Alexander Agate (3rd prize)
Born in 1994, Alexander’s first musical achievement occurred at age 13 upon acceptance into the Applied Music Scholarship program at Moorpark Community College, a two-year program during which he worked with Professor Mona DeCesare. Two years before attending university, he studied under concert pianist Robert Thies, and then studied with Dmitry Rachmanov at California State University, Northridge. He completed his Masters Degree at Manhattan School of Music, studying under Andre-Michel Schub, and is currently completing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Manhattan School of Music under the continued tutelage of Professor Schub. He has had master classes with many distinguished pianists including John Perry, Jeremy Denk, Robert McDonald, Jerome Lowenthal, and Victor Rosenbaum.
Alexander has attended numerous summer festivals, including—for summer 2021, 2020, and 2019—the Music Academy of the West, as one of eight solo piano fellows. He has attended the John Perry Institute, Adamant Music Festival where he studied with Seta Tanyel, and the IKIF Piano Festival.
Alexander has competed in various competitions, including the 2017 Manhattan School of Music Balsam Duo Competition and the Manhattan School of Music Munz Chopin Competition, for both of which he was awarded the top prize. Alexander was one of 10 semi-finalists in the prestigious 2017 Naumburg International Piano Competition. He reached the semi-final stages at the 2020 Chopin National Competition, and the Suzhou Jinji Lake International Piano Competition (2021). Most recently, he won second prize at the March 2022 American International Paderewski Piano Competition in Los Angeles.
Benjamin Hopkins has performed across Europe and North America, including recent debuts at the Festival de Luis Vega in Asturias, Spain and New York City’s Merkin Hall. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of British Columbia, where he was a member of the prestigious Public Scholars Initiative and was chosen to perform concertos with the UBC Symphony Orchestra in three consecutive seasons.
Hopkins is a two-time prize winner at the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Auditions and won Grand Prize at the inaugural Silverman Piano Competition. Other honors include first prizes at the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, the Susan Torres Award, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Young Artists Auditions. In recent summers he has held fellowships at the Gijon International Piano Festival, Festival del Lago (Mexico), and the Aspen Music Festival.
A consummate chamber musician, Hopkins has performed with members of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Zaffre Quartet, and Vancouver Island Symphony. Constantly exploring new realms of collaboration, he has premiered works by Balinese gamelan musician Dewa Alit and commissioned solo piano works by composers Joel Thompson, Peter S. Shin, and Kimberly Osberg.
Pianist Ching-Yi Lin appeared as a soloist at his New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as one of the top Prize Winner of the 2019 New York International Artist Association Competition. Ching-Yi was the First Prize and Special Commissioned Piece Prize of the Taiwan Taipei International Piano Competition. He also received joint Third Prize at the 2019 Marbella International Piano Competition. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Richard Franko Goldman Prize in Performance at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
His major prizes in both regional and international competitions includes such as the Beethoven International Piano Competition in Singapore, Millersville International Piano Competition, Young Artist Competition by Philharmonic Society of Arlington, O-Bank Education Foundation for rising star in Taiwan, Ishikawa International Piano Competition, Metropolitan International Piano Competition, the Asia Piano Competition at Kuala Lumpur, and the Wonderlic Piano Competition in Baltimore. In 2017, he was selected as the winner of the Taiwanese Chapter of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Society, performing a recital at National Recital Hall in Taiwan.
An active performer in North America, Spain and Taiwan, Ching-Yi has been featured as a guest soloist at Teatro Ciudad de Marbella, Centro Municipal de Musica y Danza de Malaga, Brodbeck Music Center Hood College, Allen Theater at Berkshire, Mariam A. Friedberg Concert Hall at Baltimore, the New York Opera Center, and the KHS hall in Taiwan.
He earned Bachelor of Music degree from Soochow University in Taiwan, and his Master of Music degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Currently, he is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Peabody Institute under the tutelage of Alexander Shtarkman.
