Taige Wang


United States  I  13

“I hope you can feel and be touched by what I intend to deliver from my music: the joy and misery, the hope and helplessness, the hatred and redemption—that you would say you were so moved, that you could not find words to describe.”

Taige Wang began piano at the age of 4 and gave his first public performance that year. The next year, he performed live on China Central Television and won his first competition; then, in 2018, at the age of 8, he gave his first full recital by the invitation of Steinway & Sons in Dalian, China, where he was born. He now has 35 competition wins to his name across Asia, Europe, and North America, and performance highlights include 2022 appearances at Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium, the Nixon Presidential Library, and Ognisko Polskie – the Polish Hearth in South Kensington, London, in the presence of HRH The Duke of Kent. Taige is also a prize-winning composer, with a passion for making audiences “easily empathize” with his music, often by drawing inspiration from everyday life. His Toothbrush Rhapsody Trio “describes everyone’s morning scene—brushing teeth. When people see the title, they become curious to know what this music is and are interested to listen to it.” This year, he was commissioned by the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center to write a piano trio; he’ll perform its debut at Alice Tully Hall in April. He currently attends The Juilliard School Pre-College and studies with Yoheved Kaplinsky and William Grant Naboré and is a From the Top fellow. Outside of piano, he loves solving Rubik’s Cubes and once founded a cubing club at his school; he plays violin and likes Italian Opera; and he used to compete in tennis, earning an award from the United States Tennis Association junior league. Taige received the prestigious Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2022.


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Tiankun Ma


China  I  16

“The beauty of music is closer to the emotion itself than other artistic beauty. It comes from emotion, expresses emotion, and arouses emotion. I want to express my yearning for and pursuit of beautiful things through my performance.”

Tiankun Ma made his recital debut at the Henan Art Center in Zhengzhou in October 2016, at the age of 9. The following Fall, he began attending the Middle School Affiliated to China Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where he has now studied with Yameng Huang for almost six years. He calls himself outgoing, conscientious, and in possession of strong self-control; he’s looking forward to the high-level competition at the Cliburn Junior and the learning opportunities that it will bring. Of classical music’s role in society, Tiankun believes that “the development and popularization of classical music is a symbol of the civilization of a nation and a city.” In addition to reading and sports, his musical curiosity leads him to explore operatic, symphonic, and chamber works in his spare time.


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Tanya Karyagina

Tanya Karyagina

Praised for her “brilliant fluency, outstanding tone quality,” (La Libre Belgique) and “elegant alternation of tragedy and optimism” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), American pianist Tanya Karyagina made her concerto debut at only 9 years old with the Kazakh Chamber Orchestra. Closer to home, she has also appeared as a soloist with the Fort Worth Chamber and TCU Symphony Orchestras, among others. She has won top prizes in nearly 30 national and international piano competitions.

As an avid chamber musician and entrepreneur, Dr. Karyagina is the founder and pianist for the ALORTA Trio together with violinist Ordabek Duissen and cellist Alan Steele. She is also the founder and director of Southwestern Piano Ensemble, a student ensemble that performs repertoire written and arranged for multiple pianos.

Dr. Karyagina’s passion for training and equipping the next generation of pianists and musicians has led her to establish the Tanya Karyagina Piano School – a school which provides world-class training for the next generation of piano students. She has served on music faculty in many higher education institutions: Vanguard University, Tarrant County College, Dallas Baptist University, Texas Christian University, USC’s Thornton School of Music, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Texas Baptist College.

Apart from her teaching and piano performance career, Dr. Karyagina plays harpsichord professionally and is also an aspiring violinist. She likes spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, hiking, walking, jogging, swimming, cooking, reading, traveling, and experiencing new cultures.

Tianxu An

Tianxu An

China  |  Age 23

Tianxu An, from Baoding, near Beijing, is a sought-after young artist, both at home in China and around the world. In June 2019, Tianxu drew international attention when he won fourth prize and a special prize for “courage and restraint” in the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition—the highest award for a Chinese pianist at that contest in 17 years. A month later, he made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center.

