Winners' Circle

Young Pianist Competition


Carey Byron HeadshotCarey Byron (2019)

Los Angeles, CA

From Roswell, Georgia, fourteen-year-old Carey Byron is currently residing in Los Angeles to pursue her music studies in the Colburn School, where she studies with Fabio Bidini and HyeJin Kim. She is a rising tenth-grader in the Oak Crest Academy. Selected as a Young Scholar by Lang Lang International Music Foundation, Carey is also a finalist on NPR’s From The Top.


Christopher Zandieh

Christopher Zandieh (2018)

Syossett, New York

Christopher Zandieh began his Suzuki piano studies at age 4 on Long Island, and, by age 6, enrolled at the School for Strings in NYC as a student of Marina Obukovsky. He is presently 14 years old, in his fourth year of study at the Juilliard School as a student of Ernest Barretta, and a 9th-grade student at Syosset High School Long Island.


Alice ZhangAlice Zhang (2017)

Vernon Hills, Illinois

Alice Zhang, 17, is currently a senior at Vernon Hills High School and will be attending Yale University in the fall of 2019. Born in Vernon Hills, IL, Alice started taking piano lessons at age four with Brenda Huang, Founder/Artistic Director of the Emilio del Rosario Music Foundation. In addition to Ms. Huang, she also takes lessons with Professor Eduardus Halim, the Sascha Gorodnitzki Chair of Piano Study at New York University, and with Dr. Matthew Hagle, piano faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago.


Derek ChungDerek Chung (2016)

Lincolnshire, Illinois

Derek Chung is an freshman at Stanford University majoring in Music and Computer Science. He currently studies piano with Frederick Weldy and has previously studied with Sueanne Metz. Derek was a member of the orchestra for the Department of Music's musical theatre production of 'A Little Night Music.' He is also a co-founder of 88Keys to Cure, a non-profit organization promoting classical music for the benefit of various causes.


Avery GaglianoAvery Gagliano (2015)

Washington, DC

17-year-old Washingtonian Avery Gagliano is a full scholarship piano fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, under the tutelage of Jonathan Biss and Gary Graffman. Avery is a 2019 Young Arts Winner in Music, a young artist of the Artemisia Akademie at Yale, a three-year winner of the US Chopin Foundation Scholarship (2016 - 2018).


Mayuki MiyashitaMayuki Miyashita (2014)

Maryville, TN

Mayuki Miyashita was born in 2000 in Japan and started her piano studies at age 6 in Hamamatsu. She moved to the United States in 2011 where she studied piano with Dr. David Northington at the University of Tennessee School of Music. She gave her first solo recital at age 13 at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Knoxville.


Read Winners' Full Bios


From Roswell, Georgia, fourteen-year-old Carey Byron is currently residing in Los Angeles to pursue her music studies in the Colburn School, where she studies with Fabio Bidini and HyeJin Kim. She is a rising tenth-grader in the Oak Crest Academy.

Since beginning her piano studies at the age of four, Carey has won numerous prizes at local, state, and international competitions, including first prize in Los Angeles Young Musician International Competition and International Franz Liszt Piano Competition. Last year, she won a top prize in Redlands Bowl Young Artists Concerto Competition as the youngest contestant in the age group of 13-30.

Carey has performed solo recitals as well as chamber and orchestral performances across the country and overseas, including Carnegie Hall, Zipper Concert Hall, Thayer Hall, Warner Concert Hall, Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Basilica di San Pietro in Vatican City, Cantigny Park, and Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago. In the summer of 2018, she was featured in solo recitals at Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music Concert Hall in Zakliczyn, Poland, and Ignacy Jan Paderewski Center in Kaśna Dolna, Poland.

Carey had her orchestral debut in Italy with Virtuosi Brunenses Orchestra, under Uri Segal, at the age of twelve. Since then, she has performed with Hollywood Chamber Orchestra under Frank Paul Fetta, and Midwest Young Artists Conservatory Orchestra under Allan Dennis.

Carey has participated in Colburn, Oberlin, and Aloha piano festivals, Music Fest Perugia in Italy, and Summer Music Summit of Lang Lang International Music Foundation. She has performed in masterclasses for renowned pianists Angela Cheng, Dae-Jin Kim, Yoshikazu Nagai, John O’Conor, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Boris Slutsky, Steven Spooner, Jon Nakamatsu, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. She also enjoys participating in chamber ensembles and collaborations with Colburn Dance Academy.

Selected as a Young Scholar by Lang Lang International Music Foundation, Carey is also a finalist on NPR’s From The Top.

