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American Pianists and WFMT Radio Network launch series Oct 1

October marks the launch of a new nationally syndicated radio series by the WFMT Radio Network, in collaboration with the American Pianists Association. “Journey to the Awards” is a four-part, eight-hour series hosted by Candice Agree that documents the finals of the yearlong competition, the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association. Each program features performances and behind-the-scenes interviews with the five finalists vying for the APA’s $100,000 prize, one of the most lucrative awards available to an American pianist. The journey tests the talents of these rising stars – Sean Chen, Sara Daneshpour, Claire Huangci, Andrew Staupe and Eric Zuber – through solo recitals, chamber music, new music, song accompaniment, and concerto performances. The broad spectrum of works featured in the radio series ranges from Albeniz to Turina, Beethoven to Bielawa, and Scarlatti to Shostakovich.

“Exciting things are happening at American Pianists Association and I am delighted that we can share some of that excitement with music listeners around the nation and the world via the superb work of the WFMT Radio Network,” said Joel Harrison, the APA’s President/CEO and Artistic Director.

The WFMT Radio Network traveled to Indianapolis, home of the American Pianists Association, last April to document the final week of the APA’s biennial competition. At the conclusion of the week, one finalist was named the APA’s 2013 DeHaan Classical Fellow: a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life. The fourth and final radio program in WFMT’s “Journey to the Awards” series is dedicated to exploring that pianist’s musicianship and artistry.

The first program showcases the five finalists in solo recitals, performing music of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Scarlatti, Scriabin and more. The second features the world premieres of five short works commissioned by the APA, with support from the Sorel Organization, composed by Lisa Bielawa, Margaret Brouwer, Gabriela Lena Frank, Missy Mazzoli, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. In the second half of that program, the finalists collaborate with the luminous soprano Jessica Rivera in a song recital of music by Mompou, Richard Strauss, Debussy, Turina and Barber. 

For the third program, the American Pianists Association’s “Journey to the Awards” focuses on chamber music performances. The five finalists team up with the Linden String Quartet to present selections from piano quintets by Dvorák, Schumann, Shostakovich, Dohnányi and Brahms. 

The WFMT Radio Network is making the radio series available to stations beginning October 1. “We are thrilled and honored to help the American Pianists Association document its 2013 classical competition,” stated Steve Robinson, General Manager of the WFMT Radio Network. “These are terrific young musicians at critical moments in their careers. I know their music making in these programs will be welcomed by radio stations throughout the U.S. and around the world.”

Additionally, webcasts of the Gala Finals from April 19 and 20, 2013 – the complete concerto performances by the five finalists with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz – may be viewed at

About the APA Competition Finalists*

*As of spring 2013 when the radio series was recorded

Sean Chen, 24, was a prizewinner in the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition, second-prize winner of the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition, and third-prize winner at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the first American to reach the finals since 1997. Born in Margate, Florida and raised in Oak Park, California, Chen received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Juilliard School, where he won the 2010 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition. He is pursuing his Artist Diploma at the Yale School of Music, studying with Hung-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone. His former teachers include Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and Edward Francis.

Sara Daneshpour, 25, won first prize at the XII Concours International de Musique du Maroc (Morocco, 2012), was the second-prize winner of the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition, first-prize and Gold Medal winner of the 2007 International Russian Music Piano Competition, and first-prize winner of the 2003 Beethoven Society of America Competition. She joined the roster of Astral Artists as winner of the 2010 National Auditions. Daneshpour has performed in her hometown of Washington, DC as well as in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Russia, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, studying under Leon Fleisher, and is now pursuing her master’s degree at Juilliard with Yoheved Kaplinsky. 

Claire Huangci, 22, won first prize in the 2010 National Chopin Piano Competition in Miami, and was a laureate in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition. She made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003 and has since performed with orchestras in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, St. Petersburg, and Moscow, and with the China Philharmonic, among others. Born in Rochester, New York, Huangci entered Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School at age seven and did her undergraduate work at the Curtis Institute of Music. She is currently studying at the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover, Germany with Arie Vardi.

Andrew Staupe, 28, made his Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall as recipient of the 2011 Pro Musicis International Award, and he was the Gold Medalist of the 2010 Young Texas Artists Music Competition. The St. Paul, Minnesota native has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Houston Symphony, and has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as in Russia, Latvia, Romania, France, Germany, and Bulgaria. Staupe received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota with Lydia Artymiw, and is currently completing his DMA in piano performance at Rice University in Houston with Jon Kimura Parker.

