Friday, October 9, 2015

PIANO SOLO WINNERS, all divisions, 2015

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Piano Performance, 2015, in all divisions.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog.  

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Piano Performance (SOLO), 2015—PROFESSIONAL DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:

American pianist Michael Angelucci enjoys a multi-faceted career as soloist, collaborative artist, and educator.  His dynamic performances have been heard in Carnegie-Weill Hall and other major venues across the United States and Europe.  A prizewinner in the California International Young Artist Competition, Bradshaw & Buono international competition, and numerous state and regional competitions, Mr. Angelucci is also the recipient of various artistic awards including the Foundation La Gesse Fellowship and Peabody Career Development Grant.  Mr. Angelucci holds the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, and is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland.  He counts among his principal teachers Bradford Gowen, Benjamin Pasternack, Ann Schein, Hans Boepple, and Dr. Paul Wirth.  Currently, Mr. Angelucci is on faculty at the International School of Music in Washington, D.C., and is recording his first solo disc for release in 2016.

Upon accepting the prize, Michael wrote: "This is a great honor.  I accept this prestigious award with great excitement and humility.  Thank you!"

2nd Place:

Filipino-American pianist Jovanni-Rey de Pedro has been heard as a soloist, collaborative musician, educator, and speaker on five continents. He has received numerous awards from competitions and scholarly organizations across North America and Europe, and has presented for MTNA (USA), the College Music Society, World Piano Teachers Association, and the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Association. As a passionate and dedicated educator, he has given masterclasses in the USA and abroad, and is the co-founder and advisor of the MTNA Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium. Dr. de Pedro holds a Konzert Diplom from the Vienna Conservatory of Music, a MM from Trinity College of Music in London, and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. He is currently Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy and co-director of the preparatory division at the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music. For more information, please visit

3rd Place:
KEVIN CLASS   Knoxville, TN 

Kevin Class is a musician who exemplifies versatility.  Having excelled in performance on various instruments at an early age (most notably the violin and piano) he was raised around orchestras, and demonstrated early success as a composer and conductor.   Moving effortlessly between podium and piano, Kevin has become an accomplished thinker, teacher and performer as a pianist, collaborator and conductor of both orchestral and operatic literature. Kevin presently serves as the Director of Collaborative Piano at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, where he also hold the position of Music Director of the university's acclaimed Opera Theatre.  Prior to this appointment, he served on the Opera Studies faculty of Indiana University where he was Music Director and Conductor of the Martina Arroyo Opera Courses.  Born in Belgium, Kevin acquired a diverse musical education in Europe, the United States and Canada, including studies with Murray Perahia, Gyorgy Sebok, Daniel Blumenthal and Ralph Votapek.  As a pianist, since his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 19, Kevin has been a frequent soloist in such venues as Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Geneva's Victoria Hall and Vienna's Musikverein.  Following several seasons of annual performances in The Netherlands and Belgium, including the complete piano sonatas of Schubert in Amsterdam, Kevin was named a Fellow of the Flemish Community by the Belgian government in 1998.  Following his return to the United States in 1999, Kevin took up teaching positions at both Indiana University and State University of New York-Potsdam.

Honorable Mention:

Born in Chisinau, Moldova, Maria began her piano studies at the age of eight at the Republican Musical Lyceum “C.Porumbescu” where she studied with Lia Oxinoit, Irina Bivol, and Anatol Lapicus. Maria completed her B.M. degree studying with Veda Zuponcic at Rowan Univeristy, and her M.M. degree with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University. Currently, Maria is a DMA candidate at Frost School of Music, where she studies with Santiago Rodriguez. Maria was invited to perform inseveral international festivals in Europe and USA, among which were the Budapest Spring Festival (Hungary), International Festival “Piano Nights” (Moldova), Northern Lights Music Festival (MN, USA). Some of her live performances were broadcast by Moldovan, Romanian, and Hungarian radio and television posts. In 2013 she received the Presser Music Award (University of Miami) for her recording project of the complete sonatinas by G.A.Benda. The album will be released by Elan Recordings label.


Special Citation for Championing Piano Music by American Composers

Dr. Carlisle received his training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Claremont Graduate University. He has been the recipient of various awards including: the Martha Fischer-Tye Foundation Award; a Special Achievement in Musicology Award from the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.; and a Georgia Music Teachers Steinway Piano Galleries Educator Grant.
Specializing in contemporary music, he and trumpeter Adam Hayes, are now touring to promote their second album Etesian Traveler.  The album is a collection of innovative pieces for trumpet, piano and percussion. Carlisle’s recording project, The American Evolution - explores the ways in which contemporary American composers have used traditional compositional genres while incorporating contemporary musical language. The newest phase The American Evolution: Piano Preludes
will be recorded in May 2014.  Phases one and two, The American Evolution: Piano Variations, and The American Evolution: Piano Sonatas, are available at

Special Citation for Championing Piano Music by Asian Composers

The New York Concert Review described Susan Chan as “a thoughtful musician and a sensitive player”, and The New Yorker called her “an energetic advocate for contemporary music”. Fanfare and BBC Music Magazine praised her “great technical finesse” and “conspicuous refinement”. She has performed on the Seattle International Piano Festival Recital Series and at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Chopin’s birth house, Steinway Halls, and Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall.  She has appeared as soloist with the Dnepropetrovsk State Philharmonic (Ukraine), Portland Columbia Symphony and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Recognitions received include first prize in the Hong Kong Young Musicians Award Competition, finalist in The American Prize Competition, and an Oregon Arts Commission Artist Fellowship. She holds a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University where her main teachers were György Sebök and Menahem Pressler, and serves as an Associate Professor of Music at Portland State University.

