Memphis International Piano Festival and Competition

Memphis International Piano Festival + Competition

October 12-14, 2023


Congratulations to our 2023 Memphis International Piano Festival Winners

Bright Juniors

  • Gabriel Li - 1st
  • Serina Tamura - 2nd
  • Julian Kang - 3rd

Honorable Mentions

  • Chad Bao
  • Cynthia Feng
  • Haylie Joe


Young Stars

  • 1st - Thomas Sinclair
  • 2nd - Xiaowei Wang 
  • 3rd - Lanie Deng
  • 3rd - Ryan Li

Honorable mentions

  • Christopher Bernard
  • Rafael Galleguillos
  • Rosalyn Bao
  • Joanna Guo

Young Artists

  • 1st - Dannie Dong 
  • 2nd - Katie Wang 
  • 3rd - Grace Luo

Honorable mentions

  • Daniel Guo




  • 1st - Sean Yang
  • 2nd - William Chaing
  • 3rd - Shawn Jian Yue Lee

Honorable mentions

  • Charlene Lee
  • Spencer McKee
  • Leiwei He











The Memphis International Piano Festival and Competition exists to celebrate the piano through concerts, masterclasses, and competitive and non-competitive performance events. Students and music lovers of all ages are encouraged to attend and participate in events. Enjoy a weekend filled with concerts, masterclasses and other events!

  • Final deadline for completed entries: September 8, 2023 - 2 PM CST
  • Collegiate-only preliminary video deadline: September 8, 2023 - 2 PM CST (10-minute video)
    • Collegiate preliminary repertoire may be repeated in the live round but is not required.
  • For all other applicants, no video is required.


Artina McCain Jonathan Tsay Natalia Vanegas Escobar
Dr. Artina McCain 
Associate Professor of Piano
Area Coordinator of
Keyboard Studies
  Dr. Jonathan Tsay 
  Associate Professor of Piano

Natalia Vanegas Escobar
Competition Coordinator


Wei-Han Su’s concert activities have taken him to major cities in the United States, England, Russia, Italy, China, Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan. He made his concerto debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle and has since performed in such prestigious venues as the Purcell Room at the South Bank Centre, England and the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. 

Su was a featured recitalist at the Walnut Hill Summer Music Festival in Boston, Massachusetts and has presented solo and collaborative performances on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago, Kent Keyboard Series in Ohio, Tuesday Concert Series in Washington, D.C., and at the Webster Ensemble Festival in St. Louis. As a concerto soloist, he has appeared with the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana, Cambridge Chamber Orchestra, and Springfield Symphony Orchestra among others. In addition to performing, he has regularly given masterclasses at universities and music schools throughout the U.S. and Asia. Recent engagements included guest appearances at Qingdao University in China; Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Korea; National Chiayi University, National Pingtung University, National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan; Texas State University, Illinois Wesleyan University in the U.S. He has recorded on the Centaur and MSR Classics labels. 

Su is currently Professor of Piano and Coordinator of the Keyboard Area at Missouri State University, where he received a University Award in Teaching. 

His students have distinguished themselves in numerous competitions including the Conero International Piano Competition, WPTA Finland International Piano Competition, Kuleshov International Piano Competition, American Protégé International Piano Competition, Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition, Missouri Music Teachers Association Piano Audition, and J.D. Kelly Piano Competition. Su received a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors from Cambridge University, a Master of Music degree and the Performer’s Diploma from the Royal College of Music, London, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Peabody Conservatory. While attending the Royal College of Music, he won the Chappell Gold Medal, the College’s highest honor for pianists. His principal teachers and mentors include Boris Slutsky, Yu Chun Yee, Joyce Rathbone, and Yonty Solomon.  

