Announcing the 2021 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Winners

The 2021 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition was a thrilling day of outstanding performances. The Southeastern Piano Festival participants performed live at the University of South Carolina’s School of Music Recital Hall to a socially distanced audience as well as to thousands of viewers around the world via livestream.

After deliberation, the jury announced the following results to the audience:

First Prize: Solomon Ge

Second Prize: Nathaniel Zhang

Third Prize: Andrew Gu

Young Jury Award: Solomon Ge

Best Solo Work: Solomon Ge and Andrew Gu

Best Work Written Since 1990: Katherine Liu

Discretionary Award: Malvyn Lai

Discretionary Award: Andrew Shi

Discretionary Award: Adrian Zaragoza

2021 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Results
2021 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Winners

The finalists competed for over $10,000 in prizes and numerous performance opportunities. The First Prize winner, Solomon Ge, will perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic in the Masterworks concert series during a future season. The Second and Third Prize winners, Nathaniel Zhang and Andrew Gu, will have opportunities to perform with the SC Philharmonic and SC Youth Orchestra at the discretion of the South Carolina Philharmonic Music Director. Additional professional engagements are offered to all prize winners.

Congratulations to all finalists for their brilliant performances, hard work, and dedication!

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Watch the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition stream

Today the participants of the 2021 Southeastern Piano Festival are competing in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition for more than $10,000 in prizes and an opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic orchestra.

Click here to watch the stream of the competition.

Click on “flipbook” to read more about our participants.

10:00AM JUSTIN WAHBY
10:20AM KATIE LIU
10:40AM BRIAN LIN
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11:10AM ANDREW SHI
11:30AM JESLYN ZHU
11:50AM MI-HYUN SUH
Lunch Break
2:00PM SOLOMON GE
2:20PM KATHERINE LIU
2:40PM ALYSSA GABRILOVICH
3:00PM ADRIAN KING
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3:35PM NATHANIEL ZHANG
3:55PM ADRIAN ZARAGOVA
4:15PM KENNETH HE
4:35PM LUKE TURNER
Dinner Break
7:30PM RYAN SHENG
7:50PM ANDREW GU
8:10PM MALVYN LAI
pause
8:40PM SPENCER TSAI
9:00PM CHRISTOPHER SHIN
9:30PM ANNOUNCEMENTS

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SEPF Piano X Presents World Premiere of “Rivers Without Banks” by Leo Svirsky

Leo Svirsky

The Southeastern Piano Festival will showcase innovative pianists Leo Svirsky and Reinier van Houdt as a part of Piano X. This virtual concert premieres exciting new works for solo piano and two pianos, including a full-length premiere of River Without Banks by Leo Svirsky, for two pianos. The livestreamed concert will be available Monday, June 14 at 4:30pm EST.

River without Banks began life as a recording project, “conversations with my self” in the words of Bill Evans. In translating a piece of music created in the recording studio to live performance, I found myself asking the same questions as performer/musicologist Dmitri Pokrovsky, “on what level does the feeling of style arise, on what level does the feeling of the work arise, on what level are the works recognized or not recognized?” A literal transcription in this case would lose something essential, the work only exists as a living process that by its nature changes with each iteration.

Reinier and I have lived together with these pieces for more than 2 years now, it is a strange twist of fate that sees us presenting the fruits of this time together as another recording! a translation of a translation, refraction of a double refraction! A life in music feels like constantly asking the same questions, with a new answer each time.

Leo Svirsky, composer and performer

Reinier van Houdt started working with tape recorders, radio’s, objects and various string-instruments at a young age. He studied piano at the Liszt-Akademie in Budapest & the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He developed a fascination for matters that escape notation: sound, timing, space, physicality, memory, noise, environment – points beyond composition, interpretation and improvisation.

This world premiere concert is a part of the Piano X program. The ‘X’ in Piano X stands for ‘unknown factor”, the elusive “it” in the art of performance, and it also stands for exploration, experimentation, and excitement. This initiative aims to explore and showcase new voices, new formats, and the new direction the piano can take as a solo and collaborative instrument in today’s live music scene. The festival is eager to showcase and support those who find new paths or see the familiar through a different lens.

Click here to access the virtual concert Monday, June 13 at 4:30pm EST.

Piano duo Leo Svirsky and Reinier van Houdt

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Southeastern Piano Festival to bring world concert halls to UofSC and Columbia

Some of the world’s top pianists will take the stage at the concert halls of the University of South Carolina and Columbia June 12-20 for the Southeastern Piano Festival.

Returning for its 19th year, the 2021 festival offers South Carolinians the rare opportunity to hear renowned artists perform. It also provides 20 of the nation’s top pre-college pianists the opportunity to take master classes with top pianists and university piano faculty as well as perform and compete for prizes.   

