MostArts
2016 Piano Competition
Derek Chung
Derek  Chung

Sixteen year old, Derek Chung is a sophomore at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL. and studies with Sueanne Metz. Derek’s accomplishments include first place at the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, Luminarts Cultural Foundation for Classical Music, US New Star Piano, DePauw University Young Artist, the American Fine Arts International Concerto, and the Los Angeles Young Musician International Competitions where he was awarded overall Best Romantic Performance. He won second place at the Aloha International Piano Competition, Emilio del Rosario Piano Concerto Competition, Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, and the Crain-Maling Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. He was also a prize-winner of Sejong Music Competition, Music Festival in Honor of Confucius Competition, and two time bronze medal winner at Seattle International Piano Festival Competition where he received the teachers’ favorite award and the President’s Youth Prize for Best Chopin performance.

Derek has performed in Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall NY, and in the Shining Stars Concert at the Music Festival of Perugia (Italy) with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of Alicante. He has performed on NPR’s “From the Top” as a member of the Piano Trio Royale. In the upcoming 2016-2017 season Derek will perform Franz Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 with the South Carolina Philharmonic.

Derek has been a part of One Score One Chicago and From the Top’s Arts Leadership Outreach programs, conducting workshops in the Chicago public schools area, and to the Boys and Girls Club in Naples, FL in an effort to introduce children to classical music.

What do you love about playing the piano?
Communication. Some people are so eloquent telling a story or using words to describe a variety of emotions. I struggle with this at times. However, playing piano offers a way for me to communicate feelings or paint pictures to an audience I would not be able to do using words.

What do I love about Mozart Piano Concerto No. 15 K. 450?
K. 450 is such a youthful and fun concerto to play with the continuous runs of scales and arpeggios up and down the keyboard. While there is a clear sense of harmonic rhythm, there are character changes as the piece develops. I love experimenting with different forms of touch, color, and texture to bring out the multiple voices. As the same time, it is a technically demanding piece, which requires continuous attention to detail.

Yoshinari Fukuzawa
Yoshinari  Fukuzawa

Yoshinari Fukuzawa, age 17, began her journey with piano at the age of 6 under the instruction of Gang Yao. Even before she started taking piano lessons, she showed keen interest in piano when observing her sister playing at home. At the age of 9, she made her first solo piano performance in school. At age 12, she participated in the 75th Steinway and Sons International Youth Piano Competition, receiving the Excellency Award. While attending Shanghai American School, she participated in the school pit orchestra for the musical, Once Upon a Mattress, and was appointed the piano accompanist for the school’s choir group. Yoshinari is a rising senior at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts, where she participates in various activities in performing arts, including composing her own quartet music for the school chamber music group. In addition, she was also invited to attend a piano master class held by the pianist Arthur Greene.

Yoshinari has lived in Japan and China, and she is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Japanese. Besides her interest in piano, Yoshinari loves raising animals and growing plants. She loves nature and enjoys reading and writing about environmental issues.

What do I love about playing piano?
I love playing piano for its versatility. Whether I play solo piano or with an orchestra, the music it produces never fails to amaze me. Of course, other instruments also produce incredible music, but what I love about piano is that it encompasses numerous tones that can be played in so many different styles and sounds. In addition, I believe piano is easy to pick up as a beginner, but it is a very hard instrument to master, and it is always rewarding when I master a complicated piece. Playing piano has always been a valuable part of my life, and it is part of who I am.

What do I love about Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20?
Mozart is definitely one of my favorite composers at all times. His music focuses on clarity of notes, elegance and balance, which makes every piece of his music unique and timeless. The piece that I play, Piano Concerto No. 20, is so intricately written that it is remarkable how creative one’s interpretation of this piece could be. I also love how well the piano and orchestra parts merge together to become one piece. The music flows so gracefully with the interplay of the piano and the orchestra. The Concerto starts and ends in a nimble, fluid form. It is a very well written piece.

Kimberly Han
Kimberly  Han

Fifteen year Kimberly Han of Lake Forest, IL began piano at age five. She is a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, and was selected by the Foundation to participate in the second Allianz Junior Music Camp in Barcelona, Spain.

Kimberly has performed in L’Auditori of Barcelona, Spain, and as a solo pianist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of Animals” and Manuel de Falla’s “Nights in the Gardens of Spain.” Other orchestral performances include Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Lake Forest Civic Orchestra and with Oistrach Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Highland Park Strings. She won the Illinois State MTNA Junior Competition, Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Piano Winner of the 11th DePaul Concerto Festival, and First Place winner of the 15th Chopin Youth Piano Competition.

She is a student of Brenda Huang, and participates in masterclasses at the New England Conservatory with Alexander Korsantia. In her free time, Kimberly loves playing violin, reading and traveling around the world with her family. To give back to the community, Kimberly performs extensively in the retirement centers around Chicago, and teaches violin to children from unprivileged districts as a participant in Midwest Young Artist Music Scholar program.

