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APA names guest artists, conductor for final rounds of competition

The American Pianists Association today announced that soprano Susanna Phillips, the Linden String Quartet, and conductor Carolyn Kuan will be guest artists for its April 2013 Classical Discovery Week. The weeklong series of concerts, to take place from April 15 to April 20, 2013, is the final round of performances in the yearlong competition for the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association. With an award valued at more than $100,000, the APA offers one of the most lucrative awards available to an American pianist. During Discovery Week, the five current Finalists will collaborate with Susanna Phillips in a program of French and American songs on Thursday, April 18. At daily noontime concerts during the week, each Finalist will perform with the Linden String Quartet on a major piano quintet as follows:  Eric Zuber plays Dvorák (Monday, April 15); Sara Daneshpour plays Schumann (Tuesday, April 16); Claire Huangci plays Shostakovich (Wednesday, April 17); Andrew Staupe plays Brahms (Thursday, April 18); Sean Chen plays Dohnányi (Friday, April 19). The concerto finals on April 19 and 20 will feature the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carolyn Kuan. In the coming weeks, the names of five composers commissioned to write pieces for the Finalists to play at the new music concert on April 15 will be announced.
“Classical pianists today need to be prepared to cover a number of professional engagements that might variously include solo concerts, concerti, chamber music and working with singers,” said Joel Harrison, the APA’s President/CEO and Artistic Director. “With that idea in mind, we have created a season-long competition that combines all of these aspects, giving our five Finalists a full range of expressive opportunities in several musical genres. In so doing, I believe that the Classical Fellowship Awards mirror the professional world of a performing pianist. What better way to advance careers of emerging pianists than to create professional opportunities for them as part of a competition process!”
From September 2012 through February 2013, each Finalist is performing a concerto with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra as part of the Classical Premiere Series in Indianapolis. Finalist Claire Huangci was first on September 30 in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Upcoming concerts feature Sean Chen in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 (Nov 11); Sara Daneshpour in Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Dec 2); Andrew Staupe in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 (Jan 27); and Eric Zuber in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (Feb 24). Two international panels of judges are adjudicating the concerts in the Premiere Series and during April’s Classical Discovery Week. At the conclusion of the season-long competition events, on April 20, 2013, one Finalist − a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life − will be named the APA’s 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow. New York City’s historic Trinity Church will present the APA’s newly selected winner and the four laureates in its Concerts at One series on April 25, 2013.
About Susanna Phillips
Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists.  2012-13 sees Phillips take the stage of the Met for her fifth consecutive season, this time to perform Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, conducted by Edward Gardner. Her opera season in New York City continues with her return to the Perlman stage at Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance, portraying Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Renée Fleming—a role she will also perform at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Phillips also makes her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall this season, presenting a program with accompanist Myra Huang in Weill Recital Hall. Phillips’s first solo disc, Paysages, was released in 2011 to great acclaim.  “Soprano Susanna Phillips here stakes a claim to vocal stardom,” said the Cleveland Plain Dealer, praising “a voice of ravishing warmth and purity.” 
About the Linden String Quartet
Described as “polished, radiant and incisive” by The Strad, the Linden String Quartet is a winner of the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Founded in spring 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Quartet has enjoyed remarkable success in four short years, having also garnered the Gold Medal and Grand Prize of the 2009 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Coleman-Barstow Prize at the 2009 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition, First Prize at the 2010 Hugo Kauder Competition, and, most recently, the ProQuartet Prize at the 9th Borciani International String Quartet Competition. Praised for “performances of consummate artistry and near-flawless execution” (Classical Voice of North Carolina), the Linden String Quartet was also selected recently for the prestigious 2011 A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Fellowship.
About Carolyn Kuan
Carolyn Kuan is increasingly recognized as one of the most exciting, innovative and outstanding conductors of her generation. Newly appointed as music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Kuan’s recent North America engagements have included concerts with the Baltimore, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, North Carolina, and Toledo symphonies; the Florida and Louisville orchestras; the New York City Ballet; and the New York City Opera. Recent international engagements have included concerts with the Bournemouth Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatán. In her debut album released in January 2012, Kuan conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the Naxos label. Kuan’s past positions include associate conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, artist-in-residence at the New York City Ballet, and assistant conductor for the Baltimore Opera Company. The recipient of numerous awards, she holds the distinction of being the first female to be awarded the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship by the Herbert von Karajan Centrum and American Austrian Foundation in 2003, which resulted in her residency at the 2004 Salzburg Festival.  Winner of the first Taki Concordia Fellowship, she has received additional awards from the Women’s Philharmonic, Conductors Guild and Susan W. Rose Fund for Music. Kuan graduated cum laude from Smith College, received a Master of Music from the University of Illinois and a Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory.
