Friday, May 15, 2020

Winners: PIANISTS (solo division), 2019-20


The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Piano Performance (solo), 2019-20, in professional, college/university and high school divisions. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

REMINDER: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21, In addition, we will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of Monday, June 23, 2020. Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Monday, July 20, 2020. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.


The American Prize in Piano Performance (solo), 2019-20, (professional division)

The American Prize winner:
Lei Weng   
Greeley    CO 

Lei Weng   
Hailed as “a colorist of exemplary control” by the New York Concert Review for his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut, he has performed at prestigious venues around the world including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, Chicago Culture Center, Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., China National Center for Performing Arts, Taiwan National Concert Hall and Kaohsiung Cultural Center, Royal College of Music (UK), Banff Center (Canada), Peterskirche (Vienna), Basilica di San Pietro (Italy), Singapore National University, and major universities and conservatories throughout Asia. He has performed at such music festivals as Tanglewood Music Festival, TCU Cliburn Institute, Messiaen Festival (University of Chicago), Music Fest Perugia (Italy), Pianoforte-Fest Meissen (Germany), Saarburg Festival (Germany), Sarasota Festival, Vianden Festival (Luxemburg), Rocky Ridge Music Center and Breckenridge Music Festival.

As a frequent concerto soloist, he has appeared with such conductors as Gerhardt Zimmerman, Steven Smith, Uri Segal, Robert Olson, Geoffrey Simon, Glen Cortese, Wes Kenney, Lingfen Wu, Zushan Bian, and with more than thirty orchestras in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including the Symphony Orchestras of Fort Worth, Fort Collins, Gimhae (Korea), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Alicante (Spain), Pegugia (Italy), Campinas (Brazil), Beijing (China), Costa Rica, Breckinridge Music Festival, and the China National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus


2nd Place:
Yuting Zhou   
New York   NY  

Yuting Zhou   
Pianist Yuting Zhou is currently earning her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Manhattan School of Music from the studio of Dr. Joanne Polk. She has performed in numerous different parts of the world. Notable venues she has concertized at include Carnegie Hall (US), Kostroma Philharmonic Hall (Russia), Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and Xinghai Concert Hall (China), and many more. Recently, she was invited to perform in Merkin Concert Hall (US), Ehrbar Hall (Austria), and Teatro Colón(Argentina). She received 15 major competition awards, including the First Prize, Best Liszt Interpretation Award and Best American Composer Interpretation Award at the Liszt-Garrison Festival & International Piano Competition. Ms. Zhou has appeared on several media platforms. Recent ones include ABC News, NBC News, PeaceEver TV, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the China Times, Guangzhou Daily, Guangdong Television, and FM Ximalaya Radio, among others. For more information, please visit www.YutingZhou.com


3rd Place:
John Kamfonas    
Devon PA 

John Kamfonas    
American pianist John Kamfonas has given performances internationally, from New York to India to Paris, described as possessing "a grandeur that lifted the music into the sublime...and a delicacy that took one's breath away." (National Herald, New York) As an improvising classical pianist, Mr. Kamfonas interweaves repertoire ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Debussy and Barber among spontaneous musical fantasies. He has performed in numerous festivals in the US and abroad and has recently given solo concerts at Merkin Hall, Steinway Hall, Salle Cortot (Paris), Cité Internationale des Arts de Paris, and the Columbia Global Center (Paris). Mr. Kamfonas recently conducted residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts and as a Harriet Hale Woolley Scholar at the Fondation des Etats-Unis in Paris where part of his recital was nationally televised in 2016. He holds degrees from Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music, and the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.
 


The American Prize in Piano Performance (solo), 2019-20, (college/university division)

The American Prize winner:
Chenyu Wang   
Hartford   CT  

Chenyu Wang   
Born in China, Chenyu Wang began playing the piano at the age of five and gave public performances at the age of eight. She received her early trainings at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Middle School. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Prof. Barry Snyder in 2015, and her Master of Music degree from Indiana Unviersity, Bloomington, under the tutelage of Prof. Emile Naoumoff in 2017. She is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, under the tutelage of Prof. Paul Rutman. She is a prize-winner of many competitions, including the Kulangsu Piano Competition and Schoenbrunn Piano Competition in China, The eMuse international piano competition and Bradshaw& Buono International Piano Competition. She has performed across the North America, China and Europe.


