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2012 Winners


to the ourstanding young artists selected as semifinalists in the PianoArts 2012 North American Competition for their inspiring performances. It was a privilege to present each of them with acclaimed professional musicians for an international audience and distinguished judges.

Ariela D. Bohrod

Christian S. Gamboa

Yoan P. Ganev

Sahun Hong

Yesse Kim

Philip M. Kwoka

Brian Yuebing Lin

Pin Hsiu (Emma) Liu,

Garrick H. Olsen

Yinuo Qian,

Josephine Yang

Xaohui Yang

Sahun (Sam) Hong

Fort Worth, Texas

First Place Prize • Audience Communication Award • Best Performance of a Duo • Junior Jury Award

When Sahun Hong was very young and was asked what he wanted to become, he said, “I want to become a mathematician who plays the piano well.” Today, he would answer that he wants to become a concert pianist who enjoys mathematics.

Sahun was eight when he moved with his family to Fort Worth, Texas. When he was eleven, he enrolled in Texas Christian University to major   in math and music. After winning a competition and playing with an orchestra, everything changed. Music became the focal point of his life and at age sixteen, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance. Continuing his studies with John Owings, Sahun is working for an Artist Diploma at TCU. Sahun has also had lessons with Martin Canin and Veda Kaplinksy and has performed in master classes with many teachers, including Leon Fleisher. He won first place prize in the Lennox Young Artist and Fort Worth Symphony Young Artist competitions, as well as the Leschetizky Competition for Gifted Young Pianists.

Sahun is a recipient of the Friedman Award for Outstanding Student in Performing Arts and was a top winner in the Cooper International Piano Competition. Symphony orchestras with which he has performed include the Fort Worth, Richardson, Brazos Valley,Galveston, and Camerata New York in Merkin Hall. In 2010, Sahun was named a Young Steinway Artist. He was featured on the nationally broadcast radio show, From the Top, and in an article of a Fort Worth magazine titled, “14 Brilliant Minds.”

Sahun relishes every opportunity to perform, whether in concert halls, schools, or retirement centers. His goal is “to reach out to every listener, giving to each of them the great gift of classical music.”


Xiaohui Yang

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Chaoyang, China

Second Place Prize

As a young piano student growing up in China, Xiaohui Yang’s talents and achievements were recognized immediately. She won awards

in the Hong Kong Piano Open Competition, the Toyama Aisan Youth Music Competition, and the International Chopin Piano Competition

in Asia. Then she was awarded the Michael and Cecilia Iacovella Capuzzi Memorial fellowship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music, where Xiaohui is presently completing her fourth year.

Since arriving in the United States, Xiaohui’s educational and performance opportunities have blossomed. She studies piano with Ignat Solzhenitsyn and has participated in master classes with Gary Graffman, Peter Serkin, Richard Goode, and many others. In 2010, she performed a solo recital at the Shenyang Foreign Culture Music
Festival, and in 2012, she performed violin/piano duo recitals in Hawaii.

Xiaohui has also attended the Taos School of Music, the Mannes College of Music Beethoven Institute, and the Third Beijing International Music Festival and Academy.

In addition to performing solos with orchestras, Xiaohui enjoys performing the piano as an orchestra member. Last February, she performed the piano parts in symphonies by Serge Prokofiev, Richard Danielpour, and Leonard Bernstein with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Several of Xiaohui’s performances are on Instant Encore and WHYY Video’s online productions of On Stage at Curtis.


Pin Hsiu (Emma) Liu

Rochester, New York and Taichung, Taiwan

Third Place Prize

Listening to her brother’s piano lesson so excited four-year old Pin Hsiu Liu that she was soon taking lessons herself. When she was fifteen, she received the opportunity to study in the United States and was accepted at the Walnut Hill School and the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division in Boston. To her American friends, she became known as Emma.

At Walnut Hill School, Emma studied with Roberto Poli and participated in master classes with Russell Sherman, Hung-Kuan Chen, and Boris Slutsky. Her growing interest in performing chamber music encouraged Emma to explore the repertory in coaching sessions with many master teachers, including Benjamin Zander. Emma has received top awards in the Williams Chorale Scholarship

Competition, Harvard Musical Association Competition, Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition, and the A. Ramon Rivera Piano Competition. She attended the Aspen Music Festival and School and Maine's Bowdoin International Music Festival.

