2022 Honens International Piano Competition Semifinalists Announced

The Semifinals and Finals of the Honens International Piano Competition take place in Calgary from October 20 to 28, 2022.

By: May. 18, 2022

2022 Honens International Piano Competition Semifinalists Announced

Ten pianists have been chosen to advance to the Semifinals of Canada's Honens International Piano Competition. The pianists (aged 21 to 31) come from seven countries: Austria, Hungary, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Ukraine, and the United States. Only one pianist will be named the 2022 Honens Prize Laureate and win one of the world's largest awards of its kind-$100,000 (CAD) and a comprehensive, three-year artistic and career development program. The Semifinals and Finals of the Honens International Piano Competition take place in Calgary from October 20 to 28, 2022.

The First Jury, comprised of Louise Bessette, Loie Fallis, Roman Rabinovich, and Gilles Vonsattel, reviewed the Quarterfinal recitals and interviews that were recorded in Frankfurt and New York in March. The four jurors, under the guidance of Honens Official Mathematician Moshe Renert, chose ten pianists who would be invited to Calgary in October.

The ten Semifinalists are: Ádám Balogh (Hungary), Rachel Breen (United States), Łukasz Byrdy (Poland), Sae Yoon Chon (South Korea), Dmytro Choni (Ukraine), George Fu (United States), Simon Karakulidi (Russia), Aleksandra Kasman (United States), Illia Ovcharenko (Ukraine), and Philipp Scheucher (Austria).

"We're thrilled to welcome these ten outstanding Semifinalists to our Calgary and online audiences this October," says Honens Artistic Director Jon Kimura Parker. "The First Jury had a difficult task in selecting just ten pianists to advance from our 50 chosen Quarterfinalists, but each juror offered unique expertise based on their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives."

Each Semifinalist performs two recitals (October 20 to 24): a 65-minute, self-programmed, solo recital including a newly commissioned 8-minute work by Canadian pianist-composer Stewart Goodyear and a 60-minute solo / collaborative recital with violinist Martin Beaver. Three pianists will advance to the Finals (October 27 and 28) for a performance of a Mozart concerto with the Viano String Quartet, a set of Schubert lieder with mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó, a 30-minute interview with an arts journalist, and a concerto of their choosing with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Jeffrey Kahane. The 2022 Honens Prize Laureate will be announced following the conclusion of the Finals on 28 October.

The members of the Second Jury, who evaluate the Semifinals and Finals, and ultimately, name the 2022 Honens Prize Laureate, are Michel Béroff, Earl Blackburn, Katherine Chi, Imogen Cooper, Stewart Goodyear, Ick-Choo Moon, and Orli Shaham. Additional cash prizes to be awarded include: two Raeburn (Finalist) Prizes, seven Semifinalist Awards, Best Performance of the Commissioned Work, Best Performance of a Beethoven Violin Sonata, and an Audience Award, all supported through the generosity of Judith Kilbourne.

Honens also presents other events during the Competition including, Rachmaninov Refracted, a farewell recital by 2018 Honens Prize Laureate Nicolas Namoradze, masterclasses by Imogen Cooper and Orli Shaham, and a recital by Mentor-in-Residence, Jeremy Denk.

Competition Passes-offering significant discounts-and single tickets, ranging from $10 to $102, are available now at honens.com. Honens is also proud to continue presenting a free livestream of the Competition to its global audience in partnership with IDAGIO.


The Honens International Piano Competition takes place every three years and is considered one of the world's most prestigious events of its kind. Honens prepares its Laureates for the rigours and realities of professional careers in music and creates opportunities for growth and exposure. The annual Honens Festival is one of Canada's premier classical music events, intended to share Mrs. Honens' love of world renowned music with Albertans every year.

Esther Honens created a legacy of musical excellence to be enjoyed for generations. In 1991, knowing she was near the end of her life, Mrs. Honens gave $5 million to endow an international piano competition in her hometown of Calgary, Canada. Her generosity, vision, and love of music continue to touch the lives of Calgarians, Canadians, musicians, and music-lovers around the world.

