2014 Festival Participants

Picture of Alex ChienAlex Chien, 16, is from San Jose, CA. He is the winner of the 2014 Mondavi Center National Young Artists Prize in Piano and Bouchaine Young Artists Award, the 2013 San Francisco Young Pianists' Award, Marilyn Mindell, and Henry and Carol Zeiter Piano Competitions and the Palo Alto Philharmonic 2013 Concerto Movement and Celia Mendez Young Pianist's Beethoven Competitions. He won first prizes in the 2012 Los Angeles Int’l Liszt Competition, 2011 Virginia Waring Int’l Piano Competition, and the Int’l Russian Piano Competition's Young Musician category, and Grand Prize in the 2009 Mondavi Young Artist Competition. Alex has performed throughout the US and England and as soloist with the California Youth Symphony in six major cities of Argentina and Uruguay. He has also performed with the Palo Alto Philharmonic and the Peninsula, Diablo, Fremont and Temple Hill Symphony Orchestras.  He studies with Kai Chi Zhu.

Picture of Matthew FigelMatthew Figel, 17, is from Midland, TX. He has performed in master classes taught by Anton Nel, Michel Dalberto, Anderson & Roe, Daniel Shapiro, and Leslie Spotz. He was invited to attend the fourth annual Texas State International Piano Festival with a full scholarship and also attended the University of Houston’s Piano Institute at the Texas Music Festival. His numerous awards include first prize in the Texas State Young Artist Piano Competition and second prize in the David D. Dubois International Piano Competition. Recently, he played the Grieg Concerto with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra after being named Runner-Up in the Interlochen Concerto Competition. Matthew was also named as Interlochen’s annual Benjamin Schore Piano Scholar. He has appeared on Interlochen Public Radio’s nationally broadcasted programs “Live from Studio A” and “Collage.” He studies with Michael Coonrod.

Picture of David GengDavid Geng , 17, is from Princeton, NJ. He has played at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and various other venues. He won first prize at the Piano Teachers Congress of New York Competition and second prize at the West Chester University Piano Competition; was a semifinalist in the 2013 Kaufman Music Center International Piano Competition; and won third prizes at the 10th LISMA Foundation International Music Competition and the 2014 Dubois International Piano Competition in Bowling Green, Ohio. He is also a 7-year top award recipient in the NJMTA Spring Auditions, and a two-time top prizewinner in the Crescendo International Music Competition. He performed in a master class with Jon Nakamatsu and has studied piano at the International Institute for Young Musicians in Kansas City, Missouri. He studies with Ingrid Clarfield. 

Picture of Kiffen LoomisKiffen Loomis, 15, is from Asheville, NC. In competitions hosted by NCFMC, Kiffen has been awarded first prize six times. He was a finalist in the 2012 North Carolina Symphony Concerto Competition and the 2013 Winston-Salem Symphony Peter Perret Talent Search. In 2013, he performed the first movement of the Schumann Concerto with the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra as a winner of the Charlotte Symphony Guild Competition. Kiffen has participated in master classes with Veda Kaplinsky, Anna Hayward, and Alon Goldstein, and frequently performs on National Public Radio. Kiffen studied at the Brevard Music Center in 2012, and, in the summer of 2013, with John O’Conor at the Aspen Music Festival. He is also a member of several chamber music groups and president of an outreach group of student musicians that educates more than 500 children annually. He currently studies with Suzan Fehr.

Picture of Max MaMax Ma, 17, is from Newcastle, WA. He has won first prizes in the NW Chopin Competition (2009, 2010, 2011), Bach Festival, Sonatina Sonata Festival, the WSMTA solo and concerto competitions, and the Russian Festival Competition. He has collaborated with such conductors as Uri Segal, Sergei Babayan, and Stillian Kirov.  Max has participated in the Perugia MusicFest (2012, 2013) and the Aspen Music Festival (2010), studying with Yoheved Kaplinsky, and recently performed at Weill Recital Hall. In 2013, Max performed a movement of Rachmaninoff’s second concerto with the Seattle Symphony. He is a winner of the Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford CT 2014, and will study at the Aspen Music Festival and School this summer. This year he will begin his studies at the Juilliard Pre-College Division with Yoheved Kaplinsky. He currently studies with Nino Merabishvili.

