Winners Announced at the DCS International Piano Competition 2013

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Congcong Chai Claims First Prize of the Dallas Chamber Symphony International Piano Competition 2013.

Congcong Chai, who performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.1 in F-sharp Minor, will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and a concert engagement to perform his piano concerto with the Dallas Chamber Symphony on April 30th, 2013 at Dallas City Performance Hall.

Thomas Steigerwald claimed the Second Prize, and will receive a cash award of $1,000 for his performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor. Jeannette Fang took Third Prize, and will receive a cash award of $500 for her performance of Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major.

Finalists Alex McDonald and HanQing Zhou both received Honorable Mentions for their performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, respectively.

The DCS International Piano Competition was held in three rounds at Caruth Auditorium at Southern Methodist University’s Owen Arts Center March 14-16, 2013. The Dallas Chamber Symphony presents its annual International Piano Competition in community partnership with the SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Jurors Pamela Mia Paul, Andrey Ponochevny and Young-Hyun Cho adjudicated the competition.

Quarter-finalists of the competition took advantage of opportunities to work with the Meadows School’s piano faculty, including a public masterclass taught by Dr. Carol Leone, Co-Chair of the Keyboard Department and Associate Professor of Piano. Dr. David Karp and Alfred Mouledous also volunteered their time to offer private piano lessons to competition participants.

For more information about Congcong Chai’s concert debut with the Dallas Chamber Symphony, click here. Tickets to the 7:30pm concert at Dallas City Performance Hall on April 30, 2013 can be purchased, or by calling (214) 880-0202. Tickets start at $21 for regular admission and $12 for students.

1st Prize – Congcong Chai

S. Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-Sharp Minor


2nd Prize – Thomas Steigerwald

S. Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor


3rd Prize – Jeannette Fang

F. Liszt, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major


Honorable Mention – Alex McDonald

Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major


Honorable Mention – HanQing Zhou

J. Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor

Congcong Chai – First Prize

As a prize winner of the 53rd Sorantin International Competition, Chai has participated in piano masterclasses and private lessons conducted by Leslie Howard, Paul Badura-Skoda, Malcolm Bilson, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Matti Raekallio and Vladimir Krainev, to name just a few. He has performed in Lawrence, Fort Worth, Grand Junction, Hong Kong, Macau, Shang Hai, Shenzhen, and Zhu Hai. His performances have included varied repertoire for solo piano, two pianos, and piano concertos. He enjoys an association with the conductors Robert Ward and Yondani Butt, collaborating in performances of Beethoven 4th Piano Concerto, the Yellow River Piano Concerto and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. In 2012 he attended the PianoTexas International Academy & Festival and Concerto Fest Vienna.

As a recipient of numerous scholarships, Chai has been awarded the Lee Shuk-chee Memorial Scholarship, The Society of APA Non-Local Scholarship, Tom Lee Music Scholarship, CE Scholarship, Baring Private Equity Asia Scholarship, HKAPA Piano Alumni Scholarship, Capps Rogers Scholarship and David & Gunda Hiebert Piano Scholarship.

Born in Xian, China, Chai Congcong started learning piano with his mother at a young age. He studied at the DongFang XingZhi Piano School with Prof. Zheng Shu Xing, and ShenZhen Art School with Dan Zhao Yi and Miao Xiao Yan. After graduating from high school, he was admitted to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to study with Prof. Eleanor Wong for his Diploma, Bachelor, and Master degrees. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant of University of Kansas, he is currently in his second year of the DMA programme at KU with Dr. Jack Winerock.

Thomas Steigerwald – Second Prize

Thomas Steigerwald recently captured the Silver Medal at the 62nd Wideman International Piano Competition with a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. As the only American pianist chosen for the 2012 Round Top Festival Summer Institute, his performances included Balakirev’s Islamey and Roussel’s Joueurs de Flute with flutist Ransom Wilson His appearances with the Round Top Texas Festival Orchestra included a performance of Griffes’ The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan under the baton of Micheal Stern.

As Winner of the 2011 Future Stars Competition, he made his orchestral debut with the San Antonio Symphony performing Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3. At the 2012 Dakota Sky International Piano Festival, Mr. Steigerwald performances included Brahm’s Cello Sonata No. 2 with Maxim Kozlov, and Ravel’s Piano Trio with the Delphi Trio. He studied in Italy at the 2011 Schlern Music Festival where he performed the Brahms Piano Trio No.1 in B Major and was a Finalist in the Schlern International Music Festival Piano Competition. He has also studied at the Aspen Music Festival, where his performances included Ravel’s La valse (poème choréographique) for two pianos, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor.

He has performed numerous solo recitals including performances at the Tuesday Musical Club of San Antonio, the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, and the Uvalde Grand Opera House.

He has had coaching and masterclasses with Eteri Andjaparidze, Rita Sloan, James Dick, Anton Nel, Petronel Malan, Adam Golka, Gregory DeTurck, Tamas Ungar, Nancy Weems, Carolyn True, Timothy Hester, Kasandra Keeling, Alessio Bax, and Lucille Chung.

Mr. Steigerwald is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, studying with Douglas Humpherys. He is the recipient of the Howard Hanson, the Liliian Miller Loos, and the Texas Music Teachers Assn. Whitlock Memorial Scholarships.

