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Young Artists Performers

Avery Gagliano

Robin Giesbrecht

Chelsea Guo

Yishan Hong

Daria Kiseleva

Erik Lawrence

Dawen Li

Mei Li

Bo Lyu

Ignas Maknickas

Szymon Nehring

Yumi Palleschi

Or Re'em

Michael Sikich

Andrew Sohn

Alexandra Vaduva

Andrew Vargas

Zitong Wang

 

Stefan Weiler

 

Peggy Wu

Min Joo Yi

Ruixue Zhang

Yunling Zhang

Shuhui Zhou

Avery Gagliano

United States
14
School: 
National Cathedral School
Teacher: 
Marina Aleksyeva
 
Master Class Repertoire
Robert Schumann: Abegg Variations, Op.1
Frédéric Chopin: Ballade No.3 in A-flat major, Op.47
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Variations on a Theme by Corelli, Op. 42
 
Concerto Competition
Frédéric Chopin: Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21

 

Washingtonian Avery Gagliano is a 9th grader at the National Cathedral School and has recently been accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Jonathan Biss and Gary Graffman. She is a Jack Kent Cook Scholarship recipient and a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.  At age nine, she had her orchestral debut with the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra (MCYO) at Strathmore Concert Hall and performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York.  The following year, Avery was invited to perform on National Public Radio’s (NPR) From The Top, and was featured in the PBS documentary titled “Arts and the Mind.”
Among her honors are her most recent wins of Grand Prize at the 2015 MostArts Festival, Third Prize and Best Solo Work Prize at the 2015 Southeastern Piano Festival, First Prize at the International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington, DC and Grand Prix at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, Connecticut.  Avery was invited to participate and perform master classes at some of the most prestigious Festivals such as the Aspen International Music Festival, the Oxford Philomusica Piano Festival and the Piano Texas International Academy & Festival. 
As a soloist Avery has performed with the MostArts Festival Orchestra, the Midwest Young Artists (MYA) Symphony Orchestra, the Capital City Symphony, the Maryland Classical Youth Orchestra (MCYO) and the National Chamber Ensemble.  She has performed in prestigious concert venues such as the Strathmore Concert Hall, the Ravinia Pavilion and the Millennium Park in Chicago, the Greene Space at WQXR, the United Nations Headquarters with Lang Lang, the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, the Ward Recital Hall at the Catholic University, the Center for the Arts at George Mason University and the Greenbrier of West Virginia. 
Avery currently studies piano under the tutelage of Marina Alekseyeva and Boris Slutsky.  She studied violin with Jorge Orozco.  Avery has received instructions in keyboard and in strings with renowned artists such as Robert McDonald, Lang Lang, Byron Janic, Marios Popadopoulos, Menahem Pressler, Alexander Kobrin, Lambert Orkis, Horacio Gutiérrez, Joseph Kalichstein, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Benedetto Lupo, Dmitri Shteinberg, Mikhail Volchok, Larissa Dedova, Jonathan Carney and the Emerson String Quartet.
Outside of music, Avery enjoys reading, doing math, swimming, dancing ballet, singing, writing pop songs and watching movies.
 
 
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Robin Giesbrecht

Germany
22
School: Yale School of Music
Teacher: Peter Frankl
 
Master Class Repertoire
Alexander Scriabin: Sonata No.3 in F-sharp Minor, Op.23
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No.2 in A mjor, Op.2 No.2
Franz Schubert: Sonata In A minor, D. 784
 
Concerto Competition
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No.22 in E-flat major, KV 482

 

The young BulgarianGerman Robin Giesbrecht, born in Lübbecke, Germany on August 5, 1993 started playing the piano when he was six, winning his first competition, the International GrotrianSteinweg Piano Competition, just one year later. The following year he was admitted to Prof. KarlHeinz Kämmerling’s Studio at Hannover University of Music and Drama, Germany.
 
At the age of ten he started performing with numerous orchestras, such as the NDR Radio Philharmonic. He is since also very engaged playing chamber music with groups such as the SzymanowskiQuartet.
When Robin Giesbrecht turned twelve, he enrolled in the PreCollege Division of the Hannover University of Music and Drama. He won numerous competition, such as the GrotrianSteinweg Competition, the German National Youth Competition “Jugend Musiziert”, in which he achieved a score of 25 points (out of 25 points) in Regional, State and Country level in the category “Solo Piano” as well as “Chamber Music”, the
International Rotary – Piano Competition in Essen and Lindau.
 
In 2006, the ORF (Austrian national TV channel) filmed, in honor of Mozart’s 250th anniversary, a movie in which Robin plays as Mozart a concert on his original pianoforte in Salzburg. This event was broadcasted worldwide at the birth hour of Mozart. Additionally, he won a special award for outstanding achievement from the “Sommerakademie Mozarteum” in Salzburg, Austria.
 
Since 2007, he actively performs as Soloist in the Winter Festival in Ruse (Bulgaria), the International Music Festival in Lindau, the European Music Festival in Passau, the “Mittelrhein Musikmomente” in Koblenz, the “Festspiele MecklenburgVorpommern”, the “RuhrFestival”, the “SchleswigHolstein Festival” and he also performed in honor of the 45. and 50. Anniversary of the “German Foundation for Music” in the German equivalent of the White House, the Bellevue Palace, for the President of Germany.
 
In 2008, the European Association of Pharmacists and the Hamburg Philharmonic awarded Robin Giesbrecht. He also he won the “Tröse” Price, the NDR Arts Price and was honored by the City of Hamburg for superior achievements. Furthermore, the German TV channel WDR produced a film about the life of the young pianist.
Recitals have taken the Pianist through the whole world, including China, Singapore, the Phillipines, France, Spain, Austria, the United States, Bulgaria, Switzerland, and more.
He has studied extensively with Prof. KarlHeinz Kämmerling. Additional musical impressions come from studying with Alfred Brendel, Richard Goode, Menahem Pressler, Pavlina Dokovska, Robert Levin, and others.
 
In 2012 he participated at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, gave his SoloRecital Debut at the Laeiszhalle Hamburg (Hamburg Philharmonic Hall) and in 2013 he made his first appearance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as well as participated at Pianofest in the Hamptons and Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau.
 
In 2014, Robin participated in the Oxford Philomusica’s Piano Festival, wrote a
piano concerto (premiered in April 2015) and concertized in Switzerland and Austria.
Currently, Robin Giesbrecht is an graduate student at the Yale School of Music, where he pursues his Master’s degree with Peter Frankl. Previously he studied at The Juilliard School with Jerome Lowenthal and Joseph.
 
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Chelsea Guo

United States
15
School: Juilliard School Pre-College Division
Teacher: Hung-Kuan Chen
 
Master Class Repertoire
Robert Schumann: Romance in F-sharp major, Op. 28 No. 2
Frédéric Chopin: Ballade No.3 in A-flat major, Op.47
Samuel Barber: Sonata for Piano, Op.26 (Fuga: Allegro con spirito)
 
Concerto Competition
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No.22 in E-flat major, KV 482

 

 
Ziyao “Chelsea” Guo is a 15 year old piano student of Prof. Hung-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone at the Pre-college Division of the Juilliard School, and also studies classical voice in the Pre-college with Mrs. Cynthia Sanner.
Chelsea showed true passion and great promise for classical music since early childhood. Growing up, she has been collecting top prizes in many competitions of various levels, including American Fine Arts Festival, Schubert Club Piano Competitions, 24th Annual International Young Artist Piano Competition, Washington D.C., Young Pianist Competitions of New Jersey, Audrey Thayer Competition, American Protégé, and Piano Teachers’ Congress of New York Competitions, etc. 

