Sejoon Park, First Prize Winner
Sejoon Park, son of Dukyul Yun, is a ninth grader at McLean High School in McLean, Virginia. He was born in Seoul, Korea and began piano studies at the age of six. Prior to moving to the United States in 2001, he appeared with the Busan Orchestra at the age of ten. He has won first prizes in the Marlin-Engel competition and the Cogen Concerto competition, both sponsored by the Levine School of Music in Washington DC, and first prize at the Alexandria Performing Art Association competition, second prize in the Oberlin International Piano Competition, second prize in the Piano Arts piano competition and third prize in the Eastman Music School International piano competition. This year he has been chosen to perform for “From the Top,” the nationally syndicated program. For the past three years, he has studied chamber music and composition at the Levine School of Music. He currently studies with Dr. Mikhail Volchock at Levine.
Jooeun Shim, Second Prize Winner
Jooeun Shim, the daughter of Jason and Hye K. Shim, is an eleventh grader at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois, and has been studying for ten years. She recently placed alternate in the Chicago Symphony Youth Auditions and was awarded a $1,000 Farwell Scholarship from the Women’s Association Club. She has placed first at the MTNA State Competition and in 2003 won awards in the Steinway Concerto Competition, the Illinois State Music Teachers National Assocation competition, and the Southeastern Piano Festival. In 2002 she was a finalist in the Feinberg Youth Audition at Chicago’s Symphony Hall and a participant at the Oberlin Music Festival, also performing as soloist at the 2000-01 Young Steinway Concert Series in Skokie, Illinois. Jooeun was featured live on Chicago’s WFMT station as a winner in the Steinway Solo Piano Competition, and currently studies with Emilio del Rosario.
Mariana Olaizola, Third Prize Winner
Mariana Olaizola, daughter of Guillermo and Maria Luisa Olaizola, is a ninth grader at Wait Whitman High School in Bathesda, Maryland and is also in the Honors Program at the Levine School of Music. A native of Venezuela, she studied at the “Escuela de Musica Manuel Alberto Lopez” in Caracas. Before moving to the U.S. in 2002, she won second place in the Harriett Serr National Piano Competition, awarding her a solo performance with orchestra. At Levine, Mariana placed first in the Cogen Concerto and the Marlin-Engel Solo Competitions, has received special recognition at jury evaluations, and was awarded “Student of the Year” in 2003 and 2004. She studied at the summer piano academy at Indiana University in 2003 and performed in the final honors recital. She performed last month in the Spring Gala Concert at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, and currently studies with Irena Orlov.
Alan Clark, Honorable Mention
Alan Clark, son of Shirley and Ken Clark, is a ninth grader at Eastside High School in Gainesville, Florida. He began taking piano lessons at the age of four. Alan has won numerous piano solo and concerto competitions at both the district and state levels, and has twice won concerto competitions qualifying him to play with an orchestra in North Central Florida. Last year Alan was runner-up in the Florida State Music Teachers Association concerto competition. Alan also enjoys improvising and composing. For the past six years he has won the FFMC composition contest in Florida and last year his composition was the national winner in his age division. He also plays the oboe with his school band and with the Alachua County Youth Orchestra, a highly-respected orchestra for middle and high school students in North Central Florida. He currently studies with Dr. Hee Jung Kang.
Neil Ostenfeld, Honorable Mention
Neil Ostenfeld, son of Richard Ostenfeld and Karen Avedasian, is a twelfth grader at T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, North Carolina. This is Neil’s fourth summer with the Southeastern Summer Piano Festival; he received honorable mention in the Arthur Fraser Piano Competition last summer. Neil participated in the Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague last summer, where he was selected to perform at the closing concert. He accompanies the Advanced Ensemble at high school in competitions and choral festivals. He particularly enjoys playing Bach and Rachmaninoff, and it is especially rewarding for him to share his joy by playing for local senior residents in Asheville. This fall Neil will be attending University of South Carolina School of Music on music and academic scholarships. For the past year and a half, he has been a student of Zaven Persamyan.
Stephen Pikarsky, Honorable Mention
Stephen Pikarsky, the son of Robert and Susan Pikarsky of Liverpool, New York, is home schooled and in the tenth grade. He has studied piano for nine years. Stephen is a 2003 and 2006 winner of the Civic Morning Musicals-Syracuse Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition, performing with the SSO at the age of 12 and again in March 2006. He has won several first place awards in the CNYAMT Advanced Piano Competitions. Stephen was the Division I winner of the 2004 International Chopin Competition of the Thousand Island and a 2005 winner of the Geneseo Young Artists Piano Concerto Competition. He has participated in many masterclasses with internationally known pianists and conductors, and currently studies with John Spradling, a graduate of the Juilliard School.