Honens Legacy Partners support the ongoing growth and development of Esther Honens' vision by securing the organization's future. The Legacy Partners Endowment Fund enables Honens to provide wide-reaching programming through its annual festival and other enriching community education and outreach initiatives.

The 2022 Honens International Piano Competition is supported by Steinway & Sons / Steinway Piano Gallery Calgary, RBC Emerging Artists Project, Masters Gallery Ltd., Grand Touring Automobiles, the Azrieli Foundation and IDAGIO. Other partners include the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts at Mount Royal University, Arts Commons, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, ARTHUR / HUNTER, 8VA Music Consultancy, Viewpoint Foundation, the Hyatt Regency, Calgary Herald, Deluxe Design Group, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Honens also thanks Bridgeland Market, Philip Chong Flower Bar, Rosso Coffee Roasters; and industry partners Calgary Downtown Association, Calgary Hotel Association, Travel Alberta and Tourism Calgary. Public and Foundation Partners include Calgary Arts Development Authority / City of Calgary, Calgary Foundation, Alberta Foundation for the Arts / Government of Alberta, Rozsa Foundation, Alberta Lottery Fund, and Department of Canadian Heritage.


The Complete Artist is:

a thoughtful interpreter, a consummate collaborator, an awe-inspiring virtuoso, a communicator, a risk-taking explorer.

a pianist who expresses and interprets ideas from a wide cultural context and keen imagination through performances and programming choices that are informed and seasoned by a fascination for life outside the practice studio.

an emerging artist whose distinctive voice, versatility, and ease clearly demonstrate the level of preparedness and mastery necessary to embark upon a professional career.

The Complete Artist's interpretations are founded upon the intellectual and emotional understanding of musical text and the ability to synthesize and express such understanding so as to challenge and stir the listener on multiple levels. This creative awareness stems not only from knowledge of a particular composition itself but from a wider knowledge of related music, of musical literature as a whole, and of the arts in general. If the resulting interpretation appears unusual and unconventional, it appears so freshly and naturally. Artists taking part in the Honens International Piano Competition must also express-through stage deportment, program design, and interviews with arts journalists-a sensitivity to contemporary culture and a willingness and finesse to communicate effectively with audiences regardless of age, location, background, or degree of musical sophistication.


Honens Prize Laureate (one)
$100,000 CAD

Finalists: Raeburn Prizes (two) +
$10,000 CAD each

Semifinalists (seven) +
$2,500 CAD each

Best Performance of Commissioned Work +
$2,500 CAD

Best Performance of a Beethoven Violin Sonata +
$2,500 CAD

Audience Award +
$2,500 CAD

+ Judith Kilbourne generously provides support for these awards.

*Ages as of October 28, 2022

Ádám Balogh

Age 24*

Ádám Balogh was born in Hungary to a family of musicians and made his concerto debut at the age of 13 with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Since then, he has performed with many orchestras in Hungary including the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hungarian National Symphonic Orchestra, Concerto Budapest, and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. Balogh has also performed with the NYCA Symphonic Orchestra (New York) and the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, among others.

He is a prizewinner of international competitions, including PianoTalents (Italy), the Jenö Takács Competition (Austria), the Chopin Competition (Hungary), the Junior Cliburn Competition (Texas), the New York Concert Artists Worldwide Debut Audition, as well as the competitions of the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York) and the Tel-Hai Masterclasses (Israel). He has performed around Europe, the United States, and Asia.

Balogh is currently a student of Arie Vardi in Hannover, pursuing his master's degree. Previously, he studied in the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest as a student of Attila Némethy and Gábor Eckhardt. As an active participant of masterclasses, he has worked with Dmitri Bashkirov, Zoltán Kocsis, Roger Muraro, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, and Yoheved Kaplinsky, among others.