At age 11, Chelsea made a big impression at the 2012 Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition, becoming one of the youngest semifinalists. In the same year, she was awarded “Special Commendation for Young Talents" in the 13th Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists in Germany. At age 13, Chelsea won the "Junior Eppan Prize" in Eppan Junior Academy in Italy. She is the 2015 winner of the prestigious Nordamann Scholarship at the Juilliard Pre-college.

In addition to competitions, Chelsea has actively performed on radio and various concert venues, including Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall, Harris Hall, Ishikawa Music Hall, Historique du Bon Pasteur, Paul Hall, US State Department (Washing DC), and Peter Jay Sharp Theatre etc.  In May 2016, she will be performing with her Trio in the Alice Tully Hall. At age 8, her performance was broadcasted on WQXR’s “Young Artists Showcase.” At age 13, Chelsea was featured by NPR “From the Top”, and later invited to perform for NPR’s NYC soirée. At age 14, Chelsea appeared in "Pianists from the World" concert in Brescia, Italy. She has given 8 solo recitals since age 11, including six presented by professional concert series and private music benefactors.

At age 9, Chelsea debuted as a soloist, performing Mozart’s piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major with the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra in China. She has also played Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bb Major with the New Britain Symphony-Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra, and Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor with Napolinova Chamber Orchestra (Italy) and Torun Symphony (Poland). She was also chosen to perform Charles Ives' “Central Park in the Dark” with the Juilliard Pre-college Symphony.

Chelsea has participated in many music festivals in the US, Europe, and Asia, where she studied with Andrea Bonatta, Eduardo Delgado, Eguchi Fumino, Philippe Giusiano, Arthur Greene, Eugen Indjic, Alexander Korsantia, Vadim Monstyrski, Piotr Paleczny, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Lljia Scheps, Wojciech Switala,, and Tamas Ungar etc., and taken master classes with Paul Badura-Skoda, Jonathan Biss, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Nikolai Lunganski, Baruch Meir, and Dina Yoffe.

Chelsea began her piano training at age 5 with Ms. Svitlana Fiorito in Stamford, Connecticut, and continued with Prof. Choong-mo Kang of the Juilliard School between 2013 and 2015.

Chelsea is a young artist of the Artemisia Akademie at Yale. She is a 2016-2018 Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. 
In addition to piano play, Chelsea is deeply engaged in music as a vocalist. She has won 1st prize in American Protégé 2015 Voice Competition and performed in Weill Hall. She is the singer and keyboard of her home church youth worship band.
 
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Yishan Hong

China
20
School: New England Conservatory
Teacher: Meng-Chieh Liu
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Sonata No.2 in F-sharp minor, Op.2
Maurice Ravel: La Valse
Frédéric Chopin: Two Nocturnes, Op.27
 
Concerto Competition
Sergei Prokofiev: Concerto No.3 in C major, Op.26

 

20-­year-­old pianist Yishan Hong was born in Xiamen, China. She began studying piano at
the age of seven, under the guidance of Professor Weiming Li. In 2008, she continued her studies
with Professor Wei Zhang at the Middle school affiliated with the China Conservatory of Music.
During the time she studied with Professor Wei Zhang, she received many prizes from
various piano competitions. Yishan was the recipient of the “Beijing Government Scholarship”
in 2010;; the first prize of the 2011 Middle school affiliated with the China Conservatory of
Music “ YAMAHA” piano competition;; the second prize of the “Steinway” piano competition in
Huabei zone, China;; the third prize of the 2012 “Oberlin Cooper International Piano
Competition”, China;; and the first prize recipient of the Piano Competition, held by Ameri-­China
International Music Foundation in 2013.
 
Her performance highlights include numerous solo recitals in Beijing, Guizhou, notably in
Gulangyu Concert Hall in Xiamen in 2015. At the age of sixteen, she had performance at the
Forbidden City Concert Hall and the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing. In 2011,
she was invited to perform at the "Mozarteum" in Salzburg to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of
the Chinese-­Austrian diplomatic relationship in 2011. In addition, she had been selected to attend
Beijing International Piano Festival in the past years. Yishan received master classes from
world-­renowned pianists, including Rudolf Buchbinder, Hung Kuang Chen, Russell Sherman.
Yishan Hong is currently in her second year of Bachelor of Music in piano performance with
Professor Meng-­Chieh Liu at New England Conservatory.
 
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Daria Kiseleva

Russia
27
School:
Texas Christian University
Teacher:
Tamás Ungár
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Variations on an Original Theme, Op.21 No.1
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Variations on the theme by Paganini, Op.43
Maurice Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit
 
Concerto Competition
Sergei Prokofiev: Concerto No.3 in C major, Op.26

 

Daria Kiseleva Born in 1989, Daria made her debuts as a soloist with orchestra at the age of 10, performing Mozart Concerto no.8. Winning of the prestigious IV BNDES International Piano Competition in 2014 brought her appearances with Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de Experimental de Repertório, recital series in most famous halls of Brazil, including Sala Sao Paolo, Theatre Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, and Salle Cortot in Paris, along with upcoming recital in Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall. In October 2015 she became Laureate of Marguerite Long International Piano Competition, performing her finals with Orchestra de Chambre de Paris at Theatre of Champs Élysées. Along with the concerts series in Spain, Germany and France as a winner of Rotary Club International Piano Competition in Mallorca, Daria's performances include appearances in Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Salle Gauveau in Paris, recitals at 35 Londrina Festival, Festival VII Virtuosi Gravata, Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paolo, Foundation Oscar Americano in Sao Paolo. Daria graduated from Moscow State Gnessin College in 2010 and continued her studies at Moscow P.I.Tchaikovsky Conservatory with Andrei Diev. Since 2014 she is pursuing her studies in TCU School of Music with Dr. Ungar. She attended masterclasses with such an esteemed maestros as Dmitry Bashkirov, Mikhail Voskresensky, Menahem Pressler, Steven Kovacevich, Konstantin Scherbakov, Hung-Kuan Chen, Alexander Schtarkmann. Her international piano competitions’ achievements also include 2009 National Competition «Young talents», Moscow, Laureate; 2011 M.Yudina International Competition, Sankt-Peterburg, Third premia; 2012 Shabyt International Competition, Astana, Grand Prix; 2013 International Rubinstein Chamber Competition, Moscow, Second premia; 2014 Jean Francaix International Piano Competition, Moscow, Second premia. She was an active perfomer in 53th Weimar Piano Festival (2011), Oxford Philomusica Festival (2013), PianoTexas 2014. In recognition of her professional endeavors in music, Daria was awarded with Sviatoslav Richter (2005) and Henrich Neuhauz (2010) Premias of Rostropovich Foundation. Her forthcoming concerts will be held in California (US), Vienna (Austria), Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Great Britain.
 