Picture of Chaeyoung-Park

Chaeyoung Park, 16, from Lawrence, KS, was awarded the Gold Medal by the National YoungArts Foundation and First Place at the Emilio Del Rosario Int’l Young Artists Piano Concerto Competition in 2014. In 2012, she won first place in the IIYM Int’l Piano Competition as well as Audience Prize, and was youngest finalist at the Eastman Young Artists Int’l Piano Competition. She was a Kansas State and West Central Division MTNA winner in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. She has performed in Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Merkin Hall and Weill Recital Hall, New World Center (Miami), the Eastman School of Music, and Lied Center (KS), and with the Rochester Philharmonic, New Millennium Symphony and the Topeka Symphony among others. She performs with the Kansas City Symphony in 2014, and has played frequently on KANU/KPR radio. She studies with Jack Winerock and Scott Smith.

Picture of Maria ParriniMaria Parrini, 17, is from Greenville, SC. At the age of 13, she played first movement of Schumann’s Concerto with the Carolina Youth Symphony. She has since performed the entire concerto with the GCYO Young Artist Orchestra; the first movement of Brahms’ First Concerto with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra; and the first movement of Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 2 with the GAMAC Orchestra. She will be representing the Southern Division at the MTNA Senior Piano Competition in March, and will perform Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos with Fabio Parrini and the Clemson University Symphony Orchestra in April. Maria has attended Brevard Music Center, SEPF, and the Lee University Piano Festival, and has played in masterclasses for Russell Sherman, Sergei Babayan, Natalya Antonova, and Christopher O’Riley. She studies with her father, Fabio Parrini.

Picture of Kadar Derek QianKadar Derek Qian, 16, is from Westford, MA. He made his Boston Pops debut at the age of fifteen, performing Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 in Symphony Hall. He has appeared as a soloist over ten times with orchestras, six as winner of their Young Artist Competition. In addition, Kadar won the Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, along with special prizes for the Best Bach and Best Chopin Performances, and first prize at the Steinway Society of Massachusetts piano competition. For the past two years, he has been a recipient of the Chopin Foundation of the United States Scholarship, and more recently, he was the winner of the Harvard Music Association High School Achievement Award. He has been heard on NPR’s From the Top, and in 2013 released an album for Naxos Records. He is currently Assistant Conductor of the Melrose Symphony Orchestra and studies piano with Angel Ramón Rivera.

Picture of Sara RasmussenSarah Rasmussen, 18, is from Platte City, MO. She has performed in Kansas City, Lawrence, and Springfield, as well as Parugia, Italy, and recently appeared at Missouri State University as the Virginia Cox Bussey Guest Young Artist and at the Lawrence Arts Center. She has been a prizewinner in International Institute for Young Musicians Piano Competition, Fite Family Young Artists, and MTNA. Sarah made her debut with Uri Segal and the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra in Italy, and has participated in masterclasses and lessons with Nelita True, John Perry, Ilana Vered, Alon Goldstein, Boris Slutsky, Michal Tal, Sasha Starcevich, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and Lea Agmon. Several local news sources have highlighted her talent, including interviews with Fox 4 New KC and the Kansas City Star, in addition to many broadcast performances at Kansas Public Radio. Sarah currently studies with Steven Spooner.

Picture of Dong Yeon KimChristopher Son Richardson, 15, is from Lake Forest Park, WA. He has performed on KRCB and NPR's “From the Top.” A scholarship winner at the National Chopin Foundation and the winner at the MTNA Washington State Division in Senior Duet with his brother, he has performed at Weill Hall, the Harris Concert Hall, the Music Tent and McCallum Theater. He was a prizewinner at the 2013 Int’l e-piano and played with the Minnesota Orchestra. He won second prize at the 2011 Virginia Waring Concerto, Tureck Int’l Bach, 2012 LA Liszt Int’l and the winner of 2012 State CAPMT Concerto, Contemporary and Honors Auditions, MTNA CA and American Fine Arts; first prize in the 2011 Seattle Int’l Piano and at the Int’l Russian Competitions (2012,2013), Ross McKee, Berkeley Etude Club, Pacific Musical Society; and third prize at the Lennox Int’l Young Artists Concerto. He currently studies with Duane Hulbert.