Since giving her debut at the Palace of Arts in Seoul, Korea, Hye-Jung Hong has performed in recitals in Germany, Holland, Italy, China, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and Canada. In the U.S., she has appeared as concerto soloist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and has given numerous solo and collaborative concerts. She has performed at the Missouri Music Teachers Association State Conference, and has appeared on concert series in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Recent performances include a guest concert at the 19th Kota Kinabalu Music Festival in Malaysia; recitals at Tainan National University of the Arts and National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan; a guest recital at Sangmyung University in Korea; recitals at Liaoning Normal University and Qingdao University in China; a duo performance on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial concert series in Chicago; guest recitals at Pittsburg State University, Spelman College, University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University.

Dr. Hong has received critical praise for the artistry of her performances. Her playing has been described as “full of energy and electricity that stimulates the Korean musical world.” (Piano Eum-Ak) The German newspaper Die Rheinpfalz praised the “musicality, crystal clearness and elegance” of her performances. She has recorded on the Navona Records label.

Dr. Hong’s principal teachers include Julian Martin, Dominique Weber, Daewook Lee and Yonghee Moon. A dedicated teacher, her students have won top prizes in many competitions including the Kuleshov International Piano Competition, Charles R. Hall Young Artist Competition, Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition, Lee Piano Competition, Starr Young Artist Competition, and Federation of Music Clubs State Competition. She received her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. Currently she is Associate Professor of Piano at Missouri State University.

The Robert Beckwith Artist-in-Residence at Bowdoin College, GEORGE LOPEZ, has been a dynamic performer, sought-after pedagogue, and engaging lecturer for over 30 years.  Known for his "...kaleidoscopic colors and clarity of conception..." (LA Times) in the standard repertoire as well as being a champion of newly written works, Mr. Lopez gave a highly acclaimed solo recital debut at the renowned Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and was lauded as “... authentic and memorable...” by the Nederlands Dagblad for his interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations along with all Twenty-Four Preludes of Chopin.  He has performed the complete Piano Concertos of Beethoven, the complete Etude-Tableaux of Rachmaninoff, and recently did the entire four-volume set of J. S. Bach’s Klavierubungen, which he performed on organ, harpsichord, and piano.

Mr. Lopez concertizes worldwide as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Central and South America.  His extensive performances cover most major U.S. cities, including New York’s Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, Paul Hall at the Juilliard School, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Ambassador Hall in Los Angeles, the Shao Lin Arts Center in Rockport (Massachusetts), The Cleveland Art Museum, Harvard University, and Tanglewood.  After his performance at Lincoln Center, the composer Lowell Liebermann described the performance of his work as “...
exciting and decisive!” 

A featured soloist at many international music festivals throughout Europe and abroad, Mr. Lopez performed at the renowned Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Girona Internacional Festival de Musica in Spain, the Kowmung Festival just outside Sydney, Festivale d’Internazionale Solisti e Musica da Camera in Umbria (Italy), and the renowned Latin-American music festival CubaDisco in Havana.  He also performed as guest soloist with the National Symphony in São Paolo (Brazil), Rose Hall in Osaka, and Asahi Hall in Tokyo.  

Mr. Lopez has been a regular guest artist with renowned chamber ensembles, including the Emerson, Carpe Diem, Rainier, Skyros, and Ying Quartets.  He collaborates in recording and outreach projects with members of major symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, The Met Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and The New World Symphony.  He recorded Italian composer Romeo Melloni’s Piano Concerto No. 1 dedicated to him with the acclaimed Prague Chamber Orchestra in the former Czech Republic and recently premiered a new Piano Concerto by the Indo-American composer Dr. Vineet Shende.  

Mr. Lopez's interdisciplinary and multi-cultural “Music at the Museum” series at Bowdoin College consistently sells out to audiences who enjoy his creative and engaging lecture-recitals on the relationship of music, art, and its cultural history. As director and conductor of the Bowdoin Symphony Orchestra, he developed an all-student ensemble of 60-65 members that performs full symphonic programs.


