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Inside Look: The 2016 MIPC Finalists

Rachel Bearinger

The 2016 Midwest International Piano Competition is nearing its climax as three world-class pianists have been selected to compete in the finals on Saturday night and perform the concerto of their choice with the wcfsymphony under Jason Weinberger. The three finalists hail from China, the United States, and Russia.

All three have chosen to play the Emperor Concerto as their final round repertoire. What a wonderful opportunity for the listener to hear different musical interpretations of Beethoven’s last monumental piano concerto, his Concerto No. 5 in E flat, op. 73!

28-year-old pianist Zhenni Li, of China, was described as “a magnetic pianist—with fire and poetry. Everyone should hear her” by music critic David Dubal. Ms. Li attended The Juilliard School under Seymour Lipkin and Joseph Kalichstein. She recently pursued her Artist Diploma with Peter Frankl at the Yale School of Music. She is currently working on her doctorate at McGill University at the Schulich School of Music in Montreal.

A native of Fremont, California, Alison Lee, 24, started piano lessons at age five and made her concerto debut with the El Camino Youth Symphony when she was ten. She is currently a DMA student at the University of Minnesota, where she studies with Lydia Artymiw.  She received her MM degree from Rice University under Jon Kimura Parker and BM degree from Oberlin Conservatory under Angela Cheng.

Russian pianist Timur Mustakimov, 28, received his undergraduate degree from Kazan State Conservatory in Russia under the tutelage of Alfiya Burnasheva.  He continued his education at Mannes College in the studio of Vladimir Feltsman for the Master’s and Professional Studies programs.  Timur is currently working on his Doctoral Program in the studio of Dr. Abramovic at Temple University.

Be sure to tune in on Saturday, June 11 starting at 7 p.m. for our live finals broadcast featuring these young pianists in action! Plus you’ll hear interviews with the finalists, judges, and competition co-founders Dmitri Vorobiev and Sean Botkin, both associate professors of music at the University of Northern Iowa. Join us at the Gallagher-Bluedorn in person (tickets are available at the door) or tune in online at www.iowapublicradio.org