What do I love about playing the piano?
‪Playing music in general is life changing. It affects how we act, who we are, and the way we see the world. My whole life has been surrounded by music, more specifically, piano. When playing the piano, I have the ability to produce any sound in the world, and it lets me express who I am. Ways in which are not possible in words. Of course, there are times where practicing becomes difficult, but along with that there are times where you have the sense of accomplishment and joy of performing. That's why I love it. And without it, I wouldn't be who I am today.

Why do I love Mozart's Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major?
‪This piece is one of Mozart's more unique concertos. Unique in a way that not many people play it, but also unique in a way that it, unlike other Mozart concertos, shows both sides to his style. It has multiple beautiful melodies, but then there are sections where the piece suddenly dives into Mozart's more dramatic and dark side. Even though it is both technically and musically challenging, it is incredibly fun to explore the different elegant and almost romantic styles of this piece.

Charlie Liu
Charlie  Liu

Fifteen year old Charlie Liu of Princeton, NJ returns to the MostArts Festival after taking 3rd prize in last year’s Young Pianist Competition. Charlie began piano at age four, and currently is in the Westminster Conservatory Young Artists Program where he studies with Ingrid Clarfield. He has won top prizes in International and National competitions, including the 2015 David Dubois Piano Competition and tied for the ‘most wins’ by a junior pianist for the top US piano competitions in 2015.

Charlie has also won first place for five years in the New Jersey and Massachusetts Music Teacher Associations, 1st place of Steinway Society Scholarship Competition and Gold Prize in the American Fine Arts Festival. Charlie has performed with the Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra, Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra, and the Midwest Young Artists Orchestra.

In 2008, Charlie won the Lang Lang International Music Foundation Scholarship and remains the youngest pianist ever selected by the Foundation. He set a world record at age eight by completing a Carnegie Hall "Grand Slam" (performing in all 3 concert halls of 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 Queen Rania of Jordan and Bono of U2.

Charlie is committed to helping society and his community through his music, by initiating and organizing benefits for "Young Artists for Haiti,” UI Children's Hospital, Plainsboro Rescue Squad, and is creating a "Rescue Music Foundation." Outside of music, Charlie enjoys video games, excelled Math competitions and hockey.

What do I like about playing the piano?
Playing the piano has brought limitless joy, not only to me but also to my audiences. I am able to express myself through music and communicate with others in a way no language can. It is a wonderful experience overall to be able to learn and appreciate the music along with those who love to listen to it, and that is what inspires me to play the piano.

What do I like about Mozart Concerto No. 20 in D minor?
Most of Mozart's pieces are in major keys and he is known to be a very joyful composer; however, this concerto is one of only two of his concertos in minor keys. It is a very expressive piece with an underlying feeling of melancholy, and tension builds up throughout the piece until ending on a soft note. The beautiful melodies and progressions are the reason why I chose and love this piece.

Junlin Liu
Junlin  Liu

Seventeen year old Junlin Liu began studying the piano at the age of three. He was a student of the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music and won numerous awards before moving to the Unites States. Junlin Liu is attending Eastern High School in Voorhees, NJ and is currently a student of Susan Starr.

What do I love about Playing the Piano?
Because I have been studying piano since I was very young, piano performance is an important part of my life. I would like to learn a lot of things about the piano because it is so fascinating and I feel great when I'm playing it.

What do I love about Mozart Piano Concerto?
I love the Mozart Concerto No. 21 in C major because it is so playful. It also displays the childlike and innocent nature of Mozart.

Jarrett Takaki
Jarrett  Takaki

Seventeen year old Jarrett Takaki, has received numerous first prizes including the De Paul University Concerto Festival for Young Performers, the American Fine Arts Festival International Piano Competition, The Walgreens National Concerto Competition, the Emilio Del Rosario Concerto Competition, The Lee Piano Competition at Augustana College, the Great Composers Competition ­ [featuring] Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe [composers]. Jarrett has performed at Weill Hall in Carnegie Hall, and was a featured artist in the Young Steinway Piano Series at the Skokie and Northbrook Libraries. He has performed the Mozart Concerto No. 20, 1st mvt. with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, and the Prokofiev Piano Concerto in C Major, 1st mvt. with the Harper College Symphony Orchestra and has performed at the 2015 Music Fest Perugia, Italy.

As the first place winner of the Young Artist Piano Competition at Tennessee Tech University, Jarrett was filmed for a documentary entitled “Youth Behind the Keys.” Jarrett won second place in the Junior Division of the Cleveland International Piano Competition and was a semifinalist at the Yamaha International Piano Competition, and the Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition. He has received prizes in the Bradshaw Buono International Piano Competition, the Aloha International Piano Festival, and the Steinway Piano Competition.

Jarrett has participated in many artists’ master classes including Michael Lewin, John Bayless and Christopher O’Reilly. He attends New Trier High School, in Wilmette, IL and is a student of Sueanne Metz.

What do I love about playing the piano?
‪When I perform, I am inspired by the thought of expressing my hopes, desires and fears through my music in a way that no other pianist has done. I constantly strive to open myself up to the audience so that they can see the individuality expressed in my music. Performance is my passion and I endeavor to unfold a story each time I present a piece of music to the audience from the stage.