Internationally acclaimed Chinese-American pianist, GULIMINA MAHAMUTI, performs extensively as a soloist, duet/duo pianist under DUO MUNDI GEORGE & GULI with pianist GEORGE LOPEZ, and chamber musician in major cities in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Turkey, and China, with broadcasts on radio and state TV. She gave recitals in Budapest at the invitation of the Turkish Ambassador in Hungary and in Istanbul under the auspices of Turkish State Conservatory of Music, where the recital was broadcast by Istanbul Technical University Radio. She performed solo piano recitals on Grotrian-Steinweg and Blüthner pianos in Denmark in the beautiful medieval Hune Kirke near Aalborg and Herfølge Kirke near Copenhagen.

Gulimina performed at the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall on Xinjiang piano music from western China, including the U.S. premiere performances of Chinese-American composer Chen Yi's Variations on "Awariguli," the D String Song, and Eagle Flute Dance from Xinjiang Suite No. 2 by Chinese composer Shi Fu. Subsequently, she released her CD recording, Xinjiang Piano Music from Western China, featuring piano music of the region she came from. She opened the music festival, “A Schoenberg Retrospective,” with Drei Klavierstücke, op. 11 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, played at the opening concert for the “Year of the Nation Turkey” celebration at Queens College of The City University of New York, and dedicated solo recitals on Enrique Granados and performed his masterpiece, Cant de les estrelles (Song of the Stars) for piano, organ and chorus to commemorate the centenary of Granados' death and the 150th anniversary of his birth at the University of Akron and Ohio Wesleyan University. In the Leonard Bernstein's centennial celebration concerts, she performed at Bowdoin College's BernsteinFest and at Colby College's #BernsteinAt100: Words, Words, Word. She was one of eight concert pianists performing at the Elliott Schwartz Memorial Practice Rooms Project in Portland, Maine. She also collaborated with New England's Amethyst Chamber Ensemble and Zenith Ensemble after moving to Maine in 2018.

Mahamuti was featured guest soloist performing Benjamin Britten’s Piano Concerto, op. 13 with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Saint-Saens’ Le carnaval des animaux with the Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra, and Chopin’s Andante Spianato et Grand Polonaise, in E-flat major, op. 22 and the “Yellow River” Piano Concerto with the Harbin Symphony Orchestra in China. Her piano playing was featured at many radio stations, including San Francisco Turkish Radio, San Francisco Community Radio, Queens College of CUNY online podcast in the U.S., Touch Radio in China, and Istanbul Technical University Radio in Turkey.

Mahamuti was born in Karamay City, Xinjiang, western China and was the first Uyghur from China to receive a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the United States, where she studied at University of Missouri-Kansas City under Dr. Robert Weirich. She received two Master of Music degrees, one in Piano Performance with the highest honor of the Graduate Dean Academic Honors from Pittsburg State University under Dr. Reena Berger Natenberg and one in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Harbin Normal University in China. At age 15, she was admitted as a piano performance major to the Conservatory of Music of Northwest University for Nationalities in China, where she studied at the affiliated high school for gifted music performance majors and where she continued her Bachelor of Music degree study in Piano Performance. A year into her undergraduate study, she was one of five students selected to study at the prestigious Jilin Conservatory of Music in China.

Because of her life experience as a Chinese pianist, Mahamuti was interviewed frequently by China newspapers and China State TV and was featured in a two-part TV series on Karamay TV. Her piano performances were broadcast on multiple occasions. Her life story -- from her first piano lesson in Karamay at age eight to winning her first competition at age nine to earning her doctorate in the U.S. -- was the subject of a TV documentary in Gansu Province Public TV.

Mahamuti has written articles on piano education, pedagogy, and performance practice and was published in major music journals, including the People’s Music in China and the Clavier Companion on multiple occasions in the U.S. One of her articles was also translated into Italian and appears in Didattica. Her editorial work on the Chinese composer Shi Fu’s piano compositions was acknowledged by the distinguished Shanghai Music Publishing House (SMPH) in China. Her thesis on Shi Fu’s Three Xinjiang Piano Suites has become the main reference for Chinese and western music scholars. As a frequent presenter of lectures, master classes, and workshops, Mahamuti was invited as guest pianist and professor to universities, conservatories, and music schools across the U.S. and China. She presented at the National Conference of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), MTNA Webinar, International European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) Conference, and was one of the Plenary Session panelists on “A Conversation with Pedagogy Leaders from Around the World” at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) in Chicago.

