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Junior 2 Division Semi-Finalists - 2019 Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition

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Alex Chen


Alex Chen, age 14, began studying piano at age 5, and has been a student of Zena Ilyashov since age 8. His recent accomplishments include winning the MTNA Junior Piano Competition state round in 2018, the 1st prize at Young Artist I division at the 2018 Chicago International Music Competition, performance of Schumann piano concerto, 1st movement with Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018 as the winner of the Stars of Tomorrow Concerto Competition. Alex was the gold medal winner of St. Louis Young Artist Piano Competition, Division II in 2019 and Division I in 2017 respectively, the alternate at the MTNA Junior Piano Competition state round in 2017, and 1st prize winner of Artist of the Year, Best Tchaikovsky and Best Beethoven Performance of age group III at the Great Composers Competition 2017-2018. Alex is a multi-year winner of the Missouri Music Teachers State Piano Competition.


Ryan Chun


Ryan Chun is 14 years old, attends South High School in Torrance, California, and has been studying with Ory Shihor at the Piano Talent Performance Academy since August 2017. Ryan began playing piano at the age of 6. In 2018, at the age of 13, he won the 2nd prize at the Aloha International Piano Competition and the 1st prize at the Diamond Bar Piano Competition. In the same year, he also won 2nd prize at the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) Solo Competition and in 2016, he received the 2nd prize at the American Protege Music Competition and performed at the Carnegie Hall. Ryan recently appeared in a recital at Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles. He participated in master classes with Hershey Felder, Jon Nakamatsu, and Gila Goldstein. In his free time, he likes to play tennis with his teammates.


Alyssa Gabrilovich


FINALIST
Alyssa Gabrilovich, age 13, started playing piano when she was six and a half years old. Currently, she is a scholarship student at the NBS School of Music in Haverford, PA, studying with Dr. Igor Resnianski. Alyssa made her concerto debut at the age of 9 as a winner of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra concerto competition. She has also performed with the Ambler Symphony and the Old York Road Symphony Orchestra. Alyssa has received prizes in more than 20 state, national, and international piano competitions. She is a recipient of the Elmer and Louise Menges Scholarship and Philadelphia International Music Festival Scholarship. Alyssa frequently performs at local venues and has appeared in such venues as the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Kimmel Center. In 2018, she performed live at the WRTI 90.1FM studio and was invited to perform at the WRTI studio again in the summer of 2019.


William Ge


William Ge, 12, began studying piano at the age of four and currently studies piano with Natalie Zhu and Joy Kiszely, and composition with Ke-Chia Chen. William will perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra as the winner of the 2019 Greenfield Competition. William made his first public appearance at age six at Carnegie Hall. At age nine, he was invited to perform in “Lato Z. Chopinem” festival in Poland. Since 2018, William has been invited to give multiple public recitals, including in the 85th season of Young Musicians Musicales. William has been a top prize-winner in numerous competitions, including the Greenfield competition, the Chopin International Piano Competition at Hartford, MTNA state competition. William has performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater and Poland. William also plays violin and is the concertmaster of his school orchestra. Besides music, William loves science, reading, drawing comics, swimming and basketball.


Raelyn Hoang


FINALIST
Raelyn Hoang began studying piano at the age of 4 and has been a student of Silva Blazquez since the age of 8. Raelyn has participated in many competitions and won First Prize in the 2018 Knabe International Piano Competition, Grand Prize in the Junior Category of the VIII Chopin International Piano Competition, Grand Prize in the 2017 YMIC International Competition, Gold Medal in the 2017 Golden Key Music Festival, Gold Medal in the 2017 AADGT International Young Musicians Festival, First Prize in the 2017 Concert Artists International Maestro Competition, and First Prize in the 27th and 28th Annual Harold Protsman Classical Period Piano Competition. In addition, Raelyn has performed at the Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Young Soloists Recital at Alden Theater, Young Artist Musicales at George Mason University, winners’ concerts at the Embassy of Germany, Mansion at Strathmore, and Golden Key Music Festival at Ehrbar Hall and Mozarthaus in Austria.


