The Competition

Judges for the 2015 Competition

Dave GrusinLynn Harrell is a renowned cellist whose presence is felt throughout the musical world. A consummate soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, conductor and teacher, his work throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia has placed him in the highest echelon of today's performing artists.

Harrell is a frequent guest of many leading orchestras including Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, and the National Symphony. In Europe, he partners with the orchestras of London, Munich, Berlin, Tonhalle and Israel. He has also toured extensively to Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Far East, including Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. An important part of Lynn Harrell's life is summer music festivals, which include appearances at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Aspen and Grand Teton festivals, and the Amelia Island Festival.

Highlights from an extensive discography of more than 30 recordings include the complete Bach Cello Suites (London/Decca), the world-premiere recording of Victor Herbert's Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by Marriner (London/Decca), the Walton Concerto with Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI), and the Donald Erb Concerto with Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony (New World). Together with Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy, Harrell was awarded two Grammy Awards—in 1981 for the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio and in 1987 for the complete Beethoven Piano Trios (both Angel/EMI). Most recently, Harrell recorded Tchaikovsky's Variations for Cello and Orchestra on a Rococo Theme, Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2, and Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Gerard Schwarz conducting (Classico).

In June 2010, along with his wife, violinist Helen Nightengale, he founded the HEARTbeats Foundation, a 501(c) charity. Based in Los Angeles, the HEARTbeats Foundation strives to help children in need harness the power of music to better cope with, and recover from, the extreme challenges of poverty and conflict, in hope of creating a more peaceful, sustainable world for generations to come.  For more information about Harrell, visit

Costa PilavachiLee Holdridge has scored numerous film and TV hits, including films such as Splash, Big Business, Mr. Mom, Micki & Maude,16 Days Of Glory, The Other Side Of The Mountain Pt. II, Mustang Country, The Beastmaster, Jeremy (Cannes Festival award winner), Sylvester, The Tuskegee Airmen, and El Pueblo Del Sol. TV shows include Moonlighting, Beauty and the Beast, the complete eight-hour remake of East of Eden, The Tenth Man, Dreamer of Oz, Hallmark Hall Of Fame's One Against the Wind, and The Story Lady. Mr. Holdridge also scored the epic film Old Gringo and Pastime, winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and Best Director Award at the Houston Film Festival. Holdridge began a very successful collaboration with Moriah Films, the film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, with the Academy Award-winning documentary feature film The Long Way Home.

More recently, Holdridge scored the motion pictures Puerto Vallarta Squeeze; Unlikely Heroes; the Hollywood Film Festival documentary award winner Beautiful Music; the disturbing documentary feature Ever Again; the Oscar-winning Warner Bros. documentary feature Into The Arms of Strangers: Stories of The Kindertransport; the TNT mini-series The Mists of Avalon; the NBC mini-series 10.5; the PBS Emmy-nominated series American Family; Christopher Reeve's The Brooke Ellison Story for the Arts and Entertainment Network; and Saving Milly for CBS. He scored the Moriah Films feature-length biography of Simon Wiesenthal entitled I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, which had its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007.

Holdridge has received numerous awards and nominations during his career. Amongst these he received six Emmys for writing. He received both Emmy and Grammy nominations for his title song for Moonlighting, which he co-wrote with Al Jarreau, and he also received the prestigious Circle of Friends of Music Award, given in Italy in 1972 for his Ballet Fantasy for Strings and Harp.

Holdridge's extensive background in both the concert and theater fields include co-authorship of the Joffrey Ballet standard Trinity, the one-act in-school operas The Prospector and The Magic Dream, and the one act opera Journey to Cordoba, commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera.  For more information about Holdridge, visit

David RussellCharlotte Lee is the president and founder of Primo Artists, a boutique classical music agency in New York. She has 17 years of experience in the music industry and was previously a senior vice president at IMG Artists.

Lee's tenure at IMG Artists began in 1998 where she worked on the management teams for Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Evgeny Kissin, and Lang Lang. Promoted to become IMG Artists' youngest manager at age 25 and, in 2007, the agency's youngest vice president at age 30, she served for seven years as director of orchestral booking in overseeing the booking of IMG's North American orchestral roster of nearly 100 conductors, instrumentalists, and symphony pops shows.

Lee's roster of artists who she personally managed grew, and she eventually took on the general management of Itzhak Perlman, amongst other internationally recognized artists such as violinist Nicola Benedetti and rising conducting star Cristian Macelaru. In January 2015, she founded Primo Artists with the mission of establishing it as one of the leading artist management agencies in North America.

Charlotte holds two bachelor degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated cum laude in 1998 with a BA in Music and a BA in Plan II, UT Austin's liberal arts honors program. She is a violinist and former concertmaster of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. While at UT Austin, Lee served as assistant concertmaster of the UT Symphony Orchestra, studied with Vincent Frittelli (a former Ivan Galamian pupil) and performed in master classes for Dorothy DeLay.

Charlotte has served as juror at various competitions and gives lectures regularly about the music business at universities and conservatories in North America. She has appeared on various radio shows including NPR's From the Top and WQXR, America's most popular classical-music station. For more information, go to

Julie SmithHailed for his superior artistry as the Spanish maestro of the guitar, Angel Romero's eminence in the music world as soloist and conductor is heralded by audiences and critics alike. One of the most sought-after musicians of his generation, Romero has appeared in major cultural centers throughout the world, including those of London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Munich, Zurich, Chicago, Los Angles, and New York, among others. He has appeared as soloist with such leading orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. As conductor, he has led numerous orchestras worldwide including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Royal Philharmonic, Germany's NDR Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Symphoniker, the Beijing Philharmonic, the Euro-Asia Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony, the Bogotá Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Orquesta de Baja California, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, among others. Regardless of his role on stage, his driving intensity and flawless control mark him as a true master of the arts.  

In February 2000 he was presented with the highest honor that the country of Spain has to offer, the Grand Cross of Isabel la Catolica, and was knighted Sir Angel Romero in reverence of his astounding musical accomplishments. In 2007, Romero was honored by the Recording Academy, producer of the Grammy Awards, with the Recording Academy President's Merit Award for his significant contributions to the music world and for his professional career achievements.

Romero is noted for his activities in the film industry. In 1989, he performed the entire score for The Milagro Bean Field War directed by Robert Redford. In 1994, he composed and directed the music score for the Gabriele Retes film Bienvenido-Welcome, which opened at the Muestra del Cine film festival in Guadalajara. For his work on this film, Romero won the 1995 ARIEL (the "Academy Award" of Mexico) in the category of music written originally for film. He also performed and recorded the entire score for the film By The Sword composed by Bill Conti, and played a cameo role in the major motion picture Bound by Honor, a Taylor Hackford film. For more information, please visit

Jim SvejdaDavid Thomas has been involved in the music industry for nearly 25 years. Active in the recording industry, he produced the last nine Christopher Parkening recordings for EMI and Sony Classical. Thomas has also produced recordings with soprano Kathleen Battle, baritone Jubilant Sykes, guitarists Virginia Luque and Liona Boyd, the soundtrack for the movie Last Flight Out, as well as projects with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. His profession has taken him to such internationally acclaimed studios as Abbey Road in London, as well as Capitol and Sony/MGM studios in Los Angeles. He founded TYI/Concert Marketing, which coordinates venue marketing for many labels, including Universal, Sony and Warner. Originally from the Napa, California, Thomas now resides in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with his wife, Joanna, and their two sons, Julian and Sebastian.

Pepperdine University reserves the right to change any or all criteria or details pertaining to the Competition.