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Piano on Dim Stage

Past Editions

Franz Liszt International Piano Festival and Competition 

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2021 Virtual Edition of the Franz Liszt International Piano Festival and Competition

1st    prize

2nd  prize ($1500)
3rd   prize ($750)
& Best Interpretation of a Liszt Composition ($500)   

Best Interpretation of the Winning Ohio Call Composition, Dolores White “Sound Echoes”
1st    Place  ($500)
2nd  Place  ($250) 
3rd   Place  ($125)
Soyeon Lee, Laureate - free membership to ALS for the calendar year 2022
Miji Kim, Laureate - free membership to ALS for the calendar year 2022


Many thanks to the esteemed Jury,

American Liszt Society,

Ohio Arts Council,

Johnstone Fund for New Music,

and Alink-Argerich Foundation

no first prize

Ji-Hyang Gwak

Peng Cheng He

Sonny Yoo, Laureate

Peng Cheng He

Sunghwan Kim, Laureate 

2021 Winners

Ji-Hyang Gwak (2nd prize winner)



A prizewinner of numerous competitions, pianist Ji-Hyang Gwak has garnered international praise for her versatility, energy, and technical mastery. As a performing solo artist, chamber musician, and pedagogue, she made appearances across the United States, in Czech, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Korea.

Gwak is the top prize winner of the Sicily International Piano Competition, Seattle International Piano Competition, High Point University Piano Competition, and the Michigan MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition. Her most recent achievement was in the 2021 Lyon International Music Competition in France, where she won third prize and received concert engagement from the Association Frédéric Chopin à Lyon. She also received awards in numerous competitions, such as the 39th Joongang Music Concours, and Korea-Germany Brahms Associations Concours, and was a semi-finalist at the Concours musical international de Montréal, Seoul International Piano Competition, the Olga Kern International Piano Competition, and the Ricard Viñes International Piano Competition. She was selected to participate in summer festivals, including the CCM Prague Festival in Czech, the Sicily Piano Festival in Italy, UFIPF (University of Florida International Piano Festival) in Gainesville, and PianoTexas in Fort Worth.

She has performed in concerts and recitals at various venues: Yamaha Salon in New York, Salle Molière in France, Palffy Palace in Prague, PepsiCo Recital Hall in Fort Worth, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Chiostro di Campitelli al Teatro di Marcello, Sala Sciabica, Palazzo Spadaro, and Museo Diocesano in Italy, Mozart Hall, Sejong Chamber Hall, and Jungam Art Hall in Korea, Hill Auditorium, Kerrytown Concert House, The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in Michigan, Coastal Carolina University, University of Florida, University of Indianapolis, Concordia College in Minnesota, and Ohio State University, among many others. Gwak made her orchestral debut at 15 with the Bucheon Chamber Orchestra at Jancheon Art Hall in Seoul. In 2014, she was the winner of the Eastman School of Music Concerto Competition, allowing her to perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Eastman Philharmonia under the baton of Maestro Neil Varon in the historical concert venue, 2400 seats Kodak Hall, Rochester. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at Hill Auditorium and the Dexter Community Orchestra at Dexter Center for the Performing Arts.  Gwak has performed in masterclasses and had lessons with world-renowned artists, including Philippe Bianconi, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Vadim Monastyrski, Yoshikazu Nagai, Elisabeth Pridonoff, Gustavo Romero, Jacques Rouvier, Peter Serkin, Daniel Shapiro, Sasha Starcevich, and Asaf Zohar.

Gwak holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance, summa cum laude, from Seoul National University and a Master of Music in piano performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. Her teacher includes Kyungrok Park, Jinson Kim, Prof. Hie-Yon Choi, and Prof. Natalya Antonova. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance in 2022 at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Prof. Christopher Harding, with the Earl V. Moore Award, the School of Music · Theatre & Dance department's top graduation honor.


Peng Cheng He (3rd prize winner)











He has been hailed by Vladimir Krainev as an "extremely talented young pianist with unbelievable technique." During the Ravinia Music Festival, Menahem Pressler remarked, after hearing his Op. 106 and Archduke Trio, that "…not only the Hammerklavier, but everything he touched was beautiful."
Peng Cheng He has appeared as both a soloist and chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States. He was the first prize winner of the 9th Taipei International Chopin Competition and a participant in the 16th edition of the Warsaw Chopin International Competition, where he advanced to the second round. He also won the first prize at the American Protege. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music with Marc Silverman and Solomon Mikosvsky with a full scholarship and was awarded the Helen-Cohn Award from the Manhattan School of Music for his outstanding work in chamber music. In 2015, He was admitted by Leon Fleisher with a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. In 2016, He was invited to play at the Ravinia Music Festival and performed a solo concert at the Chicago Cultural Center, which was broadcast by WFMT in Chicago. In 2017, he played the complete Beethoven 32 Piano Sonatas in a marathon recital at Peabody Institute as one of five students of Leon Fleisher. Currently, PengCheng is pursuing his DMA degree at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he is a full scholarship awardee. He is under the guidance of James Tocco and Dror Biran. He will play all Beethoven 32 sonatas at CCM during the 2021-2022 season.

