Stephanie Bova, daughter of Lawrence and Emilie Bova, is a tenth grader from Gulf Breeze High School in Gulf Breeze, Florida. She placed first in solo piano in the advanced level of the Florida Federation of Music Clubs Festival, and in 2006 won the collegiate solo piano level of the PMTA Sonata Contest. Along with her sister, Cynthia, Stephanie won the highest level of the two-piano competition of the Florida Federation of Music Clubs Festival. She made her orchestral debut with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in 2002. She currently studies with Dr. Hedi Salanki-Rubardt at the University of West Florida.
Jacob Buser, son of Curt and Janine Buser, is an eighth grader at Butler School in Darnestown, Maryland. He began his piano and theory studies at the age of two with Suzuki piano teacher and Music Mind Games creator Michiko Yurko. In 1997 he was included in an ABC World News Tonight report on the University of California research linking keyboard studies to math skills and was filmed for a CBS news report on the Suzuki method. In July 2000, Jacob played at the Smithsonian’s Piano 300 exhibit as part of Levine’s “Little Stars” group at the Levine School of Music in Washington DC. This past winter, he won the intermediate division of Levine’s Cogen Concerto Competition, performing the third movement of Mendelssohn’s Concerto in G minor. Jacob also plays keyboard for his church’s youth group worship team. Currently he studies with Irena Orlov at Levine.
Annie Chen , daughter of Qui Chen, is a tenth grader at East Chapel High School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has been studying piano for eight years and is a seven-year National Winner of the National Guild Auditions. She earned a superior in the NCMTA competition and has won the five-year piano studio award and the most improved piano studio award. She is also a member of a piano performance team, a select group of five students who are chosen by audition to perform at restaurants, colleges, schools and retirement centers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. She attended summer music camp at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Her school activities include the French Club, Environmental Club, and the Algebra II Competition Team, and she plays piano for the jazz band. She currently studies with Terry Correia of Durham, NC.
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.
Carolyn Anne Colton , daughter of Ken and Nancy Colton, is an eighth grader in the gifted and talented program at the Thomas Pyle Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland. She was the alternate in the MTNA Baldwin Competition for the state of Virginia in 2004, and as a winner in the American Fine Arts Festival, she performed as a soloist at the Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall. She has been a laureate in many competitions including the Asian American International, Ruth P. Cogen, and the Marlin-Engel Competitions and received first prize in the Northern Virginia Music Teacher’s Concerto Competition. In 2004, she was one of three finalists in the Washington Philharmonic Concerto Competition. She currently studies composition with Frances McKay at the Levine School of Music and piano with Dr. Michael Adcock at the Washington Conservatory of Music.
Lucy Dinkins, daughter of Gene and Nancy Dinkins, is a twelfth grader and National Merit Scholar at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, South Carolina. She has participated in music festivals and competitions at UNC-Greensboro, Furman University, Brevard, Georgia Tech, and the Varna (Bulgaria) International Piano Class and Competition and performed in master classes with David Gross, Alexander Peskanov, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and Karen Shaw. She earned a rating of superior-plus at the national level in the National Guild Auditions. In November 2004, Lucy was the winner of the SCMTA senior piano competition, and this past November she performed Rhapsody in Blue with the School District Five Honors Orchestra. Following seven years of study with Marian Stanley Tucker, Lucy is currently a student of Marina Lomazov.
Colin Doherty, son of Sarah Springer and Thomas Doherty and a native of Meridian, Mississippi, is an eleventh grade piano and organ double major at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan. He attended Brevard Music Center during the summers of 2004 and 2005, studying piano. Colin has a passion for the piano and its repertoire, and has been playing for ten years. Along with the piano, he also enjoys playing the organ, which he has studied for two years. He currently studies piano with T. J. Lymenstull.
Joanna Jordan French, daughter of Steve French and Nancy McDaniel, is a tenth grader attending Denver School of the Arts in Denver, Colorado, where she is a member of the National Honor Society. She has been studying piano for eight years. In 2002, Joanna was the Assistance League of Denver’s “Middle School Winner for Excellence in Instrumental Music.” She was rated Superior in two National Federation of Music Club competitions. Joanna frequently performs as a soloist at competitions and recitals, and also serves as accompanist for her school band and orchestra. She recently accompanied her school orchestra while on a nine-day tour in Moscow, Novograd, and St. Petersburg, Russia. In addition to her piano and academic studies at Denver School of the Arts, Joanna currently studies piano with Artur Stoyanov at his Piano Arts School in Denver.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Son of Roman and Janet Svirsky, is seventeen years old and will attend the University of Maryland in the Honors Humanities Program, studying piano with Santiago Rodriguez and, additionally, composition. He currently studies with Irena Orlov at the Levine School of Music. He has performed at the Metropolitan Opera Guild Creating Original Opera Conference, the Smithsonian Institution Piano 300 Exhibition, the Russian Ambassador's Residence, the Contemporary Music Forum, the Library of Congress, and the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, among others, and performed in master classes with Leonard Slatkin, Alan Chow, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Larissa Dedova, Lang Lang, Peter Takacs, Antonio Pampa-Baldi, Ursula Oppens, the Juilliard Quartet, the Zurich Trio, Boris Berman, and Andreas Woyke. In addition, in 2002, he was in Moscow as a guest of the Spivakov Fund, where he performed in the Kremlin and the Nicholas Roerich Museum and performed in master classes at the Moscow Conservatory with Eliso Versiladze and Tatiana Chudova. In 2003, he was invited by Denys Bouliane and the National Arts Centre of Canada to perform his own composition, ChANson dADA, a work by Bouliane, and an improvisation with orchestra in a piece by R. Murray Abraham. Recently he received First Prize in the Isabel Scionti Piano Solo Competition, gave a solo recital which included the American premiere of the Voronina Sonata with permission of the composer, and was the youngest participant ever in the contemporary music competition, the Concours International du Piano in Orleans, France.
