FIRST AGE CATEGORY (THROUGH 9)
First Prize - Christopher Richardson
Christopher Richardson is nine years old and is currently in the fourth grade at the Montair Elementary School in Danville, California. He began piano lessons in 2005 and now studies with Dr. William Wellborn at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has also taken master classes with Dr. Robert Schwartz. His hobbies are playing with his many pets, hiking, reading, and playing video games with his brother. This summer, he will perform in the honors recitals at the MTAC state convention in Riverside.
Second Prize - Jessica Kur
Jessica is a fourth grader at the Francis Scott Key Elementary School in San Francisco. She started her piano lessons with Christie Skousen at the age of five. Besides piano, she has been studying ballet and tap for several years, and also recently started violin lessons at school.
Third Prize - Sean Yeo
Sean is eight years old and is home schooled. He is studying piano with Ms. Meikui Matsushima. Sean is also studying the violin with Ms. Bettina Mussemeli. He likes fishing and swimming.
Honorable Mention - Eytan Schillinger-Hyman
Eytan Schillinger-Hyman, nine, is studying piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Sima Kouyoumdjian. His favorite composer is Chopin. Eytan also plays the flute. His grandfather is a conductor, and his grandmother is a concert pianist. Eytan enjoys playing classical, jazz, and rock n' roll music.
Honorable Mention - Helen Xu
Helen is nine years old and a third grade student of the Regnart Elementary School in Cupertino. She started playing the piano when she was just five years old. She studied with Mr. Alex Spivak from February 2004 to October 2005 and has been studying with Ms. Anna Poklewski since October 2006. Besides the piano, she likes reading, science, some sports, and playing with her younger bother, Alex.
SECOND AGE CATEGORY (10-12)
First Prize - Hanson Tam
Hanson began his piano studies at age five and is currently a student of Dr. William Wellborn. In 2006, he won first alternate in the Bartok and Contemporary Music Festival. This year, he won second prize in the MTAC-SF Piano Competition and Honorable Mention in the Fremont Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Concerto Competition. He was also a winner in the San Mateo County Fair Piano Competition. Hanson attends West Hillsborough Elementary School. He is the California Champion of the Math Fax Competition four Grades 4 and 5 in 2007 and 2008 respectively. He plays the flute in his school band. Hanson enjoys reading, swimming, skiing, and biking in his free time.
Second Prize - Rachel Breen
Rachel began studying the piano at age four for a talent show at The Academy, the school she still attends in Berkeley, California. Her teacher was her father, Michael, who does not play piano. Her musical home schooling ended after the late musical director, Ken Durling, who introduced her to her teacher, Sharon Mann, noticed her at a Junior Bach performance. She has participated in that festival again, as well as in Junior Bach outreach program concerts. After Mr. Durling's death in April 2007, she was chosen to play at a memorial for him. Rachel is a scholarship student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying chamber music and musicianship with Machiko Kobialka, Andrew Luchansky, and Richard Roper. She has also performed in leading parts of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas at The Academy, under the direction of Pamela Alexander. Rachel enjoys swimming, reading, and most of all, her friends. She was also a prizewinner in the 2008 Yehudi Menuhin competition.
Third Prize - Catherine Xu
Catherine Xu, twelve, began her piano studies at age six and is a student of John McCarthy. She completed the Advanced Level of the MTAC's Certificate of Merit at age 10. She has played various pieces by many different composers, and is especially drawn to the music of Chopin. In addition to the piano, she also enjoys ice-skating, dancing, and playing a traditional Chinese instrument Gu Zheng. She is in the sixth grade at the Miller Middle School in the Cupertino School District.
Honorable Mention - Tiffany Chu
Tiffany is in the sixth grade at the Harker School. She began taking piano lessons at age 5, and is currently studying with John McCarthy. She has received first place awards in the Chinese Music Teacher Association Piano Competition and the Sing Dao News. Tiffany was also named the winner of Menuhin-Dowling Young Musicians Competition. She was invited to play at Le Petit Trianon Theatre by the Steinway Society. Besides playing the piano, Tiffany also loves sports. She says that "music enriches my thoughts and sports help me relax." Additionally, Tiffany enjoys reading and writing poems. The beauty of poetry helps her to express her feelings in music.
Honorable Mention - Elaine Shen
Elaine is currently a fifth grader at The Nueva School in Hillsborough. She started playing the piano with Helen Wong when she was six. Elaine has won many awards throughout the years such as the Bartok and Contemporary Music Festival followed by the Bartok State Finals. Elaine has also won the U.S. Open Music Competition and Kids Play the Darndest Things. She enjoys figure skating, skiing, and riding the Ripstik.
THIRD AGE CATEGORY (13-15)
First Prize - Vien Nguyen
Vien is a sophomore at the Menlo School in Atherton and currently studies music with Dr. William Wellborn at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In the past few years, Vien has won several awards, including first prize at the 2006 CAPMT State Bartok and Contemporary Music competition and the 2006 MTAC competition, and second prize in the 2007 Annual San Francisco Chopin Competition for Young Pianists. He was a scholarship recipient of the 2008 National Chopin Foundation and a two-time participant of the Liszt Piano Academy and Festival in Hungary and Austria. Vien also plays the violin for the El Camino Youth Symphony Orchestra under Dr. Camilla Kolchinsky and toured Finland, Estonia, and Russia last summer. Besides English, Vien is already fluent in French, Spanish, and Vietnamese. He also enjoys playing tennis for his Menlo School team, and holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
Second Prize - Rhed Shi
Rhed is a freshman at the Evergreen Valley High School in San Jose. He started learning piano at age six. He currently studies with Dr. Namik Sultanov and owes much of his pianistic abilities to him as well as Janna Abramiya, his previous teacher. Over the years, he has won numerous competitions, including the Doubles Grand Champion Prize for the Youth Music Competition at age eight and first prize in the USOMC. Rhed has been actively participating in the International Russian Music Piano Competition's semiannual recitals and was recently granted the Chopin Foundation Scholarship. This summer, Rhed will also attend the Interharmony International Music Festival held in Birklehof, Germany. Last year, Rhed graduated from the Quimby Oak Middle School as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2007. He enjoys playing soccer and was a part of the school soccer team. His other hobbies are chess, debating, and skiing. He wishes to become a virtuoso and delight audiences around the world.
Third Prize - Andrew Yang
Andrew is currently a sophomore at the Crystal Springs Uplands School. He has been playing the piano for ten years, and has been a student of Dr. William Wellborn since 2006. His favorite subjects at school are English and Art. Andrew also plays violin and has been in PYO since 2000. Andrew enjoys playing sports, especially badminton and basketball. He is currently playing number one singles for his school's varsity badminton team. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports with his friends, drawing, and reading. He is also a big fan of the Golden State Warriors.
Honorable Mention - Ryan Lee