About the APA Fellowship
Recognized by the New York Times for offering “profound early-career assistance” to world-class American classical and jazz pianists, the American Pianists Association is showcasing the five Finalists for its Classical Fellowship Awards throughout the 2012-13 season. The APA’s Fellowship offers one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes, valued at more than $100,000: a $50,000 cash award and two years of career assistance and performances. Performance opportunities during the fellowship period involve solo recitals as well as appearances with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Tucson. 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.  
In April, one of the current Finalists will be named the APA’s 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow. Steinway is the official piano of the 2013 Fellowship, and the chosen Fellow will issue a solo recording on the Steinway label, for distribution by ArkivMusic.
Unlike any other major piano competition, the APA focuses equally on classical and jazz pianists. The prize is awarded every two years on an alternating basis to a classical or a jazz pianist at the conclusion of the unique competition process that Performance Today radio host Fred Child has described as a “massive musical competition undertaking.”  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 was 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 Competition Finalists
Sean Chen, 24, was 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 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 Yale University. His teachers have included Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and teacher-mentor Edward Francis.
“Pianist Chen leaves New West Symphony audiences ‘Spellbound.’ … He brought piquant charm and prodigious fingerwork to play in [Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini], and a lush and ruminative spirit to [Miklós Rózsa’s ‘Spellbound’ concerto].” — Ventura County Star
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, 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.
“She created transfixing poetry”— The Washington Post
“Sensational. Strength, finesse, passion; it was all there.” — The Mercury News
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, Moscow, and 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 at the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover, Germany with Professor Arie Vardi.
“The pianist displays the same talent once reserved for Vladimir Horowitz: phenomenal basses, dynamic phrases and a great feel for timbres.” Allegemeine Zeitung
Andrew Staupe, 28, recently 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, MN native has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra 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.
“Mr. Staupe gave a brilliant performance, handling the virtuosic demands with apparent ease, capturing the savage without ever resorting to pounding, and maintaining a tremendous level of stamina and power… I was stunned- this was one of the most incredible performances of this masterpiece [Villa-Lobos’s Rudepoema] I have ever heard, live or recorded … a once-in-a-lifetime performance!” New York Concert Review
Eric Zuber, 27, 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.
“Zuber held the audience in the palms of his hands [in Liszt’s Sonata in B minor]. Under the wrong circumstances, this piece can sound like a bag of virtuosic tricks, but Zuber shaped it with a keen ear for both the score’s celestial lyricism and diabolical ferocity.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer
Schedule of American Pianists Association Competition Events
The 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association
Note: All events take place in Indianapolis, IN unless otherwise indicated.
Sept 30, 2012, 3:30pm
Premiere Series; Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Claire Huangci, piano
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor
Nov 11, 2012, 3:30pm
Premiere Series; Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Sean Chen, piano
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major
Dec 2, 2012, 3:30pm
Premiere Series; Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Sara Daneshpour, piano
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor
Jan 27, 2013, 3:30pm
Premiere Series; Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center;
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Andrew Staupe, piano
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major
Feb 24, 2013, 3:30pm
Premiere Series; Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center;
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Eric Zuber, piano
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor
April 15, 2013, noon
Discovery Week; Christ Church Cathedral
Solo recital and Dvorák: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81
Eric Zuber, piano; Linden String Quartet
April 15, 2013, 7:30pm
Discovery Week; Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall
New music recital: premieres of APA-commissioned works
April 16, 2013, noon
Discovery Week; Christ Church Cathedral
Solo recital and Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44
Sara Daneshpour, piano; Linden String Quartet
April 17, 2013, noon
Discovery Week; Christ Church Cathedral
Solo recital and Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57
Claire Huangci, piano; Linden String Quartet
April 18, 2013, noon
Discovery Week; Christ Church Cathedral
Solo recital and Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
Andrew Staupe, piano; Linden String Quartet
April 18, 2013, 7:30pm
Discovery Week; Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
Song recital: French and American songs
Susanna Phillips, soprano, with the five Finalists
April 19, 2013, noon
Discovery Week; Christ Church Cathedral
Solo recital and Dohnányi: Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1
Sean Chen, piano; Linden String Quartet
April 19, 2013, 8pm
Discovery Week; Hilbert Circle Theatre
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Gala Finals
Sara Daneshpour – Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor
Claire Huangci – Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major
Eric Zuber – Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor
April 20, 2013, 8pm
Discovery Week; Hilbert Circle Theatre
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Gala Finals
Sean Chen – Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major
Andrew Staupe – Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor
Naming of the winner: 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association
April 25, 1pm
New York, NY
Trinity Church (Wall St & Broadway)
Concerts at One
Performances by all competition pianists (including the winner from April 20):
Sean Chen, Sara Daneshpour, Claire Huangci, Andrew Staupe, Eric Zuber
New York premieres of APA-commissioned works



























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