What do I love about the Mozart Concerto #20 in D Minor, K466?
Although a massive amount of Mozart’s piano works were largely overlooked during his lifetime, the Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. 466 is one of the few pieces that received great popularity during his career. I chose this concerto because of the unique character within the context of Mozart’s musical works as well as within the Classical Period. From the opening of the piece, it’s easy to see why; the continuous tension that embodies many of Mozart works written in a minor key, make for an exciting experience not only for the performer, but also for the listener. Perhaps this is why I find this concerto so riveting. When I play the concerto, I am inspired by the thought of expressing my thoughts and emotions through my interpretation, while performing a piece written by a composer whose world was completely different from my own.

Alexander Tsereteli
Alexander  Tsereteli

Fifteen year old Alexander Tsereteli is a Jack Kent Cook Scholarship recipient of the Honors Program at Levine Music and a First Prize winner of many piano competitions including the Nora C. Lichtenberg Piano Scholarship Competition, Montanari-Mendola Award for Excellence in Piano Performance, Friday Morning Music Club Competition for High School Pianists, Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition for Young Pianists, Bach/Tselentis Award of Excellence Competition, Young Artist Award Competition, Marlin-Engel Competition, Cogen Piano Concerto Competition, and Levine Chamber Music Competition. In addition, he was twice awarded the Busch Gardens Music Festival “Best Accompanist Award.”

Alexander has performed at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Lincoln Center, the White House Concert Series at Decatur House, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Kosciuszko Foundation, the Westchester, Swiss Embassy, Italian Embassy, French Embassy, Latvian Embassy, Lithuanian Embassy, Waterford Concert Series, Rosborough Cultural Arts Center, Levine Salon Series Levine Gala, Steinway Gallery, and at the Heritage Hunt Concert Series. His recent performances of Nikolai Kapustin’s Preludes in Jazz Style were broadcasted on WQXR (NYC).

He has participated in masterclasses for renowned musicians such as Joseph Kalichstein, Robert McDonald, Horacio Gutierrez, Richard Goode, and the Emerson String Quartet. Alexander attends Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda MD, and studies with Cecilia Cho at Levine Music. He has a deep interest in composition, music theory, and jazz, and enjoys reading, history, sports, and travel- especially to visit the native country of his family, Georgia.

What do I love about playing the piano?
Playing the piano has always been a huge part of who I am. The language of music is very special and magical to me, because it gives me freedom of expression and creativity. While admiring all the instruments, I think of the piano as the true king of them all, with a uniquely beautiful, sensitive, and sonorous sound that can express all kinds of human emotions and moods, as well as evoke otherworldly sensations. I can also feel its endless possibilities, and this is exactly what intrigues me the most. While exploring this noble instrument, I feel I also explore the world around me the human nature and my deepest self. It has also been like a gateway for me, leading me into different fields of music, such as jazz and composition.

What do I love about Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20?
The key of D minor is my favorite. This concerto brilliantly captures the noble drama and passion of this powerful key through intense lines and shrewd passages. However, the most interesting is the incredible variety of moods and emotions that Mozart offers us through light and chiseled runs, sparkling passages, playfully charming dialogues, and lyrical melodies along with the painful moments and dramatic tension. The purity and simplicity are another unique characteristics of the concerto, as of Mozart’s style in general. I think this piece is both divine and very human at the same time. It is an adventure into the genius mind of Mozart.

Shuheng Zhang
Shuheng  Zhang

Fourteen year-old Shuheng Zhang, is a rising freshman from Canton, Michigan. He has been passionate about music since starting piano lessons at age 9 year. Within five years, Shuheng became a top prize winner of numerous piano competitions including the MTNA [Music Teachers National Association] Michigan Competition, Michigan State MMTA Concerto and Solo competitions, Albion International Piano Festival, and the Detroit Tuesday Musicale Young Artist Competition. Recently, Shuheng became the first middle school pianist to win third prize in the David Dubois Piano Competition. He has performed in master classes given by notable pianists Alan Chow, Paulina Dokovska, Sean Duggan, Panayis Lyras, John O’Conor, Robert Shannon and Nalita True, and been praised for his sensitivity, interpretation and musicianship.

Shuheng studies piano with Logan Skelton of the University of Michigan School of Music. Outside of music, Shuheng serves as president of his school's student council and loves sports, especially hockey.

What does the piano means to me?
From the time I started playing piano, it became a real part in my life. Through it, I experience something which people at my age probably had no chance to experience. I feel strong connections through piano playing with great composers of our history, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven… Music makes me a better person.

What do I Love about Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major?
People often say that Mozart is the greatest composer of piano concerto and I agree with that. Mozart Concerti might not be the most technical demanded pieces. The notes look simple, however, together, they make the most wonderful music. I love many of Mozart Concerti, but No. 23 is always at the top of my favorite list. I love its bright first movement, beautiful second movement and incredible third movement.