Here are the 2017 participants – truly some of the top young pianists from around the globe.
Will you be one of the best of the best in 2018?
Artem Yasynskyy was born in 1988 in Donetsk, Ukraine into a family of professional musicians. At the age of seven, he became a pupil of Albina Oryshuk at the Special School for Gifted Children in Donetsk, continuing his musical studies thereafter at the Donetsk State Musical Academy. From 2010 until the present he has been studying with Patrick O'Byrne at the University of Arts in Bremen.
Matthews, a native of Lakeland, Florida is a Graduate Piano Performance Major at Belmont University. Despite many hardships after spending his first year of college being homeless, Matthews endured and has achieved numerous prizes in piano competitions including Honorable Mention in the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, and a Medal of Musical Excellence from the City of New York, given after his first Carnegie Hall debut in April of 2014. James has been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, People Magazine, NPR and BBC World News and has performed solo nationwide being known for his dramatic romantic music performances.
Praised by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, pianist Jae Young Kim has garnered numerous prizes. His major awards include Grand Prize at the 3rd East Coast International Competition in November 2016, Piano Winner of the 2015 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition, fifth prize at the 14th Oberlin (Cooper) International Piano Competition, winner of MTNA New York State Piano Competition, second prize at The American Prize, third prize at Ewha & Kyunghyang Music Competition, and first prize & special prize at the Teenager Piano Competition.
Inyoung Kim graduated from Sunhwa Arts School and Sunhwa Arts High school where she had won the excellence performance awards for six years in succession. She also studied at Seoul National University in South Korea with Jong Hwa Park, graduating ‘cum laude’ with a full scholarship from Seoul National University as well as funding from Sungnam City Association.
Studying with Professor Jerome Lowenthal, Anran Qian is a current third year pianist in The Juilliard School. Born in China in 1995, she studied piano under Professor Xuemiao Hu and Meiai Xie. In 2006, she won the first prize in Group C of the “Shulei Cup” Piano Competition held in Wuhan.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2001, Chris Chu has been studying piano from the age of 3, and has been studying under the direction of Professor Xiao Li since 2014. What interests him most is playing the piano and creating music while diving into a world where sound dictates personality.
Pianist Athena Tsianos is a proud Kovner Fellow and Vergottis Scholarship recipient at The Juilliard School, where she studies under the tutelage of Robert McDonald. She has also studied extensively with Bernadene Blaha of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Her competition prizes include first place in The Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition, where she was also awarded the prize for best performance of a contemporary piece; first place in the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition; finalist in National YoungArts; and first place in competitions held by The Music Teachers’ Association of California.
Hanyang “Derek” Wang is from Shanghai, China. He is a junior at Interlochen Arts Academy, studying with Dr. Thomas Lymenstull. He won first prize in the Eighth International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists (2012), third prize in The Fourth Asia Piano Competition (2013), and third prize in the HaiTai Non Professional International Piano Competition (2015).
Collin is an award winning pianist and has performed and competed across the United States. Most recently Collin was named winner of the 2017 National Senior Division of the Music Teachers National Association Piano Competition in Baltimore where he received the Chopin Prize from The Chopin Foundation of the United States for best performance of a work by Chopin.
Daniel Linder is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he studies with pianist Bernadene Blaha and teaches piano as a graduate teaching assistant. Dan has performed in venues across the United States and Europe, and recordings of his performances have aired on KUAZ Classical Radio in Tucson, Arizona. Recent accolades include prizes in the 2015 Seattle International Piano Competition, the 2014 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the 2014 Lois Trester Piano Competition at the University of Arizona, and the 2012 Thaviu-Isaak Endowed Piano Scholarship Competition at Northwestern University.
San Francisco-based pianist-composer Eric Tran is known for his friendly stage manner, thoughtful programming, and bold risk-taking. He has appeared in music festivals such as PianoTexas, Aspen, as well as festivals in Europe. His principal studies were with pianists Sharon Mann, Thomas Schultz, and composer Jaroslaw Kapuscinski.
Born in 1987, pianist Jiwon Han is a native of Incheon in South Korea. He began his piano studies at the age of three. At the age of ten, he appeared as a soloist with Korean Philharmonic Orchestra performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 in A major, K.488. In the same year, he gave his first solo recital at Incheon Culture and Arts Center, which was followed by performances throughout Korea, Europe and America.