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Erik Lawrence

United States
24
School:
The Royal Conservatory of Music, The Glenn Gould School
Teacher:
John O'Conor
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Klavierstücke, Op.119
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata in F major, KV 332
Claude Debussy: Préludes, Book 1: Nos. 4, 5, 8, & 11
 
Concerto Competition
Johannes Brahms: Concerto No.1 in D minor, op.15

 

Pianist Erik Lawrence is an experienced young musician, recently appearing in the Piano Virtuoso Series at the Canadian Opera Company with a program of such mammoth works as J. S. Bach’s profound E Minor Partita, and the Variations on a Theme by Handel of Johannes Brahms. He performed Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto under the baton of Bohuslav Rattay at the age of 21 with the Lake Charles Symphony. In 2014, he was the orchestral pianist for the Glenn Gould School's Fall production of Dominick Argento's 1971 opera Postcard from Morocco. He is currently studying on full merit scholarship at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto with Irish pianist John O’Conor. Erik was winner of the Houston Young Artist Competition, and a finalist in the World Piano Pedagogy Competition. He appeared on Houston Public Radio’s program The Front Row in 2010 performing and discussing Brahms’s First Hungarian Dance with fellow pianist Hidemi Minagawa. He has given successful fund-raising solo recitals, and has performed house concerts in the Toronto area, consisting of solo works followed by discussion and explanation of the music. The concerts have been very popular and are attended by people of all ages, offering a chance to gain greater insight into the music through Erik’s studied explanations and championing of the arts. After studying with Dr. Robert Roux, Erik earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music cum laude from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music on scholarship. His early years also saw instruction by renowned pedagogues and artists Jean-Philippe Collard, Jonathan Biss, and John Kimura Parker. More recent masterclasses in which Erik performed have included internationallyrecognized pianists such as Vladimir Feltsman, Yoheved Kaplinsky, and Richard Goode. In 2012, Erik was selected to study in Bergen, the Netherlands at the Holland Music Sessions in which he gave concerts around North Holland playing Brahms’s Piano Pieces Op. 118 and the Piano Sonata of Samuel Barber.
 
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Dawen Li

China
26
School:
Texas Christian University
Teacher:
Tamás Ungár
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Sonata No.1 in C major, Op.1
Franz Liszt: Ballade No.2 in B minor
Franz Schubert: Sonata in A major, D. 664
 
Dawen Li made his debut recital at age of 12. In the following years he gave many recitals and performances around main cities in China such as Beijing, Harbin, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Xuzhou, Yuncheng, Fuxin and many other countries such as Austria, Germany, Spain, Canada and Brazil. He presented a continuous series of eight recitals in China Conservatory during the period of 4 years as an undergraduate student. Within past five years, He gave three piano recitals in YAMAHA Music Communication Center in Beijing and five recitals at Texas Chritian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He also gave several performances in Forbidden City Hall. In 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, He was selected to the Beijing International Piano Festival five times as a young artist and had master classes with Yoheved Kaplinsky, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Tamas Ungar, Sergei Babayan, John Perry, Vladimir Tropp、Malcolm Bilson, Lilya Zilberstein、Antti Siirala、Paul Badura-Skoda, Peter Frankl. He gave performances in 2014 PianoTexas International Academy & Festival as a young artist and had master classes with Jose Feghali, Alexander Shtarkman and John Perry. He received scholarship to attend The 2015 Banff Piano Master Class in Canada and studied with Robert McDonald and Nalita Ture. In addition, He also had master classes with Jun Yang, Yuan Sheng, Weng Lei, Klause Baesler, Christopher Harding, Douglas Humpherys, Richard Mcmahon, Gerda Struhal, Michael Tsalka, Peter Waas, Frank Reich, Craig Sheppard, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń、Idil Biret、 Joseph Banowetz, Jerome Lowenthal, Pavlina Dokovska, HaeSun Paik, Thomas Schumacher. His was winner of 2014 PianoTexas International Academy & Festival concerto competition and Texas Christian University concerto competition. His concerto performances include playing Prokofiev Concerto No.3 with Texas Christian University Orchestra conducted by Dr. GERMÁN A. GUTIÉRREZ, Mozart concerto in G major K. 453 with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mr. Geoffrey Simon, Brahms piano concerto No.1, Op.15 in d minor with New York Concerti Sinfonietta led by Mr. Paul Hostetter, Debussy Dansesacrée et Danse profane for Piano and Strings (transcribed from harp and strings) with China youth Philharmonic String Orchestra led by Mr. Jin Ye. He was studying with Prof. Changxin Guan at China conservatory and his performance was released in the University 50th anniversary memorial CD as an outstanding student. Now he is proceeding to Artist Diploma in the studio of Dr. Tamás Ungár at Texas Christian University.

 

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Mei Li

China
18
School: Texas Christian University
Teacher: Tamás Ungár
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op.35, Book 2
Robert Schumann: Sonata No.2 in G minor, Op.22
Franz Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 20, D.959 in A Major (1st movement)
 
Concerto Competition
Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15

 

Li Mei was born in Henan, China, and began her piano studies at the age of five. At thirteen, she attended
Middle School Attached to China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and studied with Xiaoxue Hu.During the years
in Beijing, she had performed in many concerts and given her solo recitals in many cities as well as national
and international festivals. She had won prizes in some competitions, such as Third Prize in the 74th Steinway &
Sons International Competition 5th China Regional Competition in 2011; Second Prize in China Conservatory Piano Competition of YAMAHA Asian Music Scholarship in 2013; Second Prize in The Chinese Golden Bell Award for Music National Piano Competition for Young Artists in 2013; First Prize in The National Youth Piano Arts Festival And Competition Of The Second ‘Zhong Yin Cup’ in 2014. In 2015, Mei was admitted at TCU School of Music as a winner of the prestigious Nordan Music Scholarship, and currently studies with Dr. Tamas Ungar.
 
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Bo Lyu

China
21
School: Royal Academy of Music
Teacher: Joanna MacGregor
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Händel, Op.24
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.36
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No.26 in E-flat major, Op.81a "Les Adieux"
 
Concerto Competition
Camille Saint-Saëns: Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.22

 

Born in 1995, Bo Lyu began playing piano at the age of seven and now studies piano with Joanna MacGregor and chamber music with Michael Dussek. He was awarded a full scholarship in his BMus programme at the Royal Academy of Music in September 2014 and most recently Bo received the Hilda Day Award from the Academy. Bo graduated from the middle school affiliated to Shenyang Conservatory of Music under the leadership of Danwen Wei, the last pianist who studied with Horowitz. While studying in China, he was invited to perform in the closing ceremony of “Beijing International Music Festival”, “The 60th anniversary concert” for Shenyang Conservatory of Music and “Franz Liszt 200th Memorial Concert” in Shanghai. He has participated in masterclasses with many great pianists, including Paul Badura Skoda, Anton Kuerti, Jerome Lowenthal, Pascal Devoyon and Huang-kuan Chen. He was given a Yamaha Scholarship and Liaoning Provincial Government Scholarship while he was at high school in China. Recently, Bo has been invited to perform solo recitals in London Charlton house, Bristol Music Club, Bedford St.Paul’s Church, the Schumann Piano Concerto concert with Bristol Chamber Orchestra in Bristol Trinity Henleaze United Reformed Church and the SaintSaens 2nd Piano Concerto concert with St John’s Chamber Orchestra in Maidenhead Norden Farm Arts Centre.
 
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Ignas Maknickas

Lithuania
17
School: National M.K.Ciurlionis School of Arts
Teacher: Albina Siksniute
 
Master Class Repertoire
Robert Schumann: Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op.22
Franz Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No.1
Frédéric Chopin: Barcarolle in F-sharp major, Op.60
 
Concerto Competition
Sergei Rachmaninov: Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18

 

Ignas Maknickas was born on October 29, 1998 in California, USA. He studies at the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania. Ignas’ teacher - pianist Albina Šikšniūtė, earlier – Prof. Veronika Vitaitė and Mrs. Violeta Lipniagovienė.
 
