2019 Junior Contestants

    Andrew Gu 

Twelve year-old Andrew Gu, lives in Milton, Massachusetts. He received his first piano lesson from his Mother, Helen Jung. He then began piano studies with Sasha Starcevich and Kaichi Zhu. He is currently studying piano with Alexander Korsantia at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and Dorothy Shi. In 2015 he won 1st place at the Grotrian-Steinweg International Piano Competition and 3rd place in 2016 at the San Jose International Piano Competition. More recently, he won 1st place at the 2017 Rosalyn Tureck International Piano Competition, and was a prize winner in the 2017 Lagny-sur-Marne and Kaufman International Piano Competitions. He made his orchestra debut at the age of eight, performing Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D Major. He is an avid soccer player, biker who enjoys coding in Python, reading and great food.

    Angelina Wong

Eleven year-old Angelina Wong, studies with Santa Clara University Professor, Hans Boepple.  She has won various prizes in her age group: First place in the Pacific Musical Society Competition, the CAPMT Honors District II, and the American Protégé International Piano & Strings Competition; Second place in the San Francisco Chopin Competition for Young Pianists and the CAPMT Honors State Final; and Third place in the San Jose International Piano Competition and the Hong Kong and Asia Piano Open Competition.  She also performed at the Northern California Junior Bach Festival and at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Angelina enjoys going to concerts, reading, playing Rubik’s cube, and swimming.

 

Dustin Zhao   

     Eleven year-old Dustin Zhao began taking piano lessons with Professor Olga Bornovalova at the age of five. Dustin has made several successful appearances at local and international competitions. Dustin won the grand prize in the solo elementary division and 2nd place in the Concerto program at the 2017 Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition.  He was the 1st place winner in the elementary division at Emilio Del Rosario (EDR) Piano Concerto Competition (2017).  Dustin also won 1st place in the elementary piano solo group in 2017 at the Illinois State Music Teachers Association (ISMTA) Competition North.  He received an Honorable Mention in category B and a Lansum Merit Award in the 2016 Los Angeles International Piano Competition.  Dustin was also the 1st place winner at the SAM competition primary (2015) and junior (2018) group.  Dustin likes playing tennis, basketball, soccer, and video games. He is an experienced skier and traveler.

          

Ella Cho

Ella Cho, age eleven, began her piano studies at the age of six.  For the past three years, Ella has had the privilege to take part in Regional, State, and International competitions.  She received top prizes in The San Jose International Piano Competition, Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, Aloha International Piano Competition, The Hartford International Chopin Competition, American Protégé International Music Competition, AADGT Passion of Music 2018, Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) State Solo and Contemporary Festival, Glendale Piano Competition, Los Angeles Junior Bach Festival, and The Southwestern Youth Music Festival.

She has performed in master classes for Hershey Felder and Jon Nakamatsu. She recently completed the level six exam of the California Certificate of Merit with honors.  Ella has also performed with orchestras in Los Angeles and Seoul, Korea.  Ella is currently a student of Ory Shihor.  In addition to playing the piano, she enjoys competing in math Olympiad and swimming.

 

 Hudson Ragins 

 Hudson Ragins is twelve years old and lives in Yonkers, New York.  He began studying the piano at the age of six.  He began homeschooling this year.  When not practicing or homeschooling, he can be found with his nose in a book or a mound of food.

     

  Jarret Xu

 Jarett Xu is a twelve year-old sixth grader at Town School For Boys in San Francisco.  He began playing the piano with teacher Meikui Matsushima at age five, and currently is a Pre-College scholar student of San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Jarett won 3rd place at the Pacific Society Competition in 2017, an honorable mention at the San Francisco Chopin Competition in 2016 and was selected to perform in a Showcase for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Besides music, Jarett participates in the swim team and cross country.  He likes to draw cartoons and build LEGO in his free time.

 

  John Kim  

 Eleven year-old John Kim, has studied piano for six years and is already an experienced performer.  John moved to Lexington, MA two years ago and has been studying with Max Levinson.

