Six winners emerged from the finals of The Princeton Festival’s eighth annual piano competition for young musicians on June 14 in the Clark Music Center at the Lawrenceville School.
One hundred seven young artists between the ages of six and 25 competed in the preliminary rounds on June 6 and 7. Adjudicators Mikhail Yanovitsky, a concert pianist and teacher at Temple University, and J.Y. Song, a faculty at Mannes College and Juilliard, chose three pianists in each category to compete in the final round.
The winners in each category:
● Elementary Artists (ages 6-9) – Petrina Steimel. Petrina, a third grader at Maryvale French Immersion Program in Rockvile, Maryland, began studying piano at age four. She now studies with Robert Durso. She has won awards in numerous piano competitions in the Washington area.
● Intermediate Artists (ages 10-12) – Kasey Shao, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Kasey began studying piano at six, and was soon winning prizes. She has performed three times at the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall. She is a cellist and violinist, as well as a basketball player.
● Junior Artists (ages 13-15) – James Yang is a student at Montgomery Upper Middle School, and has been the winner in many competitions in the New Jersey and Tri State area, including the Princeton Festival Competition in 2014. James has performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also plays alto saxophone, and is an avid fan of ultimate frisbee.
● Senior Artists (ages 16-18) – Vivian Tsai is a senior at Holmdel High School. She studies with Phyllis Lehrer, professor at Westminster Choir College. Vivian has been a winner at MTNA’s Senior Piano Performance Competition, NJMTA’s Young Musicians Competition, and Music Fest’s Rising Talents Festival. At school, Vivian is a percussionist, choral member, accompanist, and tennis player.
● Four-hands (under 25) – Petrina Steimel and her brother, Preston Steimel. Preston is a fifth grader at Maryvale French Immersion Program. Preston also studies with Robert Durso and has won numerous awards in piano competitions in the Washington area, including first place in the Bartok Competition (WMTA) and Ensemble Competition (NVMTA) in 2014.
●Open Class (under 25) – Constance Kaita. Twenty year old Constance Kaita is a college junior dually enrolled in John Hopkins University and Peabody Institute, studying piano under Yong Hi Moon. Constance has played in Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, and notably has also performed in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei and the United Nations headquarters in events recognizing U.S.-China diplomatic relations.
●Richard Tang Yuk Award (Most Outstanding Performer) – Constance Kaita.
The piano competition is made possible by Jacobs Music.