2nd Place:
Shun-Jung Hsu    
Madison    WI

Shun-Jung Hsu    
Taiwanese pianist Shun-Jung Hsu maintains an active profile across the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. Winner of 2018 American Protege International Competition of Romantic Music, Shun-Jung has appeared in many cities in U.S, including venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Missouri Theatre (MO), E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall (MO), Sursa Performance Hall (IN), and Stoughton Opera House (WI). She has also given numerous performances elsewhere in Austria, Germany and Portugal and Taiwan. Shun-Jung holds a MM degree from University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied with Dr. Peter Miyamoto as a recipient of full tuition scholarship and stipend. Currently she is pursuing her DMA degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison with scholarships under the tutelage of pianist Christopher Taylor. Other influential teachers have included Aquiles Delle Vigne, Carmen Piazzini, Chun Pan, Hsing-Chwen Hsin, Mamiko Suda, Meng-Chieh Liu, and Nadezda N. Demianova.
https://www.shunjunghsu.com/
 

3rd Place:
Eunhae Choi   
Savoy IL

Eunhae Choi   
An active pianist and lifelong educator, Eunhae Choi is currently a Doctoral candidate for the Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Literature at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was awarded scholarships and fellowships while she was studying. Also, she holds a Master of Music degree at University of Texas at Austin, a Bachelor of Music degree at Hanyang University in South Korea. Her primary teachers include Prof. William Heiles, Gregory Allen, Young-In Lee, and Lilie Jang. As a dedicated teacher, Ms. Choi has studied Piano Pedagogy as her cognate minor while her doctoral studies and her teaching experience includes serving as the instructor from Piano Project program at the UT Austin and served as a President of the U of I Music Teachers National Association Collegiate chapter in 2016-2017. She was invited to present at the ISMTA conference in 2017 and now teaching at Piano Laboratory Program at Illinois. Also, she is a member of ensemble Seonmul which presents fusion of Korean traditional and western music.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Igor Filipe Do Amaral 
New York   NY

Igor Filipe Do Amaral 
 Pianist Igor Amaral is a native of Macao. He graduated from the Wright State University as a scholarship student of Dr. Jackson Leung. While being awarded the prestigious music scholarship, Igor received Doctoral of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and holds two Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Michigan State University, where his main teachers were Prof. and Artist in Resident Panayis Lyras, Dr. Derek Polischuk and Prof. Margarita Shevchenko. Igor is currently studying with Prof. Simone Dinnerstein at the Mannes School of Music. Igor received numerous prizes and awards including first prize winner in The American Protégé International Competition, winner of the Wright State University Concerto Competition, and winner of the WSU Honor Award. He has performed extensively in North America, Europe and Asia including Carnegie Hall, Ernst C. Stiefel Hall, Giles-Lefebvre Concert Hall, Teatro Jovellanos,  Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall, Macao Cultural Center.



The American Prize in Piano Performance (solo), 2019-20, (high school division)

The American Prize winner:
Christopher Zhu    
West Roxbury   MA

Christopher Zhu    
Christopher “Chris” Zhu, a 16-year-old native Bostonian, began his piano studies at the age of five. He currently studies with Helena Vesterman. Since his first competition at the age of eight, Chris has been a second prize winner of Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, four-time first prize winner at the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association Bay State Contest, two-time prizewinner at the Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition, and recently a first prize winner in the senior division of URI piano extravaganza and a second prize winner in the intermediate group of American Protege International Piano and String Competition. In addition, as an accomplished violinist, Chris has received the top prize from the Roman Totenberg Young Strings Competition and played First Violin for orchestras at New England Conservatory Prep School and Boston Youth Symphony. He has performed at various venues including Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York, and Symphony Hall in Boston.
 

2nd Place:
Marc Soong  
Alhambra   CA

Marc Soong  
Marc Soong has shown a keen interest in classical music since the age of three. He has won numerous national and international piano competitions including the Los Angeles Young Musicians International Competition, San Jose International Piano Competition, American Protege International Piano and String Competition, Redlands Bowl Young Artists Competition, Classics Alive Young Artists Competition, Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, Steinway Piano Competition, Great Composers Music International Competition, and many others. Soong won the Grand Prize of the 2018 ENKOR International Music Competition. He has been selected as a featured performer on NPR's "From the Top" a radio program broadcast nationally. Soong studies piano under the guidance of Professor Daniel Pollack and Dr. Vladimir Khomyakov at USC Thornton School of Music. He has performed in many venues such as the Stern Auditorium Perelman Stage and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York and many others. Website: www.marcsoongpianist.com
 

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Congratulations!

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