As a selected member of the honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda, Dr. Mahamuti received numerous awards, honors, fellowships, and scholarships. Her professional achievements were recognized by the Ohio House of Representatives and by the Celebration of Scholarships at Ohio Wesleyan University on multiple occasions. Mahamuti was the winner of 2006 KMTA Collegiate State Artist Piano Competition/Graduate Division, won First Prize at The Second National Solo Instrument Competition in Beijing, First Prize at Gansu Province Piano Competition (China), and First Prize at The Second Collegiate Level Solo Instrument Competition in Jilin Province (China). She was selected to attend The Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Luncheon and was a twice-recipient of the distinguished UMKC Women’s Council Graduate Assistance Fund Fellowship and its Outstanding Merit Recipient of the James Lamar and Clara Winslow Sandusky Memorial Award and the Sarajane S. and R. Kenneth Aber Award, and the Rita Copaken Blitt Award and the Delia Call Ehrsam and Helen Oliver Voigts Memorial Award. She was also the recipient of UMKC Women’s Committee Esta I. (Peggy) Dix scholarship and the Lorraine Watson Scholarship. She was awarded William J. Browning Music Scholarship and subsequently Full-Time Graduate Teaching Assistantship to study at Pittsburg State University, where she received many awards, including Treble Clef Club Music Scholarship, Excellence in Piano Studies, Excellence of Scholarship, and Excellence of Professional Service.

After living in Ohio for eleven years, Dr. Mahamuti moved to the beautiful state of Maine in May of 2018. With 18-year collegiate teaching experience, she taught as an Assistant Professor of music at Ohio Wesleyan University and previously taught piano pedagogy at Capital University. She taught applied piano and class piano at University Missouri-Kansas City and Pittsburg State University as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She was a lecturer of piano at the School of Music of Northwest University for Nationalities (China) and was an Honorary Guest Professor at Yili Normal University College of Arts (China).


MIPFC Rules and Prizes

Blossoming Beginners (4-6) NON COMPETITIVE
Certificates awarded, ratings, adjudicator comments

Bright Juniors (7-10)

  • Certificates awarded to First, Second and Third Prize winners
  • Certificates only: Honorable Mentions

Young Stars (11-14)

  • First Prize: $100
  • Second Prize: $75
  • Third Prize and Honorable mentions may be awarded at the judges' discretion.

Young Artists (15-18)

  • First Prize: $300
  • Second Prize: $200
  • Third Prize and Honorable mentions may be awarded at the judges' discretion

Seniors ONLY Award:

  • $1,000 Scholarship to Rudi E Scheidt School of Music upon application as Piano Major
    Certificates only: Honorable Mentions

Collegiate Artists (18-30)

  • First Prize: $1,000
  • Second Prize: $500
  • Third Prize and Honorable mentions may be awarded at the judges' discretion.

Information for Competitions/Festival:

All performances will be in Harris Concert Hall at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. Prizes will be announced and presented after each category is complete. There will be a Prizewinners concert and Awards ceremony after completing all categories. All prize winners must perform short selections from their program in this concert to receive their award (the judges will decide on repertoire). 



