2014 NTD Int’l Piano Competition Winners

Twenty-six contestants from eleven countries were qualified to join the live rounds of the 2014 NTD International Piano Competition. Six finalists performed at the Rising Stars Concert, held at Zankel Hall of the renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Category Name
Gold Award Timur Mustakimov (Russia)
Silver Award Joseph Choi (USA)
Bronze Award Anton Smirnov (Russia)
Outstanding Performance Award Wesley Chu (Canada)
Honorable Mention Award Aileen Gozali (USA)
Tania Rivers-Moore (France)

Gold Award: Timur Mustakimov (Russia)

Russian pianist Timur Mustakimov was born in Nizhnekamsk, Russia, and began studying piano at the age of eight with Tatyana Kiseleva. At the age of twelve he won the regional piano competition in the Republic of Tatarstan. Mr. Mustakimov entered the Special Music School for Gifted Children in Kazan where he studied with professor Alfiya Burnasheva and won the top prize in the Bach competition.

Mr. Mustakimov was a prizewinner at the Russian Piano Competition (Ufa, Russia), the International Piano Competition (Kiev, Ukraine), and the Jacob Flier Piano Competition (New Paltz, NY). In 2006 he entered the Kazan State Conservatory, and during his first year he represented the conservatory at the International Conservatory Week Festival in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Mr. Mustakimov has performed with the Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

He was offered a full scholarship for the Master of Music degree in 2011 at Mannes School of Music, then continued his studies under the tutelage of Vladimir Feltsman in the Professional Studies program. As a winner of the Concerto Competition at Mannes, Mr. Mustakimov performed Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto” at Alice Tully Hall in 2013. He is also a winner of The 2013 Heida Hermanns International Competition (Westport, CT).

In 2014, he was the substitute guest artist with the Jupiter Chamber Players in NYC, filling in for Alexander Kobrin, a Gold Prize winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Timur is the Gold Prize winner of the 2014 NTD International Piano Competition with a finalist performance at Carnegie Hall. The semi-final and final of the competition was broadcast globally.

In Spring 2015, Mr. Mustakimov became the youngest nominated member of The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, the oldest continuing musical organization in the United States. He has been invited to perform in the 2016 Spring season of the Jupiter Chamber Players Festival. He has also been asked to perform several recitals throughout the USA.

Mr. Mustakimov is currently a doctoral student, on full scholarship, at Temple University in the Piano Performance program with Dr. Charles Abramovic.

Read Timor’s full interview with Epoch Times here.

Silver Award: Joseph Choi (USA)

Joseph Choi is a graduate of the Juilliard School under Jerome Lowenthal and Matti Raekallio and the University of Texas at Austin (BM). Joseph Choi was born in Hawaii. His family moved to Austin, Texas where he has been a student of the great piano artist and pedagogue Anton Nel since the age of 15.

Joey began his piano studies at the age of six years old under the tutelage of Ellen Masaki and made his debut at the age of ten with the Honolulu Symphony where he performed Mozart’s piano concerto in C major. Since then, he has competed in several competitions winning his first prize at the age of seven in the HMTA Piano Competition. As a high school student he won the Austin Symphony Young Artists competition and subsequently performed the Saint Saens G Minor Concerto with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

More recently, Joseph Choi won second prize in the San Antonio Tuesday Musical Club Competition in San Antonio and was the winner of the University of Texas Concerto Competition. And, subsequently, he performed the Liszt Piano Concerto no. 1 in E-flat Major with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. Joey has participated at summer festivals in Europe as well as at the Aspen Music Festival, the International Institute for Young Musicians, Gijon International Piano Festival and the Prague International Piano Master classes. He has also been invited as a guest young artist for the Texas International Piano Festival.

Read Joseph’s full interview with Epoch Times here.

Bronze Award: Anton Smirnov (Russia)

Anton Smirnoff, head of the piano department at the Pascale Music Institute, began his piano studies at age of seven in Novosibirsk, Russia. After graduating from Novosibirsk State Conservatory with a Bachelor’s Degree, Anton came to United States in 2006 to pursue further education. He graduated from Oberlin Conservatory with an Artist Diploma in 2010 and later earned a Professional Studies Certificate at The Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA. As a student, he was honored by the Russian government with several special talent scholarships. He has made more than 1,000 public performances world-wide at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fischer Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anton is a prizewinner at many international piano competitions including the Moscow International Competition for Young Musicians, International Russian Music Piano Competition in San-Jose, CA, Oberlin Concerto Competition, Corpus Christi International Concerto Competition, Louisiana International Piano Competition, the NTD International Piano Competition in New York, and others. He has performed as a soloist with various orchestras including the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, Tomsk Philharmonic Orchestra, San Jose Symphony and the Oberlin Orchestra. Anton performed Martinu’s “La Revue de Quisine” with members of Quatuor Ebene in Zipper Hall at The Colburn School of Music. In 2013 he collaborated with renowned double­ bassist Edgar Meyer, performing the “Trout” Quintet by Schubert and “Trout Variations” in Los Angeles.

