Leo Svirsky, First Prize Winner
Leo Svirsky, son of Roman and Janet Svirsky, is an eleventh grader who attends Emerson Preparatory School. He has performed at Boston Conservatory, the Smithsonian Institution Piano 300 Exhibition, the Russian Ambassador’s Residence, the Church of the Epiphany, American and Georgetown Universities, the Swiss Embassy, the Contemporary Music Forum, the Kremlin, the Roerich Museum, Moscow Conservatory, and the National Arts Centre of Canada. He will perform with his trio at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. He also participated in the 2005 Kingsville International Competitions, receiving honorable mention in the junior concerto competition and first prize in the Isabel Scionti Piano Solo Competition including the Isabel Scionti Award for Outstanding Solo Performance. A Performance Artist at the Levine School of Music, he studies piano there with Irena Orlov and composition with Frances McKay.
Susan Zhang, Second Prize Winner
Susan Zhang, the daughter of Hanfang Zhang and Xunsheng Chen, is an eleventh grader at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta, Georgia. She grew up in Vancouver, B.C., where she began playing piano at age six. At age twelve, Susan was invited to play with the Augusta Symphony upon winning its youth competition. She has also been a consistent first-place winner at the Georgia Music Teacher’s Association’s annual auditions. Over this past summer, Susan was a participant in the 2004 Southeastern Piano Festival and attended the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program as a piano major, one of only eight students in the state. Recently she performed with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. She currently studies with Lydia Porro Milham.
Gregory Wang, Third Prize Winner
Gregory Wang, son of Bo and Dorothy Wang, is an eighth grader at Science Hill in Johnson City, Tennessee. He was a runner-up at the MTNA Southern Division Baldwin Junior Performance Competition. He has been studying piano since the second grade and has competed in numerous events, winning various awards from the Tennessee Music Teachers Association. He was named the winner of TMTA Fifth and Sixth Grade Piano and has also won the TMTA Elementary and Junior High Piano Concerto Competitions. He has appeared twice at "Tunes at Noon" in the Paramount Theater in Bristol, and performed with the Johnson City and Maryville Symphony Orchestras. Gregory is a member of Tenacity, a piano-violin-cello trio which was named winner of the TMTA Chamber Music competition in 2004. He has studied, since the third grade, at East Tennessee State University with Benjamin Canton.
Aya Yamamoto, "Commissioned Work" Award
Aya Yamamoto, the daughter of Shizuki and Momoko Yamamoto, is an eleventh grader at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia. She started studying piano at the age of four with her mother, consistently receiving Outstanding Performer awards in local auditions. In the third and fourth grade, she was a winner of the Kawai Auditions and in the seventh grade, she won the GMTA State Fall Competition. She received the Baldwin Scholarship at the same time and was also a finalist in the Pinault International Competition. She was also a finalist in the Lagrange Symphony Young Artists Competition in 2002 and a semifinalist in the Blount Lennox International Young Artists Competition. In the summers of 2000-02, she attended the Indiana University Piano Academy, where she was chosen twice to play in the Honors Recital. In the summer of ’01, she also attended the Texas Conservatory for Young Artists. She currently studies with David Watkins.
Neil Ostenfeld, Honorable Mention
Neil Ostenfeld, son of Richard Ostenfeld and Karen Avedisian, is an eleventh grader at T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, North Carolina. This is Neil’s third summer at the Southeastern Piano Festival. He has also participated in the piano clinic at Converse College the past two years, being selected to perform in the honors recital both years. Last summer Neil was selected through audition to play the Brahms Rhapsody in G minor at the Honors Recital at the FSU Piano Workshop. This year in school, Neil accompanied the Advanced Ensemble at the North Carolina Music Teachers Association Convention and rehearses with them daily. Other activities include accompanying first chair trumpet for a scholarship, and a piano trio that meets weekly. He particularly enjoys playing Bach and Rachmaninoff. He studied piano with Judy Rhodes for two and one half years, and currently studies with Zaven Parsamyan.
Samiron Ray, Honorable Mention
Samiron Ray, son of Sumit and Shumi Ray, is an eleventh grader at Dutch Fork High School, and has been playing piano for over ten years. He has attended the Southeastern Piano Festival for two years on a full tuition scholarship and the Brevard Music Center, also on a scholarship. Samiron has won first prize in the 2005 Greenville Young Artists Piano Competition, Honorable Mention in the 2004 SC Baldwin MTNA competition, and Honorable Mention at the 2004 Southeastern Piano Festival Concerto Competition. He is in the top of his class and an active member and leader of various clubs and organizations at his school. He also is co-host on the nationally syndicated radio show "Teen Forum". He currently studies with Marina Lomazov.