$22,500 Awarded To Six Contestants
Six young and gifted pianists from around the state won prestigious recognition and thousands of dollars in prize money in this annual competition.
(Sarasota-Manatee) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota announces the winners of the 2014 Competition for Piano. The event was March 29 in Neel Performing Arts Center at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. A total of $22,500 was awarded to six contestants.
This year, 12 young pianists, five in the Scholarship Level (ages 14-19) and seven in the Performance Award Level (ages 20-25), competed in the semi-final round. Of these, three in each level continued to the final round. The finalists were then presented in an evening public performance and judged by a panel of distinguished musicians and educators. This year’s finalist judges were Julian Martin, a faculty member of The Juilliard School; Robert Sherman, an award-winning radio broadcaster, author, music critic, and music educator; and Derek Han, acclaimed as one of the leading American pianists of his generation. Joy McIntyre, a music educator and performer, has coordinated the program since 2007.
Three Scholarship Level prizes were awarded to students who are between the ages 14 and 19. Priscila Navarro, 19, of Ft. Myers, was awarded the Lee & Jerry Ross Scholarship Award (funded by Artist Series Concerts Friends) of $3,000 as first-prize winner in the Scholarship Level. Alvin Xue, 15, of Wellington, was awarded $2,500 as second-prize winner in the Scholarship Level. Tiffany Chen, 16, West Palm Beach, was awarded $2,000 (given by Edith Winston in loving memory of Herb Winston) as third-prize winner in the Scholarship Level.
Three Performance Level prizes were awarded to students who are between the ages 20 and 25. Heqing Huang, 20, of Boca Raton, was awarded the Virginia B. Toulmin Award of $6,000 as first-prize winner in the Performance Level. Emily Charlson, 23, of Tallahassee, was awarded $5,000 (funded by Artist Series Concerts Friends) as second-prize winner in the Performance Level. Dan Sato, 25, Miami, was awarded the Mary Thienes-Schunemann Award (endowed by Dr. R. Lawrence Thienes) of $4,000 as third-prize winner in the Performance Level.
Now in its 12th year, the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Scholarship Program sponsors one of the most prestigious competitions in Florida. The competition rotates each year between voice, piano, or string instruments and is open to talented young musicians who are residents of Florida. Under the guidance of Joy McIntyre, the program developed in size and quality and has resulted in substantial awards funded by supporters of Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota. Sylvia Eckes was the coordinator of the 2012 competition. According to McIntyre, past winners often go on to major music schools and pursue successful music careers. She says that in selecting the 12 semi-finalists, judges look for “accuracy, artistry and technique.”
“Our adjudicators are all brilliant music educators and musicians,” says McIntyre. “Their participation raises the bar to a whole new level. Being judged and counseled by such celebrated educators is exciting and an honor that will stay with the performers their whole lives.”
“One of the primary goals of the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota is to take an active role in building the next generation of professional musicians by providing support to promising young musicians,” says John Fischer, executive director of Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota. “In the past decade we’ve raised more than $150,000 for 54 gifted young musicians. Our focus is the future. The support we get to present this competition makes that future possible.”
Since 1996, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota has presented an ever-expanding annual season of concerts by globally renowned and celebrated emerging artists. The 2013-2014 season runs through June 2014 and includes six concerts in its “Classical Recital Series,” four concerts in its “Pop Series,” one concert in its “Soiree Series” and five special concerts. For more information about the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2013-2014 season, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org or call 941-306-1202. For information about group and student discounts, call 941-306-1202.