Ten Semifinalists each performed a 65-minute solo and 65-minute collaborative recital with baritone Phillip Addis and violinist Jonathan Crow in Calgary from 30 August to 3 September. The Second Jury selected three pianists to advance to Finals on 6 & 7 September 2018.
Taiwan | 26
Hailed by the New York Times as a pianist with “a graceful touch … rhythmic precision … hypnotic charm,” (2012) and “sure, subtle touch,” (2014) Han Chen is a prize winner at many major competitions for both traditional and avant-garde music.
In January 2016, as part of his prize package as the First Prize winner of the 6th China International Piano Competition (Xiamen) Chen released his debut CD with Naxos Records recording Liszt’s operatic transcriptions. International Piano magazine (UK) praised Chen’s performance in the competition, stating that he “displayed extraordinary strength, talent, and flair.”
As an enthusiastic advocate for modern music, Chen actively performs both 20th century classics and works by emerging composers. His close collaboration with the Juilliard modern music ensemble AXIOM led him to the performances of works by Pierre Boulez, Toshio Hosokawa, György Kurtág, Magnus Lindberg, Steve Reich, and Charles Wuorinen. He is currently on the roster of the New York-based Ensemble Échappé.
A native of Taichung (Taiwan), Chen received his accelerated Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at The Juilliard School (New York) with Professor Yoheved Kaplinsky under the C/Kaplan Piano Scholarship, Susan W. Rose Piano Fellowship and the Van Cliburn Alumni Scholarship. After this achievement, he obtained his Graduate Diploma with Professor Wha Kyung Byun at the New England Conservatory (Boston). He commences his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the CUNY Graduate Center (New York) in August 2018.
Georgia | 26
The performances of pianist and composer Nicolas Namoradze have been hailed by critics as “sparkling … sensitive and coloristic” (New York Times) and “simply gorgeous” (Wall Street Journal). He has given recitals at prestigious venues in several countries around the world. He has appeared as a soloist with renowned orchestras and conductors in Europe and the United States. His performances in Hungary, Georgia, Spain, and the US have been broadcast on radio and television and his compositions have been commissioned and performed by leading artists and festivals in the United States.
Highlights of his current season include appearances at the Chelsea Music Festival (New York) as a featured composer and pianist, recitals in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as Artist-in-Residence at The Drozdoff Society, as well as commissions for ensembles such as the Barkada and Verona Quartets and a series of concerts with violinist Rolf Schulte. Namoradze was recently awarded the Fidelio Fortissimo Prize for young composers (Budapest). In the past season he also composed and produced the soundtracks for Walking Painting, a film by Fabienne Verdier, and Nuit d’opéra à Aix, a short film made in association with the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
After completing his undergraduate studies in Budapest, Vienna, and Florence, Namoradze moved to New York to receive his master’s degree at The Juilliard School. He now pursues his Doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center (New York) holding the Graduate Center Fellowship, studying piano with Emanuel Ax and Yoheved Kaplinsky, and composition with John Corigliano. Nicolas serves on the faculty of Queens College, CUNY (New York).
United States | 21
Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner has been lauded as “poetic, electrifying,” (Michigan Live) “masterful technique,” (La Presse Montreal) and “a gifted virtuoso,” (San Francisco Chronicle) for performances that have stirred the intellect and humanity of his listeners on five continents. Named a Gilmore Young Artist (2014), an honour awarded every two years to the most promising American pianists of the new generation, Sanchez-Werner also received the Atlantic Council Young Global Citizen Award recognizing his dedication to social action through music in countries including Iraq, Rwanda, France, Canada, and the United States. General Petraeus commended his “courageous humanitarian contributions through the arts … strengthening the ties that unite our nations.”
An active chamber musician, Sanchez-Werner has collaborated with leading artists such as Renée Fleming, Eric Owens, Marina Poplavskaya, and Cynthia Phelps. Since making his concerto debut at age six, he performs regularly under the batons of conductors including Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Michael Morgan, Boris Brott, Tito Muñoz, David Lockington, William Noll, Burns Taft, Robert Lawson, and Karim Wasfi.
Sanchez-Werner has been featured on NPR, CNN International, the Wall Street Journal, and WDR-Arte and was honoured to perform at the White House and Kennedy Center for President Obama’s Inauguration concert. He received his bachelor’s and master’s from The Juilliard School (New York) where he also received the Kovner Fellowship. Principal teachers have included Yoheved Kaplinsky and Ilya Itin, and composition with Lowell Liebermann. Sanchez-Werner studies with Boris Berman at the Yale School of Music (Connecticut) as the only candidate selected this year to their prestigious Artist Diploma program.