Recent concert highlights include performances with the Mariinsky, China Philharmonic, NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Arts), and Macau Orchestras, as well as a 2021 major recital tour across China. He recorded his first CD in August 2021, a recital album for Alpha Classics featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev. He previously won top awards at the Greenfield Student, “Helen Cup” Shanghai International Piano, and Wiesbaden International Piano Competitions.

Born into a non-musical family, Tianxu began his piano studies because his parents believed it a good way to develop intelligence. His love for and commitment to music grew throughout his time at the Middle School affiliated with the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where he studied with Hua Chang. He moved to Philadelphia in 2015 to attend the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of Meng-Chieh Liu and Robert McDonald, and also studies privately with Dang Thai Son. His career pursuit is largely driven by the fact that “music is a powerful language which establishes a deeply emotional bond among people.”


Preliminary Round

MENDELSSOHN Variations sérieuses, op. 54
HOUGH Fanfare Toccata
LISZT Mephisto Waltz No. 1

Quarterfinal Round

SCHUMANN Toccata in C Major, op. 7
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, op. 110
SCRIABIN Sonata No. 5, op. 53

Semifinal Round – Recital

BRAHMS Sonata No. 1 in C Major, op. 1
PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 6 in A Major, op. 82

Semifinal Round – Mozart concerto

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467

Final Round – Concerto I

SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, op. 22

Final Round – Concerto II

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, op. 30



Tony Yike Yang


SCRIABIN Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp Minor, op. 19
LISZT Sonata in B Minor


Now 21, Tony was the youngest competitor at the 2017 Cliburn, and the youngest-ever laureate of the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition at age 16. Declared “an absolute revelation… [who] combines the characteristics of a true virtuoso and an artist,” he balances performances throughout Europe, Asia, and North America with his studies as a dual-degree major in economics and piano performance at Harvard University and the New England Conservatory, where he studies with Alexander Korsantia. Of note, he has performed for Her Royal Highness Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper; and Polish President Andrzej Duda. His lauded debut album featuring works by Chopin was released in 2016 on the Fryderyk Chopin Institute’s Blue Series. He has served on the jury of the 2019 Hong Kong International Music Festival and the 2020 Steinway Canada Young Artists Piano Competition (virtual edition), and is currently music advisor to the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Sun Yat-Sen University in Shenzhen and Guangzhou respectively.

Thomas Yu




Thomas Yu is one of the most recognized amateur pianists in the world, maintaining a performance schedule across five continents while also running a private periodontal practice, teaching at the Foothills Medical Hospital, and giving lectures across Canada. His passion for music was influenced by two private teachers and mentors: he grew up studying with Bonnie Nicholson in Saskatoon, and later with Marc Durand, when he moved to Toronto for post-graduate periodontal training. Even as he pursued another professional path, he remained dedicated to music, entering the amateur world by sweeping the Paris International Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in 2006. He capped off a run of the major international amateur competitions over the next decade with his Cliburn Amateur appearance in 2016, bringing home the first, press, and audience prizes. He’s taking advantage of his time at home in Calgary, taking turns with his wife running after two toddlers and recording rock covers for his popular YouTube channel.

Tomoki Sakata




Following his finalist finish at the 2013 Cliburn at only 19, Tomoki garnered the top prizes at the 2016 Franz Liszt International Piano Competition (Budapest) and the 2019 Kissinger Klavierolymp (Bad-Kissingen), and has made recital and chamber appearances across Europe, Asia, the United States, and Africa. Active as a composer since the age of 6, he has continued to cultivate this craft, having recently been commissioned for new works to be performed in Japan’s most prestigious venues. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover, and is currently at home in Japan.




Thierry Goldwaser never gave up on music. After studying piano for seven years, he took a break while completing his engineering degree—but during that time, he played the electric guitar in a rhythm and blues band. He returned to the piano soon after graduation, becoming an active amateur performer while working as a software designer. He won the Concours des Grands Amateurs de Piano in Paris in 2005, which afforded him fulfillment of a childhood dream: playing Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with an orchestra. Since that time, he’s made the finals at amateur competitions in Berlin and Warsaw; has performed in France, China, and South Africa; and has been active in Les Amateurs Virtuoses since 2008, now also serving as its webmaster. Thierry is also a father of four who enjoys cooking, swimming, and cycling.



