2022 Festival Participants Announced

We are thrilled to announce the 20 selected participants of the 2022 season!

SEPF 2022 Participants

Spencer Cha, 17, Los Altos, CA
Jerry Chang, 14, Saint Louis, MO
David Choi, 14 Los Angeles, CA
Kimiko Darcy, 17, Chicago, IL
Wanqing Anita Hao, 15, Alberta, Canada
Sophia Kim, 16, Wayne NJ
Jinyoung Kweon, 18, Natick, MA
Brian Li, 14, British Columbia, Canada
Katherine Liu, 17, Wellesley, MA
Matthew Liu, 15, Lawrence, Kansas
Elsie Lu, 16 British Columbia, Canada
Jeston Lu, 16, Fremont, CA
Cristian Makhuli, 17, Charlotte, NC
Celicia Thendean, 14, Pleasanton, CA
Luke Turner, 18, Birmingham, AL
Ryan Wang, 16, Mountain View, CA
Cory Wu, 17, Powell, OH
Kyle Yeung, 14, Irvine, CA
Nathaniel Zhang, 15, Folsom, CA
Helaine Zhao, 15, Irvine, CA

Selected from a record-high number of applicants from throughout North America, these participants will take part in an immersive week of lessons and masterclasses with renowned master teachers and experience performances by internationally-acclaimed artists.

Additionally, participants will compete in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition for $10,000 in prizes and the opportunity to perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic in the Masterworks concert series. Additional prize categories include best performance of a contemporary work, discretionary awards, and Young Jury Award.

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.

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Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of SEPF

This summer, the Southeastern Piano Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary June 12-19, 2022! Join us to celebrate two decades of presenting the best of emerging and world-renowned piano talent to audiences in the southeast and beyond.

Southeastern Piano Festival

In this special year, we will feature 20 SEPF alumni in performances and conversations to celebrate 20 years of presenting emerging and established performers and providing a training platform for the best precollege pianists nationally and internationally. Featured alumni include Susan Zhang, Clayton Stephenson, Caleb Borick, Chaeyoung Park, Sasha Kasman, Adrian King, Sonya Schumann, Leo Svirsky, and many more.  The audiences who remember them as participants in past festivals will be astonished at their musical and personal growth, as they perform in many indoor and outdoor concerts during the week of the festival.

This year’s Piano Extravaganza promises to be an extraordinary piano event.  Many alumni will take part in piano solo, duo and ensembles works in what will truly be a piano fireworks showcase.

In addition to celebrating our alumni, the exciting guest artist roster features Jon Kimura Parker, Fabio Bidini, Joyce Yang, and rising star, Eric Lu, our own alumnus and winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition, one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world. 

Eric Lu, 2013 SEPF Prizewinner

Eric was a prizewinner in the 2013 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, sponsored by the Symphony League of South Carolina Philharmonic, a partner of the Southeastern Piano Festival.  Since that time, he became the first prize winner of Chopin National Piano Competition in Miami and took one of the top prizes in the Warsaw Chopin Piano Competition.  He has just released a new recording of piano music by the great Romantics Chopin, Brahms and Schumann and is concertizing around the globe.

A number of events during the festival will take place on The Concert Truck, a mobile concert stage that was the conceived by Nicholas Luby and Susan Zhang, another illustrious festival alumna. Nick and Susan have taken The Concert Truck literally all over the country this past year, and their endeavor has brought music to dozens of locations during the pandemic that otherwise would not have had access to live music.  They have given over 100 concerts in the past year and are on the roster of Opus 3 Artists.

We invite you to celebrate with us!  Become a patron of the festival and receive two reserved seats to every concert or purchase single tickets online or at the door.  Concerts will take place at Johnson Performance Hall at the Moore School of Business, the University of South Carolina School of Music Recital Hall, Trinity Cathedral, and Columbia Museum of Art and pop-up concerts will take place in many outdoor venues.  We cannot wait to welcome you to our live concerts this summer!

Jon Kimura Parker, SEPF 2022 Guest Artist

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. Applications are now open! Full guidelines and eligibility are 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 (FacebookInstagramTwitter) for more 2022 festival updates!

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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
pause
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
pause
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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