Bösendorfer and Yamaha USasu
International Piano Competitions
hosted by ASU School of Music
text by Lynne MacDonald courtesy of ASU School of Music
Forty-three exceptional pianists from around the world have come together at the Arizona State University School of Music on January 13 through 20 to participate in the ninth Bösendorfer and Yamaha USasu International Piano Competitions.
Recognized as among the top piano competitions in the world, the competition prizes include more than $50,000 in cash awards, engagements with The Phoenix Symphony, a recital in Merkin Hall in the Kaufman Music Center in New York and other recital performance opportunities for the top winners.
Dedicated to the discovery and encouragement of young artists, the competitions are committed to promoting outstanding artists and providing them with solo and orchestral performance opportunities around the globe.
“Our competition has become one of the leading piano competitions in the world today, alongside the Van Cliburn, Leeds and Arthur Rubinstein competitions,” says Baruch Meir, president and artistic director of the competition and associate professor of piano in the ASU School of Music. “Many of our competition winners have gone on to develop major careers. We are proud to assist these young pianists in achieving their dreams while focusing the musical world’s attention on Arizona. Our selected competitors come from some of the world’s leading music institutions, including Juilliard, Yale, Shanghai Conservatory and the Royal College of Music, as well as ASU.”
The competitions are a collaboration of the ASU School of Music, The Phoenix Symphony and the Arizona Young Artist Committee. A total of 280 pianists from 35 countries applied to the 2019 competition, with 43 selected to perform in the semifinal and final rounds. All competition rounds are open to the public.
The opening gala for the competition, held on Sunday, January 13 in ASU’s Katzin Hall, welcomed guest pianist Sofya Gulyak, who won first prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the 16th Leeds International Piano Competition in England.
All solo performances of the Bösendorfer Competition (ages 19 – 32) were held at Katzin Hall in the School of Music on January 14, 15. The final solo performances will be held on Thursday, January 17.
The final round will be held at the Mesa Center for the Arts in the Ikeda Theater at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 20. The finalists will play a concerto with The Phoenix Symphony, under conductor Matthew Kasper. The announcement of the winners and the presentation of medals and Bösendorfer awards will immediately follow the performance.
The semifinal and final rounds for the Yamaha Senior and Junior competition will take place January 16 and 18 in Katzin Hall at the ASU School of Music. The winners’ recital and awards ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday January 19, in Katzin Hall.
Also on Saturday, January 19, a question-and-answer session in ASU’s Katzin Hall will be held from 10:30 a.m. – noon where the audience can interact with members of the jury. This year’s jury includes Sofya Gulyak, Leeds International Piano Competition gold medalist; Faina Lushtak, Steinway Artist and professor of music and piano performance at Tulane University; Asaf Zohar, Tel Aviv University professor, Israeli pianist and pedagogue; Zhe Tang, vice dean and piano professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Robert Hamilton, internationally renowned pianist, recording artist and ASU professor; and Baruch Meir, ASU associate professor of piano and Bösendorfer Concert Artist.
This year’s competition includes three new awards – the Mary Jane Trunzo Audience Favorite award of $1,500, with the recipient being selected during the semifinal round by the audience from among the eight Bösendorfer participants; a stipend of $1,500 for the Bösendorfer competition winner, as well as an invitation for a solo recital performance by the Oracle Piano Society of Arizona; and the Menahem Zohar memorial awards of $250, which will be awarded to the most outstanding artistic performances of a classical work in the Yamaha Senior or Junior competition.
“We are pleased to host an international competition of the caliber of the Bösendorfer and Yamaha USasu International Piano Competition at the ASU School of Music,” says Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music. “The competitions serve as a springboard for the development of the next generation of young artists and provide us with a reminder of the transformative power of music.”
Tickets for all Yamaha and Bösendorfer live solo performances can be purchased at pianocompetition.music.asu.edu/tickets. For a complete schedule of all competition events, visit music.asu.edu/events.