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World’s Best Pianists Start Arriving into NZ




3-6 July 2014


@ The Centre, Kerikeri

Musicians from throughout the world have started arriving into New Zealand to contest the prestigious Kerikeri International Piano Competition to be staged over four days starting next Thursday, July 3.

Pianists from the USA, Australia, Malaysia, China, the UK, Austria, Switzerland and New Zealand will descend on the Far North town for New Zealand’s oldest and most prestigious piano competition, vying for a slice of the $30,000 in prizemoney.

The winner will receive $15,000 while second will receive $6000 and third $3000. There are additional prizes of $2000 for the Best Sonata Performance, and $1000 each for the Encouragement and People’s Choice awards.

Kerikeri is transforming into a musician’s mecca for the event and the town is buzzing with expectation of an influx of visitors.

“The piano is ‘humming’ and the concert piano is ready to face the onslaught from 14 pianists, 28 hands and 140 fingers,” enthuses event co-ordinator John Jackets.

Mr Jackets says the competition has gained momentum among musicians throughout the world, with a record 54 pianists vying for a spot in the competition that’s only open to the top 16 (as determined by an independent and anonymous judge).

The 2014 competition will take another step forward with the introduction of a three-judge panel of adjudicators. The panel will comprise pianists with an international reputation and competition experience drawn from around the world.

• Natasha Vlassenko: Head of keyboard at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane

• Christopher Elton: Emeritus Professor, Royal Academy of Music, London

• Terence Dennis: William Evans Professor, University of Otago, Dunedin (currently on tour with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa)

The four day event begins with an opening recital by one of the judges, followed by three rounds of competition. Round 1- a classical sonata and Round 2 a 35 minute recital. Four pianists are selected for the Final one hour recital round.

Mr Jackets says music enthusiasts have been bowled over by the standard of competition performance and now travel from far and wide to attend.

He likens the competition to the “Olympics” of the piano! The preparation, both mental and physical, is extremely demanding. All music must be performed from memory, a feat in itself.

Tickets are still available from the Turner Centre Box Office.

More details can be obtained at

Musicians chosen to contest the 2014 title are:

Sabina Im

Is currently studying for a masters in Piano Performance at The Royal College of Music, London.

She was recently selected to take part in London Master classes with full scholarship provided by the Tait Memorial Trust.

Alex Raineri

Australian Alex Raineiri recently completed his Bachelor of Music (Advanced Performance) with First Class Honours and a University Medal from the Queensland Conservatorium. He has been a national finalist in the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer Award three times. He was the People’s Choice prize winner at KIPC 2010

Ayesha Gough

Born in Australia in 1994, Ayesha is currently studying for a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium. She has received awards for best performance of an Australian work, and People’s Choice Awards as well as participating at the Tyalgum Festival of Classical Music. She has been supported throughout by Variety, The Children’s Charity.

Bradley Wood

From Christchurch, twenty year old Bradley Wood is currently a third year student at the University of Auckland working towards a bachelor of Music degree, majoring in performance piano with Rae de Lisle. He is the Auckland Philharmonia’s Piano Scholar for 2014.

Cole Anderson

A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatorium Ohio, Cole completed a Master’s degree in Piano Performance and Chamber Music performance at the University of Michigan and is currently completing a doctorate there.

Daniel Le

Currently a second year piano student at Yong Siew Toh Conservatorium of Music, Singapore, Daniel started his musical journey when he was accepted at the age of thirteen into the Australian National Academy of Music Young Academy programme.

David Soo

Twenty-one year old David Soo has won many competition prizes in France and Malaysia and was awarded first prize in Australia’s most prestigious piano competition, the Melbourne Recital Centre

Great Romantics Competition. He recently gave a sold out solo debut recital at the same Centre and was awarded a scholarship in 2009 to study in Paris.

Jane Nayoung Koo

Jane Nayoung is studying Master of Music in piano performance at the University of Auckland with Qu Yong. In 2012 she was the winner of the University’s Graduation Gala Concerto Competition and last year, 2013, was awarded fourth prize in the Wallace National Piano Competition and Best Performance of Mozart prize at the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition. This is her third KIPC.

King Yi Foong

Nineteen year old King Yi Foong is the recipient of three full music scholarships from the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary school and R.E.A.L International School.

At only sixteen she was awarded Distinction in the Trinity Guildhall Fellow Diploma Piano Recital. She is currently studying at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music with Glenn Riddle.

Lucy Zeng

Lucy is currently studying piano performance at Masters level at Auckland University’s School of Music with Rae de Lisle. She was awarded Third prize and the Sonata prize at the Kerikerki International Piano Competition in 2010. This is her third KIPC. In 2013 Lucy won the Dame Malvina Foundation Alice Cole piano scholarship and University of Auckland Reardon Postgraduate Music Scholarship.

Siyuan Li

Siyuan, 26, was born in Guangzhou, China and now lives in the United States. She began her piano studies at an early age and has gone from strength to strength gaining a Master’s degree in performance having studied with Arthur Greene at Michigan University. She joined the piano faculty in Anchorage in 2013 and is presently completing her Doctoral degree of Musical Art in piano performance at University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance with Arthur Greene.

Sylvia Jiang

Sylvia now 18, gained a diploma at age fifteen and has won many solo concerto and chamber music competitions. She was awarded second place in the New Zealand Wallace National Piano Competition and won the Lewis Eady 2013 Emerging Artist Series.

She successfully gained scholarships to four Schools of Music and will begin studies at the Juilliard School this August. Sylvia is the youngest contestant in KIPC 2014.

Vivian Cheng

Chinese-American pianist Vivian Cheng, 24, gave her debut solo recital at the age of ten and has since performed throughout her native country of the United States, and in Austria, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland. She studied at The Juilliard School where, at 15 she became one of the youngest students in their history to be accepted. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Saltzburg.

Xuan He

25 year old, Xuan He was born in China and now lives in the United States where he is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at North Western University under full scholarship.

He has performed in venues across three continents , won many competitions and prizes and performed in master classes with Boris Berman, Robert Levin and Murray Perahia to name but a few.

© Scoop Media

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