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American Pianists Association Announces Update for 2021 American Pianists Awards

On June 27th, the winner of the American Pianists Awards will receive the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship, valued at more than $100,000.

American Pianists Association Announces Update for 2021 American Pianists Awards

The American Pianists Association has updated its 2021 classical award plans. The five finalists, Dominic Cheli, Kenny Broberg, Mackenzie Melemed, Michael Davidman and Sahun Sam Hong, have each recorded a private adjudicated recital with WFYI TV in Indianapolis. The recitals begin broadcasting May 23rd for five consecutive Sunday afternoons via multiple platforms including radio, Facebook and YouTube (full schedule below). The five pianists will return to Indianapolis for the finals in front of live audiences June 25-27.

Concerts throughout the weekend include chamber performances with the Dover Quartet and concerto performances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwarz. All finals weekend performances will be hosted by two-time Grammy award-winning vocalist Sylvia McNair and WQXR-FM radio host Terrance McKnight.

The 2021 competition will feature a new commission by Laura Kaminsky called "Alluvion," which will be performed by each of the finalists during their solo recitals. Previous commissions include works from Judith Zaimont, Lowell liebermann, Augusta Read Thomas, Earl Wild, Lisa Bielawa, Missy Mazzoli, Sarah Kirkland Snider and others.

The five finalists were announced in early March 2020 just before the world was turned upside down, and in June of 2020 in response to the dire situation that musicians were (and still are) living in, American Pianists Association awarded all five 2021 classical finalists a cash prize of $50,000.

On June 27th, the winner of the American Pianists Awards will receive the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship, valued at more than $100,000, which includes the previously awarded (in June 2020) $50,000 cash award as well as career assistance for two years, including publicity, performance engagements of concerti and solo recitals worldwide, an Artist-in-Residence post at the University of Indianapolis, and a recording contract with Steinway & Sons record label.

2021 participants were selected via blind audition from more than 40 nominations during the preliminary round, which was held from March 6 through March 8, 2020. American pianists ages 18-30 are eligible, by nomination only, to participate.

Broadcast Schedule:
Finals will be broadcast via WFYI-FM, American Pianists Association's website, Facebook and YouTube.

Sunday, May 23, 2021 Streaming of Mackenzie Melemed's solo recital 3:30 pm EDT
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 Radio Broadcast of Melemed's recital 8:00 pm EDT
Sunday, May 30, 2021 Streaming of Sam Hong's solo recital 3:30 pm EDT
Tuesday, June 1, 2021 Radio Broadcast Sam Hong's recital 8:00 pm EDT
Sunday, June 6, 2021 Streaming of Dominic Cheli's solo recital 3:30 pm EDT
Tuesday, June 8, 2021 Radio Broadcast Dominic Cheli's recital 8:00 pm EDT
Sunday, June 13, 2021 Streaming of Michael Davidman's solo recital 3:30 pm EDT
Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Radio Broadcast Michael Davidman's recital 8:00 pm EDT
Sunday, June 20, 2021 Streaming of Kenny Broberg's solo recital 3:30 pm EDT
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 Radio Broadcast Kenny Broberg's solo recital 8:00 pm EDT


Friday, June 25, 2021 Chamber performance w/Dover Quartet 8:00 pm EDT
Location: Indiana History Center, Indianapolis (Stream & in person)
Saturday, June 26, 2021 Concerto performance w/ISO 8:00 pm EDT
Location: Hilbert Circle Theatre, Indianapolis (Stream & in person)
Sunday, June 27, 2021 Final concert and winner announcement 3:30 pm EDT
Location: Grand Hall at Indiana Landmarks (Stream & in person)
Concert will feature a short solo piece from each of the five finalists

Mackenzie Melemed - STREAMING MAY 23/RADIO MAY 25
Partita No. 1 in Ba?? Major, BWV 825 - J.S. Bach
Suite, Op. 14, Sz. 62, BB 70 - Béla Bartók
Alluvion (world premiere, APA commission) - Laura Kaminsky
Symphonic Etudes - Schumann

