Five Young Pianists Advance to Finals of the First-Ever e-Piano Junior Competition

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World's Most Advanced Music Technology Fuels Exciting Competition Among Talented Young Pianists from Around the World

The Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition is pleased to announce the semi-final results of the first-ever e-Piano Junior Competition 2008. The five Finalists will perform at Minneapolis's Orchestra Hall with the Minnesota Orchestra on Friday, July 11, 2008, at which time the competition's Grand Prize winner will be selected. The finalists' names, performance order, ages, nationalities and repertoire are as follows:

  • Osip Nikiforov, 14, Russia, Beethoven Concerto No. 3
  • Vladimir Levitsky, 16, Russia, Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1
  • Nansong Huang, 14, China, Rachmaninov Concerto No. 3
  • Frank Düpree, 16, Germany, Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1
  • Jan Lisiecki, 13, Canada, Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1

The extraordinary young pianists will begin their final performance round at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2008. The grand prize winner will be selected that afternoon, and will be the recipient of an $8,000 cash award.

Additionally, the winner will enjoy the opportunity to perform at the gala concert taking place that evening. All finalists will be invited to perform at the Yamaha Artist Services Piano Salon in New York City.

Born in 1994, Osip Nikiforov began his musical training at seven years of age with his father at the Children's Music School in Abakhan, Russia. A winner of numerous awards and accolades, Osip also plays the clarinet and the cello. A voracious reader, he also enjoys playing soccer in his spare time.

Born in Engels, Russia, Vladimir Levitsky began his piano studies in 1997 under the dual instruction of N.N. Yakovleva of Engels Music School and Professor L.I. Angert of the Saratov State Conservatoire. Vladimir's numerous musical accolades include third prize at the fourth all-Russia Open Competition of Young Performers held in Ryazan in 2000, first prize at the fifth all-Russia Open Competition (named after V.I. Safonov) for Youth Pianists, held in 2003. In 2005, Vladimir participated in the Second International Competition of the Central Music School in Moscow, where he received the first prize, the coveted Mikhail Pletnev Award, and with the Academic Philharmonic Orchestra of Saratov.

Nansong Huang was born in Hei Longjiang, China in 1993. He began to study piano at age four and has been under the instruction of Professor Jin Zhang, dean of the Preparatory Music School of the Central Conservatory of Music, since 2002. In 2005, Nansong took third prize for the 12 and under division of the Franz Liszt Children & Youth International Piano Competition in Weimar, and won first prize for the 12 and under category for the fifth International Competition for Young Pianists "A Step To Mastery" held in St. Petersburg. The following year, Nansong won second prize in the tenth Ettlingen International Piano Competition for Young Pianists.

Born in Rastatt in 1991, Frank Düpree began studying piano performance at the age of five, and has studied under the direction of Sontraud Speidel at the University of Music in Karlsruhe since 1998. His accolades include several first prizes at "Jugend Musiziert," first prize at the 2006 International Piano Competition in Rome, first prize at the sixth International Piano Competition for Young Pianists "A Step to Mastery" in St. Petersburg, and first prize at the twelfth International Piano and Composition Competition "Carl Filtsch" in Romania.

Jan Lisiecki of Canada was born in 1995 and has been studying piano since the age of five with Colleen Athparia and Glen Montgomery at the Mount Royal College Conservatory in Calgary. Jan's orchestral debut came with the Calgary Civic Symphony at the age of nine, as the youngest winner in the history of the Calgary Concerto Competition. Jan has had the honor of appearing in the Gala Concert held in Ottawa in 2006, where he performed alongside Yo Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Emanuel Ax and Pinchas Zukerman. Jan is also an accomplished composer, and his compositions have taken first place in the 2006 National Finals of the Canada Music Week Writing Competition and in the CBC Mozart Variations Competition.

Using the latest in music technology, the e-Piano Junior Competition, sponsored by Yamaha Corporation of America, enables young pianists from around the world to record and transmit their audition performances over the Internet through the use of a Yamaha Disklavier performance reproducing piano. This unique, 9-foot Concert Grand piano, in addition to being a concert-quality acoustic instrument, features a built-in system to record live performances as MIDI data. These performances are then recreated on other Disklavier pianos with each note and nuance delivered faithfully, precisely as the pianist originally recorded.

At invitation-only screened auditions held in New York City, Vancouver, Moscow, Shanghai, Paris, Toronto and Los Angeles, applicants entered their digitally videotaped and recorded MIDI performances on Yamaha Disklavier pianos. These performances were then judged by a six-member screening panel at Yamaha Artist Services, Inc. in New York City.

The final rounds at Orchestra Hall are open to the public. For tickets and schedule information, visit http://www.piano-e-competition.com. For a multimedia presentation on the competition and how it works, visit http://www.piano-e-competition.com/ecompetition/howitworks.asp.
Audition recitals and final round performances will also be available for the general public to download as MIDI files on their own computers or on their own Disklavier pianos from the e-competition home page.

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Piano Division, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622, telephone (714) 522-9011.

About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America is the largest subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of musical instruments and audio/visual products to the U.S. market. Products include: acoustic and digital pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio products, and innovative technology products targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, professional music, and installation markets.

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