Taft musicians went out on a high note at two recent piano competitions. Alicia Wang ’15 tied for first place in the Schubert Club Awards competition, while Natalie Tam ’14 placed second in 2012 Hudson Philharmonic Orchestra Piano Concerto competition.
“I am not surprised with the results; both are excellent students and phenomenal musicians,” said music teacher TJ Thompson. “Alicia is one of my top saxophonists in Jazz Band; she plays great, is extremely attentive, and is both creative and thorough. Natalie was a phenomenal force on the European tour last year when we performed excerpts from Saent Saens' Carnival of the Animals. She too, unsurprisingly, is one of my top students in AP Music Theory.”
Alicia has been playing piano for about 10 years; she has been studying with her current teacher for most of that time. She has also been competing at the Schubert Club Awards for the past few years.
“It's pretty competitive, but it's also more fun than other competitions because it's not that formal,” Alicia explained. “There is an audience near the stage and the judges are way in the back.”
The competition was hosted by the Schubert Club of Fairfield County, based in Stamford, CT. Founded in 1910, the Club sponsors performances, competitions and educational programs.
“There were four award competitions,” said Alicia, “Bach, French Impressionist, Chopin, and a floating award, which was Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. My first place finish was for the floating award in the junior division.”
Natalie traveled to New York last month for the 2012 Hudson Philharmonic Orchestra Piano Concerto competition.
“I have participated in many piano competitions in Hong Kong,” Natalie said. “Now that I have been in the United States for about a year, I decided to continue my competing experience. This competition is only my first competition, and I still have at least five more to go.”
Natalie earned a second place finish for her performance of the first movement of Beethoven Piano Concerto No.1 in C Major and Chopin Polanaise Op26. She has been playing piano for the past 11 years, and currently travels to Yale University twice each month to study under Professor Wei-Yi Yang.
“I attended the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts since I was 6 with other very competitive young pianists. I met a lot of talented musicians in this event and have made many musicians friends,” Natalie concluded.
As young students, teacher TJ Thompson knows there is much more ahead for both girls.
“I am proud and happy for both of them, thrilled to get to teach them, and can't wait to hear more,” said Thompson.