Wonderlic 2016 Piano Winners
Timothy Jones, 1st place
Eighteen year old pianist Timothy Jones has taken prizes and participated in a variety of competitions. He won first prize in both the NCMTA Junior and Senior Division and received Honorable Mention in the MTNA Southeast Regionals. He was a prizewinner in the 2012 Austrian International Piano Festival Competition, which led to performances of Chopin’s Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante with the Wiener Neustädter Instrumentalisten in Austria. While on tour in Austria, he participated in a benefit concert playing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat major, raising enough money for a young girl to receive a complex medical procedure. Timothy has performed at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, East Carolina University, and the University of South Carolina, among others.
Timothy started his musical journey at the age of 6 when he taught himself how to play piano. After a year, he commenced his formal studies with Brenda Bruce, a well-known teacher in the Triangle area of North Carolina until his acceptance into the North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied with Eric Larsen for three years. He has also had the pleasure of working with renowned artists such as Enrico Elisi, Ann Schein, Rebecca Penneys, John Perry and Robert McDonald. He has performed and participated in many festivals, including Meadowmount School of Music, Southeastern Piano Festival, Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival and Summit Music Festival. He is currently studying under Marian Hahn at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Yunhan Gu, 2nd place
Yunhan Gu was born in Shanghai in 1996 and began to play the piano when he was six years old. He studied at Shanghai Conservatory of Music Affiliated High School from 2009-2015 with Jia Xie. In 2006, he won the bronze prize of group C of The Third Steinway National Youth Piano Competition as well as The 71st Steinway International Youth Competition. In 2010, he won the first prize in the Piano Concerto Competition at Shanghai Conservatory. He has participated in many piano recitals in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Ningbo. He has performed with many Chinese orchestras, including Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, and Shanxi Symphony Orchestra. Gu is currently a student at the Peabody Institute, where he studies with Boris Slutsky.
Grace Liu, 3rd place
Young emerging Taiwanese-American pianist, Grace Liu performs as a soloist and collaborative pianist throughout the U.S. and Taiwan. She is the recipient of the Pauline Favin Memorial Award in Piano and the Clara Ascherfel Accompanying Award at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 2010, she appeared as a soloist with the UC Irvine Symphony as the winner of the concerto competition. She was also the winner of the 2008 Irvine Classical Music Series Young Artists Scholarship Award.
Grace has been invited to participate in numerous international music festivals, among them Banff Music Festival (Canada), Bowdoin International Music Festival (ME), Beethoven Institute (NY), Summit Music Festival (NY), and Schlern International Music Festival (Italy). She also has participated in master classes taught by Leon Fleisher, Menahem Pressler, John Perry, Stephen Hough, as well as the Jupiter and Takacs Quartets.
Grace is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the Peabody Institute where she also received her master's degree in piano performance. She completed her bachelor's at University of California, Irvine. Her major teachers include Alexander Shtarkman, Lorna Griffitt, Rose Hsin-I Chen, and Daniel Hanley.
The distinguished judges are Frederick Minger, Rebecca Trout, and Mellasenah Morris.