10 Outstanding Competitors Welcomed to Lee

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

As part of its ongoing piano festival, Lee University's celebrated annual piano competition for high school students will showcase 10 different performers beginning Friday.

The competition from June 22-23 will conclude the week-long festival of concerts and professional instruction. Of the festival’s 16 participants, 10 students will showcase their skills in the competitive format. Evan Booher, Naomi Causby, Lyndon Ji, Phoebe Pan, Lisa Peng, Jonathan Shao, Joshua Shue, Ming Xie, Wan-Lin Yu and Brian Zeng will compete for cash and scholarship prizes in the competition, which is in its eighth year.

The official opening of the piano competition will be Friday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. in Squires Hall, located in the University’s Humanities Center. At the conclusion of Friday’s round, finalists will be selected for the Saturday morning phase of the competition. These finalists will perform an entirely new program for the judges, and prizewinners will be named at 11:30 a.m. The 10 competitors are vying for a grand prize of $3000 cash.

Evan Booher, a homeschooled senior from Hermitage, Tenn., studies piano with Helen Gleason and Jerome Reed. This year, Booher won first prizes in the Nashville International Piano Competition, the Nashville Area Music Teachers Association Young Artists Achievement Awards Competition, and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra League’s Thor Johnson Scholarship competition.

Naomi Causby, a senior at Ben Lippen High School in Columbia, S.C., is a Steinway Young Artist. She has been awarded the first prizes in The Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition, Bauru Atanta Piano Competition, and Seattle International Piano Competition. Causby currently studies with Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers, both of the University of South Carolina.

Lyndon Ji began piano lessons at the age of five under the instruction of Chun Chi An, the Music Director of Ballet at Indiana University (IU). He recently performed with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts as winner of its 2011 Young Artist Competition. Ji also performed at Auer Hall for the IU Summer Music Clinic’s Honors Recital and the Indiana Historical Society.

Phoebe Pan is a freshman attending Pacific Academy in Irvine, Calif. She studies with Yi Dong. Pan won first prize in the 2012 David D. Dubois Piano Competition and grand prize in the Music Center Spotlight Program in Los Angeles. Pan has performed at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, and has soloed with Southwestern Youth Music Festival Orchestra and Seraphim Symphony.

Lisa Peng, a rising junior, has been studying piano with Olga Radosavljevich for the past five years. She has been awarded the Olga Radosavljevich Endowed Preparatory Scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Music for four years and is the winner of the 2012 Northeast Ohio Buckeye Piano Competition in the Senior Division and was a finalist in the Young Artist Competition at Hope College.

Jonathan Shao, a rising senior from Fremont, Calif., has won the California Piano Music Teachers State Honors Auditions, East Bay Music Festival, Menuhin-Dowling Young Pianist Competition, Pacific Musical Society, and others. Shao participated in the Junior Bach Festival, California Summer Music Festival, and the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy. Currently, Shao studies with Olya Katsman.

Joshua Shue is a rising tenth grader who attends Northview High School in Johns Creek, Ga. Shue placed first twice in the Georgia Music Teachers Association auditions. He has also participated in master classes with Ning An and Peter Takacs. Shue is also an accomplished clarinetist and violinist, playing violin in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Ming Xie, a rising senior, studies with Matti Raekallio in the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School. He received second place in the 2012 Crescendo Music Awards, and second place in the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Piano Competition in Beijing. Xie earned a full, pre-college scholarship from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has performed in concert halls throughout China, Germany, France, and United States.

Wan-Lin Yu started her piano studies at the age of five. At 16, she was enrolled in the Taiwan University of Art. Yu placed second in the 2012 Taiwan ROC Piano Competition and won first prize in the 2010 New Art Music Star Piano Competition. Yu also won other prizes in her native Taiwan. She recently gave a recital in the Taipei National Recital Hall.

Brian Zeng is a rising senior at Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif. He currently studies with Jed Galant. Zeng was a finalist in the prestigious Mondavi Center’s Young Artists Competition and earned first prize at the Menuhin-Dowling Competition, the Chinese Music Teachers Association of Northern California Competition, and the Henry and Carol Zeiter Piano Competition at University of Pacific.