Performers for the PTC Honors Program Winners’ Recital 2016:
Pieces to be performed are selected by the judges. Rulings by judges cannot be contested.
First prize – Hazal Ghazarian Skaggs Awards $200
Group I 1st place Winner: Luyao Guo – Tchaikovsky The Seasons June
Group II 1st place Winner: Preston Yao – Glinka/Balakirev The Lark
Group III 1st place Winner: Isaac Blackburn – Schumann Abegg Variations
Group IV 1st place Winner: Su Hsuan Li – Rachmaninoff Etude-Tableaux Op.33 No.9
Second prizes – Pauline Styler Awards $150
Group I 2nd place Winner: Kevin Jin – Martinu The Monkies
Group II 2nd place Winner: Sammi Li – Mendelssohn Rondo Capriccioso
Group III 2nd place Winner: Brendan Tang – Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 8
Group IV 2nd place Winner: Emily Ma – Fantasiestucke op.12 II Aufschwung
Third Prizes: Past Presidents’ Awards $100
Group I 3rd place – Lester B. Major Award – Renee Chieu – Glinka Variations
Group II 3rd place- Adele Velo Award – James Yang Weber – Invitation to Dance
Group III 3rd place- Vera Wills Award – Kevin Melcer – Debussy Prelude feux d’artifice
Group IV 3rd place- Beverly Shea Award – Vivian Xu – Bolcom’s The Serpent’s Kiss
Regina Rubinoff 20th&21st Century American Composer Awards $100
Group III: Isaac Blackburn – Persichetti Three Toccatinas, No.1
Regina Rubinoff Living Composer Award $100
Group IV: Vivian Xu – Bolcom’s The Serpent’s kiss
Dorothy and Sidney Morrow Baroque Composition Award $100
Honorable Mention $50
Group I: Gracelynne Hao – Chopin Waltz C Sharp Minor
Group I: Emily Wang – Beethoven Six Variations on a Swiss Folk Songs WoO 64
Group II : Eliza Podvalny – Joaquin Turina Sacromonte
Group III: Meghan Jin – Debussy L’isle joyeuse
Group III: Lori Leu – Debussy Estampes Jardins sous la pluie
Group III: Craig Murray – Schubert Impromptu G flat Major
About the Judges:
The gathering of numerous international musical influences and tastes has been manifested in the pianism of Saar Ahuvia. A native of Israel, Mr. Ahuvia was awarded the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship for the extraordinary period of ten consecutive years.
His highly acclaimed solo recitals have taken him to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Prague, Moscow, Zürich, New York, Baltimore, Chicago Atlanta, Washington, Paris and Barcelona. He has appeared as a soloist with the Young Israel Philharmonic, the Haifa Symphony, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Florida Symphony, the Musikreis Horgen (Switzerland), the Johns Hopkins Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Symphony Rishon le Zion. He has also appeared in radio and television broadcasts in Israel, Switzerland and the U.S. His international music festival appearances include solo appearances at the Candas International Music Festival and the New Millennium Piano Festival (Spain).
He made his public debut at the age of 10, and at age 12 was already a promising soloist, winning the First Prize of a Steinway-sponsored piano competition in Florida. Since his debut, participation in International piano competitions led to a First Prize in the Ariana Katcz Piano Competition and Finalist in the Francois Shapira Competition, both in Isarel. In Barcelona, Mr. Ahuvia captured the Third Prize and two Special Prizes at the Maria Canals International Piano Competition. During his studies in Switzerland he was awarded the Second prize at the Walter Bringolf Competition and the Orpheus Prize.
Saar Ahuvia’s teachers have included Arie Vardi, Michael Bugoslavsky, Gary Wolf and Daniel Höxter. From Israel to Puerto Rico, Argentina, Switzerland and finally the United States, he studied at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, the Schaffhausen Conservatory and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Ahuvia completed both a Masters of Music as well as a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute in 2004, under the direction of Leon Fleisher. He continued to prosper while in Baltimore, winning the Baltimore Music Club Competition, a Peabody Career Development Grant and reaching the Semifinal round at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. Mr. Ahuvia was a fellow at the Toradze Piano Institute at the University of Indiana in South Bend.
“…Beethoven’s bright and joyful musical depictions were presented by Saar Ahuvia with dramatic and incisive piano sequences…” Zürichsee Zeitung – April 25, 2005
“…The fingers of the New York pianist (Saar Ahuvia) glided over the keys with ease…” Fürttaler – April 29, 2005
“…The brilliant soloistic playing by Saar Ahuvia granted the work
(Chopin- Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante) significance…” Haaretz – June 22, 2003
“…( Saar) Ahuvia reveals real artistic thinking. His strong presence forced the conductor and the orchestra to give him real feedback, forming a connection…” Haaretz – January 1997
“…Saar Ahuvia has demonstrated exceptional growth in his musical understanding. Hard working and highly motivated, I feel he is a young performer with a promising future…” Leon Fleisher, pianist and piano faculty, Peabody Institute February 11, 2003
Described by the New York Concert Review as “an artist with a polished sound and tremendous constructive power” and hailed by the Hoja del Lunes de Madrid as “the Spanish pianist of his generation,” José Ramón Méndez is one of the most exciting Spanish pianists of today.
Méndez received his first music instruction from his father, and by the age of seven was already performing on Spanish television and radio stations. He made his solo debut at the age of eleven at the Oviedo Philharmonic Society in Oviedo, Spain, the youngest performer ever to do so in the history of the society. He first gained international recognition when he performed Liszt’s first piano concerto under the direction of Sergiu Commissiona at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since then, he has concertized extensively in his native Spain, the United States, China, Cuba, Italy, England, Portugal, Holland and Japan to great acclaim. With his poetry, intellect, and masterful technique, he has been praised by critics and celebrated by audiences around the world.
He has been a guest performer at many music festivals, including the Caramoor Festival, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, the Barge Music Series, the Festival Internacional de Piano de Las Islas Canarias, Musica en Compostela, and the Santander International Music Festival to name a few. As a chamber musician, Méndez has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree and Pinchas Zukerman.
At the age of 18, Méndez’s success brought him from Spain to the United States, where he began his studies at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He completed his Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees there, under the tutelage of Solomon Mikowsky, Byron Janis, and Miyoko Lotto. During his studies in New York, he won top prizes in many international competitions, including the Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head Island International Piano Competition, the Frederick Chopin Competition in New York, and the Hermanos Guerrero International Piano Competition, among others.
Méndez has given master classes around the United States and in numerous cities in Spain, including Lugo, Valencia, Aviles, Panticosa, Santiago de Compostela, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Oviedo, and Gijón. Currently, he is the artistic director of the Gijón International Piano Festival.
Formerly on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin and New York University, he is now Assistant Professor of Piano at Pennsylvania State University.
José Ramón Méndez is a Yamaha Artist. www.joseramonmendez.com
Adam Tendler has been called “an exuberantly expressive pianist” who “vividly displayed his enthusiasm for every phrase” by The Los Angeles Times, an “intrepid…outstanding…
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