In the 38 years since the late Knoxville pianist and teacher, Evelyn Miller, created her Young Pianist Series in 1980, much has changed in the international classical music world. Knoxville’s own classical music scene has grown impressively and evolved both organically and by force of demand. Worldwide, evolving concepts of marketing to a changing audience are certainly responsible for much of this transformation, raising the bar of competition. Marketing has also changed the ways and means available to musicians looking to break into the ranks of international solo performance. While the idea of “youth” has not changed, our expectations in youthful performers most assuredly has.
Weathering that evolving classical music world, the Evelyn Miller Young Pianist Series continues to maintain its two-prong mission: provide young pianists on the verge of international careers with recital opportunities and give Knoxville audiences the opportunities to hear breakout artists in recital.
The 38th season of YPS’s three recitals begins this Sunday, January 21, with pianist Shijun Wang. Beginning his piano training at the age of four in Shenyang, China, Wang was later accepted into the Music High School of the Shenyang Conservatory of Music and studied with Professor Dong-Dun Zhang. His piano mentors have included Thomas Schumacher, Dan-Wen Wei, Alfred Brendel, Emanuel Ax, and Richard Goode.
Wang is today on the piano faculty at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Among his national and international awards are the Excellence Award in the 65th Steinway Children and Young pianist Competition 2002. He subsequently won the Excellence award of the 8th Germany Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists in 2002. The same year he won the Bronze medal at the Hong Kong Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. In 2008, he won the fifth prize in the Hamamatsu Piano Academy, followed in 2010 by first prize and the audience prize in Crescendo Piano Competition.
Wang’s YPS recital will feature works by Chopin, Brahms, and Johann Strauss, including Brahms Six Pieces for Piano, Op.118.
The Young Pianist Series continues on February 18, 2018, with Peng Cao, and on March 18 with Igor Lipinski.