During a media event at Steinway Hall on April 24, the American Pianists Association (APA) revealed the names of the five pianists who are finalists for a prize valued at more than $100,000 – the 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association. In the coming season, the finalists – selected from America’s foremost young pianists aged 18-30 – will perform in a variety of settings: from solo recital, song, new music, and chamber music to concerto appearances with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. At the conclusion of these and other activities on April 20, 2013, a distinguished panel of international judges will name the APA’s 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow, a musician with the potential to make significant contributions to American cultural life.
“One of the great things about the American Pianists Association is our unique competition format,” stated Joel Harrison, President/CEO and Artistic Director of the Indianapolis-based organization. “We bring each of our five finalists to the city over an entire concert season for a series of fully-produced professional concerts and a variety of community outreach events. In essence, we treat each one as a visiting Artist in Residence, giving them extraordinary professional experience simply by being a part of this competition. And because we see and hear them over an extended period of time, we have the remarkable privilege to witness them grow in artistic stature at an important time in their professional development. For me, there is nothing as exciting or rewarding!”
The Five Finalists:
Sean Chen, 23, is second prize winner of the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition and a prizewinner in the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition. Born in Margate, FL and raised in Oak Park, CA, he has performed in Bucharest, Seoul, Taiwan, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Miami, and New York. Chen received his undergraduate degree at the Juilliard School, where he won the 2010 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, and he is currently pursuing his Master’s degree there. His teachers have included Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and teacher-mentor Edward Francis.
Sara Daneshpour, 25, is second prize winner of the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition, first prize and Gold Medal winner of the 2007 International Russian Music Piano Competition, and first prize winner of the 2003 Beethoven Society of America Competition. She joined the roster of Astral Artists as winner of the 2010 National Auditions. Daneshpour has performed in her hometown of Washington, D.C. as well as in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Russia, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, studying under Leon Fleisher, and is now pursuing her Master’s degree at Juilliard with Yoheved Kaplinsky.
Claire Huangci, 22, won first prize in the 2010 National Chopin Piano Competition in Miami, and is a laureate in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition. She made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003 and has since performed with orchestras in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and with the China Philharmonic, among others. Born in Rochester, NY, Huangci entered Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School at age seven and did her undergraduate work at the Curtis Institute of Music. She is currently studying in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik in Hanover with Professor Arie Vardi.
Andrew Staupe, 27, made his Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall earlier this month as recipient of the 2011 Pro Musicis International Award, and he is the Gold Medalist of the 2010 Young Texas Artists Music Competition. The St. Paul, MN native has performed several times with the Minnesota Orchestra and has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Concertgebouw in the Netherlands as well as in Russia, Holland, Latvia, Romania, France, Germany, and Bulgaria. Staupe received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, and is currently completing his DMA in Piano Performance at Rice University in Houston with Jon Kimura Parker.
Eric Zuber, 26, has won major prizes in seven international piano competitions: the Cleveland, Arthur Rubinstein, Seoul, Sydney, Dublin, Minnesota, and Hilton Head competitions. The Baltimore, MD native made his orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Baltimore Symphony, and has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Korean Symphony, and Ireland’s RTE National Symphony, among others. Zuber holds degrees from the Peabody Institute, Curtis Institute of Music, and the Juilliard School, and is currently pursuing his DMA at Peabody. His teachers have included Boris Slutsky, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, and Robert McDonald.
Each of the finalists for the Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association performed short selections during the April 24 media event at Steinway Hall. The program, hosted by Robert Sherman, was recorded for broadcast as part of WQXR’s The McGraw-Hill Companies Young Artists Showcase. It will air May 16, 2012 on WQXR in New York and on WFYI in Indianapolis, home of the APA.
The APA’s Fellowship provides one of the piano world’s most substantial prizes: a $50,000 cash award, recording opportunities, and two years of career assistance and performances, for a total value of more than $100,000. The Fellowship is awarded every two years to an American classical or jazz pianist at the conclusion of the APA’s unique 13-month-long competition process.
Thanks to Steinway’s sponsorship of the 2013 Fellowship, the Classical Fellow will issue a solo recording on the Steinway label, for distribution by ArkivMusic. Performance opportunities during the two-year fellowship period involve appearances with the symphony orchestras of Milwaukee, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Tucson; re-engagements with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; and solo recitals. Previous winners have been presented at the Kennedy Center, Phillips Collection, Dame Myra Hess Series, Chopin Foundation of America, in various recital series nationwide, and on tours overseas.