2015 Piano Competition
Congratulations to our 2015 "Young Pianist Competition" Winners !!!

Avery Gagliano - Grand Prize Winner $10,000
Victor Xie - 2nd Prize $2500
Charlie Liu - 3rd prize $1500
Vanessa Haynes - Judges Award $500
Elisabeth Tsai - Merit Award
Roger Shen - Merit Award
Michael Lu - Merit Award
Ting Yan Fung - Merit Award
Congratulations to our 2015 MostArts Festival Contest Winners !

Avery Galgiano
Eden Chen
Young Pianist Competition Finalists
Avery Gagliano
Avery Galgiano1.jpg

Thirteen year old Avery Gagliano is a Jack Kent Cook Scholarship recipient at Levine Music and a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Born in Washington, DC, Avery began piano lessons at five, and violin as a secondary instrument at eight. At age nine, she had her orchestral debut with the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra (MCYO) at Strathmore Concert Hall and performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York. The following year, Avery was invited to perform on National Public Radio’s (NPR) From The Top, and was featured in the PBS documentary titled “ Arts and the Mind. ”

Avery was selected as one of the thirteen Young Artists (age 12 to 15) to compete at the 2015 Cleveland International Piano Competition. She was invited to perform in master classes at the 2015 Southeastern Piano Festival and the 2015 Oxford Philomusica Piano Festival with Alfred Brendel as the Festival’s patron, András Schiff as President. Among her honors are her wins of First Prize at the International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington, DC and Grand Prix at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, Connecticut in 2014. Previous highlights include her winning First Prize in all divisions of Levine Music’s Marlin - Engel Piano Competition, the Marlin - Engel Instrumental Competition, the Cogen Piano Concerto Competition, the DCPS Piano Competition, the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association (NVMTA) Piano Competition, and the NVMTA Chamber Competition.

Avery studies piano under the tutelage of Marina Alekseyeva and violin under Jorge Orozco. Avery has received instructions in keyboard and in strings with renowned artists such as Lang Lang, Lambert Orkis, Horacio Gutiérrez, Joseph Kalichstein, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Benedetto Lupo, Dmitri Shteinberg, Mikhail Volchok, Larissa Dedova, Jonathan Carney and the Emerson String Quartet.

Outside of music, Avery enjoys reading, doing math, swimming, dancing ballet, and watching movies.

What I love about playing piano:

Music is at the center of who I am, and I cannot imagine myself without it. There is so much I love about being a musician, the biggest being performance. Being on stage and performing amazing musical works is so exciting, and it’s even better when I am able to share the music I make with others.

What I love about Mozart Piano Concerto # 20:

The first movement of the Mozart Piano Concerto no. 20 is my favorite movement. In the key of D minor, allegro starts out with restlessness in the strings. The melody for the piano is beautiful, and throughout the movement, there is a lot of drama, tension, and playfulness, a signature trait of Mozart’s writing. All in all, it is a thrillingly captivating piece that is wonderfully written, and even more wonderful to play and perform.

Victor Xie
Victor Xie.jpg

Victor Xie is a 17 - year - old from Palo Alto, California, who graduated this year from Palo Alto High School. He began his musical studies at the age of 7 and has been under the tutelage of Ms. Erna Gulabyan since 2010 and Mr. Hans Boepple since 2014. Before he moved to California in 2009, he studied with Mrs. LiPing Zhang for about four years and Professor Barry Hannigan for half year, and upon moving to California in 2009 studied under Irina Sharogradsky for one year. Victor has established himself as a solo pianist in a myriad of competitions. He was a winner at the Menuhin Piano Competition in 2011 and U.S. Open Junior Solo Piano Competition in 2012. He also performed in the Carnegie/ Weill Recital Hall twice as a winner for the American Fine Arts Festival Competition 2011 and a gold prize winner of the AADGT International Young Gifted Musician Festival’s “ Passion of Music 2013 ”. In early 2014, he played in a recital at the San Francisco Liszt Society Recital.

As winner of El Camino Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, Victor was a featured soloist performing with the ECYS Orchestra at the Lunar New Year Celebration Concert in February 2014. He also performed with the Mercury Orchestra at the Sanders Theatre, Harvard University as the winner of the 2014 Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts Concerto Competition. In June 2014 he won the first prize of the 32nd Annual San Francisco Young Pianists Competition and appeared in a recital at San Francisco State University in September 2014. In March of 2015, he soloed the complete Saint Saens Concerto no. 2 with the California Youth Symphony in two concerts as the winner of the 2015 Young Artists Solo Competition. In February this year, he won 2nd place at the Mondavi Center Young Artists National Competition.

