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American Pianists Assoc. reveals names of classical award finalists

During a media event at Steinway Hall on April 24, the American Pianists Association (APA) revealed the names of the five pianists who are finalists for a prize valued at more than $100,000 – the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association. In the coming season, the finalists – selected from America’s foremost young pianists aged 18-30 – will perform in a variety of settings: from solo recital, song, new music, and chamber music to concerto appearances with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. At the conclusion of these and other activities on April 20, 2013, a distinguished panel of international judges will name the APA’s 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow, a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life.
“One of the great things about the American Pianists Association is our unique competition format,” stated Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the Indianapolis-based organization. “We bring each of our five finalists to the city over an entire concert season for a series of fully-produced professional concerts and a variety of community outreach events. In essence, we treat each one as a visiting Artist in Residence, giving them extraordinary professional experience simply by being a part of this competition. And because we see and hear them over an extended period of time, we have the remarkable privilege to witness them grow in artistic stature at an important time in their professional development. For me, there is nothing as exciting or rewarding!”
The Five Finalists:
Sean Chen, 23, is second prize winner of the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition and a prizewinner in the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition. Born in Margate, FL and raised in Oak Park, CA, he has performed in Bucharest, Seoul, Taiwan, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Miami, and New York. Chen received his undergraduate degree at the Juilliard School, where he won the 2010 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, and he is currently pursuing his Master’s degree there. His teachers have included Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and teacher-mentor Edward Francis.
Sara Daneshpour, 25, is 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, D.C. 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 is 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, Moscow, and with the China Philharmonic, among others. Born in Rochester, NY, 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 in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover with Professor Arie Vardi.
Andrew Staupe, 27, made his Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall earlier this month as recipient of the 2011 Pro Musicis International Award, and he is the Gold Medalist of the 2010 Young Texas Artists Music Competition. The St. Paul, MN native has performed several times with the Minnesota Orchestra and has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Concertgebouw in the Netherlands as well as in Russia, Holland, Latvia, Romania, France, Germany, and Bulgaria. Staupe received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, and is currently completing his DMA in Piano Performance at Rice University in Houston with Jon Kimura Parker.
Eric Zuber, 26, has won major prizes in seven international piano competitions: the Cleveland, Arthur Rubinstein, Seoul, Sydney, Dublin, Minnesota, and Hilton Head competitions. The Baltimore, MD 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 the Juilliard School, and is currently pursuing his DMA at Peabody. His teachers have included Boris Slutsky, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, and Robert McDonald.
Each of the finalists for the Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association performed short selections during the April 24 media event at Steinway Hall. The program, hosted by Robert Sherman, was recorded for broadcast as part of WQXR’s The McGraw-Hill Companies Young Artists Showcase. It will air May 16, 2012 on WQXR in New York and on WFYI in Indianapolis, home of the APA.
The Fellowship:
The APA’s Fellowship provides one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes: a $50,000 cash award, recording opportunities, and two years of career assistance and performances, for a total value of more than $100,000. The Fellowship is awarded every two years to an American classical or jazz pianist at the conclusion of the APA’s unique 13-month-long competition process.
Thanks to Steinway’s sponsorship of the 2013 Fellowship, the Classical Fellow will issue a solo recording on the Steinway label, for distribution by ArkivMusic. Performance opportunities during the two-year fellowship period involve appearances with the symphony orchestras of Milwaukee, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Tucson; re-engagements with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; and solo recitals. Previous winners have been presented at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, Dame Myra Hess Series, Chopin Foundation of America, in various recital series nationwide, and on tours overseas.
The Competition Process:
The Classical Fellowship Awards are produced in Indianapolis, home of the APA. The competition process takes place in three stages. At the Preliminary Round in March 2012, jurors screened recordings to select the five finalists. In September 2012, all five will attend a career workshop in preparation for the Classical Premiere Series, whereby each finalist in turn is invited to Indianapolis, home of the APA, for an expense-paid week of activities – including a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, an adjudicated public solo recital, and a three-day high-school residency – complete with a $5,000 stipend. The five finalists return to Indianapolis in April 2013 for the third and final stage, Classical Discovery Week (April 15-20). The adjudicated events include solo, chamber music, new music, song performances, and a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow – a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life – will be named on April 20, 2013.
About the American Pianists Association:
The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote, and advance the careers of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists. The APA offers one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes, valued at over $100,000. Unlike any other major piano competition, the APA focuses equally on both classical and jazz pianists. Since 1992, the Association 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.
The 2009 Classical Fellows are Adam Golka, also a Gilmore Young Artist, and Grace Fong, winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition. Among previous Classical Fellows are Spencer Myer (2006), Christopher Taylor (2000), Frederic Chiu (1985), and Sara Davis Buechner (1981).
Recognized by the New York Times for offering “profound early-career assistance,” the APA has been supporting aspiring young artists for over 30 years. The APA 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.
Schedule of Competition Events in Indianapolis:
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra concerts at the Indiana History Center, 3:30pm
Sept 30, 2012 – Claire Huangci
Nov 11, 2012 – Sean Chen
Dec 2, 2012 – Sara Daneshpour
Jan 27, 2013 – Andrew Staupe
Feb 24, 2013 – Eric Zuber
April 15, 2013
Christ Church Cathedral, 12:00pm
Chamber Music Recital
Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, 7:30pm
New Music Recital

April 16, 2013
Christ Church Cathedral, 12:00pm
Chamber Music Recital
Location TBA, 6:00pm
Governor’s Reception

April 17, 2013
Christ Church Cathedral, 12:00pm
Chamber Music Recital

April 18, 2013
Christ Church Cathedral, 12:00pm
Chamber Music Recital
Indiana Landmarks Center, 7:30pm
Song Recital

April 19, 2013
Christ Church Cathedral, 12:00pm
Chamber Music Recital
Hilbert Circle Theatre, 8:00pm
Gala Finals with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

April 20, 2013
Hilbert Circle Theatre, 8:00pm
Gala Finals with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra







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