Cast Biographies

Per Tengstrand, piano, director & producer

Per Tengstrand has been described by The Washington Post as “technically resplendent, powerful, intuitively secure,” and by The New York Times as “a superb Swedish pianist.” After winning 1st prize in Cleveland’s International Piano Competition, he has performed in venues such as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Musikverein Vienna, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. 

He has performed as a soloist with Detroit Symphony, National Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Singapore Symphony, and Orchestre National de France. Tengstrand is the subject of the acclaimed Swedish documentary “The Soloist”, directed by Magnus Gertten and Stefan Berg (Sweden, 2003), which was featured at the International Festival of Cinema and Technology in New York. He is the recipient of the Royal Medal of Litterus and Artibus, which he received from the King of Sweden.

Hana Mundiya, violin

Hana Mundiya made her concerto debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 13 at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center as a part of the orchestra’s Young People’s Concerts. Since then, she has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in major concert halls throughout the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Concert Hall, as well as internationally in Sweden, Japan, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Switzerland. She is a recent top prizewinner in the International Brahms Competition in Austria, Leopold Mozart Competition in Germany, Kosciuszko Foundation Wieniawski Competition, and Adelphi Orchestra Young Artist Competition.

A believer in the universal ideals outlined in the United Nations Charter, Hana is a member of the UN Chamber Music Society, and performs regularly at the UN Headquarters, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center for UNHCR, UNESCO, the Red Cross, and Mount Sinai Hospital. She is on the artist roster of the VISION Collective, an ensemble that raises awareness of the global refugee crisis through music. Hana has also performed for RAINN, the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the United States, to offer solace to Asian survivors of gender-based violence and sexual assault.

Born to a Japanese mother and Indian father, Hana is a native of New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Princeton University specializing in French and Japanese Literature, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Catherine Cho and Naoko Tanaka. Her past teachers include Donald Weilerstein, Eric Wyrick, Nancy Wilson, Detlef Hahn, and Bojan Čičić. She is a graduate of Juilliard Pre-College and the United Nations International School in New York City, where she gave performances for Ban Ki-Moon, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, and various heads of state. She started playing the violin at the age of three at the School for Strings.

Julius Varallyay

In September 1956, 19-year-old Julius Varallyay was studying civil engineering at the Technical University of Budapest. A month later, he was a Freedom Fighter requisitioning motorbikes from a nearby police station to help fellow students in their attempt to overthrow the government. By November, he was carrying a submachine gun.

But when the revolution failed and the bloody reprisals began, he knew he had to either escape or risk arrest. So Mr. Varallyay and a small group of students from the university made their way toward the Austrian border by train, truck, and on foot, walking through the cold winter rain.

From Austria, Mr. Varallyay went to Germany and then the United States, arriving at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in January 1957. A cousin brought him to Boston, where he got a job washing dishes. Mr. Varallyay went on to earn an undergraduate degree in applied physics and engineering at Harvard, and he stayed involved in Hungarian student politics. While at Harvard, he was elected president of the Union of Free Hungarian Students, an émigré organization operating in 14 countries that represented the demands students put forward in the 1956 revolution.

He went on to earn a master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduation, Mr. Varallyay worked for an international consulting firm in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, then joined the World Bank in 1973. He now lives in Washington, D.C.