In 2017, Balogh received the Junior Prima award, considered the most prestigious in Hungary for artists under the age of 35. Additionally, he is a recipient of the Junior Prize of the Tüke Foundation of Pécs and the Cziffra Festival's Junior Award (Hungary). Most recently, he won Second Prize at the Bartok World Competition (Hungary) as well as Fifth Prize at the Sydney International Piano Competition.

Rachel Breen

United States
Age 26*

Californian Rachel Breen received her bachelor's degree with academic honors from The Juilliard School (New York), where she was a student of Julian Martin. Previously, she studied with Dr. Sharon Mann; until age ten, she was self-taught. She recently completed dual master's programs at the Hannover Hochschule für Musik and Yale School of Music (Connecticut) with Lars Vogt and Boris Slutsky, respectively.

Breen has earned top prizes at the International Beethoven Piano Competition (Vienna); the Georges Cziffra International Competition (Hungary); the Nuova Coppa Pianisti International Competition (France); the Livorno International Piano Competition, the Gallinari International Competition, and Premio Roberto Melini (Italy); and the Spanish Composers International Competition. She was selected as the 2021 to 2023 National Federation of Music Clubs' Young Artist, and received the 2021 Kurt Alten Prize from her university in Hannover. She has performed and taught across the United States, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary, and was featured in the 2021 podcast 30 Bach alongside Jeremy Denk, Angela Hewitt, Tim Page, and Simone Dinnerstein. In August 2022, her CD recording of works by underrepresented minority composers will be released through the New Muses Project.

Aside from piano, Breen has an interest in languages, receiving First Prize on the National Latin Exam and Third Prize on the National French Exam. She spends her spare time running, exploring philosophy and visual arts, and forgetting to answer important emails.

Breen is based in both Europe and the United States.

Łukasz Byrdy

Age 28*

Łukasz Byrdy studied with Waldemar Andrzejewski and Joanna Marcinkowska at the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań (Poland) and is currently a student of Klaus Hellwig at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He is a prizewinner of numerous international piano competitions including: First Prize at the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Hannover (Germany, 2019), Third Prize at the 1st Beijing International Chopin Competition for Young Pianists (China, 2016), and Third Prize at the IV International Piano Competition "in memoriam Pietro Iadeluca" in Arsoli (Italy, 2016). As a member of Paderewski Piano Trio, Byrdy has also won chamber music competitions in Geneva and Bydgoszcz.

In 2015, Byrdy qualified for Round II of the XVII International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition (Warsaw). He received scholarships to Morningside Music Bridge in 2010 and 2011 in Calgary and the Aspen Music Festival in 2012.

Byrdy has given concerts at EXPO in Dubai and Milan; Chopin and His Europe Festival, and the International Paderewski Festival (Warsaw); Festival Chopin à Paris; as well as festivals in Chengdu, Moscow, and Duszniki-Zdrój. Byrdy has performed in many of Poland's important concert halls including Fryderyk Chopin's birthplace in Żelazowa Wola, Fryderyk Chopin Museum, Royal Castle in Warsaw, Royal Łazienki Park, and Polish Radio's National Orchestra Concert Hall. He has also performed across the United States, Canada, China, Russia, UAE, Austria, France, Lithuania, Norway, Italy, Malta, and Germany.

In 2017, Byrdy released his first CD featuring concertos of Chopin and Mozart in chamber version with the Altra Volta String Quartet.

Sae Yoon Chon

South Korea
Age 27*

South Korean pianist Sae Yoon Chon is one of the most outstanding young pianists to emerge onto the international scene in recent years. He won First Prize at the 2018 Dublin International Piano Competition and has been a major prizewinner at international piano competitions in Hong Kong, Valencia, Los Angeles, and Seoul, plus Hilton Head International Piano Competition and Young Concert Artists. He has performed at the Verbier and Oxford Festivals.