Pianist Joon Yoon made his solo debut at age 12 in Korea, and his concerto debut at age 13 in the USA. Joon has performed in venues such as Petit Palau of Palau de la Musica Catalana, Alice Tully Hall and Paul Hall of the Lincoln Center, and the Recital Hall of Seoul Arts Center, among others. As an avid chamber musician, he has collaborated with prestigious musicians such as current and former members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Ying quartets.
Laylo Rikhsieva was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She is a student of Thomas Lymenstull at Interlochen Arts Academy. Most recently, she was the main piano performer at the Embassy Series in Washington,, D.C.. Laylo began her piano studies at the age of five. At the age of 9, she performed the Mozart Concerto #28 with the Uzbek Chamber Orchestra, and she was the winner of the Nicolai Rubinstein International Piano competition in France, the second prize winner at Pietro Argento in Italy, and a finalist at David D.Dubois Piano Festival and Competition in Ohio, USA.
Lewis Warren Jr. is a vibrant musical artist. His special ability to connect with people through music was evident at an early age. His gift has opened many opportunities for him to perform on national television, including NBC’s hit show America's Got Talent and NASCAR’s Samsung 500 where, by invitation of the Texas Motor Speedway president, he performed the National Anthem in front of over 200,000 live spectators.
Raised throughout the Midwestern United States, pianist Mi-Eun Kim has performed on stages across the country, as well as in Europe and Asia. Mi-Eun is a prizewinner of the 2015 Liszt-Garrison Competition’s Liszt Award, the 2010 Corpus Christi Solo Prize, the International Institute for Young Musicians, and the Missouri Southern International Competitions and Young Arts. Recent festival appearances include Gijón Piano Festival, Art of the Piano at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and Piano Texas.
Michael Lenahan is a Toledo-based pianist. Lenahan received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance from The Juilliard School where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal. Other teachers include Anita Wilkin, Robert Saterlee, and Logan Skelton. In 2009, he won the Toledo Symphony Young Artists Concerto Competition, performing with the orchestra; second place in the International Zimmerli Piano Competition in 2011 and 2013. Michael won the Toledo Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition two years in a row, and first place in the 2012 Graves Piano Competitions, as well as winning a discretionary award in the 2012 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.
Minyi Zhang was born in Shenzhen, China, and started playing the piano at the age of six. Her teachers there include Professors Mei Xiao, Zhaoyi Dan, and Mingqiang Li. She is currently a senior at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she is a student of Dr. Thomas J. Lymenstull.
Muzi Zhao began his piano studies at the age of four under the tutelage of Ying Zheng. In 2008, Muzi Zhao was accepted to the Junior Music Program of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and studied with Professor Gabriel Kwok. In 2016, he was accepted by Northwestern University with a full scholarship, and studies with Professor Alan Chow.
Narae Lee began to play the piano at the age of seven and made her official debut at the Rising Young Stars Concert a year later. She has won numerous top prizes and participated in competitions and festivals, including The World Piano Competition, the Dallas International Piano Competition, the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Art of the Piano, the New Paltz Piano Summer, the Eastern Music Festival as an assistant of both Piano and Collaborative Piano faculty, and the Mayor of Seoul City Prize. She made her orchestral debut with the Philharmonic 18th Annual Concert. Also, she has performed with Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music Philharmonia and Concert Orchestra as a winner of CCM Concerto Competition, playing the Left Hand Piano Concerto by Ravel.
Raised in Fayetteville, Texas, 21-year-old pianist Noah Alden Hardaway has attended festivals throughout the United States, including the Aspen Music Festival and School for two summers (where he performed with the Aspen Sinfonia Concertante), the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival in Florida, PianoSummer at SUNY New Paltz in New York, the Southeastern Piano Festival in South Carolina, the Texas State International Piano Festival, and the Adamant and Kinhaven Music Schools in Vermont. Noah was a finalist in the Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition and a semifinalist at both the Julia Crane and Arthur Fraser International Piano Competitions. He received scholarships for two years from Music Doing Good, a Houston-based organization devoted to expanding the role of music in local communities.