Master classes
Ignas has periodic master-classes with Prof. Mūza Rubackytė both in Lithuania and in France. In 2014 he had master-classes with Prof. D. Bashkirov at the Mozarteum, Salzburg. He’s also had master classes with Prof. J. Lowenthal, Prof. N. Seriogina, pianists A. Grynyuk, A. Žlabys and P. Nessersian. In 2015 he had master classes with Prof. Mūza Rubackytė, Chu-Fang Huang, Sara Tal and Matthew Quick at Perugia Music Fest, Italy.
 
Achievements in competitions
Ignas became the laureate of the IV National J.S. Bach Competition for Young Pianists in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2007. In 2009 he won the Grand Prix of the IX International Competition-Festival Music Without Limits in Druskininkai, Lithuania. Ignas became the laureate at the XVI National B. Dvarionas' young pianists’ competition and the winner of the best performance of B. Dvarionas' work in 2010. The same year he became the laureate (2nd place) at the IV International Competition Gradus ad Parnassum.
In 2011 Ignas became the laureate (1st place) at the prestigious XIX International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Children and Youth, in Szafarnia, Poland. Young pianists from Poland and Japan took the second and the third places of this competition. American pianist K. Kenner, one of the jury members, was impressed by Ignas’ musicality and his “Chopin-like elegance”. In 2012 Ignas became the laureate of the VI National J.S. Bach Competition for Young Pianists in Vilnius. In 2014 he became the laureate (1st place) at the international piano competition Young Virtuosos in Zagreb, Croatia. The same year Ignas became the laureate (3rd place) and the recipient of Audience Prize at International Piano Competition for Young Musicians in Enschede, Netherlands, with 42 participants (up to 19 years old) from 27 nations competing.
 
Concerts
Ignas has successfully performed in Lithuania, Germany, Denmark, France, Croatia, Netherlands, Russia. In 2008 he – a 9 years’ old – performed with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro M. Piečaitis, at Vilnius Congress Hall, and in 2009 - with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, at Klaipėda Concert Hall. In 2009 and in 2011 Prof. Mūza Rubackytė invited Ignas to perform at the 1st and the 2nd Vilnius Piano Festivals, held at the Main Hall of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic.  After the festival, the music magazine Muzikos Barai published a review by Ms. Daiva Tamošaitytė and Mr. Tomas Bakučionis, the two leading Lithuanian classical music critics, in which they called Ignas “the Lithuanian piano art personality of a great promise,” and saw not only his “innate musicality, elegant pianism, beautiful sound, properly targeted and tasteful use of piano technical possibilities” but also his “natural sense of the scene” and “sense of proportion.”
On March the 11th, 2010, Ignas, together with Prof. Mūza Rubackytė, performed at the historic Paris palace Cercle de l'Union interalliée, in a concert to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the Lithuanian independence. The same year Ignas performed at the VIII Bistrampolis Festival with St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Maestro D. Katkus, and in a concert in Denmark.  In 2011 he performed with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Maestro M. Pitrėnas, at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall.
 
In July 2013 Ignas played F. Chopin’s 2nd concert during the opening of the International M. K. Čiurlionis' Piano Festival in Palanga, Lithuania, with the Symphony Orchestra of National M.K. Čiurlionis' School of Arts, conducted by Maestro M. Staškus. The festival organizers have presented the young soloist to the audience as “a rising piano star.”
 
In 2010, 2012, 2013 and in 2014 Ignas performed in Germany – in Frankfurt (invited by pianist Guoda Gedvilaitė), in Huttenfeld - at the Rennhof Castle, in Neustadt, and in Duisburg. In July of 2012, 2013 and 2014 he participated at the Piano Pic festival in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, France – where he performed in concerts and had a series of master classes with Prof. Mūza Rubackytė. Ignas was chosen as one of the very best young participants, and had the honor to perform at the main concerts of the festival.  
 
In July 2013 the M. Rostropovich Foundation had invited Ignas, along with several other young talents, to represent Lithuania in concerts at the Louvre Auditorium in Paris and at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival – to represent the cultural achievements of Lithuania and to mark the opening of the nation’s presidency of the European Council. This was an historic event not only for Ignas personally, but also for Lithuania, as never before had Lithuanian musicians performed at the Louvre Auditorium.
In 2013 Ignas performed in an event of the Nights of Culture project, at the Chodkevičiai Palace in Vilnius. The same year he participated in the summer session of the National Student Academy, where he had a series of master-classes with pianist A. Žlabys, a prominent Lithuanian pianist from New York, and performed with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Maestro M. Staškus. In Autumn 2013 Ignas was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to perform at the Breakfast of Prayer, a VIP diplomatic event held at the Palace of the Great Dukes of Lithuania.
 
In August 2014, Ignas, with his brother Justas, performed at the two brothers’ piano recital In Pursuit of My Dream, within the framework of the 20th St. Christopher Summer Festival in Vilnius. In 2014 and 2015 Ignas, together with his brother Justas and his sister Greta and some of the most prominent Lithuanian musicians, performed at Caritas charity concert, at St. Catherine Church in Vilnius, with a live broadcast on the National TV. In 2014 and in 2015 Ignas performed in concerts at the Main Hall of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic – the concert in 2015 was together with the Čiurlionis Quartet and soprano Prof. Asta Krikčiūnaitė.
In April 2015 Ignas performed Mozart’s piano concert No. 12 with St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, in a charity concert to commemorate Maestro M. Rostropovich. In August 2015 Ignas took part in the Perugia Music Fest in Italy, where he was among the winners in a contest for the opportunity to play with a symphonic orchestra; He performed with the University of Alicante Symphony Orchestra at the Sala di Notari Hall in Perugia.
In October 2015 Ignas had the honor to perform for the Swedish Royal Family’s delegation on its official visit to Lithuania. In December 2015 he performed S. Rachmaninov’s piano concert No. 2 in a concert organized by the M. Rostropovich Foundation at the Kaunas Philharmonic Hall, with the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro M. Staškus. In December of the same year, Ignas performed in a concert at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. In April 2016 Ignas performed 1st movement of J.S. Bach piano concerto in D minor with St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, in a charity concert to commemorate Maestro M. Rostropovich, with a live broadcast on the National TV.
Every year Ignas participates - both as a soloist and an accompanist - in a traditional 5 Maknickas’ Spring Concert – together with his three younger brothers (violin, cello and piano) and his sister (violin). The most recent concert of the 5 young musicians from one family was held at the Chodkevičiai Palace in Vilnius in 2015.
 
Awards and Support
On March the 11th, 2016 on the day of the Restoration of Lithuania's Independence, the mayor of Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, Mr. Remigijus Šimasius, awarded Ignas Maknickas with the prestigious Little St. Christopher's Award - for his musical achievements and for his contribution in making the city of Vilnius great.
For his musical achievements Ignas received Presidential Letters of Appreciation in 2012 and in 2015, signed by the President of Lithuania H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė.
Mr. G. Kuprevičius’ foundation the Good Seal supports Ignas, as one of the most talented young pianists, since 2013. Vilnius St. Christopher’s Rotary Club supports him since 2014. Ignas Maknickas is supported by the M. Rostropovich Foundation since 2009.