Chon made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall and has given solo recitals at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Seoul Arts Center in Seoul, and many others.

Chon first studied piano in his native South Korea with Hyoung-Joon Chang. He completed his Bachelor of Music degree on full scholarship at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, studying with John O'Conor, and occasionally with James Anagnoson and Leon Fleisher. He also completed the Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School with John O'Conor. During this period, Chon became a recipient of the prestigious Ihnatowycz Prize. He is now continuing his master's degree at The Juilliard School (New York) with Robert McDonald.

Chon has played with many orchestras including those of Cleveland, Hong Kong, Valencia, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin.

Dmytro Choni

Age 29*

As a prizewinner of multiple prestigious piano competitions, Dmytro Choni has already made a name for himself on the international stage. He is the recipient of the First Prize and the Gold Medal of the Paloma O'Shea Santander International Piano Competition (Spain) and also a laureate of many international piano competitions including the Leeds (England), Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU (Arizona), The Vendome Prize (New York), Ferruccio Busoni (Italy), and Vladimir Horowitz (Ukraine) piano competitions, as well as the Los Angeles and San Marino International Piano Competitions. He was awarded the prestigious "Prix du Piano Bern" and "Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize."

Choni regularly appears as soloist with renowned orchestras, such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Phoenix Symphony, RTVE Symphony (Spain), Ensemble Esperanza (Liechtenstein), Community of Madrid, Seongnam Philharmonic (South Korea), Oviedo Filarmonía (Spain), and Liechtenstein Symphony. He has worked with conductors Andrew Manze, Pablo González, Yaron Traub, Baldur Brönnimann, Lucas Macías, Virginia Martínez, and Nanse Gum.

He has appeared at the Kissinger Sommer (Germany), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Dubrovnik Summer Festival (Croatia), Stars and Rising Stars (Germany), and MITO SettembreMusica (Italy). Choni performs in such venues as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Salle Cortot, Minato Mirai Hall, Flagey, Auditorio Nacional de Música, and Teatro Colón, all making a lasting impression on his musical development.

Choni was born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1993. He is currently studying with Dr. Milana Chernyavska at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria.

George Fu

United States
Age 31*

Praised for his performances of distinctive intelligence, sensitivity, and virtuosity, American pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu is establishing an international reputation as a musician who is a "deep thinker, thoroughly in command" (theartsdesk.com) with "stunning virtuosity" (Boston Music Intelligencer).

Fu has appeared at international venues such as Konzerthaus Berlin, Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Carnegie Hall (New York), Wigmore Hall and Kings Place (London), and Tanglewood (Massachusetts). His performances and interviews have been featured on broadcasts around the world, ranging from BBC Radio 3 and National Public Radio to appearances on PBS / American Public Television and On Stage At Curtis (Philadelphia).

Fu has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C), Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (Massachusetts), and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra (Philadelphia). In addition to being a passionate chamber musician who frequently collaborates with a variety of musicians, Fu is a founding member of Trio Zimbalist, a new piano trio consisting of himself, Josef Špaček (violin) and Timotheos Gavriilidis-Petrin (cello). He is an enthusiastic performer of contemporary music, enjoying collaborations with composers such as Harrison Birtwistle, George Lewis, Tansy Davies, Phil Cashian, Matthew Aucoin, and Freya Waley-Cohen, as well as being a composer himself.

After receiving a bachelor's in economics from Harvard University, Fu studied under Jonathan Biss and Meng-Chieh Liu at the Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia), and then under Christopher Elton and Joanna MacGregor at the Royal Academy of Music (London). He receives career support from the Kirckman Concert Society, the City Music Foundation, and the Keyboard Charitable Trust.