He has received many awards and honors. He placed 1st in the Los Angeles Young Pianist Competition, and in both the Sonata and the Honors Competitions of CAPMT District III.  He has also placed 2nd in the 2018 Chopin International Piano Competition, the 2017 Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition and the Open Solo category of the SYMF. He came in 3rd in his category at the 2015 Los Angeles Young Musicians International Competition. He is also a scholarship recipient from Westside committee of Los Angeles Philharmonic and SOL-LA Music academy. John enjoys mathematics and art. He also likes to build LEGO’s, watch movies, ride his bike, play baseball and Ping-Pong. John actually enjoys the snow in Massachusetts!

             

    Lillian Feng

 Twelve year-old Lillian Feng started piano study since age four. She has won many awards including the Glendale Piano Competition, Liana Cohen Open Festival, Lansum International, Young Muse International, Diamond Bar Music Festival and Satori Young pianist Competition Grand Prize. In addition to piano, she has also studied the violin since the age of five and has won several awards at string competitions. She currently plays the violin in the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO). Her favorite sports are tennis and swimming. She enjoys reading Harry Potter and learning about science (physics and astronomy).

  Lucie Kim 

Twelve year-old Lucie Kim is a 7th grader at OCSA. Her passion for playing piano was ignited at age six. Since then, she has distinguished herself as a first prize winner at many competitions, including the Southern California Junior Bach Complete Works Competition, Elvin Samuel McGaughey Music Foundation Competition, and the San Jose International Piano Competition, where she also received the Most Promising Young Talent Award. She currently studies with Ariel Yang at Opus 119 School of Music. In her spare time, Lucie enjoys playing golf and is a member of the SCPGA Junior Players Tour.                

  Nathaniel Zhang

 Nathaniel Zhang began piano lessons at age five. He previously studied the piano with Tien Hsieh and now studies with Dr. Sasha Starcevich. Nathaniel had his first piano solo recital at the age ten. In 2018, Nathaniel made his orchestral debut with orchestra Cherubini from Florence at Music Festival Perugia, Italy.

Nathaniel has won 1st place in many piano competitions, including Pacific Musical Society Competition, MTAC Northern California Concerto and Solo Competitions, CAPMT Honors Competition State Finals, US International Music Competition Young Artist Awards, US Open Music Competition Open Concerto and Showcase Solo.

Nathaniel plays piano regularly in school and his story was featured on an ABC World News Tonight, segment “America Strong”. He played in New York Carnegie Hall as the 1st place winner of the American Protégé International Piano Competition. Nathaniel also loves playing chamber music and plays violin in the school orchestra.

  Rachel Wei  

 Eleven year-old Rachel Wei has been studying the piano, violin and flute since she was five.

She has a great deal of performing experience from an early age as a child prodigy. At age six, she made her piano concerto debut playing Berkovich in Vancouver. At age seven, she performed the Polunin Concertino. At age nine, she played the Mozart Concerto K453 with the Brunensis Virtuosi Orchestra in Italy. At age ten, she made her violin concerto debut after winning the VAMJS Concerto Competition.
Rachel has won many awards; most recently she won the VAM Orpheum Theatre Concerto Competition, and will play the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3 with the orchestra. She won the VAM, Edith Lando Gifted Youth Scholarship grand prize two years in a row. In 2017, at the age of nine, Rachel won the National Finals of the Canadian Music Competition. In 2017 and 2016 Rachel received a Pacific International Youth Music Gala Trophy along with a scholarship. In 2015, Rachel was the youngest winner of Crescendo International Music Competition, where she performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Rachel attends 6th Grade at Crofton House School in Vancouver; she loves reading, math, and field hockey.