John Kim


John Kim, age 11, began his piano studies at the age of five under Anders Martinson. Since he moved to Lexington, MA in 2016, he has been studying with Max Levinson. John has placed 1st in the Los Angeles Young Pianist Competition, and in both the Sonata and the Honors Competitions of CAPMT District III. He has also placed 2nd in 2018 Chopin International Piano Competition Hartford, 2017 Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition and the Open Solo category of the SYMF, and 3rd in his category of the 2015 Los Angeles Young Musicians International Competition. John was selected as a contestant in the 2019 Waring International Piano Competition. Recently, John had solo debut recital at the Steinway hall in Natick, MA. John has been recognized with multiple scholarships from the Westside committee of the LA Philharmonic and SOL-LA Music Academy. John likes to build LEGO, watch movies, and sledding.


Sammi Li


Sammi Li, 14, first studied piano at age 3 and started studying with Professor Ingrid Clarfield at the age of 10. Sammi has won numerous awards. Sammi was awarded first place in her age division for the Greater Princeton Steinway Society Piano Scholarship Competition, the Westchester University Annual Pre-Collegiate Competition, and the Piano Teachers Congress of New York Honors Program. She received second place while being the youngest contestant in the Joseph Israel Bookstaber Memorial Competition for high schoolers, third place in the Chopin International Competition at Hartford, Ct, and Honorable Mention for the Music Teachers National Association Junior Category. Sammi has had the opportunity to perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, as well as on the WWFM broadcasted series "Kids On Keys".


Daniel Liu


Daniel Liu, a fourteen-year-old Georgetown Preparatory HS freshman, has been playing piano for over nine years. He was born in Argentina, and grew up in Maryland, USA. He has been studying piano with Dr. Dmitri Nazarenko for the last five years. Daniel performs frequently and has won top awards in many Maryland/Virginia area competitions, including 1st places in the Gottlieb Competition, Hartman competition, Maryland Piano Solo, and was the MTNA state winner (MD) in the junior division. Also, he won Maryland State Concerto Competition twice and performed with orchestra. Daniel performed in Weil Recital Hall (New York) in 2017. Outside of piano, Daniel is on the school debate team, cross country team, and track team. He has won multiple awards in the 4x800 meter relays and mile competition, as well as numerous accolades on his debate team. In his spare time, he enjoys filming, traveling, reading, and creative writing.


Matthew Liu


Matthew Liu, age 12, has been studying piano for 6 years and is currently a student of Professor Jack Winerock at the University of Kansas. Matthew has won top prizes in many international piano competitions, including International Keyboard Odyssiad® & Festival in Fort Collins, International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington D.C., Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition in Indiana, Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition in New York City, and Los Angeles Young Musicians International Competition. Earlier in 2019, Matthew won the concerto competitions hosted by Midwestern Chamber Ensemble and Kansas City Music Teachers Association. Besides piano, Matthew also enjoys soccer, tennis, reading, and spending time with friends and families. He was the state winner of the 2014 Math Kangaroo in USA competition, and won the Spelling Bee contest at his school in 2018.


Sabrina Lo


Sabrina Lo, 12, has won 1st place in her category at the New West Symphony Youth Piano Competition, the Glendale Piano Competition, the State Finals of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) Honors Competition (which also awarded her the Andrys Basten Award for Best Performance overall), the statewide Kathryn Gawartin Chopin Piano Competition, the Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF) Open Baroque competition, and the CAPMT District IX Romantic/Impressionistic Competition. She has also received awards in the Open Solo and Open Chopin competitions of the SYMF, and in the Lansum International Piano Competition. Sabrina currently studies piano with Anders Martinson in Santa Monica and is in 6th grade at Foothills Middle School in Arcadia, where she plays first violin in the orchestra and participates in the Math, Chess, and Newspaper clubs. Sabrina also fences and placed 10th in her category in Epee at the 2018 USA Fencing National Championships.