For the past three years, he has participated in the Southeastern Piano Festival. Last year he won first prize playing Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto and performed the concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic in April. His performance was characterized "as already mature with exceptional wisdom and notable for theatrics eschewed." He is delighted to be able to return this year as a non-competing participant and guest artist.
Samiron Ray, son of Sumit and Shumi Ray, is a twelfth grader from Dutch Fork High School in Columbia, South Carolina who has been studying piano for eleven years. Samiron won first place in the 2005 Greenville Young Artists Piano Competition, which resulted in a performance in a Greenville Symphony concert at the Peace Center. In addition, he has studied at both the Brevard Music Center and Southeastern Summer Piano Festival. He will be attending Duke University in the fall on the prestigious B.N. Duke Scholarship, and currently studies with Marina Lomazov.
Aliyah Sanders-Walberg, daughter of Merlin Walburg and Paul Sanders, is an eleventh grader at Emerson Waldorf High School in Durham, North Carolina. She began piano lessons with Julie Harris at the age of seven. She received an honorable mention in the Chapel Hill Philharmonia concerto competition in March 2005, receved a district superior for the NC Music Teachers’ Association, played in the honors recital of the Chapel Hill Music Teachers’ Association, and won the Tar River Orchestra’s concerto competition that April, playing with the orchestra in October and finishing third in the state MTNA competition a week later. She was featured on WDAV Radio’s “Eight Under Eighteen” broadcast of Mainstreet Sessions and received an honorable mention in the Campbell University High School Competition in March. During the past two years, she has been studying with Greg McCallum.
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.
Gregory Wang, son of Bo and Dorothy Wang, is a ninth grader at Science Hill in Johnson City, Tennessee, and runner-up at the MTNA Southern Division Baldwin Junior Performance Competition. He has been studying piano since the second grade and has won various awards from the Tennessee MTA, including winner of Eighth Grade Solo Piano (2005) and winner of the Elementary (2003) and Junior (2004 and 2005) Piano Concerto Competitions. He has appeared three times at “Tunes at Noon” in the Paramount Theater in Bristol and has performed with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra and the Maryville Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of Tennacity, a piano-violin-cello trio which was named winner of the TMTA Chamber Music Competition in 2004 and 2005, and has studied since the third grade with Dr. Benjamin Caton at East Tennessee University.
Yukun "Lucy" Yao, daughter of Xiaozhou Yao, is a tenth grader at Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has been studying piano since the age of six. Yukun has participated in various recitals and competitions such as the NC MTNA senior level piano competition, the Chapel Hill Festival of Auditions, and the Campbell University annual piano competition. Since the age of eleven, she has been playing annually for the National Guild of Piano Teachers Auditions. After finishing the last level for high school students with outstanding scores last April, she is now waiting to audition for a high school diploma in music when she turns eighteen. Besides piano, Yukun thoroughly enjoys other forms of art and recreation such as painting and music theory. She currently studies with Greg McCallum.
Felix Zhang, son of Drs. James and Danyi Zhang, is an eleventh grader at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. He began piano study at the age of four, and has won numerous competitions, including second place at the International Young Artist Piano Competition at the age of nine, finalist in the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Albert M. Greenfield Concerto Competition, third place at the World Piano Competition and first places at Tri-County Youth Music Festival and Kennett Piano Competitions. Felix has performed in Carnegie Hall, Kimmel Center, Kennedy Center, and the New England Conservatory, and was featured on the National Public Radio program, “From the Top.” In 2004, at the age of fourteen, he attended the Juilliard Summer Music Academy at the Hochschule für Musik in Leipzig, Germany, the youngest student in the history of the program. He is currently studying with Irina Yurkovskya.
Susan Zhang, is a senior at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, Georgia, and began piano lessons at the age of six. She received second place in the 2005 Arthur Fraser Concerto Competition at the Southeastern Piano Festival, second place in the 2005 GMTA Solo and Concerto Auditions, and first place in the 2001 Augusta Symphony Youth Competition. She has performed with the South Carolina Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Augusta Symphony, and has given recitals at the Little Carnegie of the South and Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church. Over the past two summers, Susan attended the Brevard Music Center and Governor’s Honors Program, and has participated in masterclasses with Ursula Oppens, Chu-Fang Huang, Bradford Gowen, and Kevin Hampton. This fall, she will study at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and currently studies with Marina Lomazov and Lydia Porro Milham.