Anton has participated in many international music festivals including  “International Program New Names” in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Vladimir Spivakov Festival, Irkurtsk Jazz International Festival, Cassalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy, Banff Master Classes in Canada, and most recently, Sarasota International Festival. Anton is a member of the collaborative faculty at The Heifetz International Music Institute in Virginia. He participates in the “Heifetz on Tour” music series, touring with the finest young string players in the country. He has also performed in the master classes of John Perry, Arie Vardi, Robert Levin, Hung Kuan Chen, S. Dorensky, M. Boguslavsky, M. Delli Ponti, Boris Berman, Menahem Pressler and many others.

A graduate of Yale University School Of Music (Master of Music), Anton currently resides in Los Angeles.

Read Anton’s full interview with Epoch Times here.

Outstanding Performance Award: Wesley Chu (Canada)

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Wesley has been playing piano since the age of three. At age five, he completed grades 1 to 10 of the RCM Examinations, and at ten, had completed his ARCT, making him the youngest pianist who has ever achieved this. Wesley composes and has performed in many venues around the world. He has performed with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra since the age of 4, as well as the Calgary Civic Symphony. He performed with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela before Nelson Mandela at a United Nations gathering, and also with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta at the Celebration of the Hand-Over to China.

He has also played for esteemed individuals such as Queen Elizabeth II. In 1999, Wesley performed his composition Christmas in Bethlehem in the Vatican City with orchestra and choir for Pope John Paul II and an audience of eight thousand. In the summer of 2008, he took 1st place in the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts Annual Concerto Competition, and also became a finalist prizewinner in the Sixth International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition for Young Artists in Moscow one month later. Soon afterwards, he took first place at the ARMTA Provincial Piano Competition. In year 2009, he was awarded a total of 7 gold certificates and 4 awards at the Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival, and performed at the local European Masters and the Stars of the Festival concerts. In year 2011, he became a prizewinning finalist at both the Canadian Music Competition and the National Music Festival.

Most recently, he was awarded Honorable Mention at the Mondavi Young Artists Competition in Davis, California, in March of this year. Wesley is currently a second year Master’s student at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, studying under the tutelage of world-renowned teacher and performer, Alexander Korsantia. Other musicians Wesley has studied with include HungKuan Chen, Tema Blackstone and Charles Foreman. Wesley hopes to pursue a career in music while maintaining hobbies in composition, writing, and art.

Read Wesley’s full interview with the Epoch Times here.

Honorable Mention Award: Aileen Gozali (USA)

Praised for her “poetic and electric, warm and seductive” playing, Indonesian Chinese-American pianist Aileen Gozali (20) made her concerto debut at the age of 10, and has since been performing on stages all over the world, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, United States, Hungary, Italy and Germany. She is a laureate of numerous international competitions, including the 8th International Chopin Piano Competition in Japan, 1st ASEAN International Concerto Competition in Indonesia, 3rd ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition in Malaysia, IIYM International Piano Competition in Kansas, Young Pianist Competition in Singapore, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition.

Aileen is also an active chamber musician. Her piano trio was one of the few selected ensembles of the Advance Piano Trio Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music directed by Sharon Robinson and had received coaching from Leon Fleisher, Gil Kalish, Jamie Lorado, among many others. Aside from music, Aileen is passionate about community service. She was a Child Life volunteer at the Rainbow Children Hospital and a tutor volunteer at the Saturday Tutoring Program at the Church of the Covenant in Cleveland, Ohio. She had also volunteered at the UCLA Ronald Reagen Medical Center in California, Chao Yang Special School in Singapore, the Singapore National University Hospital. and the Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

Aileen Gozali was born in Los Angeles, CA to Indonesian-Chinese parents in 1995. She began her piano studies at the age of 5 after moving to Gulangyu, China, and was enrolled at the Xiamen Music School at age 7. She continued her studies in Singapore under the tutelage of Benjamin Loh, completed her Bachelors Degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying under Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and is now residing in New York City studying under the guidance of Robert McDonald at The Juilliard School in the Masters Program.

Read Aileen’s full interview with the Epoch Times here.

Honorable Mention Award: Tania Rivers Moore (France)

Pianist Tania RiversMoore is a senior at Harvard College, where she is finishing a degree in Neurobiology and preparing to enter a graduate program in Piano Performance. She takes lessons weekly from Professor Alexander Korsantia of the New England Conservatory, as well as Sasha Starcevich in Seattle. She was described as a “prodigally gifted newcomer… of clearly star potential” by Bernard Jacobson of MusicWeb International following her performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Bremerton Symphony in October 2010. Last year, she performed at a Harvard University panel in collaboration with YoYo Ma and members of the Brooklyn Rider string quartet.

Tania has attended numerous piano festivals, most recently Music Fest Perugia in Italy and Gijón Festival in Spain. She was the youngest Collaborative Piano Fellow selected to participate in Music Academy of the West’s eight-week program in Santa Barbara two summers ago.
Tania has won awards in the Washington State Outstanding Artist and MTNA Competitions, the University of Puget Sound Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Simon Fiset Competition, the Seattle Bach Festival, and the Northwest Chopin Competition, and has been featured in solo performances on Seattle’s King FM Radio and in the Washington State Music Teachers State Convention. Tania is a board member of the Harvard College Piano Society, where she is endeavoring to create a new student-led concert series. She also stands on the Harvard Student Council for MESDA (Music Education for Social Development Agency), an endeavor which took her to Cange, Haiti, to teach piano workshops to students from the Holy Trinity Music School in the summer of 2012.

Read Tania’s full interview with the Epoch Times here.