He attended California Summer Music Camp studied with Mr. Hans Boepple in 2012, studied with John O’Conor and Seta Tanyel at the Adamant Summer Music school in 2013, and attended many professional master classes at IKIF music festival and the summer camp of Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts in 2014. Beyond classical piano, Xie enjoys composing and improvising, and plays violin in the El Camino Youth Senior Symphony.

What I love about music:

Music is just as much a language as the languages we speak in our daily lives. It’s abilities to express are infinite and unlimited, it can bring the strongest of passionate and compassionate emotions, the most meaningful joy and happiness. Music is not only vital but is the most important part of my life.

Concerto no. 20:

I think it starts with my love for all of Mozart’s music. Clarity and genius, including his ability to be completely free in such a binding harmonic structure, is behind the captivating drama and heavenly beauty that his music often creates. The Concerto no. 20 in D minor in particular is very dark and dramatic, being unmatched in its ability to create constant tension and forward movement through its syncopated rhythms. Like many of the late concertos, no. 20 includes many romantic elements and expresses many complicated feelings, more than just the joy or playfulness that he is usually associated with. These qualities altogether make it a very effective and captivating piece to perform and a really timeless work that I hope to share my love of.

Charlie Liu

Fourteen year old Charlie Liu of Princeton, NJ began piano at age 4 and has been studying with Professor Ingrid Clarfield of Westminster Choir College of Rider University since 2007. He has been a winner in dozens of solo competitions, including 1st Prize in the 5th David Dubois Piano Competition, 3rd Prize in the 7th Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition, 1st place four times in the New Jersey and Massachusetts Music Teacher Associations, 1st place of Steinway Society Scholarship Competition, Gold Prize of American Fine Arts Festival, 2nd Prize of Bradshaw & Buono International Competition, among others. At age 11, Charlie made his orchestra debut with the Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra. He has since soloed with the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra and twice with Midwest Young Artists Orchestra in the Millennium Park in Chicago.

In 2008, Charlie won the Lang Lang International Music Foundation Scholarship and remains the youngest ever selected by the Foundation. He set a world record at age 8 by completing a Carnegie Hall " Grand Slam " (performing in all 3 concert halls of the world - famous Carnegie Hall). Charlie performed in the Youtube Symphony Orchestra debut in the Carnegie Hall, on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Oprah Winfrey Show as well as for luminaries such as Queen Rania of Jordan and Bono of U2. He also performed at other top venues across the U.S. from Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall in NY, to the Segerstrom Concert Hall in California.

Charlie is committed to helping the society and the community through his music, by initiating and organizing benefit events such as " Young Artists for Haiti " and benefit solo recitals for UI Children's Hospital and Plainsboro Rescue Squad. He is actively fundraising to create a " Rescue Music Foundation " and regularly helps out at other charity events, fundraisers and community events, bringing the joy of classical music to local schools and communities through public solo recitals.

In his leisure time, Charlie enjoys a variety of video games and excelled in Math competitions. He was a travel hockey player for 8 years.

What I love about playing piano:

Everyone can enjoy and love music, and being able to spread it and take pride in my music is what makes playing the piano great for me.

What I love about Mozart Concerto No. 13:

I chose Mozart's concerto no. 13 because it is a very joyful and innocent piece, and is very fun and enjoyable to play. It is also quite a contrast to the other pieces I am playing, most of which are minor, with a C major first movement and a beautiful F major second movement.

Vanessa Haynes
Vanessa Haynes.jpg

From Oak Ridge, New Jersey, 18 years old, American born Vanessa Meiling Haynes has been a student of Hung - Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone at the New England Conservatory and presently at the Pre - college division of Juilliard. In 2015 she was one of six emerging artists, nominated to be a fellow at the ARTEMISIA AKADEMIE at Yale.

Miss Haynes has won first prizes at the 2015 Yamaha Intl.Piano Competition for senior young artists, The Cleveland Intl.Piano Competition for junior artists, and from 2007 - 12 she garnered prizes in the Cleveland suburban Orchestra, Boston Steinway Society Competition, Arthur Fraser Concerto Competition, Burgos Music Festival Competition in Spain, and Seattle Piano Competition.