Jeston Lu


FINALIST
14-year-old Jeston is an eighth grader in San Jose, California. He currently studies with Professor Hans Boepple. He previously studied with Peyhwan Kuan. He won numerous piano competitions including the Top Performer award and 1st place in recent US New Star Competition by Composer (Chopin), 1st place in 2017 and 2019 East Bay Piano Competition, 1st place in 2018 Chopin San Francisco Competition (Third Age), a Winner of 2018 Marilyn Mindell Piano Competition (Junior), 2nd place in 2018 and 2019 USOMC Piano Showcase, 2018 Sylvia M. Ghiglieri Piano Competition and 2018 USIMC - Bach Theme Award. In addition, Jeston won 1st place and the Outstanding Gold Medalist in Open Duets (both Senior and Advanced Contemporary) in 2019 USOMC. His other ensemble performances include eight-hand piano ensemble at Chamber Music Festival of East Bay Music Foundation, duets at Rotary District Conference in San Jose State University and the Annual Masquerade Ball Fundraiser organized by Music at the Mission.


Angelina Ning


Angelina Ning, 14, is a freshman at American Heritage School and currently studies with Professor Tian Ying. In the past, she has studied with Dr. Marina Lomazov. Her awards include Grand Prizes at the 2016 Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition in the intermediate solo and concerto divisions, first prize and best performance of a solo piece at the 2016 East Carolina University Young Artists Competition, first prizes at the North Carolina and South Carolina MTNA, and first prize at the 2017 Peter Perret Youth Talent Search Concerto Competition. More recently, she has won alternate in the Southern division of MTNA, third prize at the David Dubois Piano Competition, and second place at the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition. Angelina has performed with the Alicante Symphony Orchestra and the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra.


Hyeonuk Park


Fourteen-year-old Hyeonuk Park, a student at Baker School in Massachusetts, studies piano at New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston. Formerly, he studied piano in his native Korea, where, in 2012 and 2013, he took first prize at National Music Contests with Daegu Philharmonic Orchestra and, in the following year, gained three first prizes at National Student Music Competitions. In 2015, Hyeonuk gave his first solo recital in St. Petersburg, Russia where, in 2016, he earned grand prix at St. Petersburg International Young Art Premium Competition. Since 2016, he has studied with Prof. Wha Kyung Byun and Dr. Sangyoung Kim at New England Preparatory School. Most recently, he gained second prize at 9th West Virginia International Piano Competition and Festival. With his Trio Giocoso, Hyeonuk performed twice in 2018 for NPR’s From the Top, in concert with the Canadian Brass and on the radio show at NEC’s Jordan Hall, and he performed with Trio Giocoso at the NEC Prep Chamber Music Gala Concert in 2017. Moreover, again in 2018, Hyeonukperformed in concert with NEC Prep Youth Repertory Orchestra at Jordan Hall.


Maxine Park


Maxine Park (14) is a student of Alexander Korsantia and Mila Filatova. She has won numerous awards, including first prizes at the Steinway Junior Piano Competition, Chopin International Piano Competition, and Paderewski International Competition. Most recently, she received first place in the MTNA New Hampshire State and Eastern Division Competitions and second place in the National Competition. Maxine has been a soloist with the New York Concerto Sinfonietta at Carnegie Hall, Nashua Chamber Orchestra, and MostArts Festival Orchestra. In 2018, she performed in the “World Piano Talents” series at the International Chopin Festival in Busko-Zdroj, Poland. This summer, she was selected as festival participant for the Cliburn International Junior Competition and Festival. She has been featured on NPR’s From the Top in a show with host Christopher O’Riley and two videos productions. Maxine was awarded a full four-year, merit-based scholarship as a Caroline D. Bradley Scholar and attends Phillips Exeter Academy.


Christopher Shin


Christopher Shin, age 13, began studying the piano at the age of six, and currently studies with Veda Zuponcic. During his young musical career, Christopher has been awarded a number of prizes at various piano competitions, including winning the NJMTA Young Musicians Competition multiple times. During the previous year, he won the 2018 Rowan University Concerto Competition, performing Mozart’s Concerto in A Major, K 488; was a finalist in the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Competition 2018; won the West Chester University 2018 Piano Competition; won the II Prize in the Chopin International Piano Competition, Hartford, CT, 2018; among many others. Most recently, Christopher was the first-place winner of the GMP International Young Talents Competition and the Greater Princeton Steinway Society 2019 Classical Competition. Besides piano, Christopher played lead trumpet in the 2019 NJAJE Region Jazz Ensemble and is currently playing lead trumpet in his school Jazz Band.