Simon Karakulidi

Age 25*

Born in 1997 in Surgut, Siberia, pianist Simon Karakulidi has been living in the United States since 2016. An aspiring polymath with interests ranging from politics to philosophy, he received his master's degree at the Yale School of Music (Connecticut) under Wei-Yi Yang. Before then he studied with the Van Cliburn Gold Prize Winner Stanislav Ioudenitch in Parkville, Missouri. Karakulidi is enthusiastic about American classical music and is currently engaged in learning the complete piano works of David Lang and Nico Muhly.

Karakulidi has won several prizes at competitions in the United States including Second Prize at Virginia Waring International Piano Competition, First Prize at the Hellam International Concerto Competition in 2021, First Prize at the 2019 Wideman International Piano Competition, First Prize at the Ann & Charles Eisemann International Young Artists Competition, the Grand Prize of the Naftzger Competition, and in the summer of 2019, Karakulidi was a laureate in the International Keyboard Institute & Festival Competition in New York City.

Aleksandra Kasman

United States
Age 27*

Praised for her playing and commitment to rarely-heard repertoire, Aleksandra (Sasha) Kasman is in demand as a soloist and teacher with engagements around the world.

Kasman appears as a guest artist at the invitation of such festivals as International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York), pianoSonoma (California), Southeastern Piano Festival (South Carolina), Utah State University Piano Festival, Kyiv International Summer Music Academy, Busan International Music Academy (South Korea), and PianoCity Milano. She has given solo recitals at major concert venues including Steinway Hall (New York City), Yamaha Ginza Hall (Tokyo), Salle Cortot (Paris), and Teatro Carlo Felice (Genoa).

Kasman made her concerto debut at age thirteen with the Symphonic Orchestra of The National Philharmonic of Ukraine and the Alabama Symphony, and has since worked with numerous orchestras in the USA and abroad. She is an advocate and experienced performer of contemporary music, premiering works of Nathan Daughtrey, Zachary Detrick, and Eric Mobley.

A top prizewinner of numerous international competitions, she holds Artist-in-Residence positions at NPR's Performance Today, PianoArts of North America, and pianoSonoma.

Kasman is a Rackham doctoral candidate in the studio of Logan Skelton and Graduate Student Instructor at the SMTD of the University of Michigan. She holds an M.M. degree from The Juilliard School (New York), where she studied with Robert McDonald and served as a Teaching Fellow and Gluck Fellow.

Kasman began her musical studies with her parents, Yakov and Tatiana Kasman, acclaimed pianists and pedagogues. Kasman is a dedicated music teacher herself; in addition to maintaining a private studio, she has given masterclasses at Lee University and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and lectured at Bowling Green State University. Since 2015, she has enjoyed serving as a PianoArts Fellow giving yearly teaching and preforming tours to thousands of children in Milwaukee schools and the community.

Illia Ovcharenko

Age 21*

Currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv under the tutelage of Arie Vardie, Illia Ovcharenko has already performed with leading orchestras including the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, National Radio of Ukraine, and the Versailles Conservatory String Orchestra. He has also collaborated with prestigious conductors such as Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Arie Vardi, Ian Hobson, Mykola Diadyura, Kai Bumann, Benoit Girault, Volodymyr Sirenko, Nicolo Giuliani, and Vitaly Protasov.

Ovcharenko is a frequent participant at music festivals worldwide in countries including France, Ukraine, Israel, the United States, Germany, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. He has appeared at the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Festival (Israel), Aspen Music Festival (USA), Festival Auvers-sur-Oise and the Pontoise Piano Campus (France), and Bern Interlaken Classics (Switzerland), among others. The recipient of the Polonsky Fellowship (2019, 2021), he studied at the Aspen Music Festival (Colorado) with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Hung Kuan Chen.

His most recent achievements include Second Prize at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition in 2022, becoming a Laureate of the Busoni International Piano Competition (Italy) in 2021, winning the Michelangeli Prize at the Eppan International Piano Academy (Italy), as well as First Prize at the Horowitz International Piano Competition (Ukraine) in 2019.

Ovcharenko is a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship of Ukraine.