Currently, Emma is completing her sophomore year at the Eastman School of Music, where she studies piano with Nelita True as a Howard Hanson scholarship recipient. When she is not listening to solo piano repertory, Emma listens to chamber music, especially by Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Gabriel Fauré.

Ariela D. Bohrod
Madison, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Contestant Award, Scholarship to the International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes College of Music

When she was eleven, Ariela represented the state
of Wisconsin in Chiba, Japan, as a part of a cultural exchange program, performing in schools and for special events. Ariela has also performed on public radio, in concert halls, in schools, and nursing facilities.

As a winner of five concerto competitions, she has soloed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Youth Symphony, and the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. She also won the 2012 Michigan Music Teachers Association's Senior Division Concerto Competition and was selected by the International Gilmore Keyboard Festival as a soloist
in their master classe

For the past three years, Ariela has attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she studies piano with Thomas J. Lymenstull.

When Ariela performs, her goal is to share her innermost feelings through her music, which she believes can convey more meaning than her spoken words.


Garrick H. Olsen
Madison, Wisconsin

Best Performance of an American Work

Only a few years after his first piano lesson at age nine, Garrick Olsen was giving solo recitals at local churches, retirement homes, and in a Bach birthday celebration, “Bach around the Clock.” He

soon went on to win the first place prize in the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Concerto Competition and to win a top prize in Milwaukee’s Chopin Youth Piano Competition. Then in 2012, Garrick won the first place prize in the Bolz Young Artist Competition. In the final round, he and three other young artists performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in a concert that was broadcast statewide on Wisconsin Public Television.

Garrick is a sophomore in the eAchieve Academy, a Wisconsin online school, which allows him to study his academics and to practice his music.



He attended the Jacobs School of Music Summer Piano Academy at Indiana University last summer and has studied piano with Bill Lutes of Madison, Wisconsin, for the past five years.

When Garrick is not studying, practicing, or performing the piano, you might find him logrolling on a lake near his home. He has also competed in Wisconsin’s Lumberjack World Championship Logrolling competition.

2012 Judges
Pavlina Dokovska

First prize winner of the Claude Debussy International Competition in France and Italy’s International Piano Competition of Senigallia, Pavlina Dokovska's concert tours have taken her to Europe, the Far East, and throughout the United States. Among the highlights of her performing career are concerts with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, debuts at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the National Theater in Beijing, and Prague’s Autumn Festival. In New York City, she has appeared in several top halls, including Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Merkin Hall.

A sought-after soloist with American orchestras, she also performs regularly in her native Bulgaria as recitalist and soloist with all the major orchestras, including the Sofia Philharmonic and Radio Symphony.

She has recorded albums of French music, an all-Schumann compact disc,and piano concertos by Prokofiev, Liszt, and Scriabin with the Bulgarian Radio Symphony.

Ms. Dokovska joined the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York in 1995. Three years later she was elected chair of the piano department, a position she holds to date. In 1999, she founded and became artistic director of the annual Mannes Festival, which grew into a staple of New York’s musical life with about twenty concerts at some of the city’s major venues.

James Giles

James Giles regularly performs to acclaim in important musical centers in America, Europe, and Asia. Recent tours have included concerts in China, England, Russia, and Bosnia. This season he will perform at the Nancy Music Festival in France, the Accademia Cristofori in Florence, and the Beijing International Music Festival. He will also teach master classes at the Chautauqua Music Festival in New York, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and the Royal College of Music in London.

Dr. Giles was the recipient of a fellowship grant and the Christel Award from the American Pianists Association and now serves on the APA’s National Advisory Board. He won first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Competition.

Dr. Giles is coordinator of the piano program at Northwestern University and chair of the piano department at the Eastern Music Festival during the summers.

He gives master classes and lectures at universities nationwide and has taught during the summers at Brevard, ARIA, and the Schlern Festival in Italy. He has been a guest professor at the Sibelius Academy, the Shanghai Conservatory, and at Indiana University.

Julian Martin

Julian Martin has been on The Juilliard School faculty since 1999.