Noah Waddell began playing the piano at the age of 7. Now 16, Noah has won over 20 state and national piano competitions. In 2014, he won his first international competition in Fort Collins, Colorado. He currently donates some of his time and talents weekly to "The Arts in Healthcare Program" at Lee Memorial Hospital. "Noah's Concert for the Kids" at the Big Arts on Sanibel Island raised over $30,000 for the new Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. He has also appeared on the PBS TV Show, "Curious Kids," the Christian Television Network, and on NPR's “From the Top. ”
Rio was born in 1999 in Sydney, and is currently a year 12 student at the Sydney Distance Education High School. He started learning piano at the age of 8 and composition at the age of 9. He received a full scholarship for 6 years in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Rising Stars Program.
Born into a musical family, Daniel Tselyakov began his piano studies at the age of five with his father, well-known Canadian pianist Alexander Tselyakov. He completed a bachelors degree at the Oberlin Conservatory with Angela Cheng and a Masters with Jimmy Brière at Université de Montréal.
Oleksandr Leonov was born in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. In his childhood he demonstrated bright musical abilities and a love for art. He studied with Natalia Walter in the Zaporizhzhia Music School between 2003 and 2012. He was also an artist of the Zaporizhzhia Musical Philharmonic for Children. From 2012 to 2016, he studied at the R. Glier Kyiv Institute of Music under the guidance of Juliana Yablonskaya, where he graduated with highest honors. He is a laureate of many competitions, including the Accord of Khortytsia Festival, the Slavic Music Festival, the Niehaus Music Meetings, the L. Shure piano competition, the O. Orlova competition, and the Yamaha Music Gulf FZE Scholarship Program.
Born in 1997 in Novorossysk, Russia, Simon Karakulidi began his studies with Professor Mira Marchenko at the Central Musical School in Moscow at the age of 15, graduating in 2016. He is a laureate of the “Villamrosa” piano competition (Mexico, 2014, 1st prize), Gradus Ad Parnasum (Rostov-on-Don, 2014, 1st prize), “Dedication to Sergei Prokofiev” piano competition (Moscow, 2015, Grand-Prix), First Vladimir Krainev Piano Competition in March 2015, Moscow (2nd prize and 2 special prizes), and Denis Matsuev's competition "Astana Piano Passion" in April 2015 (1st prize).
Exhibiting an innate, passionate musicality and brilliant technical mastery of the piano well beyond his years, fifteen-year-old virtuoso pianist and composer Talon Smith has already won Gold at the 2016 Gina Bachauer International Junior Artists Piano Competition, and has performed with orchestra and in many solo artist concerts. Talon’s energetic and musical performances put on display his gifts of authentic depth and rare sensitivity. He feels his music, and so does his audience, through his genuine, emotionally moving musical performances.
Tianhong Yang began studying the piano at 4, becoming a student of the Middle School Wuhan Conservatory of Music in 2003 supported by a government scholarship. In 2006, she was admitted into the middle school attached to the Central Conservatory in Beijing to complete her studies. She graduated as top student of her year. In 2008, she was privileged to be offered the first ever Steinway full scholarship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in 2013, she accepted a full scholarship to continue her studies in Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia with Maestro Bashkirov. During her study in Madrid, she won the Yamaha Europe Association Scholarship to support her studies further.
Pianist Yehong Shi has been noted for his expressive and sensitive playing in both his native China and the US. As a soloist, he has performed at Yanjiao Music Hall, Dayou Music Hall, Music Hall of Central Conservatory of Music School, Scott Hall, and Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center to name a few. He has won top awards in the Dayou Music Competition and the Chinese Composition Award. He was a finalist of both the First Zhouguangren Piano Summer Institute Concerto Competition and the Manhattan School of Music Concerto Competition. He received second prize in the Rondo Forma Piano Competition and BMC Zimmerli Piano Competition (2016).
Yunling Zhang, born in Shanghai, China, entered the Music Primary School affiliated with Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2006, studying with Professor Zijie Wu. In 2009, she entered the Music Middle School affiliated with Shanghai Conservatory of Music, studying with Professor Yunlin Yang. She is the second prize winner of the Fifth Gu Lang Yu National professional piano competition, and a recipient of the Fu Cheng Xian Scholarship in 2010. She is also the first prize winner of the Fifth Hong Kong Asia Youth Piano Competition, and the second prize winner of the Zhou Guang Ren Young Pianist Award in 2012.
Starting piano at age five, Alison Chiang won her first piano competition two years later in the 1999 St. Charles Illinois Music Competition. When her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 2000, she studied with Olga Radosavljevich at the Cleveland Institute of Music and made her concerto debut with the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra and the Lakeside Symphony.