On April 19th, in a graduate flute recital, I will play a piece by George Crumb written for flute, cello and piano. I am enjoying this and would like to explore all of his music.
I love many composers and it is hard to name just one. I really love to listen to Chopin and I like to play his works. Some of my favorite pieces are by F. Chopin and especially at this time a favorite melody is the theme of his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor.
You've traveled to many places on your musical journey. Is there any particular country or place that stands out?
For me, every place is the same place. I find every thing is not exactly the same but similar. It is not a difficult adjustment; each place is very much like the other.