Preliminary Round

RACHMANINOV Prelude in G-sharp Minor, op. 32, no. 12
RACHMANINOV Prelude in D Major, op. 23, no. 4
RACHMANINOV Étude-tableau in E-flat Minor, op. 39, no. 5

Semifinal Round 

GERSHWIN Three Preludes
BRAHMS Intermezzo in A Major, op. 118, no. 2
CHOPIN Fantaisie in F Minor, op. 49

Final Round 

SAINT-SAËNS Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, op. 22 (III)

Anton Nel

Anton Nel – South Africa/United States

Anton Nel, winner of the first prize in the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall, continues to enjoy a remarkable and multifaceted career that has taken him to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. Following an auspicious debut at the age of 12 with Beethoven’s C-Major Concerto after only two years of study, the Johannesburg native captured first prizes in all the major South African competitions while still in his teens, toured his native country extensively, and became a well-known radio and television personality. A student of Adolph Hallis, he made his European debut in France in 1982, and in the same year graduated with highest distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He came to the United States in 1983, attending the University of Cincinnati, where he pursued his Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees under Bela Siki and Frank Weinstock. In addition to garnering many awards from his alma mater during this three-year period, he was a prizewinner at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition in England and won several first prizes at the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition in Palm Desert in 1986.

Highlights of Anton’s four decades of concertizing include performances with The Cleveland Orchestra, and the symphonies of Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, and London, among many others. (He has an active repertoire of more than 100 works for piano and orchestra.) An acclaimed Beethoven interpreter, he has performed the concerto cycle several times, most notably on two consecutive evenings with the Cape Philharmonic in 2005. Additionally he has performed all-Beethoven solo recitals, complete cycles of the violin and cello works, and most recently a highly successful run of the Diabelli Variations as part of Moises Kaufman’s play 33 Variations. He was also chosen to give the North American premiere of the newly discovered Piano Concerto No. 3 in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn in 1992. Two noteworthy world premieres of works by living composers include Virtuoso Alice by David Del Tredici (dedicated to and performed by Mr. Nel at his Lincoln Center debut in 1988) as well as Stephen Paulus’s Piano Concerto, also written for Mr. Nel; the acclaimed world premiere took place in New York in 2003.

As recitalist he has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection in New York, at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, Davies Hall in San Francisco, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Internationally he has performed recitals in major concert halls in Canada, England (Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls in London), France, Holland (Concertgebouw in Amsterdam), Japan (Suntory Hall in Tokyo), Korea, China, and South Africa.

A favorite at summer festivals, he has appeared at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as at the music festivals of Aspen and Ravinia (where he is on the artist-faculties), Vancouver, Cartagena, and Stellenbosch, among many others. Possessing an encyclopedic chamber music and vocal repertoire, he has, over the years, regularly collaborated with many of the world’s foremost string quartets, instrumental soloists, and singers. With acclaimed violinist Sarah Chang, he completed a highly successful tour of Japan and appeared at a special benefit concert for Live Music Now in London, hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales.

Eager to pursue dual careers in teaching and performing, he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in his early 20s, followed by professorships at the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Michigan, where he was chairman of the piano department. In September 2000, he was appointed as the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents  Professor of Piano and Chamber Music at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches an international class of students and heads the Division of Keyboard Studies. Since his return he has also been the recipient of two Austin-American Statesman Critics Circle Awards, as well as the University Cooperative Society/College of Fine Arts award for extra-curricular achievement.  In 2001, he was appointed Visiting “Extraordinary” Professor at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, and continues to teach masterclasses worldwide. In January 2010, he became the first holder of the new Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Chair in Piano at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2015, he has been presenting an annual series of masterclasses in piano and chamber music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York as visiting professor, and also teaches regularly at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.