Special Citation for Championing the piano music of Frederic Rzewski

Pianist Brendan Kinsella has been described by critics as “an amazing pianist” (Houston Chronicle), “astonishing” (Santa Barbara Daily Sound), “marvelous” (Kansas City Star), and “a sensitive musician with an ear for color” (Cincinnati Enquirer). His recent concert engagements have taken him to Carnegie Hall, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Tokyo, the Netherlands, Italy, and many other cities throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Currently, he teaches piano at the University of Texas-Pan American, where his diverse class of piano majors gain admittance to prestigious graduate schools, present their research at professional conferences, perform in master classes for distinguished artists, and regularly participate in competitive national and international summer festivals. His 2014-2015 concert season includes a series of all-Liszt recitals with his collegiate studio throughout major cities in Texas, two performances of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and nationwide.

The American Prize in Piano Performance (SOLO), 2015—COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
Born in Ukraine in 1992, pianist Anna Dmytrenko has dedicated her life to music from a young age. Following her relocation to the USA, she furthered her musical education at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division, where she studied with Oxana Yablonskaya under scholarship. She has recently completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Christopher Elton.

Anna won prizes in many international piano competitions including first places at the Dorothy MacKenzie Artist Recognition Competition, Viardo International Competition, and Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition. As a concert pianist, Anna has performed at such renowned venues as the Kimmel Center of Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Salle Cortot, and St Martin in the Fields.

Most recently, Anna was featured on the McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase on WQXR radio and performed at Temple Emanu-el and Salmagundi Club in New York City as the prize-winner of the New York International Piano Competition.

Upon accepting the award, Anna wrote: "I am delighted by this news and would be honored to accept The American Prize!"

2nd Place:

Jae Young Kim, a junior at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Jerome Lowenthal, started his piano studies at the age of five in South Korea. He has won numerous awards since then, including the first prize (special prize) at Teenager National Piano Competition, fifth prize as the youngest laureate at the 14th Oberlin (Cooper) International Competition, and first prize at MTNA New York State Piano Competition, to name a few. Moreover, he was recently nominated as the Piano Winner of the prestigious 2015 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition. He has appeared in many great concert venues such as Kumho Art Hall, Yamaha Hall, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and Hahn Hall and has performed masterclasses for Jerome Lowenthal, Jeremy Denk, and Stephen Hough. He was one of the eight solo pianists to attend Music Academy of the West with full scholarship in summer of 2014.

3rd Place:

Born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, Dion Cunningham began his musical studies studying piano with Mrs. Dawn Sands.  After high school, Dion attended Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) where he received both Biology and Music degrees studying piano with Mr. Don Betts.  In 2013, Dion graduated from the prestigious Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Music in Piano studying with Ms. Marian Hahn.  For his outstanding musical achievement, he was awarded the Frances W. Wentz Turner Memorial Prize.  Dion is currently a second year doctoral student at the University of Maryland studying with Dr. Cleveland Page.  He has performed throughout North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe.  Most recently, Dion presented a recital on the occasion of the Bahamas’s 40th Anniversary of Independence at the request of the Governor General - Sir Arthur Foulkes.

The American Prize in Piano Performance (SOLO), 2015—HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION:

The American Prize winner:
16 year old pianist Heather Hsun Chang has already performed quite extensively, both as a very young pianist in her native country, Taiwan, and in more recent years, in various cities on both coasts of the United States. Heather attends the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College Division where she is a scholarship student and studies piano with Corey McVicar. Heather has participated in numerous competitions and has had successes in the Pacific Musical Society Competition, the San Francisco Chopin Competition, and the Kawaii Piano Competition, Taiwan Regional. Her music studies continue in the summer, when she attended the Walnut Hill Music Festival in Natick, Boston and participated in the Morningside Music Bridge Music Festival in Calgary, Canada with full scholarship. To add on, Heather was recently selected to be a part of the the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts YoungArts Week 2015 in Maimi, Florida and had received a Level I Award.

2nd Place:
Christopher, age 16, was the featured soloist with several orchestras including The Minnesota Orchestra, Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Federal Way Symphony, Pacific Orchestra and Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra. He was one of the top prizewinner in many national and international piano competitions, including the 2013 International e-piano competition, Lennox International Young Artists Concerto 2011, 2011 Virginia Waring Concerto Junior Division, Tureck International Bach, 2012 LA Liszt International Competition, 2011 Seattle International Piano, and International Russian Competitions of 2012 and 2013.  He has attended numerous music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Sejong International Music Festival, and Oberlin International Artists Recital Series Festival. He has performed in numerous prestigious venues, including Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Field Concert Hall, the Gould Rehearsal Hall, the Harris Concert Hall, the Music Tent and McCallum Theater. He appeared on NPR's "From the Top”, TV program PIE on KCTS 9, and King FM 98.1.

3rd Place:

Trenton H. Chang, 17, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His parents are originally from Taiwan, R.O.C. Trenton began piano lessons when he was 5 years old. Currently, he studies with Gary Amano. Since he began piano, he has won numerous competitions, including the UMTA Concerto Competition, the MTNA Performance Competition, and the Utah Symphony Youth Guild auditions. He has performed with the Utah Symphony, and made his orchestral debut with Utah Chamber Artists in 2010. In addition, he was featured on NPR’s “From the Top.” Trenton made his Carnegie Hall debut last December. His awards include the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Scholarship and the Chopin Foundation of the U.S. Scholarship.

Trenton is a junior at Logan High School. Aside from the piano, he was the champion of the statewide Academic Olympiad competition as a junior and also won the Championship Division of Policy Debate at the Utah Debate Coaches Association tournament.

Congratulations to all!

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Angelucci holds the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, and is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland.Smith Berry