2020 Competition by Composer

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Our Judges: Dr. Hilary Demske and Dr. Hsiang John Tu

 

Dr Hilary Demske

Steinway Artist Hilary Demske is receiving widespread critical acclaim as a “pianist
of rare technical finesse and musicality” (Deseret News). She regularly appears
across the globe as a soloist and collaborative pianist, with American Record Guide
describing her as full of “splendid panache and assurance”, and Fanfare noting that
“a composer couldn’t ask for more committed or convincing performances”. 
Hilary is regularly invited to perform in prestigious venues across multiple
continents. Recent performances include recitals in Germany, Poland, Hungary, the
Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Turkey, Greece, Canada, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Australia, Tasmania, Mongolia and Taiwan. She has performed in China
annually since 2011, appearing in over 30 cities on multiple tours.
Hilary has adjudicated at numerous national and international competitions,
including the 2012 Gina Bachauer Junior and Young Artists International Piano
Competition preliminary auditions, the Florida State University piano solo
competition, and the Utah Symphony Salute to Youth preliminary auditions.
An avid performer of contemporary music, Hilary’s debut CD ‘Henry Martin:
Selected Piano Music’ includes highly praised premieres including ‘New Prelude and
Fugue XVI’ and ‘Sonata No.4: At Midnight’s Hour’. Additional recording premieres
include Benjamin Sabey’s solo piece ‘Ecstatic Aspen’ on the album ‘Winter Shore’,
the hour-long “Cosmology” by Neil Thornock (Albany Records), and her original
compositions. This year she appeared on an Albany chamber disc featuring the
works of Lou Harrison.
Hilary holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Peabody Conservatory, a Master
of Music degree from The Juilliard School, a Doctor of Musical Arts from The
University of Michigan, and an Artist Diploma (Meisterklasse diploma) from the
Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany. Her principal teachers include Julian
Martin, Logan Skelton, Margarita Höhenrieder, and Samuel Wong.
Hilary is currently an Associate Professor at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.
As the Director of Piano Studies, she directs the piano major program and teaches
piano literature, piano pedagogy, and chamber music.

 

Dr. Hsiang John Tu

The New York Times has praised the “eloquent sensitivity” in pianist Hsiang John Tu’s
performance. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Mr. Tu debuted in New York at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln
Center as the winner of the Juilliard School Concerto Competition, and he returned to the same
venue in 2013 as a soloist with the World Civic Orchestra. A recipient of the Doctoral of Musical
Arts degree in Piano Performance from Juilliard, Hsiang has taught at the University of New
Hampshire, Utah Valley University, and Snow College in Utah, before his current appointment
as an Assistant Professor in Piano at Virginia Tech.
Since 2018, Mr. Tu has embarked upon a four-recital series comprising the complete piano-solo
works by Debussy. The fourth and final recital will take place in 2020. Hsiang’s love of thematic
programming has resulted in recitals featuring all animal-themed music and all Opus-1
compositions. As an active chamber musician, Hsiang has premiered new chamber works at the
Museum of Modern Art in New York and collaborated in sold-out performances at the Joyce
Theater in NYC with the renowned modern dance company Rioult. His other collaboration
partners have included members from top orchestras in New York, New England, and Utah.
Mr. Tu was prize winners at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Iowa
International Piano Competition, the Texas Kingsville International Piano Concerto Competition,
and the American Paderewski Piano Competition. Hsiang has appeared as a soloist with the
Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic
Orchestra, Lake George Chamber Orchestra, Snow College Orchestra, Boston University
Symphonic Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and the
University of New Hampshire Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra. He has been
presented in recitals by the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts in Boston, the Taipei
Economic and Cultural Office in New York, the Banff Centre in Canada, and the Beethoven
Festival Park City.
Mr. Tu has given master classes at Cardiff University in Wales, University of Southern
California, Penn State University, Loyola University New Orleans, Utah Valley University, and
Colorado Mesa University, and he has adjudicated in the NHMTA Fall Competition, US
International Music Competition of the Chinese Music Teachers’ Associations of Northern
California, SummerArts Competition at University of Utah, and the US New Star Piano
Competition.
After winning Taiwan’s National Youth Piano Competition as a teenager, Mr. Tu moved to the
U.S. and studied with HaeSun Paik and Hung-Kuan Chen at the Walnut Hill School in Natick,
MA. Hsiang then continued with Mr. Chen at Boston University and the University of Calgary,
earning a Bachelor’s degree in piano performance and winning the Canadian Music Festival
Competition. Thereafter, he studied at the Juilliard School with Jerome Lowenthal, earning a
Master of Music degree in Piano Performance in addition to the DMA.
For more info, please visit hsiangjohntu.com.