Walter Beers, son of Eric and Kay Beers, is a home-schooled eighth grader residing in Blacksburg, Virginia. Walter began his study of piano at age seven. He has performed at many student recitals, and has also been a frequent participant at the annual Rebecca Orr Technique Festival at Radford University. Since September 2004 Walter has also received chamber music instruction from Roy Harran and has performed in a piano trio. He has also served as an accompanist for cello and violin students in recital. Walter’s other interests include medieval and ancient history, calligraphy and illumination, and Latin. He currently studies theory with Barbara Macklin and piano with Sonya Ho of the Renaissance Music Academy in Blacksburg.
Debbie Beihl, daughter of Gary and Penny Biehl, is in the tenth grade and is home-schooled at Forest Creek Academy Homeschool. When she was seven years old, she began violin lessons with Angela Self and studied subsequently with Mary Lee Taylor Scott and Stephen Beall. Her violin lessons led to piano study one year later. In the summer of 2003, she became one of the pianists at her church, an activity which she still enjoys. She also occasionally plays solos at the church. Last summer, she attended Southern Adventist University’s Chamber Music Weekend. As violinist, she has also been part of the SC Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for the past two years, and will be playing the piano part in one of the pieces on an upcoming concert. She currently studies piano with Janice Zamostny.
Catherine Flora Con, daughter of Alex and Catherine C. Con, is a twelfth grader at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. She competed at the SC Federation of Music clubs for nine years, and has won second place, third place, and Honorable Mentions at the SCMTA state level. She has played the piano for many fundraisers and social events and taught private lessons during her freshman and sophomore years. Catherine is also involved in many extracurricular activities, and has been the Governor’s School weekly Bible study leader for two years. She will be attending USC-Columbia on a full academic and music scholarship, where she will study piano with Dr. Marina Lomazov. She currently studies with Tien-Ni Chen.
Russell Corwin, son of Russell and Myung Corwin, is a sixteen-year old tenth grade honors student attending Chapin High School in Chapin, South Carolina. He has studied piano for nine years and was a pianist for the Chapin High School Jazz Ensemble in 2004. He won the Afternoon, Eau Claire, and Morning Music Clubs of Columbia Club Junior and Senior piano scholarships and the Columbia Music Teacher’s Association Division IV and V piano scholarships, earned the place of second alternate for the SCMTA Pre-College concerto auditions, and participated in the 2004 Southeastern Piano Festival. Recently he won the Lexington County Choral Society’s Sylvia E. Looney Piano Scholarship and performed in their Christmas concert. For the past three years, he has earned a superior rating for both solos and concertos in the South Carolina Federation of Music Clubs Junior Festival. He currently studies with Joey Ruddle Rothfuss.
Lucy Dinkins, daughter of Gene and Nancy Dinkins, is in eleventh grade at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School where her academic honors include Heathwood Scholar, National Honor Society, and National Merit Semi-Finalist. Lucy has participated in festivals at UNC-Greensboro, Furman University, Brevard Music Center, and USC where she has been a two-year scholarship recipient at the Southeastern Piano Festival. This May she will participate in the Varna International Master Class and Competition in Bulgaria. Lucy has performed in master classes of Alexander Peskanov, Karen Shaw, and Antonio Pompa-Baldi. She has participated in the National Guild Auditions and been awarded a rating of superior-plus at the national level. Recently she was the first-place winner at the SC division of the MTNA senior piano competition. Following seven years of piano study with Marian Stanley Tucker, Lucy is currently a student of Marina Lomazov.
Khalid J. Dubey, son of John and Abisola Dubey, is an eleventh grader at the MAST Academy in Virginia Key, Florida. He has been a frequent Honors Recital performer at Miami-Dade College and in 2004 performed at the Chopin Foundation of the United States Young Pianists Concert. He attained a superior rating at the National Association of Music Clubs competition as well as honors at the National Guild of Piano Teachers examination. He has participated in the University of Florida Young Pianists Festival, the FSU Honors Piano Camp, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and the Bergonzi Quartet Invitational Chamber Workshop at the University of Miami, where he was the only student musician invited to perform with the host quartet. He has also won prizes in composition and for three years has played both piano and percussion in the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. He currently studies with Alan Ngim at Miami-Dade College.
Luke Fang, the son of Guang-chen and Tsui-mai Tsai Fang, is a twelfth grader at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Born in Taipei, Taiwan with the name Chun-Wei Fang, he began studying piano when he was six years old. Three years later he moved to Central, South Carolina; from the fourth to eighth grades he continued his studies with Karilyn Slice and subsequently with Kate Echaniz in Greenville. As an eleventh grade student, he entered the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Luke plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in piano performance. At the Governor’s School, he studied with Stephen Buck during his first year and currently is a student of Tien-Ni Chen.