Hui Shan Chin
Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1990, Hui Shan Chin began her musical education at the age of 3. Ms. Chin is a laureate of many national and international music competitions. Her accolades include top prizes in the Seattle International Piano Competition, Wideman International Piano Competition, Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition, HSBC Classics Piano Competition, ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition, and the 5 Towns Music and Arts Piano Competition. Her list of first prizes includes the Kuala Lumpur Festival of Music in 2002, the Entergy Young Texas Artist competition (2014) and the Jacob Flier International Piano Competition (2014).
Ms. Chin moved to the United States in 2007 to attend Bard College Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Peter Serkin and Jeremy Denk. She completed both Masters and Artist Diploma degrees in piano performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts Studies, whereby she also serves as a Teaching Assistant to Dr. Robert Roux, the Chair of Keyboard Department. Ms. Chin is a Mary Hobson Shepherd Teaching Fellow.
Since her arrival in the United States, Ms. Chin has captivated audiences with her artistry at various venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, deSingel Hall in Antwerp, Richard Fisher Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, Bunkamura Orchard Hall and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, among others. Equally adept as soloist and chamber musician, she has performed with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra and the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra as winner of Rice University’s piano concerto competition. Hui Shan has participated in numerous piano master classes and has had the distinct honor to play for many distinguished artists including Jean Yves Thibaudet, Vladimir Feltsman, Richard Goode, Robert McDonald, Jerome Lowenthal and John Perry. Her recent collaborations include renowned soprano Ana Maria Martinez and pianist Brian Connelly. She has performed with the Houston Symphony, Symphony North of Houston, Clear Lake Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, Rice Campanile Orchestra and the Lake Charles Symphony. Ms. Chin is the recipient of the 2016 Presser Foundation Music Award and the 2017-18 Gary Mercer Endowed Scholarship in Piano.
Jonathan Mamora (1st prize)
An Indonesian-American and native of Southern California, pianist and educator Jonathan Mamora strives to uplift and positively influence others using music as a means for service through churches, homes, schools, community centers, and the concert hall.
Jonathan’s performances have taken him throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia, and he is a prize-winner of several regional and international competitions, most recently winning first prize in the 2022 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition and the 2022 Eastman Piano Concerto Competition. Recent performances include Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1 with the Eastman Philharmonia and the Waring Festival Orchestra, and Olivier Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques with the Eastman Wind Ensemble. He was recently a featured artist for the LA Phil Affiliates in the Desert. He has previously performed in masterclass by pianists as Olga Kern, Jerome Lowenthal, Robert Levin, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and Stanislav Ioudenitch.
Jonathan holds graduate assistantships in accompanying and in music theory at the Eastman School of Music and has received the Eastman Excellence in Accompanying Award. Jonathan also teaches piano for the Eastman Community Music School.
Jonathan is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music, studying with and serving as studio assistant for Douglas Humpherys. He received his Bachelor of Music from La Sierra University and his Master of Music from The Juilliard School. His previous teachers include Elvin Rodríguez and Hung-Kuan Chen.
Narae Lee (2nd prize)
She has won numerous prizes and participated in competitions, festivals both nationally and internationally, including Wideman Piano Competition, Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Delta Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Concerto Competition, Coeur d’Alene Symphony Young Artists Competition, the World Piano Competition, Art of the Piano, Chautauqua Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival as an assistant of Piano and Collaborative Piano faculties, New Paltz Piano Summer, Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, Samick-Seiler Piano Competition, the Mayor of Seoul City Prize, and the Grand Prix Round Prize, the 21st Century Artist Special Prize at Osaka International Piano Competition in Japan. She has recently won the top prize at the International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington DC.
As a winner of the Seoul Philharmonic Concerto Competition, Ms. Lee made her orchestral debut with Seoul Philharmonic the 18th Annual Concert at the National Theater of Korea in 2009. Also, she has performed with CCM Philharmonia Orchestra and CCM Concert Orchestra as a winner of CCM Piano Concerto Competition (Left Hand Piano Concerto by M. Ravel). As a soloist, she has appeared at the Piano Gala Concert at Eastern Music Festival with the piano faculty, the New Artists Series Recital, and the Samick-Seiler New Artists Concert at Youngsan Art Hall. She has performed international masterclasses given by Richard Goode, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Andreas Haeflinger, Jerome Lowenthal, Robert McDonald, Kevin Kenner, Jerome Rose, Alexander Toradze, and Blanca Uribe.
