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March 7, 2024

˿Ƶ bolsters piano faculty with two hires straddling Conservatory, Preparatory divisions


A side-by-side photo of Ilya Itin and Daria Rabotkina

The piano faculty at ˿Ƶ continues to gain strength in all areas and at all levels.  

On Friday, Executive Vice President and Provost Scott Harrison announced the simultaneous appointments of pianists Ilya Itin and Dr. Daria Rabotkina to the piano faculty, beginning fall 2024.  

Both were unanimously endorsed by the faculty search committee and will teach in both the Conservatory and the Academy. Rabotkina will also serve as the first Director of Academy Piano Studies, helping to lead one of Cleveland’s most active programs for aspiring pianists in elementary, middle, and high school.  

They join an illustrious piano program with a rich and distinguished history dating back to Victor Babin and extending without interruption to ˿Ƶ’s new artist-in-residence, pianist Gabriela Montero

“˿Ƶ’s piano department is already superb, and these appointments push us to the next level in strengthening the links between piano training at the Academy and Conservatory levels,” Harrison said. 

“Daria and Ilya are both supremely talented artists dedicated to the craft of teaching. Their students will receive the absolute finest instruction, whether they’re just beginning their musical journey or on the verge of professional career.” 

Rabotkina comes to ˿Ƶ from Texas State University, where she was associate professor of piano and founded the FunKey Piano Project for local children. Before that, she taught at the Kazan State Conservatory, where she also studied. She also holds degrees from the Mannes College of Music and the Eastman School of Music.  

Itin comes to ˿Ƶ from Tokyo, where he teaches at the Musashino Music Academy and maintains a busy schedule of solo and orchestral performances. He won first prize at the 1991 Casadesus Competition (now the Cleveland International Piano Competition) and gold at the 1996 Leeds International Piano Competition. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory and has taught at several institutions, including The Juilliard School.  

“Ilya and Daria are world-class pianists and pedagogues,” said Antonio Pompa-Baldi, head of ˿Ƶ’s piano department. “Them joining our faculty emphatically confirms ˿Ƶ as a piano destination in the U.S. and beyond, for developing pianists of all ages.  

“I am thrilled to welcome them to ˿Ƶ on behalf of the piano department, and I greatly look forward to having them as colleagues.”  

Pianist Yaron Kohlberg, president of Piano Cleveland, presenter of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, added his own word of congratulations to ˿Ƶ. 

“These are fantastic hires, two great musicians who will add a lot to the piano faculty at ˿Ƶ and the City of Cleveland as a whole,” he said. “We are thrilled that they are both joining ˿Ƶ.”