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PYPA Piano Festival Features Gold Medalists Of Chopin, Cliburn, And Rubinstein Competitions In-Concert And On The Faculty: August 2-11, 2019

June 11, 2019 | By Jonathan Eifert

PHILADELPHIA — PYPA (Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy) announces the 7th annual piano festival, set for August 2-11, 2019 at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. This highly-anticipated summer music festival accepts 20 gifted pianists globally to participate in 10 days of master classes and recitals with legendary concert artists and pedagogues, including gold medalists at the Chopin, Cliburn, and Rubinstein competitions.

The faculty for the 2019 festival includes six artists who have achieved substantial careers as concert musicians. They include Gary Graffman, legendary pedagogue and former president of Curtis Institute of Music; Dang Thai Son, Gold Medalist of the Chopin Competition; Ching-Yun Hu, the PYPA Artistic Director and top prize recipient at the Rubinstein Competition; Yekwon Sunwoo, Gold Medalist of Cliburn Competition; Lydia Artymiw, Grammy-nominated pianist and Gramophone Award-winner ("Best of the Year", Chandos recording); and Alon Goldstein, pianist with top orchestral engagements from the LA Phil to the Philadelphia Orchestra.

With 10 summertime concerts, 62 hours of master classes, a guest lecture series, and the adjoining Philadelphia International Piano Competition, there is a lot to offer students and the public.

In addition to giving master classes, Cliburn gold medalist Yekwon Sunwoo, Chopin gold medalist Dang Thai Son, and Rubinstein top prize winner Ching-Yun Hu will give solo recitals throughout the festival.

Sara Davis Buechner performs a solo piano recital and joins the festival for one-night only on August 9.

The opening concert featuring Ching-Yun Hu is held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Perelman Theater) on August 2 at 7:30 PM. The other concerts and master classes occur at the Academy of Vocal Arts. All concerts and master classes are open to the public. Tickets can be purchased online at



August 2: 7:30 PM, Opening Concert, Kimmel Center (Perelman Theater): Ching-Yun Hu Piano Recital

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ Iberia, Book I and II

CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN Le festin d'Ésope (Aesop's Feast), Op. 39, No. 12

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58

August 3: 7:30 PM, Alon Goldstein Piano Recital

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Sonata no. 13 in E-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 1 “Quasi una Fantasia”

LEONARD BERNSTEIN “The Masque” from Symphony no. 2 (1918-1990)

AVNER DORMAN Sonata no. 3 “Dance Suite” (2005) (B. 1975) - Prelude - Techno

ROBERT SCHUMANN Kinderszenen Op. 15 (1838) (1810-1856)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Quasi una Fantasia”

August 4: 4 PM, Mac McClure Piano Recital


  • Sonata G minor No. 87
  • Sonata D minor No. 104
  • Sonata D Major No. 84
  • Sonata G minor No. 42


  • El pont (The bridge)
  • Pajaro triste (Sad bird)
  • Les amigues entren al camp (Girls entering the field)
  • Four Preludes I, V, VI, IX


  • Elegia a Ravel Si a Mompou*
  • Sonatina pour Yvette
  • Vivo e spiritoso Moderato Molto Allegretto


  • Pavana Caprichosa Op. 12
  • Granada from Suite española Op. 47
  • El Albaicín from Iberia vol. 3

MOISES BERTRAN Five short piano pieces: Prelude, Toccata, Waltz, Chorale, March


  • La maja y el ruiseñor
  • El pelele

August 5: 7:30 PM, PYPA Rising Stars: Sarah Tuan Piano Recital; Winner, 2018 Philadelphia International Piano Competition

August 6: 7:30 PM, Young Artists Concert I

August 7: 7:30 PM, Yekwon Sunwoo Piano Recital


  • Soiree Musicales No. 2, Notturno
  • Fantasie Op. 17


  • Sonata No. 14, Op. 27
  • Sonata No. 32, Op. 111

August 8: 7:30 PM, Young Artists Concert II

August 9: 7:30 PM, Sara Davis Buechner Piano Recital


  • Fantasy in D minor KV 397
  • Sonata in D Major KV 284 “Dürnitz” 

JOHANNES BRAHMS Two Rhapsodies Op. 79

KOUJI TAKU Variations on a Theme of Poulenc

GEORGE GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue

August 10: 4 PM, PYPA Rising Star: Huiping Cai Piano Recital, Winner, 2017 Philadelphia International Piano Competition

August 10: 7:30 PM, Dang Thai Son Piano Recital


FRANZ SCHUBERT Sonate in C Major, D 840, “Relique”

IGNACY PADEREWSKI Three Pieces, Op. 16


  • Rondo a la Mazurka in F Major, Op. 5
  • Three Waltzes
  • Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31



August 3: 10:30 AM, Lecture, Pierre van der Westhuizen, Director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival

August 3: 2 PM, Master Class, Ching-Yu Hu

August 4: 7:30 PM, Master Class, Alon Goldstein

August 5: 2 PM, Master Class, Lydia Artymiw

August 6: 12 PM, Master Class, Gary Graffman

August 6: 2 PM, Master Class, Yekwon Sunwoo

August 6: 3:45 PM, Master Class, Gary Graffman

August 7: 12 PM, Master Class, Gary Graffman

August 7: 3:45 PM, Master Class, Gary Graffman

August 8: 12 PM, Master Class, Gary Graffman

August 8: 3:45 PM, Master Class, Gary Graffman

August 11: 12 PM, Master Class, Dang Thai Son



August 4: 10 AM-3 PM, Philadelphia International Piano Competition, Preliminary Round

August 7: (Time TBA) 2019 Philadelphia International Piano Competition, Final Round

August 11: 4 PM, Winners’ Concert: 2019 Philadelphia International Piano Competition


All students enrolled in the festival will compete to win the top prize at the Philadelphia International Piano Competition. Winners receive (both in senior and junior division):

  • Cash prize: $1,000.
  • Live radio broadcast on WRTI Philadelphia (the main classical music radio station in the city).
  • Solo recital at Puffin Cultural Forum (Teaneck, NJ) during 2019-2020 season.
  • Full scholarship to attend the 2020 PYPA (scholarship award in the amount of $3,250, as of 2019 PYPA).
  • Performance at final festival concert on August 11, 2019 at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
  • Orchestral performance opportunities in upcoming seasons. For example, PYPA arranged for the winner of the 2017 competition to perform at the National Concert Hall in Taipei with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra to a sold-out crowd. 

The festival schedule is subject to change. Check the PYPA website for an updated schedule leading up to the festival.



PYPA (Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy) was established by concert pianist Ching-Yun Hu to help young artists achieve their dreams of becoming professional pianists. It has blossomed into one of the most highly-anticipated summer piano festivals on the East Coast encompassing intensive master classes and public concerts featuring internationally celebrated pianists. The accompanying guest lecture series led by music industry executives offers insight to students and the local community.


Ching-Yun Hu is recognized and acclaimed worldwide for her dazzling technique, deeply probing musicality, and directly communicative performance style. Ching-Yun’s concert career has flourished with a host of engagements on five continents after winning the top prize at the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she was also awarded the Audience Favorite Prize. She continues to be a celebrated pianist in Asia and has appeared at prestigious concert halls across the globe including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Aspen Music Festival, Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Salle Cortot, and the Concertgebouw. She currently is the Artistic Director of PYPA, and Artist-in-Residence and Faculty at Temple University.

Gary Graffman has been a major figure in the music world since his debut with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of eighteen. For the next three decades, he toured almost continuously, playing the most demanding works in the piano literature. He is a concert pianist, piano faculty and former president of Curtis Institute of Music. His numerous recordings with the orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, and Chicago under such conductors as Bernstein, Ormandy, Szell, and Mehta include concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Brahms, Chopin, and Beethoven; they are still regarded as touchstones.

Dang Thai Son was propelled to the forefront of the musical world in October 1980, when he was awarded the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Xth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. It was also the first time that a top international competition was won by an Asian pianist. Since winning the Chopin Competition, his international career has taken him to over forty countries and into such world-renowned halls including Lincoln Center (New York), Barbican Center (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Herculessaal (Munich), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Opera House (Sydney), and Suntory Hall (Tokyo).

Yekwon Sunwoo is the gold medalist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2017. The 28-year-old has been hailed for “his total command over the instrument and its expressiveness” (San Francisco Examiner). A powerful and virtuosic performer, he also, in his own words, “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music”, and hopes to convey those fundamental emotions to audiences. Decca Gold released Cliburn Gold 2017 two weeks after his Cliburn win, which includes his award-winning performances of Ravel’s La valse and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 2.

Lydia Artymiw is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Prize, and has performed with over one hundred orchestras worldwide including New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and LA Philharmonic. Her Chandos debut album Variations won Gramophone magazine’s “Best of the Year” award, and her latest album, Complete Cello and Piano Music by Felix Mendelssohn, with cellist Marcy Rosen, has been nominated for a Grammy Award. She currently is Distinguished McKnight Professor of Piano at University of Minnesota.

Alon Goldstein is one of the most original and sensitive artists of his generation, admired for his musical intelligence and dynamic personality. Alon’s artistic vision and innovative programming have made him a favorite with audiences and critics alike throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. He graduated from the Peabody Conservatory where he studied with Leon Fleisher and served as his assistant—a position assigned only to his most exceptional students. He currently serves as Artistic Director for The Distinguished Artists Concert & Lecture Series in Santa Cruz, CA and was recently named the Artistic Director for the Mt. Angel Abbey Bach Festival in Oregon. 




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