Picture of Agata SorotokinAgata Sorotokin, 16, is from San Jose, CA. In 2013, she participated in the Finckel-Wu Han Chamber Music Studio program (Aspen Music Festival). In the summers of 2009-2012, she studied in the Music@Menlo Chamber Music Institute and also with pianist and composer Ivan Sokolov at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. She has played in master classes with Gilbert Kalish, Ann Schein, John Kimura Parker, Inon Barnatan, Bruce Adolphe, Laurence Lesser, and the Pacifica Quartet, and has performed with pianists Wu Han and Ivan Sokolov. She is the winner of the 2014 San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition and won first prizes in the 2013 MTAC Concerto Competition, 2013 and 2010 El Camino Youth Symphony Concerto, 2012 Ross McKee Foundation Piano, 2012 Pacific Musical Society’s Scholarship and 2010 Marilyn Mindell Junior Competitions. She studies with John McCarthy.

Picture of Clayton StephensonClayton Stephenson, 15, is from Brooklyn, NY and is a scholarship student at the Juilliard Pre-College Division. Clayton made his first orchestra debut performing at Lincoln Center in 2012 as the first prize winner of the Juilliard Pre-College Piano Concerto Competition, playing Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony. He was e He Hewalso was given the honor to perform a solo recital each year at the Juilliard Paul Recital Hall, selected by a jury panel. In 2013, Clayton won the first prize of the 2013 Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, and the first prize in the LISMA International Piano Competition, and he is the gold medalist in the third American Youth Talent & Art Contest. In November of 2013, he was chosen as one of only twelve to participate the Inaugural Lang Lang Junior Music Camp in Munich, Germany. He studies with Ernest Barretta.

Picture of Kevin TakedaKevin Takeda, 16, is from Indian Wells, CA. He received Honorable Mention in the Parlando School of Music Young Arts, second place in the Riverside Young Artists, third place in Michigan's MTNA, Honorable Mention in the EMF Concerto, first place in the EMF Solo Piano and second place in the Michigan MTNA Senior Competitions, was finalist in the Riverside Steinway Society and David Dubois National Piano Competitions and state finalist in the CAPMT Honors Competition. He has performed frequently on Interlochen Public Radio and also at Detroit Symphony Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He attended Interlochen from 2008-2011 and the Eastern Music Festival in 2013, and was selected to perform in Interlochen’s annual “Collage”. He has performed in master classes with Nelita True, Jonathan Biss, Natalya Antonova, and Jeremy Denk. He studies with Thomas Lymenstull.

Picture of Keiju TakeharaAt age 14, Keiju Takehara, 16 , is from Marshall, VA and a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. In addition to activity as soloist, Keiju is involved in chamber music, collaborating with other fellow musicians in a trio, and also with students from the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed with the Piedmont Symphony as soloist, and is a pianist in the American Youth Philharmonic. Keiju has performed at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, the Dutch Embassy, the French Embassy, the Italian Embassy, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium, and has also performed in master classes with Barry Douglas, Enrique Graf, Robert Levine, the Imani Winds, Lambert Orkis, the Emerson Quartet, the Ensemble de Camera of Washington, Orion Weiss, and Joseph Kalichstein. He studies with Martin Labazevitch.

Picture of Elisabeth TsaiElisabeth Tsai, 15, is from Birmingham, AL. She made her orchestral debut with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra in April 2014. Elisabeth has been awarded prizes at numerous local, regional, and national level competitions. Most recently, she was awarded the first prize in the 2014 Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition, and was named a national finalist in the 2014 MTNA Junior Piano Competition. Other awards include first prizes in the Lois Pickard Scholarship Competition, the Indian Springs Piano Competition, and the Zelpha Wells Piano Competition. Elisabeth has also been a frequent state winner in the Alabama Music Teacher’s Association in both solo and concerto categories, and has performed at state conferences for the past five years. She has an upcoming appearance on NPR’s From the Top, and currently studies with Ronald Shinn.