 

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Szymon Nehring

Poland
20
School: Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz
Teacher: Stefan Wojtas
 
Master Class Repertoire
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No.16 in G major, Op.31 No.1
Frédéric Chopin: Etudes Op.25 Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, & 12
Sergai Rachmaninov: Etudes - tableaux, Op.39 Nos. 3, 5, 7, 8, & 9
 
Concerto Competition
Frédéric Chopin: Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11

 

Szymon Nehring is one of the most gifted and promising pianists of the younger generation in Poland. Thanks to his remarkable performances at the 17th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, he was the only Pole to have reached the finals, which led to many invitations for concerts from Poland and abroad. Currently a student of Professor Stefan Wojtas at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, he studied piano in the class of Olga Łazarska at the Mieczysław Karłowicz Primary Music School in Kraków and at the Fryderyk Chopin Secondary Music School in Kraków for 11 years. Nehring regularly participates in competitions and festivals. His recent achievements include First Prize and six Special Prizes at the Halina Czerny-Stefańska in Memoriam International Piano Competition in Poznań (2014) and First Prize at the Arthur Rubinstein in Memoriam Competition in Bydgoszcz (2014). In October 2015 he performed in the finals of the 17th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition to win an Honourable Mention, the Audience Prize as well as a number of extra prizes, including awards for outstanding artistic creation and for his contribution to Polish music. His debut CD with music by Polish composers was released in November 2015. In December 2015 he made a concert tour with the Santander Orchestra, playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E Minor in Poland’s best concert halls in Lusławice, Wrocław, Katowice, Warsaw and Szczecin. The artist gave concerts in countries such as Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, Norway, Italy, and Canada. His upcoming concert plans include performances in the United States and South America, further concerts with the Santander Orchestra (including at the 20th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival), concerts in Paris, Strasbourg, and in many cities all over Poland. Szymon Nehring is a recipient of scholarships from the Pro Musica Bona Foundation (since 2010) and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2010). In 2015 he received a Krystian Zimerman scholarship. Szymon Nehring is represented by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association.

 

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Yumi Palleschi

Italy
25
School: Southern Methodist University
Teacher: Joaquín Achúcarro
 
Master Class Repertoire
Robert Schumann: Kreisleriana, Op.16
Johannes Brahms: Intermezzi, Op.118
Maurice Ravel: Sonatine
 
Concerto Competition
Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15

 

Born in Italy in a musical family, pianist Yumi Palleschi began her musical studies at the age of 4. She studied privately with Angelo Pepicelli, Maria Teresa Carunchio and Massimiliano Ferrati until she graduated from the Istituto Musicale Pareggiato “G.Briccialdi” of Terni with the highest honours in 2009. In 2013 she pursued her Bachelor of Music degree at the “F. Chopin” University of Music in Warsaw, Poland, under the guide of Piotr Paleczny, and she’s just recently completed her Master of Music at the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, Dallas, USA, as a student of Joaquin Achucarro. Since her solo debut at the age of 8, Palleschi has performed numerously in Italy, Poland, Netherlands, USA and Guatemala, both as a soloist and in chamber music formations for associations and festivals such as the “Amici della Musica di Perugia” Association, the Festival Pianistico of Spoleto, the “W. A. Mozart” Association of Rome, the Festival “Strefa Ciszy” of Warsaw, the “Karol Szymanowski” Festiwal of Zakopany, the “Lyceum” Association of Catania, “Bravissimo” Festival of Guatemala City etc. She gave her orchestra debut at the age of 13 and since then she has performed with the Orchestra of the I.C.O. “T. Schipa” Foundation of Lecce, the Orchestra Sperimentale of Spoleto, the Orquesta Festival of Guatemala City and the Meadows Symphony Orchestra of Dallas. Palleschi has won top prizes in many national and international competitions, most recently the top prize at the 2014/2015 Meadows Piano Concerto Competition and the 2nd prize at the Mid-Texas Symphony Young Artist Competition 2015, and has received many awards and scholarships, among which the Harold von Mickwitz Prize in Piano from Meadows School of the Art at SMU, the Honors Diploma from the Accademia Chigiana of Siena, the “Leandro Roscini” prize from the “Amici della Musica di Perugia” Association, scholarships to participate to the Summer Academy at the “Mozarteum” University of Salzburg, to the “International Keyboard Institute and Festival” at the Mannes School of Music of New York, and the 66th International Chopin Piano Festival in Duszniki Zdròj. She has participated to masterclasses with maestros such as Dan Thai Son, Dina Yoffe, Jerome Rose, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Andrea Bonatta, Mikhail Voskresensky, Oxana Jablonskaya, Paul Gulda, Alessio Bax, Alexander Kobrin.
 
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Or Re'em

Israel
27
School: Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, Tel Aviv University
Teacher: Arie Vardi
 
Master Class Repertoire
Sergei Prokofiev: Sonata No.8 in B-flat major, Op.84
Ludwig Van Beethoven: Sonata No.27 in E minor, Op.90
Frédéric Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op.59
 
Concerto Competition
Frédéric Chopin: Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11

 

Critically acclaimed and winner of international awards in Israel, France, and Italy, Or Re’em is a pianist of diverse musical activities, performing repertoire ranging from William Byrd and Girolamo Frescobaldi to György Sándor Ligeti and Elliott Carter. Re'em has been invited to give solo recitals in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belgrade, Berlin, Bologna, Bonn, Jerusalem, Milan, Miami, New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Washington, in venues such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, KonzertHaus in Berlin, and Palau de la Musica, Barcelona. He has also performed concerti by Mozart, Chopin, Brahms and Rachmaninov with Israel’s leading orchestras. Many of his performances were featured live on the national Israeli radio station 'Voice of Music' as well as on television and radio stations in Germany, Serbia, Spain and China.
Re’em has won the 1st prize at the Turgeman National Piano Competition, 2004; the 3rd Prize at the Ashdod National Piano Competition, 2005; an honorary prize for the performance of a piece by Rachmaninov at the IBLA Grand Prize Music Festival in Sicily, 2006; the 1st prize at the international concerto competition at the Sde Boker Piano Masterclasses, 2008; the 2nd and 3rd prizes the Arianne Katz piano competition in 2009 and 2016; 4rth prize at the “Automobile Club de France” International Piano Competition in 2011, and the 1st prize the Ashdod National Piano Competition, senior category, 2014, which includes solo performances with Israel’s leading orchestras, such as Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel Symphony Rishon LeZion, Israel Symphony Ashdod, Israel Radio Symphony Jerusalem, as well as many radio and television performances.  
Re’em’s repertoire includes encyclopedic cycles such as Chopin’s Études and Preludes as well as Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, which he has performed in Israel and the USA. A dedicated chamber musician, Re’em is regularly involved in collaborations with other musicians, and has participated in numerous festivals, including the 'Musica Mundi' Chamber Music Festival in Brussels, Belgium, and the 'Voice of Music' Festival in the Upper Galilee, Israel. He has also been invited to perform at the inauguration concert of the Beethoven Festival in Rolandseck-Remagen, Germany. In Addition, Mr. Re’em is passionate about writing arrangements, and collaborating with artists of other disciplines, in order to create innovative concert programs which shed new light on pieces of the traditional repertoire as well as explore rarely performed works and composers.
Re’em is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, where he studied with Professor Matti Raekallio. He has participated in master classes with Dmitry Bashkirov, Murray Perahia, and Richard Goode, and was awarded merit-based scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Re’em currently studies at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv with Professor Arie Vardi.
 