Philipp Scheucher

Age 29*

Whether in Vienna's Musikverein, Leipzig's Gewandhaus, Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie, or Berlin's Konzerthaus, Philipp Scheucher is at home on the most prestigious concert halls of Europe and beyond. WDR Broadcasting Cooperation wrote: "His absolute presence onstage and his clean, attentive sound of his interpretations set new quality standards," following his First Prize win at the International Music Prize in Cologne (Germany).

Born in Graz, Austria, Scheucher's extraordinary musical talent was noticed by Maria Zgubic at the University of Music and Performing Arts (Graz) at the age of ten, when his career as a pianist started to develop. Under the guidance of Markus Schirmer, he found his own personality and artistry on the piano and finished his Konzertexamen studies with Ilja Scheps in Cologne in 2021. Currently, Scheucher receives further encouragement from Mar­kus Becker, broadening his chamber music repertoire. In addition, he is a Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation Scholar for the Artist Diploma at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London, guided by Ian Jones and Dorian Leljak.

Scheucher's has concert engagements around the world having won numerous prizes at international competitions including his most recent success as the Second Prize win­ner at the International Beethoven Competition (Vienna). His exceptional programs cover the standard repertoire of today's classi­cal pianists with an affinity for performing works by living composers such as M.A. Hamelin, Lera Auerbach, Gerd Kühr, and Beat Furrer.

His solo debut album Quasi Fantasia was released in 2019, followed by his double album Concert apértif du Piano in 2020, and his Beethoven album by Naxos in 2022.

Scheucher's musical flexibility, technical abilities, and his interaction with an audience all add to his promise as a leading artist of his generation.


20 to 24 October 2022
Competition Semifinals

2:30 pm and 7:30 pm
Bella Concert Hall at TCPA
Ten Semifinalists perform a 65-minute solo recital including a newly commissioned 8-minute work by Canadian pianist-composer Stewart Goodyear and a 60-minute solo / collaborative recital with violinist Martin Beaver. Finalists are announced late on 24 October.

22 & 23 October 2022

10 am
Bella Concert Hall at TCPA
2022 Honens jurors and pianists Imogen Cooper (22 October) and Orli Shaham (23 October) instruct and inspire music students from across the country.

25 October 2022
Nicolas Namoradze
Rachmaninov Refracted

7:30 pm
Bella Concert Hall at TCPA
Multi-award winning pianist and recent winner of The UK Critics' Circle Young Pianist Award, Nicolas Namoradze performs this farewell recital as outgoing Honens Prize Laureate.

Nicolas Namoradze, piano

J.S. Bach: Contrapuncti VI & VII from The Art of Fugue BWV 1080
Bach, arr. Rachmaninov: Suite from Violin Partita No. 3 BWV 1006
Rachmaninov, arr. Namoradze: Adagio from Symphony No. 2, Op. 27
Rachmaninov, arr. Kocsis: Vocalise Op. 34 No. 14
Rachmaninov: Sonata No. 1 in D minor Op. 28

26 October 2022
Jeremy Denk in Recital

7:30 pm
Bella Concert Hall at TCPA
Famed blog writer and author Jeremy Denk joins the Honens lineup as Mentor-in-Residence, providing feedback to each Competitor after the completion of their time in the Competition. Winner of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, and the Avery Fisher Prize, The New York Times writes, "Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs."

Jeremy Denk, piano
Program TBC

27 October 2022
Competition Finals I

7:30 pm
Bella Concert Hall at TCPA
The three Finalists each perform a three-part performance consisting of a Mozart concerto with the Viano String Quartet, a set of Schubert lieder with mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó, and works for solo piano.

28 October 2022
Competition Finals II & Awards Ceremony

7:30 pm
Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons
The three Finalists each perform a concerto of their choice with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Jeffrey Kahane. The 2022 Honens Prize Laureate is awarded the top prize of $100,000 (CAD) and a comprehensive, three-year artistic and career development program.