Picture of Athena TsianosAthena Tsianos, 17, is from Glendora, CA. A winner of the 2013 Third Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition, she also won the prize for best overall performance of a contemporary piece. Other competition awards include first prizes in the MTNA State, CAPMT State Concerto, Elvin Samuel McGaughey Music Foundation Glendale, Kathryn Gawartin Chopin Piano, National Young Arts, and MTAC State Concerto Competitions, Junior Bach Festival Complete Works Audition, CAPMT State Honors Auditions, and second prize in the Seattle International Piano Competition. Athena has performed as soloist with the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra and with her chamber music ensemble under the tutelage of LA Philharmonic violinist Robert Gupta. Her other master class teachers include Adam Wibrowski, Kevin Fitz-Gerald, and Menahem Pressler. She currently studies with Bernadene Blaha.

Picture of Janet WuPianist Janet Wu, 15, is from King of Prussia, PA. She is a first place winner of many competitions, including the PMTA/MTNA Junior (2010, 2011, 2012) and Senior Piano (2013) Performance Competition, West Chester Piano Competition, and Tri-County Piano Competition. She has competed in several young artist international piano competitions and most recently was the third degree winner of the Debut International Piano Competition.  Janet has performed in several music festivals, including a solo concert at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts at the Kimmel Center, and at the Moscow Meets Friends Music Festival at the Tchaikovsky Memorial Hall in Moscow. She performs frequently with the Auger Contemporary Music Piano Trio, has given solo concerts every summer since age 9, and has also performed as a soloist with six orchestras. She studies with Xiangfel Zeng.

Picture of Bill XiongBill Xiong, 17, is from Plano, TX. He won first place at the 2013 Dallas Symphonic Festival, grand prize at the 2014 Dallas Symphonic Festival, second place at the 2013 Baylor-Waco 5 State Regional Concerto Competition, first place at the 2014 Baylor-Waco 5 State Regional Concerto Competition, and second place at the 2013 Texas Music Teachers Association State Competition. Additionally, he was the winner of the SMU Institute for Young Pianists National Competition in 2012 as well as the Baylor Summer Institute Competition in 2013, and was recently named a finalist in the McKinney Young Artist Competition. In addition to solo recitals, he has also performed with several ensembles, including the SMU Meadows Orchestra under Paul Phillips. Previous teachers include Alfred Mouledous, Bradley Bolen, and Cary Chow, and he currently studies with Catherine Lysinger.

Picture of Seho YoungSeho Young, 16, is from Dedham, MA. He attended the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and the Juilliard School Pre-College Division and has studied piano with Yoheved Kaplinsky, and Wha Kyung Byun. He has played in master classes with Jeffrey Kahane, Piotr Paleczny, and Andrea Bonatta. Seho has played with numerous orchestras, including the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Brockton Symphony, and the Toruń Symphony. He was invited to perform in Moscow as a winner of the Vladimir Spivakov’s International Charity Foundation Award. In New York, he was awarded first place at the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition. He has participated in the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Ishikawa Music Academy in Japan, and the Paderewski Piano Academy in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He studies with Wha Kyung Byun.

Picture of Alice ZhuAlice Zhu, 17, is from Cupertino, CA. She has received prize awards in the International Russian Music Competition, Music Teacher’s Association of California Solo and Concerto Competitions, and Pacific Music Society Competition. Last November, she performed Chopin’s First Concerto with the American Philharmonic Sonoma County and was the recipient of the orchestra’s 2013-14 Young Artist Award. Earlier this year, Alice received the Nafisa Taghioff Prize in the Fremont Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition and will be performing the Chopin Concerto during the upcoming season. She has also played in master classes with Gilbert Kalish, Melvin Chen and Anton Nel. She was invited to participate in the 2011 Music@Menlo Young Performers program and, during the summer, attends the International Institute for Young Musicians at the University of Kansas. She studies with John McCarthy.