Christopher Zandieh began his Suzuki piano studies at age 4 on Long Island, and, by age 6, enrolled at the School for Strings in NYC as a student of Marina Obukovsky. He is presently 14 years old, in his fourth year of study at the Juilliard School as a student of Ernest Barretta, and a 9th-grade student at Syosset High School Long Island, where he is also the principal alto saxophonist in the Jazz Band. Christopher had his first performance at Carnegie Hall at age 6 and returned there three years later as the Grand Prix Winner of the Concert Festival International Competition. He has participated in several masterclasses within the past few years with renown pianists, including Lydia Artymiw, Andreas Klein and international virtuoso Lang Lang.

In October 2014, Christopher was chosen from among 100 pianists as the featured soloist to perform for Mr. Lang as part of the international 101 Pianists Program at the Tilles Center on Long Island. In 2016, he was the 1st prize winner of the Great Composers’ Competition, and, last year, was a semi-finalist in the Kaufman International Youth Piano Competition. In December 2016, Christopher was a featured soloist at the Piano Showcase in Rochester, NY, for the annual NYS School Music Association Conference. In the same month, Christopher won the annual piano competition at Juilliard’s Pre-College Division and performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 with the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony at Peter Jay Sharp Theater in Lincoln Center.

A month later, he was chosen as a finalist for the Chappaqua Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Ensemble 212 Young Artist Competition, and the NY Chamber Players Orchestra Competition. Most recently, he was the 2nd prize winner of this year’s Chappaqua Orchestra Concerto Competition. Last year, Christopher was the Grand Prize winner of the 2018 MostArts Festival, which has led to this year’s performance of the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 at the 2019 opening Gala.

Alice Zhang, 17, is currently a senior at Vernon Hills High School and will be attending Yale University in the fall of 2019. Born in Vernon Hills, IL, Alice started taking piano lessons at age four with Brenda Huang, Founder/Artistic Director of the Emilio del Rosario Music Foundation. In addition to Ms. Huang, she also takes lessons with Professor Eduardus Halim, the Sascha Gorodnitzki Chair of Piano Study at New York University, and with Dr. Matthew Hagle, piano faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago. Since the age of 9, Alice has performed in venues throughout the Chicagoland area including the Chicago Symphony Center, Ravinia Park’s Gordon Bennett Hall, the Chicago Fine Arts Building, the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University, and the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium in the Chicago Public Library. In February 2019, she was invited to perform live at the Introduction Program of the WFMT 98.7 Chicago’s Fine Arts Radio Station where she played the music from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Bolcom. In the past she was broadcasted many times including her solo recital in 2016, piano duet in 2016, piano trios in 2016 and 2017 and her concerto performance accompanied by Midwest Young Artist Conservatory orchestra in 2015.

In July of 2018, she performed the Chopin Concerto No.1 in E minor with the MostArts Festival Orchestra at the Miller Theater of the Alfred University in NY as the returning Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Young Pianist Competition at the MostArt Festival. Her performance was very well received by the audience in Alfred.

Alice is also an award winner in many competitions. In addition to Grand Prize Winner in the MostArt festival in 2017, she was also a merit winner in the 2019 National Youngarts competition. She was named the overall winner in the Junior division of the National Walgreens Concerto Competition in 2015, the finalist in The Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition in 2015, the second prize winner in the Young Artist Category at the Second Gershwin International Music Competition in NYC in 2015, and the second prize winner in the junior division of the EDR concerto competition in 2014.

Alice is also an accomplished chamber musician. As the pianist of both the Jayus Trio and the Odysseus Trio, she received Honorable Mention in the 2017 and 2018 National Discover Chamber Music Competition. Both groups also advanced to the semifinals of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition at the University of Notre Dame in 2017 and 2018. Her clarinet-piano trio was chosen as a semi-finalist at the M-Prize Chamber Music Competition at the University of Michigan in 2016. In 2017, her duet group won third place at the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) competition in Baltimore, MD.

To support the local communities, she has been an active performer in senior/retirement facilities, community clubs, and schools in the Chicago area. Besides piano, she also plays violin and is a member in her high school orchestra.

Alice has a wide interest in academics. She loves math and science. She is a member of her school’s math team, WYSE team and Robotics team, which are successful in various regional and state competitions.

Derek Chung is a freshman at Stanford University majoring in Music and Computer Science. He currently studies piano with Frederick Weldy and has previously studied with Sueanne Metz. Derek’s recent accomplishments include being a winner of the Stanford Concerto Competition, the Grand Prize Winner at the Chicago International Music Competition, first place at the MTNA National Senior Piano Competition, Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, MostArts Festival Piano Competition, and the Los Angeles Young Musician International Piano Competition where he was awarded the overall Best Romantic Performance.

