2016 Festival Winners Announced

2016 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Jury has announced the results:

David Hou

David Hou

First Prize – David Hou
Second Prize – Charlie Liu
Third Prize – Daniel Szefer

Discretionary Award – Baron Cao
Discretionary Award – Eric Lin
Discretionary Award – Ethan Yuen

Best Solo Work – David Hou and Charlie Liu

Young Jury Award – Charlie Liu



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Southeastern Piano Festival kicks off in June

The 2016 Southeastern Piano Festival—the region’s only piano-focused arts event—begins Sunday, June 12 in Columbia, SC. The weeklong festival kicks off at the University of South Carolina with the highly anticipated Piano Extravaganza Gala Concert, a performance that showcases eight pianists, four Steinway grand pianos and multimedia, including the cutting-edge Steinway Spirio piano, known as the world’s highest resolution player piano. World-renowned artists follow throughout the week.

“It’s rare to have such a bright constellation of pianists in one city”, says Marina Lomazov, the festival’s Artistic Director.

2016 Guest Artists include Sergei Babayan, winner of the Queen Elisabeth and Hamamatsu International Competitions and soloist with orchestras worldwide, Ann Schein, a protégé of Arthur Rubinstein, whose remarkable career includes performing as soloist with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the duo of Ran Dank and Soyeon Kate Lee, first and second prize winners in the Naumburg Competition and rising star artist Eric Lu, prizewinner in the Warsaw Chopin Competition and a Southeastern Piano Festival alumnus.  Juilliard Professor Julian Martin will join the festival as Chair of the Jury for the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.

In addition to the concerts, twenty of the most gifted pre-college pianists from across the country particiAlumna Susan Zhang copypate in a rigorous program of lessons and master classes, as well as competing in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. The festival offers an insider’s view of the making of the next
generation of pianists, says Program Director Joseph Rackers. “The level of young pianists keeps rising, and any one of them has the potential to go on to a career as a professional pianist”.

Throughout the week, traditional and unconventional venues host performances, transforming downtown Columbia into a destination for piano concerts. “From the Columbia Museum of Art and Trinity Cathedral to the Big Apple historical building, there are concerts throughout downtown and something for everyone”, says Lomazov.

Moderately priced tickets make attending multiple concerts possible. Master classes, discussions and competition performances are free. The Southeastern Piano Festival “Konzert Kidz” program allows all children under the age of 18 to attend any of the concerts for free. A complete list of festival events and tickets are available at southeasternpianofestival.com.

2016 Southeastern Piano Festival Concert Schedule

June 12, 4 p.m. Johnson Performance Hall, Darla Moore School of Business

Marina Lomazov, Joseph Rackers, Philip Bush, Charles Fugo and guest pianists featured on four Steinway Grand pianos.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 13, 7:30 p.m. USC School of Music 

Rising Star artist Eric Lu. Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 14, 4:30 p.m. Big Apple Building

SEPF On the Road student participants concert, free

June 14, 7:30 p.m. Columbia Museum of Art

Sergei Babayan.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 15, 7:30 p.m. USC School of Music

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 16, 7:30 p.m. Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Ann Schein.  Tickets: $20 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under

June 17, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, USC School of Music

SEPF Participants compete for the opportunity to perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic, free

June 18, 7:30 p.m. USC School of Music

Winners of the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.  Tickets: $10 general admission, $5 students, free 18 and under


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2016 Participants Announced!

Southeastern Piano Festival is proud to present the participants of the 2016 Southeastern Piano Festival, which will take place in Columbia, SC, June 12th-19th. Joining us from across the country, each participant was chosen from a record number of applicants.

Participants of the 2016 Southeastern Piano Festival:

Anastasia Magamedova, of Murray, UT; student of Heather Conner
Baron Cao, of State College, PA; student of Dea Baba
Charlie Liu, of Princeton, NJ; student of Ingrid Clarfield
Christian Chiu, of Pittsburgh, PA; student of Natasha Snitkovsky
Daniel Che, of Plano, TX; student of Yifan Liu
Daniel Oslin, of Lynnwood, WA; student of Drs. Nancy Jang and Duane Hulbert
Daniel Szefer, of Winnetka, IL; student of Ralph Neiweem
David Hou, of Hawthorn Woods, IL; student of Alan Chow
Eric Lin, of Falls Church, VA; student of Marjorie Lee
Ethan Yuen, of Palo Alto, CA; student of Hans Boepple
Hans Chan, of St. Louis, MO; student of Annette Burkhart
Heather Hsun Chang, of Palo Alto, CA; student of Corey McVicar
Jarrett Takaki, of Wilmette, IL; student of Sueanne Metz
Jason Zhang, of Dallas, TX; student of Tamas Ungar
Josephine Chan, of San Francisco, CA; student of Corey McVicar
Lewis Zou, of Solon, OH; student of Alvin Chow
Mahima Kumara, of State College, PA; student of Dea Baba
Nita Qiu, of Woodbury, MN; student of Dr. Joseph Zins
Oliver Betz, of Brooklyn, NY; student of Matti Raekallio
Roger Shen, of Northbrook, IL; student of Jon Sakata