Eric Zuber, 27, has won major prizes in nine international piano competitions: the Cleveland, Arthur Rubinstein, Seoul, Sydney, Dublin, Minnesota, Hilton Head, Honens and Bösendorfer competitions. The Baltimore, Maryland native made his orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Baltimore Symphony and has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Korean Symphony, and Ireland’s RTE National Symphony, among others. Zuber holds degrees from the Peabody Institute, Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard School, and is currently pursuing his DMA at Peabody. His teachers have included Boris Slutsky, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, and Robert McDonald.


About the American Pianists Association

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young American classical and jazz pianists of world-class talents. Since its founding in 1979, the organization has supported 43 Fellows. Among the previous Classical Fellows are Adam Golka and Grace Fong (2009), Spencer Myer (2006), Christopher Taylor (2000), Frederic Chiu (1985) and Sara Davis Buechner (1981). The American Pianists Association was founded in 1979 as the Beethoven Foundation. In 1982, two of its founders, Victor Borge and Tony Habig, moved the national headquarters to Indianapolis. 

Unlike any other major piano competition, the American Pianists Association focuses equally on classical and jazz pianists. Since 1992, the organization has offered Jazz Fellowships, with a similar cash award of $50,000 – the largest available in the jazz piano world. The 2011 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz is Aaron Diehl, hailed by the New York Times as a “revelation.” Former Fellows include Dan Tepfer (2007) and Aaron Parks (2001). The next Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz will be named in April 2015.

About the WFMT Radio Network

The WFMT Radio Network is a premier creator and distributor of radio programs that are syndicated to hundreds of radio stations throughout the United States and internationally, with a focus on classical music, jazz, folk, science, and world culture programs. Based in Chicago, The WFMT Radio Network has been providing radio stations with syndicated programming since 1972. For a full list of WFMT Radio Network programs, visit

About the Radio Series:

The American Pianists Association’s “Journey to the Awards”  

A four-part, eight-hour radio series produced and distributed by the WFMT Radio Network; hosted by Candice Agree; recorded in Indianapolis, Indiana in April 2013 during the final week of the American Pianists Association’s Classical Fellowship Awards competition.

Program One

Solo piano performances by the five finalists: Sean Chen, Sara Daneshpour, Claire Huangci, Andrew Staupe, and Eric Zuber

Chopin: Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante, Op. 22

Kapustin: Concert Etude, Op. 40, No. 3 in E minor

Schubert: Impromptu in G-flat major, Op. 90, No. 3

Liszt: Rhapsodie espagnole, S. 254

Scarlatti: Sonatas in B minor, K. 27 and A major, K. 212

Rachmaninoff: Études-Tableaux in A minor, Op. 39, No.2; E-flat minor, Op. 33, No. 6; and A minor, Op. 39, No. 6

Beethoven: Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 27, No. 1

Scriabin: Sonata No. 5, Op. 53

Scarlatti: Sonata in G major, K. 146

Albéniz: “Evocation” from Iberia

Chopin: Scherzo No. 3

Program Two

Hour One: The finalists perform the world premieres of five short works commissioned by the American Pianists Association, with support from the Sorel Organization

Lisa Bielawa: Vireo Canons and Chorale

Margaret Brouwer: Prelude and Toccata

Gabriela Lena Frank: Karnavalito #1

Missy Mazzoli: Heartbreaker

Sarah Kirkland Snider: The Currents

Hour Two: The finalists collaborate with soprano Jessica Rivera in a song recital, with selections from:

Mompou: Combat del Somni

R. Strauss: Mädchenblumen, Op. 22

Debussy: Ariettes oubliées 

Turina: Poema en forma de canciones 

Barber: Hermit Songs, Op. 29

Program Three

The five finalists perform selections from five piano quintets with the Linden String Quartet

Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34

Dohnányi: Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1

Dvorák: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81

Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44

Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57

Program Four

The winner of the American Pianists Association’s biennial competition has been named – the 2013 DeHaan Classical Fellow – and this entire final program is dedicated to exploring the pianist’s musicianship and artistry.

Bartók: Three Preludes

Bach: French Suite No. 5 in G major

Bartók: Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra

Scriabin: Sonata No. 5, Op. 53

Turina: Poema en forma de canciones

Lisa Bielawa: Vireo Canons and Chorale

Ravel: La Valse

Stations interested in broadcasting The American Pianists Association’s “Journey to the Awards” should contact Tony Macaluso: [email protected] / 773.279.2114 or Carol Martinez: [email protected] / 773.279.2112.

Listeners interested in hearing the series should check local listings for availability. Additionally, the American Pianists Association’s “Journey to the Awards” will be archived for on-demand streaming at

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For further information, contact:

Wende Persons, 21C Media Group: [email protected]; 917-691-1282;
Joel Harrison, President/CEO & Artistic Director, American Pianists Association: [email protected]; 317-940-9945

© 21C Media Group, October 2013

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