Pictured from left top row are Roosevelt student pianists Yuri Tanaka of Japan, Elider Di Paulia of Brazil,  Janna Williamson of West Chicago, Illinois, and  Luis Cruzaley of Mexico. In bottom row from left are:  Yifeng Zhang of China, Nicholas Ho of Singapore and Seungjin Han of South Korea.

Roosevelt University students who won this year’s annual piano showcase competition hail from Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, Brazil, Mexico and West Chicago, Illinois.

Performing recitals this fall across Chicagoland, this year’s group of winning Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) student pianists is one of the most globally diverse ever to showcase its talent during CCPA’s annual PianoFest.

Running from Oct. 31 through Nov. 5, PianoFest will include performances by celebrated concert pianists, lecture-discussions and a piano master class with one of America’s foremost pianists.

Jeremy Denk, winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Avery Fischer Prize and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year, is PianoFest 2017’s featured guest artist, performing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3 and leading a master class for piano students at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

PianoFest also includes an ongoing student recital tour by Roosevelt’s showcase competition winners who auditioned earlier this month. The seven finalists were selected for the tour by a panel of judges.

“We are proud to present this year’s PianoFest and a highly diverse group of our best piano students who reflect the kind of talent and international student body that the CCPA Piano Program at Roosevelt is famous for,” said Winston Choi, associate professor of piano, head of Roosevelt’s Piano Program and chief PianoFest organizer.

Dates and times for the free recitals are: 1 p.m. Friday Oct. 20 at Friendship Village in Schaumburg, 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 at Chicago Housing Authority’s new Mulvey Place senior housing in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 at Roosevelt’s seventh-floor Ganz Hall.

The student pianists who will be performing are:

  • Nicholas Ho, a master’s piano student and composer from Singapore. He will be performing two etudes by Sergei Rachmaninoff as well as two of his own etudes. “I am so very grateful for this opportunity. It will be a very important learning step for me,” said Ho.
  • Seungjin Han, a native of South Korea who is a freshman in CCPA’s piano program.  He will be performing two pieces from Maurice Ravel’s Miroirs. “I’m very new to Chicago and CCPA and see these performances as a way to get to know my colleagues and to prepare for upcoming piano competitions,” said Han.
  • Luis Cruzaley, a master’s piano performance student from Morelia, Mexico. Graduating in December, Cruzaley will perform Dmitri Shostokovich’s Prelude in Fugue and two sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti.  He called the Shostakovich piece “one of the deepest and darkest compositions for piano, yet one of the brightest for its powerful pursuing of hope and triumph."
  • Yifeng Zhang, a second-year master’s in piano performance student from Tianjin, China. He will perform Joseph Haydn’s well-known Piano Sonata in E Flat Major. “This piece is well known throughout the world. During my performance, I will respect the composer’s style, but will add my own expression,” said Zhang.
  • Yuri Tanaka, a new CCPA performance diploma student who is a native of Japan and studied there at the world-famous Yamaha Institute. She will perform Alexander Scriabin’s Sonata Fantasy, which tells the story of the many moods of the sea. “I look forward to performing this piece for an audience,” said Tanaka, who prepared this piece especially for Roosevelt’s recent piano showcase competition.
  • Elider Di Paulia, a Brazilian pianist and composer who is also pursuing the performance diploma in piano at CCPA. The creator and founder of Catartisco, a collective of emerging music and dance and other arts in Goiania, Brazil, he will perform Scriabin’s Prelude and Nocturne for the Left Hand. “It is amazing that CCPA is giving us this opportunity,” said Di Paulia. “It’s a great way to get us in front of audiences and help us kick off our careers.”
  • Janna Williamson is a master’s in piano performance student from West Chicago, Illinois, a church musician at the Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois and an experienced accompanist who has worked with the Wheaton Symphony Chorus, the St. Charles Singers and the String Academy of Chicago. She will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 4. “My experience at Roosevelt, particularly in working with my teacher on my technique, has been fantastic,” said Williamson, who began studying at CCPA last year while continuing to teach and raise her four young children.

For more information about PianoFest, view our events listing or call 312-341-2352.

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