The Southeastern Piano Festival, under the direction of Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers, has become one of the premier piano experiences for performance and young talent in the world.

“We are thrilled to once again present live concerts to our live audiences,” Lomazov says. “Of course, the halls are still operating at reduced capacity, and we are strictly adhering to all CDC guidelines and UofSC protocols, but it’s thrilling to be able to hear live music being created in a concert space that was designed for it. Live performances are precious and cannot be substituted by their electronic version.  We are thankful to our loyal patrons and supporters across Midlands and beyond for recognizing that fact and continuing to support live art.”

The festival’s concerts blend traditional classical works with fresh and creative multi-media presentations for classical piano in a contemporary world. As new generations discover the festival, interest and ticket sales have surged.

The festival opens Saturday, June 12, with performances by the South Carolina Philharmonic at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts. Featured performances by guest artists include Richard Goode, Awadagin Pratt, Natasha Paremski, Avery Gagliano (Rising Star Showcase), The Concert Truck and Leo Svirsky and Reinier Van Houdt (Piano X).

The Marian Stanley Tucker Guest Lecture Series on Thursday, June 17, will feature Pratt in a master class and conversation. Pratt is a winner of the Naumburg International Piano Competition and recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Now a professor of piano and artist-in-residence at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, he has performed at the White House for the Obamas and for the Clintons.

Piano X also returns to the 2021 festival. This unique initiative aims to explore and showcase new voices, new formats and the new direction the piano can take as a solo and collaborative instrument in today’s live music scene.  Piano X is headlined by The Concert Truck and its founders Susan Zhang and Nick Luby, who will give a free live concert at 8 p.m. Monday, June 14, on Columbia Museum of Art Boyd Plaza, and Svirsky and Van Houdt, who will perform via livestream at 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 14. The initiative also includes presentations, workshops and a showcase by SEPF participants at 1: 30 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, on the Columbia Museum of Art Boyd Plaza.

The Southeastern Piano Festival will culminate with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition on Friday, June 18. At the all-day event, young pianists, age 13-18, will perform and compete for more than $10,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. The winners’ finale concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 19, followed by a closing ceremony and reception.

“The Southeastern Piano Festival attracts the most talented young artists from across the United States,” Rackers says. “The level of participants at the 2021 festival is as high as ever and we are looking forward to an outstanding week of music making.”

Visit the festival’s website for the 2021 Southeastern Piano Festival schedule and additional information about concerts, artists, student participants and master classes. While many of the festival’s concerts are free, guest artist concerts require ticket purchase. Concerts may be attended in person (seated is limited) or online. Tickets are available for purchase on the festival’s website.

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Announcing SEPF 2021 Selected Participants!

We are thrilled to announce the 20 selected participants of the 2021 season!

We received a record high number of applications from a very strong class of young pianists. We cannot wait for their arrival to the festival in June! Stay tuned on our social media accounts (FacebookInstagramTwitter) for individual introductions of each participant.

  • Alyssa Gabrilovich
  • Solomon Ge
  • Andrew Gu
  • Kenneth He
  • Adrian King
  • Malvyn Lai
  • Brian Lin
  • Katie Liu
  • Katherine Liu
  • Hyeonuk Park
  • Ryan Sheng
  • Andrew Shi
  • Christopher Shin
  • Mi-Hyun Suh
  • Spencer Tsai
  • Luke Turner
  • Justin Wahby
  • Adrian Zaragoza
  • Nathanial Zhang
  • Jeslyn Zhu

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Announcing SEPF 2021 Guest Artists!

We are thrilled to announce our 2021 Southeastern Piano Festival Guest Artists! Richard Goode, Natasha Paremski, HaeSun Paik, Awadagin Pratt, Yaron Kohlberg, Natalya Antonova, The Concert Truck, Leo Svirsky and Reinier van Houdt will join us for concerts, master classes and more! We eagerly look forward to SEPF 2021 (June 12-20, 2021) at the University of South Carolina campus and surrounding venues.

We are ecstatic to once again teach, perform, and present live in-person concerts and masterclasses. We are in close contact with a university-wide committee devoted to a responsible opening of the campus and will follow all necessary protocols for safe and enjoyable environment to make music in. Concerts will most likely have limited seating capacity – become a supporter today to make sure you have a reserved seat at the concerts.

On Saturday June 12, the week-long festival kicks off with the South Carolina Philharmonic in concert with festival directors Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers performing the Poulenc Concerto for two pianos. Also performing with the philharmonic is Jessica Zhang, first prize winner of the 2019 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. 