Jeannette Fang – Third Prize

Jeannette Fang is an imaginative and expressive pianist whose dynamic performances have attracted the attention of both professionals as well as the concert going public. She most recently was the 2nd place Young Artist Performance National winner of the MTNA Young Artist Competition. From an early age her creative pianism was recognized through many awards such as first prize in the 20th International Young Artists’ Piano Competition in Washington, D.C., second prize in the 2003 Oberlin International Piano Competition, top honors in various MTNA competitions, awards from the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts and the National Alliance for the Arts, and first prize in the 2000 Steinway Society Scholarship competition. She is the recipient of the Elizabeth J. Parisot award from Yale School of Music, the winner of the Karlfried Nordman Scholarship Piano Competition at Juilliard, and was named a National Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 2003.

An active presence on the concert stage, Ms. Fang performs regularly in such settings as Alice Tully Hall, John F. Kennedy Center, Zankel Hall, Bargemusic, Peter J. Sharp Theater, Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, Sprague Recital Hall, and many others. She has been a featured performer on the McGraw-Hill Young Artist’s Showcase on WQXR-New York, and on NPR’s “From the Top” broadcast from the Disney Institute in California. She has soloed with numerous orchestras including the New Jersey Philharmonic, Battleground Symphony, and St. Mary’s Chamber Orchestra, and has won concerto competitions resulting in orchestra performances at both Juilliard Pre-College and Manhattan School of Music. She has served as Artist-In-Residence for two years at St. Mary’s Church Concert Series in South Amboy, NJ, and has performed as a guest artist at Boston Conservatory, Jacob’s Pillow Festival, the Watchung Arts Center, as well as others.

In addition to her long-standing commitment to solo piano performance, Ms. Fang is a passionate and experienced chamber musician. She was a young artist at the Taos Music Festival in the summer of 2012, and has spent three summers at the prestigious YellowBarn Festival in Vermont. She has performed with faculty and various new music groups in such venues as Zankel Hall, Bargemusic, Chamberfest at Juiliiard, and Le Poisson Rouge.

She enjoys working in the world of contemporary music through active and ongoing collaborations with prominent composers such as

David Lang, Shulamit Ran, Aaron Jay Kernis, Philippe Hersant, and Stephan Cox.

Ms. Fang holds degrees from the Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, and is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. Her principal teachers have included Peter Frankl, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Robert McDonald, Julian Martin, and Logan Skelton. Her first piano teacher was her mother, Dr. Julia Lam.

Alex McDonald – Honorable Mention

Since his orchestral debut at age 11, pianist Alex McDonald has soloed with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has performed across the United States as well as in Israel, Canada, Japan, and South Korea; additionally, he has been a featured performer on PBS, WRR, NPR, and WQXR. Awards and fellowships include second prize at the 2007 New Orleans International Piano Competition and second prize at the 2001 Gina Bachauer International Young Artist Piano Competition. In 2008, he was named a Harvey Fellow by the Mustard Seed Foundation.

Dr. McDonald currently teaches piano at Texas Women’s University, having previously taught as adjunct faculty at Richland College as well as at the Juilliard School, where he also was a Teaching Fellow for both the Literature and Materials and Piano Minor departments. Additionally, his private piano students have been admitted to Juilliard and Eastman, as well as the pre-college division of the Manhattan School of Music. Deeply concerned about a healthy integration of life with music, he has actively pursued community formation both as an R.A. in the Juilliard residence hall and as president of Juilliard Christian Fellowship.

Dr. McDonald received his pre-college training under Lois Nielson, his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance under Russell Sherman, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Juilliard under Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin. His doctoral document, a source study on manuscripts and editions for Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, has been cited in the most recent edition of the sonata by Alfred Publishers, edited by Nancy Bricard.


Dallas Chamber Symphony: Piano Competition : HanQing ZhouHanQing Zhou – Honorable Mention

HanQing Zhou is a rising figure of the 80s generation pianist who is committed to connect to today’s audiences by offering strong interpretations of the historical and contemporary repertoire. As a soloist he has performed in orchestral and recital settings. His debut was with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, performing the Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto under James Feddeck. He has given solo and chamber performance at Warner Concert Hall, Kulas Recital Hall in Ohio, Neier Recital Hall in Chengdu, and Duncan Recital Hall in Houston.

Hanqing completed his Bachelor’s Degree of Piano performance at Oberlin conservatory of music with Professor Peter Takacs. He achieved his Master’s Music Degree at Rice University, Shepherd School of Music under Dr. Robert Roux. Now, He pursues his Artist Diploma in University of Houston with Nancy Weems. He have also participated to many music festivals and master classes including working with Leon Fleisher, Paul Badura-Skoda, John Lill, Nalita True, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Vladimir Fletsman and others.

HanQing received a full scholarship from Oberlin Conservatory and is a recipient of the Dr. Margaret Ann Goldstein Prize from Rice University He is also a prize winner of many competitions including the Hong Kong Mozart Piano Competition, Firelands Symphony Orchestra Concerto Completion, Gu Lang Yu National Competition (in the Sichuan region).

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