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KU piano student takes home first prize at international Liszt Competition

Monday, January 9, 2012

Yangmingtian Zhao, an undergraduate piano student studying with Professor Steven Spooner, recently won first prize from the American Fine Arts Festival/AFAF Golden Era of Romantic Music Liszt International Competition, a competition created to celebrate the bicentennial of Franz Liszt.

As part of Zhao’s prize, he will participate in a winners’ recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on May 12, 2012, and in a special concert at the Liszt Museum in Weimar, Germany, during the AFAF Summer Music Courses in Europe in August 2012. Zhao will also receive a $300 scholarship for the AFAF Summer Music Courses in Europe.

Auditions for this competition were open to instrumentalists, vocalists and chamber ensembles, and performers were asked to perform one or several works by any of the Romantic era composers. Zhao competed with Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. in the Group C category.

Yangmingtian Zhao of Hainan, China, began studying piano at the young age of four and at age 13 attended the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music where he studied with renowned pianists Chen Bigang and Ling Yuan. Subsequently, as a recipient of the Lee Foundation Talent Scholarship, he spent two years at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, studying piano performance under Mr. Benjamin Loh.

Since winning second prize in the 2003 Hong Kong Mozart Competition, Zhao has received numerous international accolades. He won gold awards at the China Central Television’s Youth Piano Competition in 2004, as well as the "Kadenza" Youth Competition in China three years later, where he also claimed the first prize. In 2010, at the inaugural International Chopin Piano Competition held in Singapore, Zhao won both the audience prize and the second prize (Category E). A year later he again won the audience prize and placed second in The International Institute for Young Musicians International Piano Competition 2011 (Lawrence, Kansas). He was recently chosen by Steinway Artist Adam Gyorgy to join the Adam Gyorgy Castle Academy in Hungary where he performed as a soloist in Pomaz and Kemence. Zhao’s first CD, Memories of a Dream, was released in August 2011.

The American Fine Arts Festival (AFAF) was established in 2003 by Vladimir Agilin with the objective of promoting musical education and fostering the study and understanding of classical music. The American Fine Arts Festival is currently run and administered by Art & Music Unlimited, an educational outreach association founded by Mr. Agilin in 2001.

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-9742.


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