Jessica Zhang, left, and piano duo Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers, right

Gilmore Young Artist Award Natasha Paremski makes her SEPF debut Wednesday, June 17. She has been featured in concert with several notable orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the San Francisco Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Recently, she performed the entire Rachmaninoff Concerto cycle with Larry Loh conducting Symphoria. The Chicago Tribune hailed her interpretation, saying “hers was a deeply personal Rachmaninoff Third, by turns pensive and tempestuous, warmly songful and brazenly fast.” 

Guest Artist Natasha Paremski

On Thursday, June 18, we are excited to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with an artist showcase featuring the incomparable Richard Goode, one of the world’s preeminent interpreters of Beethoven’s music. As stated by the New York Times, “it is virtually impossible to walk away from one of Mr. Goode’s recitals without the sense of having gained some new insight, subtle or otherwise, into the works he played or about pianism itself.” 

Guest Artist Richard Goode

As always, the week-long festival culminates with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, where festival participants compete for over $10,000 in prizes and the opportunity to perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic. The complete festival schedule is available on our website. To watch past performances from previous Southeastern Piano Festival guest artists and competitors, visit our YouTube page. Follow the SEPF social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to meet the SEPF 2021 participants and for more festival updates!

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2020 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Winners Announced!

The final round of the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition was a thrilling day of fantastic performances. The finalists performed live at University of South Carolina’s Johnson Hall in the Darla Moore School of Business. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there was no audience present in the concert hall, but the performance was watched by thousands of viewers from around the world. We are thankful to our viewers for their enthusiastic and lively support of the performers in the chat box of the livestream. After deliberation, the jury announced the following results to the livestream audience:

First Prize: Caleb Borick

Second Prize: Lucas Amory

Third Prize: Karina Tseng

Young Jury Award: Lucas Amory

Best Solo Work: Lucas Amory

Discretionary Award: Ben Hoang

Discretionary Award: Katie Liu

2020 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Results
Finalists standing with awards in UofSC’s Johnson Hall

The finalists competed for over $10,000 in prizes and numerous performance opportunities. The First Prize winner, Caleb Borick, will perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic in the Masterworks concert series during the 2021/2022 season. The Second and Third Prize winners, Lucas Amory and Karina Tseng, will have opportunities to perform with the SC Philharmonic and SC Youth Orchestra at the discretion of the South Carolina Philharmonic Music Director. Additional professional engagements are offered to all prize winners.

Lucas Amory performs on The Concert Truck

Through our partnership with YoungArts, all prizewinners will automatically advance past the regional screening round, should they choose to apply to that program. The National YoungArts Foundation is the only organization in the United States empowered to nominate the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

Katie Liu performs on The Concert Truck

The day before the finals, we enjoyed a lovely outdoor performance featuring The Concert Truck and the competition finalists. The Concert Truck, founded by Nick Luby and festival alumnus Susan Zhang, is a sixteen-foot box truck converted into a mobile concert hall complete with lights, sound system, and piano. The concert was held in front of the Koger Center for the Arts for a socially-distanced audience.

The Concert Truck founders Nick Luby and Susan Zhang perform

Congratulations to all finalists for their brilliant performances, hard work, and dedication!

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Introducing the final round of the 2020 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition in an innovative virtual format

We are excited to announce the finalists of the 2020 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition! After competing in June, six incredible Southeastern Piano Festival participants were chosen to compete in the final round: Lucas Amory, Karina Tseng, Shiv Yajnik, Caleb Borick, Katie Liu, and Ben Hoang. To get to know the finalists, watch the SEPF social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) where we will post weekly interviews and performance videos of these talented pianists! 

On Sunday, November 15 at 3:00 p.m., the finalists will compete for over $10,000 in prizes and the opportunity to perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic in a Masterworks concert during the 2022/2023 season.

(left to right) Lucas Amory, Karina Tseng, Shiv Yajnik, Caleb Borick, Katie Liu, and Ben Hoang

Our mission remains to offer rigorous training and education to the next generation of pianists and bring their outstanding performances to the community. To facilitate this safely amidst the pandemic, we will be offering a livestream of all performances as well as new community outreach events in a virtual format. The week of the final round, competition finalists will meet virtually with students at schools in Columbia to perform and discuss life as a competitive pianist with elementary and middle school students. Additionally, we are hosting new creative and educational events including a Virtual Backstage and a Mock Jury with directors Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers! 

Watch the website for an upcoming update with a detailed calendar of virtual events from Wednesday, November 11 through Sunday, November 15. We look forward to seeing you virtually!

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SEPF 2020 continues with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition

It is with sadness that we announce the concerts of 2020 Southeastern Piano Festival are cancelled due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, as well as the University of South Carolina decision to cancel all public events and in-person instruction until at least August 1.