Fortunate to have been soloist under such conductors as Uri Segal, Zvi Carmeli, Roni Porat, Morihiko Nakahara, and Anna Mroz. As well as performing in recitals at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and Merkin hall in NYC. Vanessa was broadcasted live in 2012 ’ s NPR From the top in Jordan Hall, Boston. Miss Haynes has participated in several music festivals and has had master classes under Arie Vardi, Gary Graffman, John Perry, Ilana Vered, and Tamas Ungar.

Vanessa, a Young Steinway Artist, has a unique voice and warm enveloping sound that comes directly from a special place in her and is recognized immediately. Her curiosity and love of dance, singing and people makes for a wonderful rounded young person who definitely has a place in the world of music.

1. What you love about the piano ?

What I love most of the piano is how I can create and share all the stories in the world. The vast sounds that you can produce on the piano is incredible and it is always an adventure exploring the different sounds and meanings in each story.

2. What you love about the Mozart Piano Concerto K488 ?

The Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major never fails to put a smile on my face.Though written during a period when he wrote more serious and intimate works, this work is on the happier side of the emotional spectrum. In the development section however, there is an incursion of drama, which is always fun for me to sneak in some more attitude. I love how I can travel through Mozart’s different moods and personalities through this piece, and ultimately always ending up in a great mood because of it.

Elisabeth Tsai
Elisabeth Tsai.jpg

Elisabeth Tsai, 16, began studying the piano at age seven, and is currently under the tutelage of Professor Alexander Kobrin. Her past teachers include Ronald Shinn and Alina Voicu. Over the years, Elisabeth has been awarded with prizes at numerous competitions. Most recently, she was awarded third place at the 2015 Hilton Head International Piano Competition. In 2014, she received First Prize and Best Solo Award at the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Also in 2014, she was the winner of the First Prize and the Chopin Prize at the national finals of the 2014 MTNA Junior Piano competition. Other first prize awards include the 2014 New York International Artists Association, the 2014 Blount - Slawson Young Artists Concerto Competition, the 2013 Zelpha Wells Piano Competition, the 2015 and 2012 Lois Pickard Scholarship Competition, and the 2012 Indian Springs Piano Competition. She has been a state winner in the Alabama Music Teacher’s Association in both the solo and concerto categories for the years 2009 to 2013.

Elisabeth has appeared as a soloist with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and has upcoming performances with the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in the 2015 - 2016 concert season. She has been a participant at Southeastern Piano Festival and Bowdoin International Music Festival, and has taken lessons and masterclasses with Boris Slutsky, Yong Hi Moon, and Julian Martin.

Elisabeth currently resides in Phenix City, Alabama. This fall, she will be a freshman at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, where she will continue her studies with Professor Alexander Kobrin. Along with her siblings, Elisabeth frequently performs at retirement homes around Columbus, Georgia.

What do I love about music ?

Music is a gift from God that can be used to bless many people. I feel that I can express many unspeakable things through playing the piano, as well as touch and inspire people’s hearts through the music.

What you love about the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 ?

23 is a challenging work, it expresses purity and simplicity that is so characteristic of Mozart’s music. The first movement is very graceful, expressive, and singing, and gives the listener a sense of joy.

Roger Shen
Roger Shen.jpg

Roger Shen, 16, is one of 24 pianists to participate in the First Clinburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival to be held in Fort Worth, Texas this June, 2015. In addition to the Prize for the " Best Performance of a 20th Century Composer " at the 2014 MostArts Piano Competition, Roger has also won 2013 Southeastern Piano Festival Discretionary Award, 2013 Walgreens National Concerto Competition Open Overall Winner Award, and the First Prizes at Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, Aloha International Piano Concerto Competition, Chicago Steinway Young Artist Competition, and Phillips Exeter Academy Concerto Competition.

Roger Shen made his Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Hall in 2010 and reappeared in 2011, and has been featured on WFMT’s Introductions. As an orchestral soloist, he has played with the Northbrook Symphony, Midwest Young Artist Symphony, Hawaii Youth Symphony, Phillips Exeter Academy, and MostArts Orchestras. As a scholarship recipient, he attended at the International Institute for Young Musicians several times. Currently enrolled at Phillips Exeter Academy, Roger is a student of Dr. Jon Sakata. He also attended New England Conservatory Advanced Piano Seminar under the guidance of Ramon Raviera. When at home in Northbrook, Illinois, Roger studies with Dr. Matt Hagle. As an active member of the Academy student music outreach group, Roger performs bi - weekly concerts for various nursing homes around New Hampshire. He enjoys hiking, swimming, chess, fishing, and ping pong.

