16 High School Pianists Compete At Lee

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lee University’s Department of Instrumental Music welcomes 16 young performers from across the country to campus Wednesday-Saturday for its 2010 Piano Competition.

The annual contest features guest judges, in addition to Lee faculty judges, who teach master classes between rounds of the competition and give a special concert Friday at 7:30 p.m. The final round will take place in the Squires Recital Hall at 9 a.m. Saturday. Winners are presented in the closing ceremony at 11:45 that morning.

All sessions are free and open to the public.

Katherine Elise Benson, Jonesborough, Tenn., is a sophomore at ETSU’s University School where she was recently awarded the highest academic honor for her grade, The James E. Francis Award for Outstanding Student. Katherine is currently studying piano with Chih-Long Hu and composition with Maria Niederberger. She has also been invited to attend the Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Piano Program this year.

Elaine Chen, Herndon, Va, is a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She has been studying with Rosita Kerr Mang since 2001. The first place winner of Virginia State Auditions and Miriam S. Gottlieb Memorial Piano Competition, Elaine also won first place at the 22nd International Young Artist Piano Concerto Competition and was featured as the guest soloist with the Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Sitan Chen, Suwanee, Ga., started playing piano at age 6 and currently studies under Janice Wong. Chen is a three-time first prize winner at the Georgia Music Teachers Association state solo auditions and a first prize winner at the Georgia Music Educators Association solo competition. Chen’s other interests include the violin and mathematics, having qualified twice to compete in the U.S. Mathematical Olympiad.

Baron Fenwick, Watauga, N.C., is a rising junior attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Winner of the 2010 NC Symphony Concerto Competition (Senior Division) and of the 2009 Leonard Bernstein Excellence Award at UNCSA, Fenwick has enjoyed performance opportunities in master classes with pianists Roy Eaton, Richard Cass and Peter Takacs. In addition, Baron performed at the Washington Ballet Company Gala in Carnegie-Mellon Auditorium.

Clara Guo, Great Falls, Va., is a rising freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She was a prize winner at the 2008 and 2009 Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association Piano Concerto Competition. Clara studies piano with Rosita Kerr Mang and has appeared in recitals at the Goodwin House and at the Alden Theatre in Virginia. In addition to piano, she is a passionate figure skater, having one many ice skating competitions.

Isaac Hinchman, Chattanooga, Tenn., recently won the 2010 Senior High division of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Piano Arts Competition. He also earned his Guild High School diploma this year and won awards in three categories at the state National Federation of Music Clubs Festival. He began studying piano 8 years ago under Mandy Boerma and has taken from Tammy Benson since February 2006. Isaac also studies violin with Xiaoqing Yu at Lee University.

Kimberly Hou, Arlington, Va., has been studying piano for 12 years, the last 9 with Dr. Marjorie Lee. Kimberly won National First Prize in MTNA Junior Piano Competition in 2009. She has performed at Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Carnegie Hall American Fine Arts Festival Gala Concert, Hungarian Embassy, Bulgarian Embassy, George Mason University, and the 2009 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Chicago.

Zachary Hughes, Travelers Rest, S.C., is a home-schooled junior who has studied piano for 8 years. A former student of Ann Holler of Bristol, Tenn., he currently studies with Chih-long Hu of ETSU and Fabio Parrini of North Greenville University. Along with winning second place at the 2009 Lee University Piano Competition, Zachary has received prizes from numerous regional and national music competitions, including Bristol Music Club Scholarship Competitions, the Laurence Hamilton Morton Piano Competition, and first place at the MTNA Tennessee State Competition.

Eric James, Cumming, Ga., has studied piano for 12 years and is currently studying with Lisa Gaal. James’s most significant accomplishments have been placing first in the Georgia Music Teachers Association state competition for 3 years, placing third in the Jo Evans Scholarship, and placing first in the Gwinnett Music Teachers Association Junior-Senior Piano Scholarship. James is also an active member in the National Latin Honors Society, Beta Club, Healthcare Occupations Students of America, and the Atlanta Vocal Project.

Jason Nong, Tampa, Fla., began playing piano when he was 5. In 2007, he became the youngest person to win the grand prize of the Florida Orchestra Young Artists Competition. Last year, he was a national finalist in the Junior Piano division of the MTNA Competition and a semifinalist in the Furman University Daniel Piano Competition. He currently studies with Vladimir Khokhlov and will be a senior in the International Baccalaureate program at King High School in Tampa.

Stella Loana Roznovan, Gaithersburg, Md., was born in Moldova and started playing the piano at age 7. In Romania, she placed third in the National Piano Competition, the George Georgescu Competition and the National “Carl Czerny” Competition. She moved to the U.S. in 2005, eventually entering the studio of Svetlana Aliyeva. Here, her awards continued, including first prize at the Buckeye Competition in Ohio. She was recently named first place winner of the 2010 Healy Ford Scholarship.

Derek Shyr, Nashville, Tenn., is a rising senior at University School in Nashville. He is a student of Amy Dorfman at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He is a three-time winner of the Tennessee Music Teachers Association State Piano Competition and a three-time winner of the Nashville Area Music Teachers Association Young Artist Achievement Award. He has performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and the Curb Youth Symphony. Derek has been a member of the Chincoteague Trio and has also participated in master classes with Stephen Beus and Nicholas Zumbro.

Trenton Takaki, Wilmette, Ill., is a freshman at New Trier High School and a student of Sueanne Metz. As a first prize winner of the Bradshaw Buono International Piano Competition, he performed at Carnegie Hall. Trenton received first place awards in the Young Artists Piano Competition at DePauw University and the Cardinal Stritch University Piano Festival in Wisconsin. Trenton has performed at Symphony Center, Preston Bradley Hall, The Polish Center of Wisconsin, and in the Young Steinway Concert Series in Illinois.

Stephanie A. Tang, Upland, Calif., started playing piano at age 4. She moved to China at the age of 10 to study with Dan Zhaoyi at Shenzhen Arts School. She has won several awards in international piano competitions in Italy and the U.S. Her performances include solo recitals at Mayman Hall in Los Angeles, Mozart’s 250th Celebration Concert in Shenzhen, China, and the Winner’s Recital at Carnegie Hall. She currently studies with Ory Shihor at the Colburn School of Performing Arts.

Tracy Wong, Cincinnati, Ohio, is a freshman at Sycamore High School and studies piano with Sergei Polusmiak. Tracy has been a prize winner in numerous piano competitions, receiving first prizes in the 2009 Chicago Steinway Piano Concerto Competition, the 2009 Concerto Division and 2007 Solo Division of the Cincinnati World Piano Competition. Tracy made her solo and orchestral debut with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra in Russia at age 11.

Weston Mizumoto, Yorba Linda, Calif., recently appeared at Carnegie Hall where a New York concert review critic acknowledged Mizumoto was a “standout” performer. Recent competitions have awarded Weston a winner’s performance at the Redlands Bowl, Grand Prize at the Elvin S. McGaughey Music Foundation Glendale Piano Competition, and the Yamaha Award at the Japan Musicians Association of California. Weston studies with Susan Boettger and also enjoys competitive Rubik’s Speedcubing, ranking among the top in the World Cube Federation’s 2x2, 3x3, one-handed, and blindfolded solving events.

For more information on the Lee University Piano Competition, please contact the Department of Instrumental Music at 614-8264 or the School of Music at 614-8240.

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