As part of its ongoing piano festival, Lee University's ninth annual piano competition for high school students will showcase 10 different performers beginning Monday, June 17.
The competition from June 20-22 will conclude the week-long festival of concerts and professional instruction. Of the festival’s 20 participants, 10 students will showcase their skills in the competitive format. Malechi Doren, Vanessa Meiling Haynes, Adrian Liao, Cynthia Liu, Evelyn Mo, Makito Otsuka, Phoebe Pan, Maria Parrini, Trenton Takaki, and Allison To will compete for cash and scholarship prizes in the competition.
The official opening of the piano competition will be Thursday, June 20, at 9:30 a.m. in Squires Hall, located in Lee’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 directly following the final round. The 10 competitors are vying for a grand prize of $3000 cash.
Malechi Doren is a senior from Lexington, S.C. He has won full scholarships to Western Michigan University's Seminar and the summer program at Interlochen. Doren placed in the 2009 and 2010 Elnora Hartman Stickley Competition, the 2009 GVSU Modern Competition, and the 2010 DePauw University Young Artist Competition. He has also won prizes at the Columbia Music Clubs Scholarship auditions. Doren studies with Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers.
Vanessa Meiling Haynes, 16, studied at the pre-college division of The Central Conservatory of China. She received the Junior Young Artist Scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Antonio Pompa-Baldi and Emanuela Friscioni. She has won the 2012 Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists and the 2012 Worcester Young Artists Music Scholarship Competition. Haynes studies with Hung-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division.
Adrian Liao, 14, is a freshman from San Diego, Calif. Liao made her concerto debut with the San Diego Symphony at age 11 and will be touring with the Seraphim Symphony performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in August. She recently won first place in Goodlin Scholarship in San Diego. Liao currently studies with Yi Dong at the Opus119 Conservatory in Southern California. She has also performed in Carnegie Hall as a violinist in 2012.
Cynthia Liu, 16, studies piano with Elena Arseniev and Thomas Mastroianni in Rockville, Md. Liu has won first place in the 2011 MTNA Maryland State Senior Division competition, fourth place at the 2012 Blount-Slawson Concerto Competition in Montgomery, Ala., and Grand Prize of the 2011 Frederick Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. She played as soloist with the Frederick and the Montgomery County symphonies and has performed at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C., and the Steinway Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Evelyn Mo, 14, is a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Oak Hill, Va. She has been studying piano with Thomas Mastroianni since 2009. Mo has won first prizes at the 2013 Leschetizky Foundation Gifted Young Pianist Concerto Competition, 2013 Friday Morning Music Club High School Piano Competition, 2013 WMTA Lichtenberg Competition, and 2011 Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, Conn. She also performed with Camerata New York at the Merkin Hall in New York City.
Makito Otsuka, 16, began playing the piano at the age of six. His teachers have included Iwasaki Sensei, Monica Noveanu, Lucia Markovich, and Jan Bis. At the age of seven, Otsuka received a special jury award for his performance within the Bach festival in Romania, 2005. He was also the winner of the 2010 Junior Buckeye auditions, district level in Northeast Ohio. Otsuka has performed in masterclasses for Sean Schulze and Robert Cassidy.
Phoebe Pan, 15, has appeared as soloist with the South Coast Symphony, Los Angeles Bach Festival Orchestra, Seraphim Symphony, and the Mount Orchestra. She has performed at Weill Recital Hall and Steinway Hall in New York City. Pan has won the first prize at the Dubois Piano Competition, Grand Prize at the Tureck International Bach Competition for Young Pianists, and Silver Medal at the Bösendorfer & Schimmel International Piano Competition. Pan studies with Yi Dong at the Opus 119 Conservatory in California.
Maria Parrini, 16, has won the Jan and Beattie Wood Concerto Competition, the SC MTNA Junior Piano Competition, and the Carolina Youth Symphony Concerto Competition. She has performed with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra and the Clemson University Symphony Orchestra, among others. Parrini attended the Brevard Music Center, Southeastern Piano Festival, and the Philadelphia International Music Festival. She studies piano with her parents, Sherry and Fabio Parrini.
Trenton Takaki, 18, studies with Sueanne Metz in Wilmette, Ill. Recently, Takaki won first place at the Lee Piano Competition and third place at the Dubois Piano Festival. He has also won the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, the Chopin Youth Piano Competition, the Young Artists Piano Competition at De Pauw University, and the Cardinal Stritch University Piano Festival. Takaki will be attending Indiana University to pursue a double major in piano performance and biology.
Allison To, 12, received silver medals at the 2011 Virginia Warning International Piano Competition and the International Russian Music Piano Competition. She was the youngest prize winner at the 2012 Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition. To gave her concerto debut with the Seraphim Symphony in 2012 and has performed at the Weill Recital Hall and Yamaha Salon in New York City. She studies with Yi Dong and Ariel Yang at Opus119 Conservatory in Irvine, Calif.
For more information on the Lee University International Piano Festival and Competition, please contact the Department of Instrumental Music at 423-614-8264,
or visit http://www.leeuniversity.edu/academics/music/piano-festival/.