Ms. Lee studied at Sunhwa Arts High School with Dr. Jeeyoung Shin and Yonsei University with Dr. Misha Kim in South Korea. She has earned her Bachelor of Music degree with a Cum Laude studying under the tutelage of Awadagin Pratt from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ms. Lee was a recipient of Honors Scholarship and William Black Award. After her Bachelor of Music degree, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland to study further for her Master of Music degree at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Boris Slutsky. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctoral of Musical Arts at the Peabody Conservatory. Most recently, she was awarded the second prize from the Yale Gordon Competition at the Peabody Conservatory as well as she was participating in the Brahms Piano Competition in Pörtschach, Austria, Seattle International Piano Competition, the Olga Kern Piano Competition, and the Washington International Piano Competition.
At the age of 10, Patrick Orr began his journey in piano with local teacher Joan Robinson. Orr knew in his first lesson that he wanted to perform for the rest of his life. At age 15, Orr began studying professionally with Dr. Julie Bees at Wichita State University. In the past few years, Orr has won several prizes including a gold medal at the International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival, placing second in the Mu Phi Epsilon International Young Artist Competition, and was most recently a semifinalist in the Wideman International Piano Competition. Some of Orr’s engagements include performances with the Kansas City Symphony, the WSU Symphony, the Friends Community Orchestra, and has pending performances with the Arapahoe Philharmonic. Orr is also a private piano instructor and an accompanist at Wichita State University. Aside from playing piano, Orr enjoys drawing, bullet journaling, singing and spending time in nature.
In the fall of 2020, Orr graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. Orr is currently applying for graduate programs to continue his musical studies.
During his childhood, Philip Solomonick was very active and won numerous awards such as: ‘The International Competition in the Negev’ (1st prize 1998, Israel), ‘Art towards the 21st Century’ (Grand Prix 1998, Ukraine), ‘Steps towards Perfection’ (3rd prize 2000, Russia), ‘Chopin competition’ (1st Prize 2003, Israel), ‘The Pnina Zaltzman Competition’ (1st Prize 2008, Israel) and a four-time recipient of the prestigious American-Israeli Foundation Scholarship. From 2009 through 2012 studied with Prof. Eugenia Tsarov at the Crane School of Music and in 2013 was accepted to the Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem under Prof. Irina Berkovich. In 2014, won the first prize at the ‘Haim Kalmi Competition’ and gave numerous recitals in Ein-Karem, Jerusalem, which were translated live on the radio. In 2016 made his debut at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, and in 2017 was one the nine semi-finalists at the NYCA Worldwide Debut Audition, and gave a solo recital at the Moscow State Conservatory in memory of Yuri Lyubimov. Recipient of the Dean’s Prize at the Music Academy in Jerusalem during his M.Mus degree, and currently a DMA student at the University of Michigan under Prof. Arthur Greene. In 2019 he performed as a soloist with the Ann Arbor Camerata and was a finalist at the American International Piano Competition in Washington DC. Recently, he performed the Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto with the Ann Arbor Symphony, while being a teaching assistant in both the theory and piano departments at the University of Michigan.
Praised by The New York Times for his “elegant and sensitive” playing, pianist Qi Kong was the first prize winner of the 2021 northwestern University Concerto Competition and Thaviu-Isaak Endowed Scholarship Competition, the 2016 Mieczyslaw Munz International Piano Competition in New York City, the 2013 Aspen Music Festival Piano Concerto Competition, and the 2009 Bosendorfer & Schimmel International Piano Competition. He is also a classical piano fellow of the Chicago Luminarts Culture Foundation.