  • Final deadline for completed entries: September 8, 2023 - 2 PM CST
  • Collegiate-only preliminary video deadline: September 8, 2023 - 2 PM CST (10-minute video)
  • Competition date - Saturday, October 14, 2023
  1. Repertoire- the competition program for all categories, competitive and non-competitive, requires a “contrasting program.” This is a free choice of pieces, but it must include at least two different periods of music (baroque, classical, romantic, impressionist, 20th century, or 21st century). Competitors must have music memorized unless the work is written post-1955. Non Competitor's memory is optional.
  2. Blossoming Beginners, Bright Juniors and Young Stars may also enter duet repertoire (from the above musical periods) with partners who are not their primary teacher or parent. Duets are non-competitive category only.
  3. The competition application fee is $50 for pre-college categories and $100 for collegiate. There are no refunds. This application fee includes free entry to all concerts, masterclasses, and lectures for the competitors.  
  4. There are five age groups for the Festival and International Competitions: Blossoming Beginners (4-6), Bright Juniors (aged 7-10), Young Stars (11-14), Young Artists (15-18), and College Artists (18 – up). Ages will be calculated as of the day of competition. In the exceptional cases of an 18 year-old attending high-school (or equivalent), or a 17-year-old attending College, they may choose which Competition they prefer to enter. 
  5. Applicants for the College Artists / Collegiate Competition should be aged 18 as of the day of the competition, except for cases that fall under rule number 4. Students must be enrolled as a full-time student in a College, University or Conservatory in order to compete. Students should bring a Student ID, teacher verification, or a recent transcript when they check in.
  6. Detailed repertoire information is required - movement numbers, titles of movements and exact timings. Contestants should bring purchased, clean scores for the judges, except for public domain pieces. For programs over the allocated time, judges will ask for portions of the repertoire at their discretion. No changes in the repertoire are allowed after the final deadline for completed entries listed above. 
  7. Student and teacher names and contact information are required at the online registration. 
  8. A valid credit or debit card is required for online registration fee - Fees must be received by the final deadline for completed entries.
  9. Students may include pieces that exceed the time limit, but they will be stopped at the maximum time limit: 3 minutes for Blossoming Beginners, 5 mins for the Bright Juniors, 10 mins for the Young Stars, 15 mins for the Young Artists, and 20 mins for the College Artists. It will not affect the competition results if a competitor is stopped or asked to perform part of a program. 
  10. Contestants in non competitive categories will receive certificates of participation, ribbons, and adjudicator comment sheets. Exceptional performances will be nominated to perform in a masterclass during the festival or a later date at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. 

Winners agree to the use of their photographic image to be used in social media and website content related to the competition and the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt Schol of Music unless otherwise expressed.

Contestants and allocated performance times may be limited. Please register early. No late applications are accepted. 



  • Final deadline for completed entries: September 8, 2023 - 2 PM CST
  • Collegiate-only preliminary video deadline: September 8, 2023 - 2 PM CST (10-minute video)
  • Competition date - Saturday, October 14, 2023



  • $100 Collegiate category
  • $50 for all other categories

Hotel Accommodations:

If you need overnight accommodations, you can view nearby hotels. The closest to the Memphis International Piano Festival and Competition is the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis - just a short walk across the parking lot to the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music and campus.


2023 Schedule

Thursday, Oct. 12

  • 4 -5 PM: Guest Artist Collegiate Masterclass with Duo Mundi
  • 7:30 PM: Opening Concert with Duo Mundi

Friday, Oct. 13

  • 4 - 5:15 PM: Masterclass with Drs. Hye-Jung Hong and Wei-Han Su from Missouri State University
  • 5:30 - 7:30 PM: Collegiate Performances

Saturday, Oct. 14

Harris Concert Hall

  • 8:15 - 9:35 AM: Collegiate Performances
  • 9:35 AM: Winners Announcements and Handing Participation Certificates (Collegiate)
  • 10 AM - 1 PM: Young Artists (15-18) Performances
  • 1 PM: Winners Announcements and Handing Participation Certificates (Young Artists)
  • 1:15 - 2:15 PM: Masterclass with Dr. Artina McCain and Dr. Jonathan Tsay
  • 2:30 PM: Winners Recital and Awards

Scheidt Family Performing Arts Center Plough Performance Hall

  • 8: - 8:18 AM: Blossoming Beginners (4-6)
  • 8:25 - 9:20 AM: Bright Juniors (7-10) Performances
  • 9:45 AM - 1:30 PM: Young Stars (11-14) Performances
  • 1:30 PM: Winners Announcements and Handing Participation Certificates (Young Stars)

Click here to see your audition time