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Announcing the Victors of the 2023 Pianist Amateur Piano Competition

by Madonna

London, UK – The culmination of an exhilarating journey, the 2023 Pianist Amateur Piano Competition proudly presents its winners. A field of over 90 talented entrants was meticulously distilled to a remarkable 31 finalists by the discerning preliminary judges Erica Worth, Matt Ash, and Melanie Spanswick. Subsequently, the coveted top honors were determined by a distinguished panel of adjudicators comprising pianist and composer Chloe Flower, teacher and adjudicator Kathryn Page, and the accomplished concert pianist Iyad Sughayer.

Classical Category

Annie Kwon – A triumphant 1st Place in the Classical Category is bestowed upon 38-year-old Annie Kwon, a dedicated homemaker and piano instructor hailing from California, USA. Annie captivated the judges with her masterful renditions of works by luminaries such as Liszt, Scarlatti, Sibelius, and Babajanian. Kathryn Page, one of the adjudicators, commended Annie’s exceptional performance, noting, “An extremely persuasive performance, Annie communicates all the musical needs with beauty of sound and effortless control. Bravo!”

Michael Nagel – Securing the 2nd Place is the talented German filmmaker Michael Nagel.

Zachary Weiner – The 3rd Place accolade is conferred upon Zachary Weiner, a software engineer at Google.

Annie Kwon expressed her exhilaration at her unexpected triumph, declaring, “I was totally not expecting to win! I graduated in 2007, but after that, I hadn’t performed or played in 17 years. I had a love-hate relationship with piano. I felt it was expected of me. Now I have a new love for it.”

Modern Category

Rob Rennie – Rob Rennie, a 53-year-old software engineer also hailing from California, secures the 1st Place in the Modern Category. His enthralling performance featured a diverse repertoire including works by Monk, Mingus, Powell, and Evans. Judge Kathryn Page lauded his rendition of Mingus’s “Better Get Hit in Your Soul” for its “rhythmic and exciting energy” and found his interpretation of Monk’s “Monk’s Dream” to be “very atmospheric playing, with space and shape used effectively.” She was equally impressed with his sensitive rendition of Evans’s “Epilogue.”

Abraham Hernandez – The 2nd Place is awarded to Abraham Hernandez, a photographer and salsa dancer hailing from Mexico.

Ray Charles Bozeman – Ray Charles Bozeman, a retired Investigator from Chicago, USA, clinches the 3rd Place.

Rob Rennie, the triumphant winner of the Modern Category, expressed his astonishment, saying, “Surprised would be an understatement. It’s mind-blowing.” He conveyed his deep passion for the piano and his continuous dedication to honing his craft, revealing, “For me, the piano is all about wood and steel… and it’s amazing to me the way that different people can make a different sound. That’s my thing. That’s what I am working on. I play two hours every day, and that’s for almost 35 years now. I don’t like to go on vacation unless there’s a piano where I am staying!”

Special mentions are granted to the exceptional talents of Noah DeGarmo, Andrzej Janiga, Elena Smekalova, and Takako Ujike, celebrating their remarkable contributions to this prestigious competition.

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