"Eroica Variations," Op 35 - Ludwig van Beethoven
Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1 - Frederic Chopin
Sonatine - Maurice Ravel
Alluvion (world premiere, APA commission) - Laura Kaminsky
Sonata No. 3 in Ba?? Major - Paul Hindemith

Piano Sonata No. 12 in F Major, K. 322 - W.A. Mozart
Alluvion (world premiere, APA commission) - Laura Kaminsky
Nos. 1 3, 4 & 5 from Goyescas - Enrique Granados
Mephisto Waltz No. 1 - Franz Liszt

French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816 - J.S. Bach
Alluvion (world premiere, APA commission) - Laura Kaminsky
Fantasy in B Minor Op. 28 - Alexander Scriabin
Piano Sonata No. 1 (1990) - Carl Vine
Don Juan Fantasy - Liszt/Mozart

Piano Sonata No. 31 in Aa??, Op. 110 - Ludwig van Beethoven
Barcarolle No 9 in A Major, Op. 101 - Gabriel Fauré
Alluvion (world premiere, APA commission) - Laura Kaminsky
Piano Sonata in A Minor, Op. 30 - Nikolai Medtner
Piano Sonata No. 5 in Fa?? Major, Op. 53 - Alexander Scriabin


with the Dover Quartet

Dominic Cheli
Movements 3 and 4 from Piano Quintet in Ea?? Major, Op. 44 - Robert Schumann

Mackenzie Melemed
Movements 3 and 4 from Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 34 - Juliusz Zarębski

Sahun Sam Hong
Movements 1 and 3 from Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 81, B. 155 - Antonín Dvořák

Michael Davidman
First movement from Piano Quintet in F Minor - César Franck

Kenny Broberg
First movement from Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34 - Johannes Brahms

with Gerard Schwarz and the Indianapolis Symphony

Mackenzie Melemed
First movement from Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 36 - Ludwig van Beethoven

Dominic Cheli
First movement from Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 - Ludwig van Beethoven

Kenny Broberg
Variations symphoniques, M. 46 - César Franck

Sam Hong
First movement from Piano Concerto No. 5 in Ea?? Major, Op. 73, "Emperor" - Ludwig van Beethoven

Michael Davidman
Piano Concerto No. 1 in Ea?? Major, S. 124 - Franz Liszt

2021 Finalists:

Dominic Cheli (26) won first prize at the Concert Artists Guild Competition and was named winner at Music Academy of the West Concerto Competition in 2017. Dominic has performed with symphonies including San Diego, Columbus, Princeton, and Virginia as well as Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie. Most recently, Dominic had his Carnegie Hall recital debut, and Naxos released his second album featuring the music of Liszt and Schubert. He debuted at several festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Virginia Arts Festival. Dominic has performed as an artist for Project: Music Heals Us, a non-profit organization that presents interactive classical music performances to diverse audiences in order to provide encouragement, education, and healing with a focus on elderly, disabled, rehabilitating, incarcerated, and homeless populations. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, a Master of Music degree from Yale University and an Artist Diploma from Colburn School. His past teachers include Zena Ilyashov, Peter Frankl, André-Michel Schub, Sylvia Rosenberg and Fabio Bidini.

Kenny Broberg (26) is a Minneapolis native who won the silver medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the 2019 bronze medal winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, as well as winning prizes at the Hastings, Sydney, Seattle, and New Orleans International Piano Competitions. Kenny has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestras, among others. Recent and upcoming highlights include his debut with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, residencies at the Montreal Symphony's Festival Virée Classique, Rye Arts, Methow Chamber, Strings, and Sunriver Music Festivals, recitals in Houston, Denver, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis, and in tours of Japan, Australia and Italy. He has been featured on NPR, WQXR, APM's Performance Today, MPR and ABC (Australia) radio. His solo debut album was released in August 2017 on the Decca Gold label. Kenny studied for nine years with Dr. Joseph Zins before entering the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree with Nancy Weems in 2016. He currently resides in Parkville, Missouri, under the guidance of 2001 Cliburn Gold Medalist Stanislav Loudenitch at Park University.