He was the 1975 winner of the Montevideo International Competition, and a major prizewinner at the Casadesus, Kapell, and Bachauer competitions. Mr. Martin is a juror for many international competitions, in North America, Colombia, and Korea, and was on the awards panel Virtuosi of The Year 2000 in St. Petersburg.

He is an original member of the Gilmore Foundation's Selection Committee in Kalamazoo, and is founder and artistic director of Gijón International Piano Festival (Asturias, Spain).

He has been guest faculty at the Glenn Gould Professional School (Toronto), the Conservatoire Tibor Varga (Switzerland), and the Banff Centre (Alberta). He recently gave master classes in Great Britain, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Venezuela, and Israel.

2010 Winners

David Yoshiaki Ko, First Place, Audience Communication, Best Performance of a Duo

Millbrae, California

Michael Stewart, Second Place, Junior Jury Award

West Valley City, Utah

Alexander Beyer. Third Place

Fairfield, Connecticut



PianoArts 2005 Winners

Sejoon Park, First Place • Best Performance of a Duo • Scholarship to IKIF in New York City

Falls Church, Virginia

Paige Chun Li, Second Prize
Jiang Su, China


Sean M. Yeh, Third Place Prize
Libertyville, Illinois

Brian K. Chang, Best Performance of a Duo
Naperville, Illinois

PianoArts 2006 Winners

Michelle Naughton, First Place. Wisconsin Contestant Prize

Madison, Wisconsin

Pallavi Mahidhara, Second  Prize
South Africa and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Monica We, Third Place Prize
Fairfax, Virginia

Konrad Binienda, Fourth Place
Akron, Ohio

Tyler Wottrich, Scholarship to the International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes College of Music in New York City
Roseville, Minnesota

PianoArts 2005 Winners
InSoo Jung, First Place
Kang-Neung, South Korea and Oberlin, Ohio

Sejoon Park, Second Place
Seoul, South Korea and Falls Church, Virginia
Kevin Chang, Third Place
Naperville, Illinois

Alice Baldwin, Audience Communication Award
Laramie, Wyoming
PianoArts 2005 Winners
Jie Chen, First Place
Guangdong, China and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Chie Tanaka, Second Place and Audience Communication Award
Rochester, New York
Igor Pancevski, Third Place
Skopje, Republic of Macedonia and Oberlin, Ohio

Joshua Ledgerwood, Wisconsin Contestant Prize
Watertown, Wisconsin

Uni Choi, Honorable Mention
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Peoria, Arizona
PianoArts 2005 Winners
Kevin Kordi, First Place
Northbrook, Illinois

Jacob Ertl, Second Place and Audience Communication Award
Appleton, Wisconsin
Kathryn Huo, Third Place
Madison, Wisconsin

Kevin Korth, Audience Communication Award
Brookfield, Wisconsin

Stephanie Wu, Honorable Mention,
Naperville, Illinois
PianoArts 2005 Winners
Caleb Ng, First Place
Libertyville, Illinois

Hope McCoy, Second Place
Chicago, Illinois
Robin Lin, Third Place
Novi, Michigan

Tiffany Lin, Audience Communication Award
Novi, Michigan

Kevin Korth, Wisconsin Contestant Prize
Brookfield, Wisconsin
PianoArts 2005 Winners
John Boonenberg, First Place
Dearborn, Michigan

Diana Strong, Second Place
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Andrea Hui, Third Place
Morton Grove, Illinois

Jennifer Lee, Wisconsin Conservatory Prize
Mequon, Wisconsin

Kevin Korth, Wisconsin Conservatory Prize
Brookfield, Wisconsin
PianoArts 2005 Winners
Elizabeth Joy Roe, First Place
Glenview, Illinois

Michael Hui, Second Place
Morton Grove, Illinois
Nicole Halton, Third Place
Highland Village, Texas


Peter Amstutz
Lydia Artymiw

Jean Barr
John Covelli
Douglas Dillon

Pavlina Dokovska

Robert Durso
Lee Dougherty
John Ellis

José Feghali

James Giles

Stewart Gordon

Joel Harrison

Judit Jaimes

Alexander Korsantia

Ludmila Lazar

Julian Martin

Robert McDonald

Victor Rosenbaum
Andrews Sill

Lori Sims

Boris Slutsky

Peter Takács
Christopher Taylor

Nelita True

Diane Walsh