Lee University's 10th annual International Piano Festival will feature nine students competing for cash and scholarship awards beginning June 19.
The competition concludes a week of concerts and professional instruction.
Of the festival’s 13 participants, nine students will showcase their skills in the competitive format: Christine Cheng, Daniel Kim, Sabrina Kozak, Melvina Kuoshu, Brian Le, Megan Lee, Adrian Liao, Eric Lin and Winne Luo.
The official opening of the piano competition will be Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Squires Hall, located in Lee’s Humanities Center. At the conclusion of Thursday’s round, students will be selected for the final round on Saturday at 10 a.m.
These finalists will perform an entirely new program for this year’s judges — Ning An, Gloria Chien, Jerome Lowenthal, Ursula Oppens and Misoo Sohn. Prizewinners will be named directly following the final round at noon. The competitors are vying for a grand prize of $3,000 cash.
- Christine Cheng, 14, from Irvine, Calif., started her formal music training at the age of 6. With her passion for piano, she has won various piano competitions and gave solo performances at Carnegie Hall in 2011 and 2012. Cheng was invited by the Global Greens Organization to give a Solo Benefit Recital in Taiwan for promoting awareness of environmental issues. Recently, she was accepted to Orange County School of the Arts Piano Conservatory.
Cheng also plays flute in a concert band and dreams to become an engineer and pianist in the future.
- Daniel Kim is a senior at the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute of Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Calif. He has been studying piano since the age of 5 under the instruction of Mary Ann Cummins. Over the years, Kim has received first prizes in the Music Teacher’s Association of California (MTAC) State Concerto competition and Grand Prize in the Korea Times Music Competition.
In 2012 he performed in concert with the Chung in Seoul, South Korea. After graduating from high school, Kim plans to take a year to focus on his musical development and then start his studies at Columbia University in the fall of 2015.
- Sabrina Kozak, 17, from Torrance, Calif., has been studying piano since age 6 with Ethan Dong. She debuted with the Beach Cities Symphony, was selected as a finalist for Torrance Symphony Idol, and has performed with the Seraphim Symphony.
Kozak has been awarded two gold medals in Southern California Junior Bach Festival Complete Works Audition, first prize in Glendale Piano Competition, first prize in the California Association of Professional Music Teachers State Finals, and has placed in Los Angeles’ International Liszt Competition, Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, Kathryn Gawartin Chopin Piano Competition, and others. Kozak has performed in many venues including Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and is also a vocalist and an accomplished oil painter.
- Melvina Kuoshu, is a ninth-grader at Southside High from Greenville, S.C. She appeared on NPR’s “From The Top” program in 2013. Kuoshu has participated in many local and state auditions and has received many awards. She placed third at the Texas State International Piano Festival in 2012 and won first prize for concerto in the Southern California Music Teachers Association’s Division III in 2013 and Division II in 2011.
She won third prizes at the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Junior Piano Competition (2012 and 2011) and Carolina Youth Symphony Concerto Competition (2013, 2012, 2011), second prize at the National Federation of Music Clubs in 2011, and first prize along with a scholarship from Greenville Crescent Music Club (2011). In addition to piano, Kuoshu swims competitively and has won the state championship in 2010.
- Brian Le, 16, is a rising junior in the math and science Magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md. He studies with Nancy O’Neill Breth. Recently, he was the first-prize winner of the 2014 MTNA Senior Piano Duet Competition along with his duet partner, Cynthia Liu. He was also the first-prize winner of the 27th International Young Artists Piano Competition, 2012 Ylda Novik Concerto Competition, and Third Classical Piano Competition at Western Virginia University. Le was awarded alternate in the Eastern division of the 2011 MTNA Junior Piano Competition. Last year, he was a prize winner in the International Institute for Young Musicians International Piano Competition. Le is also an avid performer and has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.
- Megan Lee, 16, is a junior at Hudson High School in Ohio. A scholarship recipient of the 2011-2012 Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship Program in the Performing Arts discipline, she has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall ten times. She was the winner of the Oregon Music Teachers Association Buckeye Piano Competition in 2007 and 2011. Lee won first prize in the National Finals of the 2012-2013 MTNA Senior Performance National Competition, California and performed at the 2013 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Chicago.
She has performed as a soloist with the Suburban Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra at Severance Hall, Cleveland Institute of Music Conservatory Orchestra, and the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra as the winner of the 2014 Frieda Schumacher Young Artists Competition. Lee was selected as a 2014 Gilmore International Keyboard Festival Masterclass Fellow.
- Adrian Liao, 15, from San Diego, Calif, made her concerto debut at age 11 with the University of San Diego Symphony and has soloed with the Seraphim Symphony, Mount Orchestra, South Coast Symphony, and the San Diego Symphony. Liao was the grand-prize winner of the 2014 Glendale Piano Competition, winner of the 2013 H.B. Goodlin Scholarship Competition, and first alternate at the 2014 MTAC State Solo Competition. She has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Recital Hall in New York and in other benefit concerts and recitals. She currently studies with Yi Dong at the Opus119 Conservatory in Irvine. She also plays the violin and has participated in her school’s advanced orchestra along with other chamber ensembles. In her free time, Liao enjoys photography, baking, and writing stories.
- Eric Lin, 15, from Falls Church, Va., started his piano studies at age 5. As the winner of the 2014 Ylda Novik Memorial Piano Concerto Competition, he will perform Prokofiev’s Concerto No.3 with the Capital City Symphony in the 2014-2015 Season. He was awarded first prizes at Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association Robert Spencer Concerto Competition in 2013 and 2014, the annual Emilio del Rosario Piano Concerto Competition, and the 2012 DePaul Concerto Festival. Lin was the youngest finalist--prize winner at 2013 International Institute for Young Musicians Competition and the 2013 Princeton Festival Piano Competition. He was awarded the alternate at the Virginia State MNTA competition, first place in the 8th Annual Sejong Music Competition, and first place in the 13th Annual Chopin Young Piano Competition in Milwaukee, Wis. He is a student of Dr. Marjorie Lee.
- Winne Luo, 15, is a sophomore in Rockville, Md., and studies piano with Elena Arseniev. She started playing the piano at age four. Luo has won first prizes in the Maryland State Music Teachers Association Solo Festival for four consecutive years, the 2014 Miriam Gottilieb Competition, the International Young Artist Piano Competition, and the Asian American Music Society International Competition.
She received honorable mention in the 2013 Washington Music Teachers Association Lichtenberg Scholarship Competition and the 2014 Elizabeth David Competition. Luo performed as a soloist at Carnegie Weill Hall and Dicapo Opera Theater in New York City, as well as the U.S. State Department. She attended the International Music Institution and Festival in summer 2012.