Thursday, February 29, 2024

Young musos set to square off at NZ Junior Piano Competition

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Saint Kentigern College’s Catherine Chang. Photo supplied

The country’s best young musicians will battle it out for supremacy at the prestigious NZ Junior Piano Competition.

Four east Auckland school pupils are among the 16 semi-finalists in the contest, held from October 1-5 in Auckland and sponsored by the Lewis Eady Charitable Trust.

Among those set to take part are Saint Kentigern College pupils Catherine Chang, Sunny Le, and Charles Sang, and Macleans College’s Sophia Yunwen Xu.

The biennial competition gives pre-tertiary pianists aged 10-18 the chance to compete for prizes worth more than $4000.

Six young pianists will be selected to compete in the final round on October 4.

Catherine, who plays multiple instruments, says making music has been one of her passions her whole life.

“I’ve always found the piano to be a versatile instrument that allows me to explore and enjoy an incredibly vast solo repertoire, as well as the magic of collaborative and chamber music-making.”

This year has been “richly rewarding” musically despite the Covid-19 pandemic, she says.

Catherine has taken part in numerous music competitions in 2020, as well as an online piano masterclass organised by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s Inspire Partnership Programme.

“I’m looking forward to the growth and experience I will gain from competing in the NZ Junior Piano Competition and also the pianist I will grow to become in the future,” she says.

The contest organisers received more than 40 entries this year, double the number that took part in 2018.

This year’s semi-finalists hail from across New Zealand.

They’ll each be asked to perform a 20-minute recital programme with at least three musical periods included.

Six will progress to the final round on October 4 with performance opportunities among the prizes up for grabs.

The competition programme includes a performance from Lorelle McNaughton, a solo recital from 2019 Wallace National Piano Competition winner Tony YanTong Chen, a multi-piano open event and two masterclasses led by NZJPC adjudicator and celebrated New Zealand pianist Richard Mapp.

The competition is at Lewis Eady in Epsom. To book, visit

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