Bill Vu


11 years old Bill Vu was born in Laval, Quebec. Bill started learning the piano after being discovered by world renowned pianist Dang Thai Son at the age of 5. Bill studied with professor Richard Raymond at the Montreal Conservatory from 2014-2015. He is currently a scholarship student at the Phil and Eli Taylor Academy, in the studio of Dr. Michael Berkovsky. Bill is the winner and scholarship recipient at many music festivals and competitions. Among them are: Quebec Music Educators Association Festival, Montreal Classical Music Festival, Ontario Music Federation Association (Provincial Finals), the Canadian Music Competition and many more. Bill made his orchestral debut at the age of 10 with the Canadian Sinfonietta Orchestra. He also performed with the CAST orchestra, as well as the Kitchener Waterloo Community Orchestra. Bill loves to play video game very much! His MOST favourite thing to do is playing video game and fools around with his three brothers.


Sarah Yuan


FINALIST
Sarah Yuan, age 14, began piano studies at the age of seven and now studies with Dr. Sharon Mann. Since 2015, Sarah has won awards in the East Bay Piano Competition, the San Francisco Chopin Competition, the Pacific Musical Society Competition, and the Music Teachers’ Association of California Piano Solo Competition. She was also selected to perform at the Junior Bach Festival in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Sarah has received first prize in Etude Club’s Young Artist Competition of 2018 and the Sturm-Page Piano Scholarship Competition in 2017. In the summer of 2018, she attended PianoTexas’ PrepFest at Fort Worth. Currently, she plays in the Young Chamber Musicians program and is the pianist for the Aveline Trio, which won first place in the Galante Prize Competition of 2019. Sarah also enjoys reading and cooking and is an active participant in her school’s debate program.


Philina Zhang


FINALIST
Philina Zhang is a 6th-grade student at Kaufman Music Center's Special Music School in New York City, and is studying piano with Ms. Irina Morozova. Philina started learning piano when she was three and attended Manhattan School of Music Precollege for a year at the age of 6. Philina has won multiple prizes in international competitions, including 1st prize in New York Music Competition, the International Virtuoso Competition, Rondo Vanguard Young Artist Competition, Vivo International Music Competition, and Cremona International Piano Competition. She also won 2nd Place at the Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition, the Chopin International Piano competition at Hartford, and most recently Steinway & Sons Junior Piano Competition. Philina has performed at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall in NYC, as well as the Cremona Violin Museum in Italy. A prolific composer, she has composed numerous piano solos, violin solos, trios and quartets. Since a young age, Philina has enjoyed playing duets with her violinist sister, Nickita Zhang.


Kelly Yao Zhou


FINALIST
YaoYao (Kelly) Zhou is from Zhejiang Province, China and currently lives in New York City. YaoYao is the 2019 Grand Prize Winner of the 8th Metropolitan International Piano Competition in New York City. She has performed alongside Juilliard and Curtis faculties at Weill Recital Hall, as soloist at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center and Shanghai TV. YaoYao studied with Ms. Jackie Tang in Shanghai and currently with Dr. June Xiao in Manhattan.  This summer, Kelly looks forward to studying with Menahem Pressler at Musica Mundi, Oxford Piano Festival and the Adamant School.


Patricia Zhuge


Patricia Zhuge began studying piano at age 3 and a half and has been studying with concert pianist Susan Starr since the age of 9 in Philadelphia. Patricia made her Carnegie Hall debut at age of 6 in New York, and her orchestral debut at age 10 with Miami Symphony Orchestra at Adrienne Arsht Center Knight Concert Hall in Miami, Florida. At age 10, Patricia was invited by Marion Chamber Music Society to perform her solo recital debut in Ocala, Florida. She has won numerous awards in many competitions both in China and the United States since the age of 5.