Anton is also an acclaimed harpsichordist and fortepianist. In recent seasons he has performed annual recitals on both instruments, concertos by the Bach family, Haydn, and Mozart with La Follia Austin Baroque, and the Poulenc Harpsichord Concerto (Concert Champêtre) with the Austin Symphony.

His recordings include four solo CDs,  several chamber music recordings (including the complete Beethoven piano and cello sonatas and variations, and the Brahms sonatas with Bion Tsang), and works for piano and orchestra by Franck, Faure, and Saint-Saens. His latest release features premiere recordings of all the works for piano and orchestra of Edward Burlingame Hill with the Austin Symphony conducted by Peter Bay.

Anton Nel became a citizen of the United States of America on September 11, 2003, and is a Steinway Artist.



Twyla Robinson, soprano

Twyla Robinson’s incisive musicianship, ravishing vocal beauty, and dramatic delivery have taken her to the leading concert halls and opera stages of Europe and North America. She has been heard in performance with the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Staatskapelle, The Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. She has worked with conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez, Franz Welser-Möst, Donald Runnicles, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Hans Graf, and Michael Tilson Thomas

In the current season, Ms. Robinson performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” in a return to the Portland Symphony in Maine and with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. In Palermo, she performs Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony with the Teatro Massimo. She recently performed Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Sieglinde in Act I of Die Walküre with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, and Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Tony Yike Yang

Tony Yike Yang

Canada | Age 18

Tony Yike Yang is enrolled at Harvard University and the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studies with Wha Kyung Byun. He previously studied in the Pre-College Division at The Juilliard School and at the Taylor Academy of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. Mr. Yang won fifth prize at the 2015 International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition as well as the Ewa & Włodzimierz Kamirski Award for the Youngest Finalist, and earned a Jury Discretionary Award at the First Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition in 2015. He also has won top prizes at Thomas & Evon Cooper, Hilton Head, Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Junior, and Gina Bachauer International Junior piano competitions. He has appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, Montreal’s Orchestre Metropolitain, and Toronto Sinfonietta. When he’s not playing piano, Mr. Yang loves badminton, ping-pong, video games, swimming, movies, and spicy food.



Preliminary Recital
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 30 in E Major, op. 109
HAMELIN Toccata on “L’homme armé”
PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, op. 83

Quarterfinal Recital
SCRIABIN Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp Minor, op. 19
LISZT Sonata in B Minor

Semifinal Recital

SCARLATTI Sonata in A Major, K. 212
SCARLATTI Sonata in D Minor, K. 9
CHOPIN Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, op. 35
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition

Semifinal Concerto
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466

Final Round Piano Quintet
SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, op. 44

Final Round Concerto
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, op. 16


Tristan Teo

Tristan Teo

Canada | Age 20

Tristan Teo was born in Vancouver, where he started piano lessons at age 6. He graduated from high school with honors at 15 and is now enrolled in the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program at The Juilliard School, studying with Jerome Lowenthal. He is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at Juilliard, where he is also a Secondary Piano Teaching Fellow, teaching instrumentalists at all degree levels. Since his orchestral debut at age 10, Mr. Teo has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has won awards at several international piano competitions, including second place at the 2016 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, and prizes at the Virginia Waring, ePiano International, Bösendorfer and Schimmel USASU, Cooper, and PianoArts competitions. Mr. Teo has given recitals in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in venues such as Salle Cortot in Paris and the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and watching movies.