Peng Cheng He.jpeg

2017 Winners

Joseph Kingma (1st prize winner)



Award-winning pianist Joseph Kingma is known for his poetic approach and encompassing technique, as the New York Concert Review writes that he: “coaxed the listener into the music’s poetry from the very first notes…though his technique emerged through the program as one which is capable of anything, it was always used in the service of the music itself.”

This past season included re-engagements with the Chamber Orchestra of Sarasota and the Manassas Symphony, performing Bach’s Piano Concerto in F minor and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, respectively. Additionally, he has been invited as a guest artist for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Piano Series International, Florida International University, Samford University, Carson-Newman University, and the Epiphany Tuesday Concert Series. He also performed Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasy at the 2023 American Liszt Society Festival, celebrating the Schubert-Liszt connection. The Mississippi Music Teachers Association invited Joseph to be the 2023 guest artist for its state conference held at Mississippi State University.

Joseph has won several awards in international competitions, including first prize in the American Liszt Society’s first Franz Liszt International Piano Competition and third prize in the 2022 American Prize Competition for his performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 73 with the Chamber Orchestra of Sarasota.

A frequent concerto soloist, he has been engaged with the Rapides Symphony, Monroe Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, Palm Beach Atlantic Symphony, Spring Hill Orchestra, and Brazos Chamber Orchestra. His solo engagements include Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, New York’s Yamaha Artist Services Performance Series, the Dorothy MacKenzie Price Piano Series, the Music Institute of Chicago, the Timucua Arts Foundation, L’Oasis Musicale, and many others.

Several of his performances have been featured on Chicago’s classical music radio station, 98.7 WFMT. He has earned repeat performances with the Palm Beach Chamber Music and Sonus International Music Festivals.

Joseph earned his DMA from the University of Texas at Austin with Anton Nel and his MM and BM from Rice University with Robert Roux. His younger years were significantly influenced by his studies with Elena Arseniev, Philip Pletcher, and Aviram Reichert. 

Joseph taught at Louisiana College from 2016-2018 and held the position of Keyboard Division Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Piano at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL, from 2018-2023. He runs an independent in-person and online teaching studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his students consistently excel in festivals and competitions. 


Updated June, 2023


Chen-Shen Fan (2nd prize winner)











Concert pianist Chen-Shen Fan regularly performs for audiences throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His performances have been broadcasted on WQXR in New York, WFMT in Chicago, and Philharmonic Radio in Taipei. Mr. Fan is a classical piano fellow of the Luminarts Cultural Foundation. Most recently, Mr. Fan was named the Best Liszt Interpretation Award and Second Prize Winner of the American Liszt Society’s 2017 International Franz Liszt Festival and Piano Competition.

Born in Taiwan, Chen-Shen Fan studied with Solomon Mikowsky and Alexandre Moutouzkine at the Manhattan School of Music and Angela Hewitt at the Trasimeno Masterclass Series. He has received masterclasses and lessons from Stephen Hough, Awadagin Pratt, Matti Raekallio, Douglas Humpherys, Alexander Korsantia, Ilana Vered, Sergei Babayan, and Robert McDonald. At Northwestern, he is the assistant to James Giles, where he graduated with honors. Mr. Fan is currently an Artist Diploma candidate at the Brooklyn College, City University of New York, under the tutelage of phenomenal pianist Ursula Oppens.

Winner of the Thaviu-Isaak Piano Scholarship Competition, Evanston and North Shore Music Clubs Scholarship, and the American Association for Development of Gifted and Talented Piano Competition. He is also a laureate of the International Young Artists Piano Competition in Singapore, the Pauline Lindsey Award, the MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition, and the Marian Garcia International Piano Competition. These prizes have led him to perform at some of the most exciting venues, like Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and New York Steinway Hall.

Of special interest to Mr. Fan is the music of our time. He has co-founded the Two Islands Duo with Gulli Björnsson, an Icelandic Fulbright composer and guitarist. Their mission is to premiere new guitar and piano repertoires. Two Islands Duo’s debut album, “Angelo Gilardino, Salute from New York”, was released in 2014 on the Berben label. The album is now available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. The reviews are featured on Italian music magazine Seicorde and the classical journal FineMusic of Sydney. During his residency at Northwestern, Mr. Fan had the privilege of working closely with world-renowned composers such as David Lang, Steven Reich, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as the leading new music initiatives Claire Chase, founder of International Contemporary Ensemble and Alan Pierson, the artistic director of Alarm Will Sound.


Chen-Shen Fan is the piano program coordinator of the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival.

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