Prodigious pianist Drew Petersen is the winner of the 2017 American Pianists Awards and the Christel DeHaan Fellowship of the American Pianists Association, and has been named Artist-in-Residence for two years by the University of Indianapolis, commencing in the fall of 2017.
Press Kit, performance clips are more are available on Drew's winner page.
When Petersen is not at the keys, he is thinking of them—as is evidenced by illustrator Wilhelm Busch’s “Der Virtuos” (The Virtuoso) hanging on his bedroom wall. The piece follows a pianist through the arc of a performance in 15 frames, culminating in a climactic end, arms and body ablur as he moves frenetically over the keys. A fixture in his home, Petersen still chuckles at the piece. While he can relate to the musician’s passion, gesturally his style could not be more different. Rather than flashy and dramatic, Petersen is more deliberate and thoughtful, in control.
Perhaps that is what drove Petersen to prevail in the American Pianists Awards distinctively rigorous, 13-month-long competition. It is the latest accolade in a decorated young career. Petersen has been a prizewinner in the Leeds International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition and the New York Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, among others.
As far back as he can remember, Petersen was always banging on a piano in the living room of his childhood home, pretending to read sheet music. It was only natural for his mother to channel her son’s energy toward piano—unlocking an extraordinary natural talent.
Petersen was presented at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall at age five and by age 10 he was presented in a solo recital at Steinway Hall in Manhattan for the company’s 150th Anniversary. The New York Times has written about the early performances of the gifted, “freckle-faced 10-year-old who still impresses adults with his intelligence, maturity and depth” and New York Magazine prominently featured Petersen in an article about child prodigies. Petersen’s extraordinary gifts were also chronicled in the documentary "Just Normal" and in Andrew Solomon’s book, "Far From the Tree," which featured case studies of exceptional children.
Petersen graduated cum laude from Harvard at age 19 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Social Science and did his undergraduate and graduate music studies at the Juilliard School, the former as a recipient of the prestigious Kovner Fellowship. He was recently accepted into the prestigious Artist Diploma program at the Juilliard School.
An avid traveler, Petersen’s emerging career frequently takes him abroad, where he sets out to discover new foods and meet locals as eagerly as he performs for new audiences. Overseas engagements include recitals at the Musica e Arte Festival in Tolentino, Italy, Verbier Festival in Verbier, Switzerland and Euro Arts Music Festival in Leipzig, Germany.
It’s always a happy coincidence when Petersen’s travels take him somewhere near the ocean—a calming, grounding environment that’s as much an inspiration for his own music-making as it is an escape. He raced competitively as a child and continues his love of swimming with regular open water swims of 1-2 miles.
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Henry Kramer (born 3/1/1987) is a finalist for the 2017 American Pianists Awards. The winner of the Second Prize at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Competition and the 2015 William Petschek Recital Debut Award from The Juilliard School, Henry is establishing himself as one of the most exciting American musicians of his generation. His performances have been praised by critics as “triumphant” and “thrilling” (The New York Times), and “technically effortless” (La Presse, Montreal).
In past seasons, Mr. Kramer has been a guest performer in recitals at Portland Piano International (Oregon), The Cliburn Foundation, and the National Chopin Foundation in Miami and in important venues like Carnegie Hall (Zankel and Wiell) and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He recently performed Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony and Toshi Shimada, as well as Beethoven’s Chorale Fantasy with Robert Moody and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Deeply committed to the chamber music repertoire, he has been featured in performances at Lincoln Center, and has participated in the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest, Music@Menlo’s International Program, and the Verbier Festival Academy, where he was awarded the Tabor Prize in piano
A Maine native, Henry holds both a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School and an Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music, where he received the Charles S. Miller Prize for the most outstanding first-year pianist. He currently pursues doctoral studies at the Yale School of Music and was recently appointed as the Iva Dee Hiatt Visiting Artist in Piano at Smith College. His musical mentors have included Julian Martin, Robert McDonald, and Boris Berman.
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Steven Lin (born 3/25/1989) has been applauded by the New York Times for playing that is “...immaculately voiced and enhanced by admirable subtleties of shading and dynamics.” Steven's broad musical interests allow him to move with ease between concertos, recitals and chamber music, enjoying appearances world-wide at important venues including the Louvre and Salle Cortot in France, National Dublin Hall in Ireland, Seoul Arts Center in Korea, Sendai Cultural Center in Japan, and Avery Fisher Hall in the United States.
He was the winner of the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and the John Giordano Jury Chairman Discretionary Award at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. In May 2014, his dynamic playing at Israel’s Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition was recognized when he was awarded the Silver Medal as well as numerous performance prize engagements in Israel and internationally. Steven Lin earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at The Juilliard School, studying with Robert McDonald and Matti Raekallio. He recently completed his curriculum at the Curtis Institute of Music, under the guidance of Robert McDonald.
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Sam Hong (born 7/18/1994) is a finalist for the 2017 American Pianists Awards. Praised for his “excellent combination of virtuosity and musicality” and “lots of clarity, confidence, and wisdom” (New York Concert Review), he brings his colorful style and riveting energy to the solo, chamber, and concerto stage. Sam has been a Young Steinway Artist since 2010 and has been featured as a guest soloist with the Milwaukee, Camerata New York, Fort Worth, Richardson, Waco, Galveston, and Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestras. Sam is a First Prize winner of the New York International, Leschetizky International, Lennox International Young Artist, PianoArts North American, Fort Worth Symphony Young Artist, Snowy Range, and Juanita Miller Competitions. This past summer he was one of two pianists selected to participate in the Taos School of Music.
An avid chamber musician, Sam is part of Trio St. Bernard with violinist Brandon Garbot and cellist Zachary Mowitz. He is the pianist and arranger of the ensemble Mercury Musicians, which performs original arrangements of classical music. He has participated in festivals such as the Ravinia Steans Institute, Chamber Music Encounters at Lincoln Center, and the Taos School of Music.
At the age of 16, Sam graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Christian University (TCU) with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance, studying with John Owings. He has also studied with Martin Canin and Yoheved Kaplinsky of The Juilliard School. Currently, Sam is a student of Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
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Alex Beyer (born 6/15/1994) is a finalist for the 2017 American Pianists Awards. In 2016, he was the bronze medalist in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Alex has been a guest soloist with the Brussels Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Royal Orchestra of Wallonia, the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra, and the Irish National Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Milwaukee, Charlotte, Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, and Bridgeport Symphony Orchestras, among others. He received Sixth Prize at the 2015 US Chopin Competition. He was the recipient of Third Prize, as well as the Beethoven and Irish National Symphony Orchestra special awards at the 2015 Dublin International Piano Competition. Beyer was a 2012 US Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
He has studied with Yoshie Akimoto, Matti Raekallio, and Melvin Chen. He is currently studying with Russell Sherman and Wha Kyung Byun at the New England Conservatory and is studying mathematics at Harvard.
Alex has performed in and directed many benefit concerts for the Pequot Library, Project Learn, Music for Youth, Mercy Learning Center, and KEYS. A music history enthusiast, he established lecture concert series “Sundays at 4” and “Summer Soirees” at Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut.
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