Preliminary Recital
HAMELIN Toccata on “L’homme armé”
BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, op. 110
LISZT Totentanz for Solo Piano

Quarterfinal Recital
BACH Toccata in D Minor, BWV 913
RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit
KAPUSTIN Variations, op. 41

Semifinal Recital

BACH-BUSONI Chaconne in D Minor, BWV 1004
RZEWSKI Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues 
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Handel, op. 24

Semifinal Concerto
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466

Final Round Piano Quintet
BRAHMS Piano Quintet in F Minor, op. 34

Final Round Concerto
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, op. 30

Thomas Yu

Thomas Yu, D.M.D., 38
Calgary, Alberta

It is Thomas Yu’s belief that one can balance both a career and one’s passions. To that end, the periodontist from Calgary, Alberta, has maintained a private dental practice for seven years while successfully competing at amateur contests around the world. Dr. Yu has taken top honors at the Paris International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs (2006), Chetham’s International Amateur Piano Competition in Manchester, United Kingdom (2012), Honens Pro Am Competition in Calgary (2014), and Canada’s CBC Piano Hero contest (2015). Dr. Yu hopes to grow public awareness about amateur piano pursuits through his continued participation in contests. Dr. Yu’s greatest joy, however, is spending time with his wife. Having recently lost his mother to cancer, he is dedicating every note of his performance here to her.


Preliminary Round
McINTYRE   Butterflies and Bobcats 

Quarterfinal Round
DEBUSSY   “Reflets dans l’eau” from Images, Book I
CHOPIN   Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp Minor, op. 39

Semifinal Round
DURAND   Prelude No. 1
BEETHOVEN   Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, op. 111  

Final Round
SAINT-SAËNS   Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, op. 103 (“Egyptian”): III. Molto allegro

Thomas Maurice

Thomas Maurice, 56
Senior program manager
Baltimore, Maryland

Returning to this competition for the third time, Thomas Maurice is currently semi-retired from his career as a senior program manager at General Dynamics Information Technology. Mr. Maurice earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance at Towson University and the University of Maryland, College Park, respectively, and worked as a network engineer for years while also attaining honors at amateur competitions like the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition (2004) and the Vienna International Amateur Piano Competition (2008). In 2007 and 2011, he was a Cliburn Amateur semifinalist. Mr. Maurice says he was thrilled to learn the 2016 Cliburn Amateur features a concerto round, “as there are so few opportunities for amateur pianists to perform with an orchestra.” An active feral cat rescuer, Mr. Maurice also dabbles in home renovation and piano tuning, and is involved in his community association.


Preliminary Round
TCHAIKOVSKY-PLETNEV   “Andante maestoso (Pas de deux)” from Concert Suite from The Nutcracker
SCHUMANN   Toccata in C Major, op. 7

Quarterfinal Round
BACH   Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, WTC II, BWV 885
CHOPIN   Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, op. 52

Semifinal Round
BEETHOVEN   32 Variations in C Minor, WoO 80
BRAHMS   Intermezzo in E Major, op. 116, no. 4
LISZT   Mephisto Waltz No. 1

Final Round
SCHUMANN   Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 54: III. Allegro vivace

Tessa Knipe

Tessa Knipe, 53
San Diego, California
South Africa/United States

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Tessa Knipe achieved much pianistic success from ages 8 to 18. Highlights included appearing on the “Young South Africa” show at age 9; performing the first movement of the Kabalevsky Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at 11; and receiving a four-year undergraduate scholarship at age 17 to the Royal College of Music in London—one of just eight offered per year. Instead of furthering her musical pursuits, Ms. Knipe turned the scholarship down to forge a career in law. Now a deputy attorney general for the department of justice in California, she has returned to music after 35 years away, realizing “how central the piano is to my life.” A mother of two grown daughters, Ms. Knipe is a lover of the performing arts, movies, and books, as well as a fan of good food and wine.


Preliminary Round
BACH   “Sinfonia” from Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826
DOHNÁNYI   Rhapsody in C Major, op. 11, no. 3

Quarterfinal Round
CHOPIN   Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat Minor, op. 31
RAVEL   Jeau d’eau

Semifinal Round
SCARLATTI   Sonata in D Major, K. 29
BEETHOVEN   Sonata No. 21 in C Major, op. 53 (“Waldstein”): I. Allegro con brio
CHOPIN   Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, op. 47
LISZT   Transcendental Etude No. 5 “Feux follets”
ALBENIZ   “Castilla” from Suite Española, op. 47

Final Round
SCHUMANN   Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 54: I. Allegro affetuoso