World-Class Performance Highlights from 2016 Midwest International Piano Competition

Aug 28, 2017

World-class pianists are taking over Symphonies of Iowa! Tune in this Sunday, September 3rd at 4 p.m. and Monday, September 4th at 7 p.m. to hear performances by the three finalists of the 2nd Midwest International Piano Competition. On round three of the competition, all of the remaining three finalists had chosen to play Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat, Op. 73 for their final round work with the wcfsymphony under the direction of Jason Weinberger.

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. She took third prize in the 2016 MIPC and performed Rachmaninoff’s Elegie in E-flat minor, Op. 3 No. 1 as her encore. Ms. Li attended The Juilliard School under Seymour Lipkin and Joseph Kalichstein, and pursued her Artist Diploma with Peter Frankl at the Yale School of Music. She recently completed her doctorate at McGill School of Music, and is currently on the piano faculty and is a chamber music coach for the McGill School.

Second place winner and 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. For her MIPC encore, she performed Chopin’s Impromptu in A-Flat Major, Op. 29. 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.

And 28-year-old Russian pianist Timur Mustakimov, winner of the 2016 MIPC, 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 finishing his Doctoral Program in the studio of Dr. Abramovic at Temple University. You will hear his winning performance of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat, Op. 73 plus Brahms’ Intermezzo in A, Op. 118 No. 2 for his encore.

Mustakimov, as winner of the 2016 Midwest International Piano Competition, won a $10,000 cash prize and a CD recording contract with the Blue Griffin label. Timur was also the winner of the “Audience Choice Award,” for which he received $500.