 
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Michael Sikich

United States
22
School: Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Teacher: Edward Auer
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Sonata No.3 in F minor, Op.5
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata in A minor, KV 310
Frédéric Chopin: Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.35

 

Michael Sikich, age 22, was praised by the Herald Times as a "genuine talent" after  performing Gershwin's Concerto in F with the IU Concert Orchestra under the baton of  Arthur Fagen. He gave his debut solo recital in 2015 as part of the Belz­Parker Young  Artists Ascending Concert Series in Memphis, TN, a series that aims to help launch the  careers of young performers and has featured such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Jonathan  Biss, and Misha Dichter. He was a finalist in the YMF Debut Concerto Competition in  Los Angeles and has been the recipient of awards through the Santa Barbara Foundation,  the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation Competition, and the Santa Barbara Music  Club, which presented him with the Sergej Rakhmaninov Award for Outstanding Piano  Virtuosity. As a four­time winner of the Young Soloist Showcase Concerto Competition,  he has performed concertos under Gary Sheldon (Miami City Ballet) and Avlana  Eisenberg (Boston Chamber Symphony). He performed Chopin’s E minor Concerto with  the IU Summer Festival Orchestra under Arthur Fagen and gave an all­Chopin recital as  part of the Edward Auer Summer Piano Workshop. Michael, a native of Santa Barbara, CA, is earning a bachelor of music degree at the IU  Jacobs School of Music as a recipient of the Premier Young Artist Award under the  instruction of Edward Auer. He has attended the CCM Prague International Piano  Institute, the Banff Piano Masterclass, and the Aspen Music Festival and School, and has  worked with notable teachers including Yoheved Kaplinsky, Jerome Lowenthal, John  Perry, Tamas Ungar, Peter Bithell, and Ronan O’Hora.  In addition to solo piano, Michael is studying the art of opera accompanying privately  with Walter Huff, chorus master of the Atlanta Opera, and is earning a Certificate in Arts  Administration, completing courses in marketing, accounting, and management.  Venturing outside the realm of classical music, Michael was the bandleader/pianist for  the jazz combo Cut Time, which performed throughout Southern California. He studied  advanced jazz theory and composition with trumpeter Dr. Chuck Wood, and premiered  and professionally recorded his original composition, Standing Up, for 8­piece jazz  combo.  Most recently, he has collaborated with the IU Media School and the IU Jacobs  School Ballet Program to create music video piano covers of recent pop songs in a  project designed to bridge the gap between classical and pop music.  
 
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Andrew Sohn

Australia
24
School: Eastman School of Music
Teacher: Natalya Antonova
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Three Intermezzi, Op. 117
Sergei Prokofiev: Sonata No.6 in A major, Op.82
Franz Schubert: Sonata in C minor, D. 958
 
Concerto Competition
Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto no.4 in G major, op.58

 

Andrew Sohn was born in Perth, Western Australia, and began his professional piano studies in 2004, when his family immigrated to Florida, USA. Here, Andrew met his first piano teacher, Dr. Soomee Yoon, and after 5 short years under her tutelage, was admitted to the Manhattan School of Music. Shortly after arriving in New York, he decided to transfer to the studio of Dr. Marina Lomazov at the University of South Carolina. In December 2013, Andrew graduated from USC with a BM in Piano Performance. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Literature under Natalya Antonova at the Eastman School of Music. Recently, Andrew has won the Atlantic Music Festival Concerto Competition and was invited to perform Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in the AMF Final Orchestra Concert. He has also performed in several solo concerts and chamber music concerts in various venues all over the country and world. He has given performances in New York, Maine, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Indiana in the US, Banff, Canada and Perugia, Italy. Particularly in South Carolina, Andrew was invited to perform as a guest artist in a few concert series and events. These included the Rice Music House Spring Concert Series and the Lowman Heritage Sunday Concert Series. In the Spring of 2014, Andrew was featured as a guest performer for the annual TedxColumbia Ted Talk series in Columbia, SC. Andrew also performed frequently as part of the ARSnova piano trio, which received 2nd at the MTNA Regional Chamber Music Competition in 2013. Andrew has participated in many music festivals around the world, including PianoTexas (Fort Worth, Texas), Chautauqua Music Festival (New York), Perugia Music Festival (Italy), Banff: Piano Master class (Canada), Southeastern Piano Festival, among others. He has performed in numerous master classes for world-renowned artists and pedagogues such as Olga Kern, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Jeremy Denk, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Tamas Ungar, Natalya Antonova, Nelita True, Rebecca Penneys, Mykola Suk, Edwardo Delgado, Misha Dichter, and others.
 
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Alexandra Vaduva

Romania
25
School: Royal Academy of Music
Teacher: Diana Ketler
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Sonata No.3 in F minor, Op.5
Robert Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op.15
Johannes Brahms: Three Intermezzi, Op.117
 
Concerto Competition
Edvard Grieg: Concerto in A minor, op.16

 

Romanian-born pianist, Alexandra Vaduva started playing the piano at the age of 4 with the teacher Doina Olteteanu. Since then she has won numerous national and international piano competitions, such as the first prize at the “Vienna International Piano Competition”, second prize at “Orpheus Young Musician of the Year” contest, third prize at the “Beethoven Piano Competition”, second prize at the “Sterndale Bennett Piano Competition”, first prizes at the “Pro Piano” and “Carl Filtsch” International Piano Competitions and many more. Her competitional activity is harmoniously blended with a busy concert schedule. Alexandra has performed with the Royal Academy of Music Sypmhony Orchestra the piano concerti by Stravinsky and Grieg during the period of 2011-2013. She has performed in masterclasses given by famous pianists and teachers such as Imogen Cooper, Maxim Vengerov, Stephen Kovacevich, Stephen Hough, Pascal Devoyon, John O’Conor, Evgheny Sudbin, Joanna MacGregor, Galina Eguiazarova, Avedis Kouyoumdjian, Claudio Martinez-Mehner, Petras Geniusas, Jerome Rose. Alexandra’s performances have taken her to the wonderful venues such as the Lobkowitz Palace (Vienna), Minato-Mirai Hall (Yokohama), Wigmore Hall, Duke’s Hall, Yamaha Centre, The Castle – Wellingborough, St. James’ Church, Steinway Hall, Colston Hall, Regent’s Hall, Charlton House, The Romanian Cultural Institute, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, King’s Place, Music University and Gasteig Philharmonic in Munich. A devoted chamber musician, Alexandra’s duo with viola player Ugne Tiskute is increasingly in demand due to the support of the Countess of Munster Trust which enables them to perform frequently in the UK during the 2015/2016 season. Alexandra is grateful to the Drake Calleja Trust, Countess of Munster Trust, Martin Musical Fund, Help Musicians UK Fund, David Bowerman and Barry Sterndale – Bennett for their support. She is currently holding a double Fellowship at the Academy: the Hodgson Fellowship for solo pianists and the Royal Academy of Music chamber music Fellowship with her clarinet/violin/piano group, Ensemble Mirage, while studying on the Advanced Diploma Course.
 
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Andrew Vargas

United States
15
School: Home School
Teacher: Greg Fisher
 
Master Class Repertoire
Robert Schumann: Kreislerianna, Opus 16--Sehr langsam No. 6 in B flat major, Sehr Rasch No. 7 in C minor/E flat major, Schnell und spielend No. 8 in G minor
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111
Johann Sebastian Bach/Franz Liszt: Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543
 
Concerto Competition
Franz Liszt: Concerto No.1 in E-flat major

 

Andrew Vargas engages audiences with his virtuosic and confident command of the piano. At festivals and competitions, he is often praised for his "mature musical artistry, wonderful sense of harmonic color, impressive technique, and giving his audiences an exciting and energetic performance." He has achieved First Place in numerous competitions in Oklahoma and Colorado, including the Young Artist Piano Festival and Competition, Oklahoma Music Olympics sponsored by the Oklahoma Philharmonic, OMTA District and State Competition, Festival for Creative Pianists (Classical, Romantic, Contemporary Divisions and  Artistry Award)  and was a semi-finalist in The Kuleshov International Piano Festival and Competition. In May 2016, Vargas placed first in The Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition and was honored to perform in Carnegie Hall.
 