Why do I like Mozart No. 23:

Over the summer, when I was studying the long, obscene lists of words for the SAT, I came across a memorable example sentence: “ We often don’t realize the transient nature of childhood until it has passed away. ” As the year passed on, I’ve come to agree with the honesty of that one SAT sentence. I’ve come to miss those days when I spent my time flying kites or running through parks, constantly asking my parents what this or that was, and when nap time was actually a thing. That’s what I like about Mozart’s 23rd piano concerto (first movement). It lets me, for ten minutes, be that kid I was ten years ago, living by nothing but undivided impulsion and curiosity.

Michael Lu
Michael Lu.jpg

Fifteen year old Michael Lu started playing piano at the age of 5, and currently studies piano with Seth Carlin at Washington University in St. Louis, and chamber music on a scholarship to the Preparatory Program of Webster University Community Music School. He has been a prizewinner of numerous piano competitions, including First Prize of the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition in Iowa in 2014, First Prize at the Fite Family Young Artists Piano Competition in Missouri in 2014, Second Prize in the Nice Cote - d'Azur International Piano Competition in France as the youngest competitor in the entire competition, and numerous 1st place wins in other state and regional piano competitions. As a concerto soloist, Michael has performed with the Orchestre régional de Cannes (Cannes Orchestra) in France, the St. Charles County Symphony Orchestra, the Alton Symphony Orchestra, the University of Missouri - St. Louis Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra of the Ocean University of China.

What I Love about the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20:

The music of Mozart is known for its purity and delicacy, and his great d minor concerto is certainly of that nature. However, at the same time, the piece utilizes another kind of character which is dark and brooding. He allows the listener to explore many different shades of mood - from the most menacing and dark to the most cheerful and bright. This is why I love this concerto and why I think it is one of the greatest masterpieces Mozart has ever produced.

What I love about playing the piano:

I feel that great music is extraordinarily immaculate in structure and incorporates all of the shapes, lights, sounds and colors of a paradise. This feeling motivates me to explore the dynamic nature of music beyond its structure. And I feel that the piano allows me to express this feeling better than any other instrument because of its unparalleled beauty and colossal palette of colors.

Ting Yan Fung

Ting Yan Fung (Jade) is a junior at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, studying with Dr. Michael Coonrod. Back in Hong Kong, she has won first place in the Inter - School International Performance Challenge Open Class (2011), first place in the 62nd, 63rd, and 64th HK Schools Music Festival Chinese - composer group and piano solo group (2012, 2013, 2014), and third prize in Japan Hong Kong International Music Competition - professional group (2013). In May of 2010, she was invited to play duets with Lang Lang in the “ Lang Lang ’ Charity Concert for UNICEF ” in Hong Kong.

In the U.S., Jade was invited to play at the opening ceremony of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival (2014) and at the MMTA fall conference as a prize for winning first place in the Michigan Music Teachers Association Concerto Competition. This year she won the state and district levels in the Senior Piano Duet Competition. She also was runner - up in the school Concerto Competition and performed Mozart’s Concerto No. 25 with the school orchestra. Immediately before attending the MostArts Festival this summer in Rochester NY, she will be performing in a piano recital in Weill Recital Hall/ part of Carnegie Hall, as a result from the first place and Judges distinction award from the American Protégé Concerto Competition.

Other than piano study, Jade has also been studying organ and conducting. Beyond her piano study, Jade is a 4.0 student. In Hong Kong, she won several Math awards and was elected to be the winner of the 3rd Wong Tai Sin district Outstanding Students ' Election (2010). She was designated as the R. Graham Keevil Memorial Scholar for the 2014 - 15 academic year. She also loves the outdoors and participates in all the Explorer Post activities.

What does piano mean for me:

Piano is my life and dream ever since I watched a documentary of Lang Lang playing the piano when I was three. The uniqueness in tone and the huge variety of colors produced by just a piano attracted me instantly. Unlike many other instruments, piano is harmonically self - contained. That is, one can play solos as well as being an accompanist to different instruments or even chamber music. There are just so many ways for a piano to get involved with! In addition, although it is doubtless to say piano is challenging and requires tons and tons of repetitious and tedious practices, when you finally perform your “ product ” in front of the audiences and share your passion with them, you will be filled with enormous fulfillment and satisfaction.

Mozart Concerto No. 25:

Being one of the late works of Mozart’s, I love piano concerto No. 25 because it reminds me of the “ Magic Flute, ” one of my favorite operas. Also, this concerto is full of surprise - - - slipping again and again unexpectedly into minor keys, and the ostentatious displays of learned counterpoint which is something rare in concertos.