Congratulations to all applicants, their teachers, parents, and friends! It takes tremendous work, talent, courage, focus, and support from many individuals to achieve what you have achieved and we look forward to you joining us this June!

2016 Guest Artists

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“Piano Extravaganza” Open Call Auditions on May 1st, 2016


Open Call Auditions

(Piano Students ages 5-13 are eligible)

To perform in the Piano Extravaganza Concert!  
Sign up to audition and you could perform before a live audience as part of the biggest piano event of the year: Southeastern Piano Festival’s Piano Extravaganza, on June 12th, 2016, at 4:00 PM in the Darla Moore School of Business Johnson Hall.

A special work for 8 pianists and four grand pianos was commissioned as part of the 2016 Southeastern Piano Festival initiative to involve children in creating, attending, and appreciating live music.  A young up-and-coming composer, Sasha Yakub, will compose a fantasy for 16 hands with hit songs like Frozen, Uptown Funk, and others.

Auditions will be held on May 1st at the USC School of Music, Room 231, at 813 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29208. Piano students ages 5-13 are eligible to audition. Prepare two pieces for the auditions: one memorized solo work of your choosing and the part for the Piano Extravaganza concert.

To register, please first pay the $10 registration fee here. Be sure to write down the Order Number, enter it at the bottom of the registration form, and complete all required information.

Below is the link to the folders containing the parts for you to prepare for your audition in addition to the memorized work of your choosing.


The parts for children 5-13 are in the folder labeled “Audition Scores” and a MIDI recording has been included in a separate folder for download to hear the work. The full score has been included in the link as well as the adult scores for teachers to help prepare students; however, the Audition Scores are what are to be selected and prepared for the audition. The scores are divided by levels as follows and students should prepare the excerpts indicated beneath the scores:

  • Primo 1 (Intermediate)
    • mm. 23-27 taking the second ending
      mm. 42-57
      m. 65- to the downbeat of m. 73
      mm. 96-99
  • Secondo 2 (Intermediate)
    • mm. 25-30 taking the second ending
      mm. 44-45 with the option to continue through m. 55
      m. 55-to the downbeat of m. 57
      mm. 67-75
  • Secondo 3 (Beginner)
    • mm. 21-27 taking the second ending
      m. 55-to the downbeat of m. 57
      mm. 67-73
      mm. 85-92
  • Secondo 4 (Beginner)
    • m. 21-27 taking the second ending
      mm. 42-45
      mm. 54-57
      mm. 67-73

Student’s should prepare only one part in addition to their memorized solo work. The judges are most interested in a student’s ability with tempi, rhythm, counting, attention to dynamics, and overall stage presence. The audition times will be scheduled closer to May 1st. All levels are welcome to audition. There will be at least three rehearsals, two during the month of May, and a dress rehearsal on June 11.

The winners of the audition will be notified by email and phone as well as announced on our Facebook page and website.  One additional award for the “most promising young pianist” will be announced at the Piano Extravaganza Concert.  The award will include a festival t-shirt, a feature in the 2017 festival and four tickets to any of the 2016 SEPF concerts of the winner’s choosing.

If you have any questions, please email sepf@mozart.sc.edu and we will be happy to talk to you.


Southeastern Piano Festival


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KonZert KidZ@SEPF


Konzert Kidz, a new initiative begun last summer, becomes a regular SEPF program and continues with concerts throughout the year. Designed to attract young audiences to concert halls, Konzert Kidz gives children life-long appreciation of the live music experience. More than 100 families signed up to participate in the event at last year’s Piano Fireworks concert, allowing children to come on stage and interact with the Steinway Grands after the festival’s opening concert.

Upcoming Konzert Kidz concerts are:

Saturday, February 6th, 7:30 PM*
South Carolina Philharmonic presents “ALL THAT JAZZ”
With Phillip Bush, piano, performing Gershwin and Ravel

*Free admission for children and half-off adult tickets in your party when you and your kids join the Konzert Kidz initiative here. Tickets may be purchased at the box office anytime prior to the concert by presenting the confirmation email.  Children will receive an autograph from the soloist and a certificate of attendance.