Vargas has had the privilege to perform in Petree Recital Hall--Oklahoma City University, Moss Performing Arts Center--Colorado Mesa University, Radke Hall--The University of Central Oklahoma, and Seretean Center For The Performing Arts--Oklahoma State University.  In the past year he has had master classes with Stephen Beus, Sergio Monteiro, and Lori Sims. The Oklahoman newspaper has featured his piano accomplishments twice and several articles have also appeared in Mustang Times and Mustang News.
 
Utilizing his God-given creativity to compose fresh and adventurous piano music, his work has been recognized and applauded.  In 2016, Phantasms was the National First Place Composition winner for the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) and Phantasms was also a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition.  According to judges, Phantasms is   a "Tour de Force" and  "demonstrates a great deal of compositional skill, is harmonically courageous, superbly crafted, and is truly a valuable contribution to piano literature."
 
Originally from Florida, Andrew currently resides in the Oklahoma City area.  Andrew serves his community by sharing his love for classical music and experiences great joy as he bestows his gift in senior centers, museums, student groups, churches and as a guest performer for non-profit organizations including The Gaylord-Pickens Heritage Museum, Make a Wish Foundation, and Integris Hospital.  When not pursuing his passion at the piano, Vargas reads biographies, skis backcountry trails, and enjoys learning about vintage cars.   
 
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Zitong Wang

China
17
School: Curtis Institute of Music
Teacher: Meng-Chieh Liu & Eleanor Sokoloff
 
Master Class Repertoire
Robert Schumann: Davidsbündlertänze, op.6 (seleections)
Sergei Rachmaninov: Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.36
Frédéric Chopin: Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.35
 
 
Born in Inner Mongolia of China, Zitong Wang was first introduced to piano at an early age, and made her solo recital debut at age 13 in Beijing’s Zhongshan Music Hall. She moved to Philadelphia from China three years ago to study with Meng­Chieh Liu and Eleanor Sokoloff at The Curtis Institute of Music. She has also taken frequent lessons with Beatrice Long, and master classes with Seymour Lipkin, Gary Graffman, and Ignat Solzhenitsyn. First­prize winner of the Tureck International Bach and Virginia Waring International Concerto Competitions, she most recently won second prize at the 2014 Thomas & Evon Cooper International Competition. She has appeared with the Cleveland, Hangzhou Philharmonic, Yakima Symphony, and Waring Festival Orchestras, among others. Also interested in early music, she studies harpsichord as a secondary major at Curtis with Leon Schelhase, and has participated in master class with Trevor Pinnock on antique harpsichords from the Flint Collection.
 
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Stefan Weiler

Germany
24
School: Texas Christian University
Teacher: Tamás Ungár
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Three Intermezzi, Op.117
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111
Frédéric Chopin: Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.35
 
Concerto Competition
Sergei Rachmaninov: Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18

 

Stefan Weiler was born in 1992 in Karlsruhe, Germany. He was introduced to classical music from a very young age by his parents, receiving his first piano lessons from his mother, Okyoung You, a Korean concert pianist, when he was seven years old. Since 2002, he won several first prizes of the German music competition “Jugend Musiziert” for children and adolescents. In 2008, he also started participating and winning prizes at international piano competitions like the “Concurso Internazionale di Barletta”, the “Concurso Pianistico Internazionale "Mozart" di Frascatti”, the “Concurso Internazionale di Padua” in Italy and the “Concurs International Merignac” in Bordeaux, France. In 2011, he won the 1st prize in his age category at the “Anemos” International Competition in Rome, Italy. In 2015, he performed W. A. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.26 in D major, KV.537 with the Pärnu Linnaorkester in Estonia. Besides constant concert appearances he was a student of Irina Edelstein, Wolfgang Bloser and Felix Gottlieb, who was a student of Emil Gilels. Additionally, he took lessons and masterclasses with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Konstantin Scherbakov, Dmitri Alexeev, Arbo Valdma and Ferenc Rados. Mr. Weiler is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree in the US at the Texas Christian University in Fort Worth under the guidance of Dr. Tamás Ungár.
 
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Peggy Wu

Hong Kong
20
School: Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
Teacher: Eleanor Wong
 
Master Class Repertoire
Robert Schumann: Fantasiestücke, Op.12
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No.17 in D Minor "Tempest", Op.31 No.2
Frédéric Chopin: Nocturnes, Op.15 (Nos.1 - 3)
 
Concerto Competition
Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op.37

 

Peggy Wu is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, majoring in piano under the tutelage of Professor Eleanor Wong. Peggy has won First Prizes at the Llangollen International Eistedfodd Instrumental Solo Competition, the Steinway & Sons Youth Piano Competition, the 4th Asian Youth Piano Competition and the Hong Kong (Asia Pacific) Piano Competition. She has also attained top prizes at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, including the Gold Medal Award, the Tom Lee Scholarships Award and the Miss Katherine Huang Trophy. Peggy was invited to perform in the “One World, One Stage” concert at the Llangollen Eistedfodd Pavilion and the performance was broadcasted by National Welsh Television. Other concert engagements have taken her to Vienna and Osaka, where she collaborated with the Filharmonia Śląska im Henryka Mikołaya Góreckiego under the baton of Mirosław Blaszczyk. Furthermore, she has played in master classes of many renowned artists, including Boris Berman, Aquilles Delle Vigne, Douglas Humphries, Christopher Elton and Victor Rosenbaum. Prior to her undergraduate degree, Peggy was a top scorer in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, attaining full marks in the May 2013 exams which puts her in the top 0.25 percentile globally. She was offered places by several top law schools, which she rejected in order to pursue a musical career. Her story garnered extensive local media coverage, including feature articles by SingTao Daily, South China Morning Post and Young Post SCMP. She was further featured on the Pearl Report by TVB. In recognition of her outstanding academic and musical achievements, she was awarded the Jockey Club Scholarship in 2015.
 
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Min Joo Yi

South Korea
22
School: Princeton University
Teacher: Francine Kay
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op.35, Book I
Frédéric Chopin: Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op. 58 (I. Allegro maestoso)
Joseph Haydn: Sonata in E-flat major, Hob. XVI/52
 
Concerto Competition
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky: Concerto No.1 in B-flat minor, Op.23

 

From Bellevue, Washington, 21-year-old Min Joo Yi is a senior in Princeton University’s Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department. She is also pursuing a certificate in musical performance as a student of Francine Kay.
She began playing the piano at age six, and since then has been the recipient of the 2013 CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship, 2012 Merit Award from the National YoungArts Foundation, 2010 Evelyn Lindblad Folland Endowment Fund Award, 2010 Donna and Edwin Kornfeld Piano Scholarship, and the 2009 Ida Zelikovsky Green Award. She also received scholarships to attend the 2010 Aspen Music Festival & School and the 2007-2009 International Institute for Young Musicians. She has been featured on the Seattle Channel Art Zone, TV Tacoma, Kansas Public Radio, and Oberlin’s WCLV 104.9 FM. She was also invited to perform in the 2013 Cooper International Festival’s Artist Recital Series, the 2010 Music for Medicine benefit concert for the Polyclinic Community Health Foundation and Seattle Young Artists Music Festival, and the 2008-2010 Washington State Music Teachers’ Association Conferences.
In competitions Min Joo has also been recognized with second place in the 2013 Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, bronze medal in the 2011 Schimmel USASU International Piano Competition, semifinalist in the 2011 New Orleans International Piano Competition, finalist in the 2010 New York International Piano Competition, first place in the 2010 Russian Chamber Music Foundation of Seattle Concerto Competition, second place in the national finals of both the 2008 and 2010 MTNA Piano Division Competitions, first place in the 2007-2009 Eastside Scholarship Piano Competitions, first place in the 2006-2009 Northwest Chopin Festivals, first place in the 2006-2009 Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside Competitions, second place in the 2005-2006 Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and first place in the 2005 New World Youth Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.
On campus she is involved in the Princeton Pianists Ensemble, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement’s Princeton Music Outreach program, and the Princeton University Orchestra.
 