Derek has given public performances with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the MostArts Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of Alicante, 98.7 WFMT’s ‘Introductions’ radio show, live on Kansas Public Radio, and the Shining Stars Concert as part of the Music Festival of Perugia. He was also a member of chamber group Piano Trio Royale. They were featured on NPR’s From-the-Top program.

Derek was a member of the orchestra for the Department of Music’s musical theatre production of ‘A Little Night Music’. He is also a co-founder of 88Keys to Cure, a non-profit organization promoting classical music for the benefit of various causes.

17-year-old Washingtonian Avery Gagliano is a full scholarship piano fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, under the tutelage of Jonathan Biss and Gary Graffman.  Avery is a 2019 YoungArts Winner in Music, a young artist of the Artemisia Akademie at Yale, a three-year winner of the US Chopin Foundation Scholarship (2016 – 2018), a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation (2014 – 2016), a nominated recipient of the Inaugural Outstanding Young Artist Achievement Award by the National Chamber Ensemble in 2016, and a Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship recipient from 2011 to 2016.

At age nine, Avery had her orchestral debut with the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra at Strathmore Concert Hall and performed at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York.  The following year, she had her recital debut and was invited to perform on National Public Radio’s (NPR) From The Top where the music producer Tom Vignieri described her as “a compelling presence at the piano. She immediately draws you in—not because of histrionics…She has the technique and the musicianship, which is the ultimate combination of a young artist.” 

As a soloist, Avery has collaborated with the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tuscarawas Philharmonic, MostArts Festival Orchestra, the Midwest Young Artists (MYA) Symphony Orchestra, the Capital City Symphony, and the National Chamber Ensemble, and will be soloing with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic in the spring of 2019.  Avery has garnished top prizes at music competitions and festivals, including her most recent win at the Aspen Music Festival concerto competition, the Grand Prize at the MostArts Festival, Third Prize and Best Solo Work Award at the Southeastern Piano Festival, Grand Prix at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, Connecticut, and being a finalist of the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Student Competition, as well as many solo and chamber music competitions in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

In addition to her solo performances, Avery is an avid chamber musician. She has performed with several different ensembles, including piano trios, quartets, and quintets, to name a few. In the 2018-19 concert season, she performed as a guest artist with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players.

Avery’s success has taken her to stages at some of the most prestigious festivals and concert venues such as the Aspen International Music Festival, Art of the Piano, the Oxford Piano Festival, the Piano Texas International Academy & Festival, Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Harris Hall and Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, Strathmore Concert Hall in Maryland, Ravinia Pavilion and Millennium Park in Chicago, Greene Space at WQXR New York, Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, and in the UK,  Germany, France, and Italy.  She looks forward to attending the Verbier Festival & Academy this summer.

Prior to her study at Curtis, Avery spent eight years of piano study with Marina Alekseyeva and five years of violin study with Jorge Orozco at Levine Music.  Over the years, Avery has received keyboard instruction from renowned artists such as Richard Goode, Arie Vardi, Menahem Pressler, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Boris Slutsky, Robert McDonald, Kalichstein, Benedetto Lupo, and Lang Lang.  Outside of music, Avery enjoys reading, dancing, and singing.

Mayuki Miyashita was born in 2000 in Japan and started her piano studies at age 6 in Hamamatsu. She moved to the United States in 2011 where she studied piano with Dr. David Northington at the University of Tennessee School of Music. She gave her first solo recital at age 13 at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Knoxville. After being invited to perform in NPR's 'From the Top' in 2014, she was invited back to perform in its gala concert in Boston. Mayuki has performed solo recitals in several places such as the Evelyn Miller Young Pianist Series in Knoxville where she also gave a masterclass, the Miami International Piano Festival in Miami, and the East/West International Piano Festival in China, as well as performing in concerts in the Chopin International Piano Festival in Busko-Zdroj, Poland. After moving back to Japan in 2016, she has played solo recitals in Tokyo and Hamamatsu.

Her accomplishments in competitions include First Prize in the Midwest International Piano Competition, Grand Prize and Audience Favorite Award in the MostArts Young Pianist Competition, First Prize in the Krystian Tkaczewski International Piano Competition, and First Prize in the Tokyo College of Music Competition. She is now a sophomore at Tokyo College of Music in Tokyo, Japan, and studies piano with Atsuko Okada and Katsunori Ishii.

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Lisa Lantz

Professor Music/Strings
Performing Arts