Monday, February 22nd, 7:30 PM
Lomazov-Rackers Piano Duo
USC School of Music Recital Hall (free)

Sunday, April 24th, 5:00 PM
Lomazov studio concert
An interactive multi-media event designed for children of all ages
USC School of Music Recital Hall (free)

With Konzert Kidz

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2015 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition Winners Announced

2015 Winners Take BowAfter a day of phenomenal performances, the winners of the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition have been announced.

Young Jury Award: Vincent Liu
Solo Award: Avery Gagliano
Discretionary Awards: Baron Cao, Vincent Liu, Kevin Takeda
Third Place: Avery Gagliano
Second Place: Jonathan Reichenberger
First Place: Derek Chung

Congratulations to all of our participants for an exhilarating day of music making!

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Where are they now? Past SEPF winners continue to achieve great things

The Steinway & Sons Concert Grands are being tuned and polished and the UofSC School of Music is being readied to welcome 20 accomplished participants to the Southeastern Piano Festival June 14-21.

Coming from more than a dozen states, young participants of the 2015 festival converge on the University of South Carolina campus and Columbia to spend a week honing their talent with prestigious faculty and guest artists, including two Van Cliburn medalists and an Italian prodigy. The 20 participants were selected from one of the strongest pools of applicants in the festival’s history, according to festival artistic director, Marina Lomazov. They will compete at the week’s end in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition.

Past winners of the festival continue to accomplish great things. They are performers, teachers and advocates. These are three festival alumni who continue to excel.

Sonya Schumann

Sonya Schumann, a USC graduate, is finishing up her D.M.A. at the University of Michigan and holds top prizes in many competitions. She is serving as chair of the 2015 SEPF Young Jury.

In addition to winning first prize in the 2004 SEPF, Sonya has been a prize winner at the Bartok-Kabelevsky-Prokofiev Competition, Williamsburg Symphony Concerto Competition and the South Carolina Music Teachers Association Competition. She has given performances throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, and most recently, she has been invited to perform at Oberlin Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory and the Kennedy Center.

Sonya and her sister, Elizabeth, founded the international Piano Theatre in Boston to provide public access to the arts and to engage audiences with innovative combinations of classical music, theatre, literature, art and technology. Sonya and Elizabeth perform as the Schumann Duo, promoting classical music for children in areas where arts programs and funding have been cut. Sonya also serves as an ambassador for the Piano Arts Consortium, performing benefit concerts and giving master classes across the East coast.

Sonya is passionate about teaching and has appeared as a guest lecturer and master class presenter at several festivals and colleges, including Keys Fest, Music Teachers National Association, Central Michigan University, Red Rocks Music Festival and Art at Noon at LexArts.

Eric Lu

The young Eric Lu, 2013 SEPF third-prize winner and current freshman at Curtis Institute of Music, recently placed first in the highly prestigious Chopin National Piano Competition in Miami. Eric has also received top prizes at a number of major international competitions. He received first prizes at the 9th Moscow International Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in 2014 and the Minnesota International e-Piano Junior Competition, where he also won the special Schubert Prize in 2013.

Eric has given performances across the U.S., in Germany, Italy and China and has collaborated with the Minnesota Orchestra, the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia, Wellesley Symphony, the Longwood Symphony and the Boston Civic Symphony.

Kevin Ahfat

Kevin Ahfat, 2012 SEPF second-prize winner, is currently a junior at Juilliard where he won the 2013 Julliard Concerto Competition, resulting in his New York City debut performing in Alice Tully Hall. He is a 2015 SEPF guest artist on the Alumni Celebration Concert and is volunteering as festival associate for the week.

Acclaimed by Estes Park News as a pianist of “exceptional breadth” whose “spirited, flawless performance stemmed from the very depth of his soul,” Kevin has performed both as solo and chamber artist in numerous venues nationally and internationally, including the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center in Arizona, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York, Boettcher Concert Hall in Colorado, and Fumin Hall in Kyoto, Japan.

He has garnered top prizes in many national and international competitions – the 5th Schimmel International Piano Competition, Steinway & Sons Concerto Competition, the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, and the Eastman International Piano Competition.

Kevin is also actively involved in community outreach initiatives. He has worked with the Music Advancement Program at Juilliard and was a mentor and coach for the MERIT Outreach Program at the Music Academy of the West.

For a complete list of festival events, locations and guest artists, and to purchase tickets, visit the Southeastern Piano Festival website. Buy tickets online here.

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