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Ruixue Zhang

China
21
School: Texas Christian University
Teacher: Tamás Ungár
 
Master Class Repertoire
Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op.35
Robert Schumann: Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op.26
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No.11 in B-flat major, Op.22
 
Concerto Competition
Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto No.3 in C Minor, Op.37

 

Ruixue Zhang is a piano performance major student at Texas Christian University, and is studying with Dr. Tamás Ungár. She began her piano studies with a private teacher at the age of four, however, she was admitted into the Primary School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music studying under the guidance of Ms. Manchun Chen. Recognizing her talent, she was admitted into the prestigious Middle School of the Central Conservatory of Music without an audition. In 2010 she gave her first public recital at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music representing her school.
 
In 2010, Ruixue received a scholarship from Yamaha Music Asia, and was awarded the third place at the 3rd Kawai Asia Piano Competition in Hong Kong. In March 2011, she received the fourth place at the Hilton Head International Young Artists Piano Competition in the U.S. She won the first prize of Zhou Guangren Young Pianist Award in 2012. At the same year, she received the third prize of the first Yamaha China Piano Competition Conservatoire and was awarded the best performance of Debussy works. In July 2014, she received the first prize of the Schlern International Competition in Italy. In January 2015, she received the Second Prize of Jefferson Symphony International Young Artists Competition in Colorado. At the MTNA Convention in March 2015, Ruixue was representing TCU in the National Finals of the Young Artists Piano Competition, and received the first prize. In the same month, she also performed with the TCU Symphony Orchestra as one of the winners of the TCU Concerto Competition.
 
Ruixue has participated in Beijing International Piano Festival, Schlern International Music Festival, and the 15th and 16th annual Morningside Music Bridge in Calgary, Canada. She has performed at National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and also other cities include Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xi’an, Harbin, Kunming, Urumqi, Calgary, and Suwon. She has played with China National Symphony Orchestra, China Youth Symphony Orchestra, Central Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, Kunming Symphony Orchestra, Harbin Symphony Orchestra, and Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. She has cooperated with some great conductors, such as Xincao Li, En Shao, and Tao Lin.
 
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Yunling Zhang

China
19
School: Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University
Teacher: Boris Slutsky
 
Master Class Reperoitre
Johannes Brahms: Klavierstücke, Op.119
Franz Schubert: Sonata in A major, D.664
Frédéric Chopin: Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Op. 54
 
Yunling Zhang, born in Shanghai, China, began playing the piano at 4, entered the Music Primary School affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2006, studied with Prof. Zijie Wu. In 2009, she entered the Music Middle School affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music without Examination due to excellent works in the Music Primary School, studied with Prof. Yunlin Yang. As a chosen young pianist, she made a recording for Amateur Piano Examination of Shanghai Conservatory of Music when she was 12 years old. Yunling has appeared as a pianist, collaborative artist and chamber musician in Asia. She is the second prize winner of the Fifth Gu Lang Yu National professional piano competition for junior group and the Scholarship of Fu Cheng Xian in 2010. She is also the first prize winner of the Fifth Hong Kong Asia Youth Piano Competition and the second prize winner of Zhou Guang Ren Young Pianist Award in 2012. Yunling attended Beijing International Music Festival and won the second prize of Piano Concerto Competition in 2012. As a recipient of full scholarship, she was invited to Hotchkiss Chamber Music Summer Portals in 2012. She was the first prize winner of the Third Chamber Music Competition of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, as well as the fourth prize winner of Schoenfeld International Chamber Competition. She received the full scholarships, participated the 18th and 19th Morningside Music Bridge in Canada as a chosen young musician, received training from David Moroz, Krzysztof Jablonski, John Perry, Stephane Lemelin, Lee Kum Sing and won the first prizes of Chamber Music Competition twice. She has performed at Shanghai He Lu Ting Concert Hall, Symphonic Orchestra Hall, Wu Han Qintai Music Hall, Ningbo Music Hall etc., and performed the Schumann Piano Concerto with Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra in Shanghai Concert hall, all received highly praised. Yunling performed in master class with Fou T’song, Jerome Lowenthal, Marc Silverman, András Schiff, Gary Graffman, Meng-chieh Liu, etc. She is currently a freshman at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University pursuing a bachelor degree, studying with Boris Slutsky.
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Shuhui Zhou

China
25
School: Mannes School of Music
Teacher: Thomas Sauer
 
Master Class Repertoire
Frédéric Chopin: Preludes, Op.28
Ludwig Van Beethoven: Sonata no.26 in E-flat major, "Les Adieux", op.81a
Robert Schumann: Kreisleriana, op.16

 

Ms. Shuhui (Sophia) Zhou is a native of Shanghai, born in 1991. She was offered full scholarship by Oberlin College as the first double-degree bachelor student from mainland, China. Her degrees include Bachelor of Music on piano performance and Bachelor of Arts on German Literature. She spent a year furthering her duo study in Vienna, Austria,during which she was under tutorage of Jan Jiraceck von Arnim, professor of University of Music and Performing Arts of Vienna and Morton Solvik, renowned Mahler scholar.

Her concert appearances include Franz Liszt Saal in Vienna, Carnegie Weil Concert Hall, Kennedy Centre in D.C., Shanghai Concert Hall, German Consulate of New York, Emmanuel Church of Boston, etc. She has played in masterclasses of Richard Goode, Ruth Slenszynska, Leslie Howard, the late Karl-Heinz Kaemmerling, Ann Schein etc. Her appearances in music festivals such as the Mannes Sound Festival, Beethoven Institute, Euroarts Festival in Austria, Baroque Performance Institute and Bach Institute have been highly acclaimed.

In addition to standard solo piano repertoire, Sophia is an experienced chamber musician in various fields. As the piano soloist in Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, she performed, recorded and premiered contemporary pieces by composers such as Andrew Norman, Benjamin Broening; Holding a high regard of historical performance practices, she has been playing harpsichord and continuo organ in Baroque ensembles under the tutorage of Professor David Breitman, Web Wiggins, Nancy Wilson etc; As the recipient of the Oberlin faculty prize of best collaborative pianist, Ms. Shuhui Zhou is also an active collaborative pianist as well as vocal coach, under the tutelage of Christina Stanescu and Vlad Iftinca, coach for the Metropolitan Opera House. She has played in masterclasses for American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horn, soprano Christine Brewer, renowned collaborative pianist Warren Jones and Roger Vignoles as well as Carolyn Hague in Konservatorium Wien.

Ms. Shuhui(Sophia) Zhou is currently a candidate of Master of Music degree in Mannes College of Music in New York, under the tutelage of Thomas Sauer.  
 
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