Kong has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and China, including concerts at Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, Jordan Hall and Sanders Theater in Boston, Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, Newmark Theater in Portland, Hahn Hall in Santa Barbara, Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, TelAviv Museum of Art, and Shanghai Concert Hall among others. He has collaborated with Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra (Brahms); Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Grieg); Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players (Stravinsky and Kapustin); and Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Quebec (Chopin).
Kong is a graduate of The Juilliard School and Yale University. He is now a doctoral candidate at Northwetsern University under the guidance of James Giles.
Taiwanese pianist Shih-Man Weng has been enjoying performing as a soloist and a chamber musician since her early ages. Her talent in making every performance unique and colorful were quickly recognized when she was in her teen years performing at concerts presented and sponsored by Yamaha.
In 2011, she moved to Boston, United States to pursue her undergraduate and graduate studies at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee under the guidance of Professor Ya-Fei Chuang. In May 2019, Shih-Man gained her Artist Diploma from Cleveland Institute of Music with the tutorial of Prof. Antonio Pompa-Baldi. In 2019, Shih-Man was awarded a full scholarship to attend University of Miami: Frost School of Music, for her doctoral degree. She is now in her third year of D.M.A in piano performance and she studies with Prof. Kevin Kenner. Shih-Man also serves as a teaching assistant at the school. In fall 2019, she has won the Frost School of Music Concerto Competition with the Rachmaninov First Piano Concerto.
During her studies in Boston, she was the first piano student in the school history who won the Piano Honors Competition for four consecutive years and was also the first to win three top prizes the W. Churchill Scholarship Piano Competition, the most prestigious and most highly awarded piano competition at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2013, her performance of Petrushka by Igor Stravinsky won her the ‘Young Talent’ Piano Competition in Salzburg, associated with the Salzburger Festspiele.
William Chiang, a resident of Plano, Texas, completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he studied under the tutelage of Evelyne Brancart and André Watts and was an Associate Instructor in Piano. He began studying piano at age 4 with Olga Radosavljevich at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Further studies were with Pamela Paul at the University of North Texas. William has performed with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Plano Symphony Orchestra (Texas), and Lewisville Lake Symphony (Texas). He has received top prizes from the International Chopin Young Artist Competition (Houston), Vernell Gregg Young Artist Competition, Collin County Young Artist Competition, and CAPMT Concerto Competition, as well as awards from the International Keyboard Odyssiad, Knabe International Piano Competition, Blount-Slawson Competition, and Hellam Young Artist Competition, among others. He is a recipient of the Texas Commission on the Arts’s Young Masters in the Arts Scholarship. Summer festival appearances include the Chautauqua Institution, Orford Music Academy, Texas State International Piano Festival, Art of the Piano Festival, and Brevard Summer Festival. William is now pursuing a DMA degree in piano performance with Bernadene Blaha at the University of Southern California, where he is a Teaching Assistant in Keyboard Studies.
Xu Peng started playing piano at the age of four. In 2008, he entered the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where he studied with Prof. Zhang Zhiwei. He received his BM in piano performance with a minor in French Studies from Rice University, alongside a special distinction in Creative Research. He is currently pursuing a MM at the same school under Prof. Jon Kimura Parker.
Among the awards received, Peng is a winner of the Macau Asia International Piano Competition, Hong Kong Asia Piano Competition, Xinghai Cup, and Cadenza Cup. He was most recently awarded first place for his performance of Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto in the Shepherd School Concerto Competition. His active participation in music festivals has brought him to Europe and United States, where he attended AIEN, Montecito Music Festival, Académie Fourvière, Adam Gyorgy Piano Academy, working with notable artists such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Marie-josèphe Jude, Florent Boffard.
In 2011, Peng appeared at the Forbidden City Concert Hall as part of the Liszt anniversary concerts. He also gave two recitals at Interlochen Arts Academy, where he played music by Debussy, Ravel, Schumann, and composition of his own. Interested in contemporary music and interdisciplinary works, Peng premiered piano composition of Cui Shiguang, and has participated the production A Proust Sonate by Sarah Rothenberg at Rice University. He was also selected to perform in the education DVD series of Prof. Zhou Guangren.