Sung Chang tickles the ivories as last year's first place winner

Imagine a gathering of 43 exceptional pianists from around the world.

That’s the opportunity that the Arizona State University School of Music is offering Jan. 2-8 as it hosts the eighth annual Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition.

The competition, scheduled at the School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, is in collaboration with the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Young Artist Committee and the Arizona Piano Gallery.

It is considered one of the best of its kind in the world.

Of 183 pianists from 23 countries who applied to the 2017 competition, 43 were selected to perform in the semi-final and final rounds for prizes including more than $50,000 in cash rewards, engagements with the Phoenix Symphony and a recital in Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City.

“These competitors represent the top young pianists from some of the world’s greatest music schools and teachers, including the Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Moscow Conservatory, Seoul National University, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Northwestern University, as well as Arizona State University,” said Baruch Meir.

Meri is founder, president and artistic director of the competition, and a Bösendorfer concert artist. “We invite our community to experience these outstanding pianists at a top-tier competition,” he added.

The competition will include a question-and-answer session in ASU’s Katzin Hall 10:30 a.m.-noon Jan. 7. The audience can interact with members of the jury, which includes Stanislav Ioudenitch, Van Cliburn gold medalist; Oxana Yablonskaya, who served on the faculty at The Juilliard School for 30 years; Asaf Zohar, Israeli pianist and pedagogue; Zhe Tang, vice dean and piano professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Robert Hamilton, internationally respected pianist, recording artist and ASU professor; and Meir.

All solo performances of the Bösendorfer Competition (ages 19–32) are held at the ASU School of Music in Tempe Jan. 2–7.

The final round is held at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 with showcased finalists playing a concerto with the Phoenix Symphony under the baton of Matthew Kasper.

The announcement of winners and the presentation of medals will immediately follow onstage after the performance. Tickets can be purchased through the Phoenix Symphony Box Office.

The semi-final and final rounds for the Yamaha Senior and Junior competition will take place on Jan. 4–7 in Katzin Hall at the ASU School of Music. These rounds are open to the public.

The winners’ recital and awards ceremony will take place on January 7 at 7 p.m.in Katzin Hall. Tickets for all Yamaha and Bösendorfer live solo performances can be purchased through the Herberger Institute Box Office.

The School of Music in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is one of the top music schools in the nation. Internationally recognized faculty, varied and technologically driven curricula and five performance facilities all contribute to its stature.

Many of its graduates are successful performers, composers, music therapists, conductors and teachers regionally, nationally and internationally.

Bösendorfer was founded in 1828 in Vienna, Austria and has been the instrument of choice for many of the world’s most famous artists and composers.

Information: pianocompetition.asu.edu, pianocompetition@asu.edu or 480-965-8740. Tickets:  music.asu.edu/events.

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