Twenty-three teen-age pianists from six countries are coming to the Eastman School of Music this month, hoping to return home with prizes from the Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition. And for the first time since the competition was launched in 1997, the finalists will play the deciding concerto round not with second piano accompaniment, but with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Eastman Professor and Conductor Neil Varon.
For local audiences, the competition provides the opportunity to catch young artists on the cusps of their careers. In addition to the adjudicated performances by the competitors, the eight-day event, from Saturday, July 31, to Saturday, August 7, also features recitals by internationally renowned members of the international jury, along with master classes presented by members of the Eastman piano faculty.
Professor Douglas Humpherys, chair of the Eastman piano department and founder/director of the Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition, notes that “competitions challenge and motivate pianists to refine their musical and pianistic skills, while preparing for performance opportunities and career development. Audiences have the chance to glimpse these young artists as they embark on a path of lifelong musical development.”
Previous winners of the Eastman Piano Competition who have gone on to distinguish themselves in other venues include, among others, Hong Xu, Esther Park, and Charlie Albright. Xu, the 2002 second-place winner, earned his undergraduate degree at Eastman School and then completed his master’s degree and the prestigious Artist Diploma course at Juilliard. Among his many honors, he won prizes at the 2005 Cleveland International Piano Competition and at Canada’s 2006 Honens International Piano Competition. BBC Magazine recognized Xu in its January 2010 “Rising Star: Great Artists of Tomorrow” feature, and the Sunday Telegraph called him “a pianist to watch out for” after his performances in Manchester and London earlier this year.
Park won both the Eastman and Kosciusko competitions in 2001. Subsequently, she received the Gold Medal in the 2003 Wideman Competition, first place in Juilliard’s 2004 Gina Bachauer Scholarship Piano Competition, first place in the 2009 Chopin-Gesellschaft Hannover Competition, and many other prizes. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Juilliard and has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals in North America, Asia, and Europe.
Albright won the 2006 Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition. Currently studying economics at Harvard College and piano at the New England Conservatory, he received first prize in the 2009 Young Concert Artist Competition in New York.
The competitors for the 2010 Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition are between the ages of 15 and 18 and hail from China, the United States, Taiwan, Canada, Korea, and Japan. Each will play in a public master class and perform an hour of solo music over two preliminary rounds.
Five finalists will be chosen to present a movement of a piano concerto in the final round, with the RPO providing the orchestral accompaniment. Winners will be announced after the judges’ deliberations following the last performance.
This year’s competitors are: Yen-Yu Chen, 16, Taiwan; Andrew Chou, 16, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Jia-Ying Ding, 15, China; Shan-Chi Hsu, 15, Taiwan; Fantee Jones, 16, Roseville, Calif.; Young-Hwan Jung, 17, Korea; David Yoshiaki Ko, 18, Japan; Mi-Ou Lee, 17, Canada; Yuebing Lin, 18, China; Emma (Pin-Hsiu) Liu, 18, Taiwan; Yao Lu, 18, China; Joseph Mohan, 17, Akron, N.Y.; Edward Park, 18, Canada; Ryan Reilly, 18, Delmar, N.Y.; Jie Ren, 18, China; Chang-Yong Shin, 16, Korea; Rieko Tsuchida, 15, Japan; Chelsea Wang, 16, Des Moines, Iowa; Yuechen Xiao, 15, China; Jianan Xu, 17, China; Allen Yuan, 17, Farmington Hills, Mich.; Keru Zhang, 15, China; and Xizi Zhang, 16, China.
The competition will include guest recitals by three judges: Mirian Conti, a member of the evening division faculty of the Juilliard School, award-winning recording artist, and founder of the I Certamen Musical Rioplatense piano competition in her native Argentina; Logan Skelton, a teacher and composer who has been featured on National Public Radio, Chinese radio, and Romanian television, and is a frequent guest at music festivals; and Alan Chow, a prizewinner in numerous competitions who has performed throughout the United States, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and is on the faculty of Northwestern University.
The other members of the seven-member jury are chair Paul Pollei, founder and artistic director of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, founder and current member of the American Piano Quartet, and an active teacher, recitalist, and lecturer; Min Kim, chair of the piano department at New Jersey City University, who performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician and is in-demand as a guest master class teacher and adjudicator; Faina Lushtak, a former faculty member of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, solo recitalist, frequent competition judge, and the Downman Professor of Music at Tulane University; and Zhe Tang, a prizewinner in numerous competitions, a solo recitalist, and professor in the Shanghai Conservatory of Music who recently received the Chinese government’s “Grand Award for Excellence in Teaching.”
Competition Event Information
Admission is free for the master classes, lecture recital, and preliminary rounds of the competition. Tickets are required for the two judges’ recitals and the final round with the RPO; tickets can be purchased in advance at the RPO box office.
More information on the Eastman Young Artists International Piano Competition is available online at http://www.esm.rochester.edu/pianocomp/ .
Except for the final concerto round, which will be held at the Hochstein School of Music, all performances take place in the Eastman School’s Kilbourn Hall. For more information, contact the Eastman Concert Office at 585-274-1100. The schedule of events is:
Saturday, July 31: Featured Artist Lecture Recital “From Tangos to Mazurkas,” by Mirian Conti, 3 p.m. Free
Saturday, July 31: Guest Artist Recital: Logan Skelton, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20, $15, and $10 (discounts with University of Rochester or student ID.) Available in advance at the RPO Box Office.
Sunday, August 1: Guest Artist Concert: Alan Chow, 3:30 p.m. Tickets: $20, $15, and $10 (discounts with University of Rochester or student ID.) Available in advance at the RPO Box Office.
Monday, August 2: Master Class Round, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free.
Monday, August 2: Preliminary Round I, 2 to 3:30 p.m.; 4 to 5:30 p.m.; 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Free.
Tuesday, August 3: Master Class Round, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free.
Tuesday, August 3: Preliminary Round I, 2 to 3:30 p.m.; 4 to 5:30 p.m.; 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 4: Master Class Round, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free.
Wednesday, August 4: Preliminary Round II, 2 to 3:30 p.m.; 4 to 5:30 p.m.; 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Free.
Thursday, August 5: Master Class Round, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free.
Thursday, August 5: Preliminary Round II, 2 to 3:30 p.m.; 4 to 5:30 p.m.; 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Announcement of Finalists: 10:30 p.m. Free.
Saturday, August 7: Final Round: Concerto Performances with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., Hochstein School of Music Performance Hall. Awards Ceremony: 10 p.m. Tic
kets: $25 (discounts with University of Rochester or student ID.) Available in advance at the RPO Box Office.
# # #