Gina Florio, daughter of Lenny and Wonhee Florio, is a tenth grader at Richmond Hill High School in Richmond Hill, Georgia. A competitor in four or five statewide competitions annually, she has received five "Outstanding Performer” awards and "Recital Winner”awards from GMTA and GMEA All State Competitions. At the age of twelve, she performed with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra after achieving first place at the Savannah Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. Recently she performed with the Hilton Head Youth Orchestra as a winner of the Hilton Head Concerto Competition. Last year, she taught piano and conducted a piano recital for her twelve students. With a current GPA of 4.0, she is a member of the National Honor Society, National Music Honor Society, and the Interact and Beta Club, and volunteers in her church regularly. She currently studies with Naegeli Metcalf.
Matthew Philip Griswold, son of Don and Nancy Griswold of McLean, Virginia, is a ninth grader at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. Matt has studied piano for five years. While a seventh grader at Bullis, he successfully petitioned the upper school music director, Cheryl Terwilliger, for permission to form the school’s first middle school jazz band. As a ninth grader, he has played the piano in the concert band and is one of only three freshmen in the exclusive Jazz Workshop. In addition to school-wide performances, the Workshop performs at the school’s unique Jazz Café, and will perform a dozen concerts in China this summer on a goodwill tour. Matt recently had the privilege of participating in a master class with the Marcus Roberts trio. The concerto competition at the 2005 Southeastern Piano Festival is the first one that Matthew has entered. He currently studies with Dimitar Naumoff.
Valerie Hsu, daughter of Charlie and Julie Hsu, is an eighth grader at Bob Jones Junior High School. She has been studying piano for nine years and has also participated in a master class with Elizabeth Pridonoff. Valerie annually participates in the Nation Federation of Music Clubs Junior Festival, South Carolina Music Teacher’s Association District and State Pre-College Audition, and the National Guild Auditions, and has been on the National Roll for the past nine years. She has had the honor of performing twice at the SCMTA convention as a soloist. Valerie is also an avid flutist, achieving second chair in the South Carolina Band Directors Association’s 2005 Junior All-State Honor Band. She currently studies piano with Sally Brown-Ullom.
W. Claire Lo, fifteen-year-old daughter of Peter and Alice Lo of Blacksburg, Virginia, is a home-schooled tenth grader. She has participated in the Rebecca Orr Technique Festival for eight years, and has also competed in the Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev competition for two years. She frequently accompanies string students in the Renaissance Music Academy recitals and plays the piano for church worship services. Claire was also involved in chamber music for four years. She has been attending piano camps in Maine for the past two summers. Besides piano, Claire’s other hobbies include swimming, reading, and horse vaulting. She has played the piano since the age of four, and she currently studies music theory with Barbara Mackin and piano with Teresa Ehrlich at the Renaissance Music Academy of Virginia.
Elaina McKie, daughter of Robert and Cassandra McKie, is a ninth grader at Irmo High School. She has taken private piano lessons for seven years, and has participated in several local events, both competitively and in a volunteer capacity. In recent years, Elaina has appeared at the Clavinova Festival, the SCMTA Christmas and Classic Festivals, the Tri-District Arts Consortium, and the Keyboard Praise Festival sponsored by the Columbia Metro Baptist Association. She has played at three nursing homes, and performed during the intermission of "The Nutcracker" at the Koger Center in 2003. This year, she won first place in two competitions sponsored by the Eau Clare Music Clubs and the SCMTA. Additionally, Elaina recently attended a music seminar at Converse College. She would like to pursue a music scholarship, become a professional pianist, and help underprivileged youth with their career goals in piano. She currently studies with Ellen Shearer.
Joseph Montoya, son of Barry and Sallie Montoya, is a high school twelfth grader from Summerville, South Carolina. He has studied piano for eleven years. He has achieved numerous superior ratings in various South Carolina piano competitions and recently won the Summerville Music Club scholarship competition. He was also a Television winner in the 2005 South Carolina Piano Festival. In addition to piano, he enjoys playing percussion. He is also an avid member in the Summerville High School Model UN, National Honor Society, French Honors Society, Math Team, and the Scots Kirk ARP Church Youth Group. After graduating this year, he plans to continue playing music as a minor while studying to become a chemical engineer at USC and also plans to attend graduate school. He currently studies with Myungsook Stoudenmire.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Robert Wells, the son of Bob and Mary Wells, is a twelfth grader at Wilson High School in Florence, South Carolina. Robert received the Faculty Choice Award at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and has been the state winner of the SCMTA piano performance competition for several years. He was chosen to perform on SCETV as a winner from the SC Piano Festival and received the Walter Roberts Scholarship for 2005. Robert has been a member of the All-State Band, playing oboe for four years, and is also a member of the Florence Symphony Orchestra. He received third place in the nation in the MTNA composition competition for 2004-2005 for an original work written for piano and two violins, and in 2003, his composition for piano and oboe was the winner of the Southern Division in the MTNA composition competition.He studies piano with Linda McKenzie.
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.
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.