We are, however, thrilled to announce that the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition will continue in a revised format. Our top priority remains to educate, promote and present the next generation of musical artistry and it is in this spirit that the competition will continue with a recorded round in June in which 6 participants will be chosen to continue on to the live round at the University of South Carolina which will take place during the Fall of 2020. Prizes in the competition will remain the same, including the unique opportunity for the winner to perform a concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. We look forward to hosting the finalists this Fall!

We are deeply thankful to our patrons, without whom the festival would not be able to flourish and continue in the revised format. Thank you to all of you who has supported the festival this year already and those who have pledged your support. We are working very hard to continue bringing quality programming to you, to our city and to our community. Stay tuned for more information!

Our gratitude goes out to the 2020 Southeastern Piano Festival Guest Artists Richard Goode, Fabio Bidini, Awadagin Pratt, Haesun Paik, Natalya Antonova, Sean Chen, and Yaron Kohlberg for their dedication to their art, their compassion, and their understanding. We have already gotten commitments from many of our artists to return in 2021, including the incomparable artist Richard Goode. Also as part of our 2021 season, we look forward to the return of our SEPF Alumni Avery Gagliano, Baron Cao, Leo Svirsky and The Concert Truck with Nick Luby and Susan Zhang!

Please give our 2020 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition participants a warm welcome and watch our website and social media platforms for videos and photos that feature these young talented pianists!

(left to right) Marco Jimenez Katie Liu Lucas Amory Karina Tseng

Emma Taggart Ryan Sheng Rebekah Hong Sydney Levey

Trung Nguyen Natalie Zhang Caleb Borick Andrew Shi

Charles Li Jackson Naglick Shiv Yajnik Angelina Ning

Maxine Park Ben Hoang Josephine Chou Malvyn Lai

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Apply Now for the 2020 Southeastern Piano Festival

With a world-renowned line-up of guest artists, including Richard Goode, Awadagin Pratt, Fabio Bidibi, Haesun Paik, Yaron Kohlberg, Natalya Antonova, Sean Chen, and returning again this year, The Concert Truck, participants and audiences can expect another fantastic year at the 2020 Southeastern Piano Festival!

The Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition offers over $10,000 in prizes. The First Prize Winner will perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic in the Masterworks concert series during the 2021/2022 season. Second and Third Prize Winners may have opportunities to perform with the SC Philharmonic or SC Philharmonic Youth Orchestra at the discretion of the SC Philharmonic Music Director. Additional prizes include best performance of a contemporary work, discretionary awards and Young Jury Award.  All prizewinners of the competition will also be eligible to pass the preliminary round of YoungArts Foundation auditions.

The Southeastern Piano Festival has become a platform for many aspiring performers and has enhanced the study and careers of many competitors and participants, including first prize winner of the 2017 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, Catherine Huang, who subsequently became the Gold Winner of YoungArts.  “The Southeastern Piano Festival was a very eye-opening, rewarding, and special experience. Every aspect of it—taking private lessons and studio classes with faculty, attending masterclasses by esteemed guest artists, hearing world-class pianists perform live in concert, performing at the On-The-Road Concert, receiving feedback from the competition jury, befriending fellow participants, many of whom I still keep in touch with—helped me grow as both a musician and a person, and very rarely can a young musician receive all these special experiences within a single festival. The aspect of the festival that was most special to me was the privilege of attending nightly concerts by world-class artists. Since all the festival participants sat together in the audience, we collectively felt the excitement of hearing our idols live, later (during intermission and after each concert) expressing admiration for the enchanting music we just heard, and meeting the artists in person. SEPF gave me not just a prize in the competition but more importantly a plethora of new musical and artistic insight, a stronger appreciation for classical music and resolve to keep the art form at the foreground, and a new, supportive musical family” says Huang. Another SEPF alumni Eric Lu, a prizewinner at the 2013 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, was announced First Prize winner at the 2019 Leeds International Piano Competition.

During the Festival, participants will have the opportunity to attend exciting evening concerts, lectures, and play for masterclasses offered by the esteemed guest artists. Participants will also participate in daily lessons and studio classes with the piano faculty of the University of South Carolina, including Phillip Bush, Charles Fugo, and SEPF directors Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers. The festival, which takes place June 13-21, holds a special place in the South Carolina musical and cultural community. The festival provides an opportunity for pre-college students to perform, learn, network, and most importantly become part of a large family with ties and opportunities that continue far into their musical future.

Apply now to become a part of the wonderfully diverse and special Southeastern Piano Festival family! Applications close March 9, 2020. For more information, please visit our website. You can also follow the festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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