Mackenzie Melemed's (25) international career continues to flourish on the heels of winning the Juilliard School's 2019 Leo B. Ruiz Carnegie Hall Recital Prize, the 2018 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Prize, the 2018 Paris Recital Prize from Poland's Prix de Tarnów Competition, and Third Prize in the first China International Music Competition. Mackenzie has performed throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe. He has recently joined the roster of Young Artists at the Centre for Musical Excellence. Mackenzie's highlights include his debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall as winner of the Ruiz Memorial Prize, solo recitals at Paris' Salle Cortôt, Finland's Arctic PianoFest, and Tuckerman Hall in Worcester, MA. In October 2019, Warner Classics released "Möbius," featuring his performance of Jeajoon Ryu's Piano Concerto with conductor Ralf Gothóni and Sinfonia Varsovia. In 2018, Mackenzie's recording of Avner Dorman's Three Etudes was released on the Steinway and Sons label. Mackenzie holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from The Juilliard School and is currently in the school's Artist Diploma program with Robert McDonald and Emanuel Ax. He is fluent in French and Finnish.

Michael Davidman (22) placed first in the Pre-College Concerto Competition in all three age categories (10, 12 and 16) as a pre-college studio at Manhattan School of Music. At 13, he was chosen by Lang Lang's management to perform in the 2010 Lang Lang masterclass at Manhattan School of Music. In 2018, Michael won first prize at the New York International Piano Competition (chamber ensemble). As soloist, he has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Monterey Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Concerti Sinfonietta, the NY Chamber Orchestra and more. He has given recitals at the Burgos International Music Festival, Teatro Alfieri, and in St. Petersburg, Russia with the International Academy of Music, among others. Michael has also performed on WHYY "Curtis On Stage", WQXR McGraw Hill Young Artist Showcase, WSKG-FM Expressions Series, and NPR's "From the Top." Michael studied piano with Efrem Briskin at the Manhattan School of Music and completed his Bachelor of Music degree under the guidance of Robert McDonald at the Curtis Institute of Music. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School with Jerome Lowenthal and Stephen Hough.

Sahun Sam Hong (25) was the winner of the 2017 Vendome Prize at Verbier, and received second prize at the 2017 International Beethoven Competition in Vienna as well as a finalist in the 2018 International German Piano Award and 2017 American Pianists Awards. On the roster of Young Steinway Artists since 2010, Sam has been featured as a guest soloist with the ORF-Vienna, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Camerata New York and Waco Symphony Orchestras. A prolific arranger of chamber music and orchestral works, Sam's arrangements have been performed all over the world. He organizes annual tours of these arrangements through his own agency, Subito Arts. As a chamber musician and collaborator, Sam has appeared in festivals such as Ravinia's Steans Music Institute, Chamber Music Encounters at Lincoln Center, and the Taos School of Music. His recent collaborations include performances with Itzhak Perlman, Colin Carr, Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, Daniel Phillips and Steven Tenenbom. At the age of 16, Sam graduated magna cum laude from Texas Christian University (TCU) with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance, having studied with John Owings. He also studied for six years with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Currently, Hong serves on the music faculty of Merrimack College in Andover, Massachusetts.

Jury Members:
Preliminary Round
Sean Chen, 2013 American Pianists Awards winner and Artist-in-Residence, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Marina Lomazov, Eastman School of Music and Southeastern Piano Festival
John Salmon, 1983 American Pianists Awards winner and Professor at UNC-Greensboro
Pierre Van Der Westhuizen, Director, Gilmore Keyboard Festival
Jack Winerock, Professor at University of Kansas

Norman Krieger, pianist and Professor, Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University
Katie McGinnis, Director of Artistic Planning at Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Jane Coop, pianist, University of British Columbia emerita
Ran Dank, pianist , Cincinnati College-Conservatory
Ursula Oppens, pianist

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