   

  Ray Zhang

 Twelve year-old Ray Zhang was born in China and lives in Vancouver, Canada. He began learning the piano at five, studying with Mrs. Fafan Xiao. He has currently been studying with Dr. Sasha Starcevich since September of 2016. He has received many awards including 1st place and 2nd place in the 2014-2016 Canadian Music Competition (CMC). He won 1st place in the 2015 Pacific International Young Pianists Competition, a 1st place & judges’ distinction award in the 2013 American Protégé International Music Talent Competition, 1st place in the 2014 AADGT International Competition, 2nd place in the 2016 Vienna International Competition, and 2nd place and special prize of most promising young musician in the 2014 Los Angeles Young Musicians International Competition. Ray has also received Gold Medal and 1st place in the 2018 International Chopin Music Competition.  Ray has performed in the Issac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall four times. He has also performed in the Fazioli concert hall in Italy, The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall in Toronto, and the Shanghai Oriental Art Center in China. Ray has participated in many fundraising concerts to support Sarah McLachlan School of Music, BC Children’s hospital and needy elementary schools in China. Also, Ray performs regularly in the senior homes in Greater Vancouver area. Other than playing piano, Ray enjoys reading, solving the rubik’s cube, chess, and playing goalie for his school soccer team.

   Sabrina Lo       

Twelve year-old Sabrina Lo is in the 6th grade at Foothills Middle School in Arcadia, CA. She currently studies the piano with Anders Martinson in Santa Monica, having previously studied with Mina Perry and Karen Lee.  Sabrina has won 1st place awards in the 2017 California Association of Professional Music Teachers District IX Romantic/Impressionistic Competition, and in the 2018 Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF) Open Baroque Competition.  She also placed 3rd in both the Open Solo and the Open Chopin competitions of the 2018 SYMF, and received an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Lansum International Piano Competition.  Sabrina also participates at the National level in USA Fencing Association competitions.

    Shang-en Pai

 Shang-En Pai was born in Taiwan, in 2008. He began to study the piano at the age of five and gave his first solo recital three years later.
Shang-En has been a prize winner in numerous national and international competitions, notably 2nd place in the Third Hong-Kong Asia-Pacific Youth Piano Competition (2016) in the age 9-10 group, 1st place in the Second Maestro Cup Taiwan-Japan International Children’s Music Competitions (2017) in the age 10-12 group, and 2nd place in the 2018 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in the Elementary School Category. He was chosen to perform in the World Wunderkinds Concert in Dobbiaco, Italy this August.

  Sophie Chung  

 Nine-year-old Sophie Chung currently studies the piano under Ms. Jenny Shin and has won numerous awards under her direction. Sophie won 1st Place of the Classics Alive National Young Artist Audition 2018; 1st Prize in the 2017 San Jose International Piano Competition; Grand Prize in the 47th Korea Times Competition; and Silver Medal in the 2017 Southern California Junior Bach Festival. In her spare
time, she likes to read, study German with her mom, play chess against her dad and walk her beloved Shih-Tzu “Sunny” who loves to listen to her piano playing.

     Vincent Pham

Eleven year-old Vincent Pham is from Tampa, Florida. He is a Principle Honor student of Carrollwood Elementary School. He began piano lesson at the age of four. Since 2014, Vincent has studied the piano with Mr. Vladimir Khokholov.

He has participated in many local, state, and international music competitions and has won numerous awards. They include the HACA Spotlight on Talent competition where he won 2nd place in 2014 and 1st place in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In 2017, he received 1st place in the Florida District 9 Concerto Competition. In the Florida Orchestra Competition in 2018, he received 2nd place in the Junior age division 14 and under and 3rd place in the Senior division 22 years and under. AT the 2015 FFMC Florida State Competition he received an Honorable Mention Award, 1st place Solo in 2016, 1st place Concerto in 2017 and 1st place Concerto in 2018.

He received 2nd place in the 2016 American Protégé International Piano & Strings Competition, 1st place in the 2017 competition and a Judges’ Distinction Award in 2018. Vincent has performed at many local and state events. He was also invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in the summers of 2016, 2017 and 2018.
In addition to his piano studies, he has led his Math Bowl team four consecutive years and has earned many math and science awards for his school.

 

     Wesley Ng

Twelve year-old Wesley Ng is a 6th grader at Covington school in Los Altos, California. He is also a student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music pre-college division where he studies piano with Corey McVicar. He has performed at the Conservatory’s Graduation Ceremony, Showcase Concert, and was invited to play at the Liszt Society’s 15th Annual Young Pianists Play Liszt Concert. Other than music, his passions include making comics, gaming, photography and traveling.