Canada’s Honens International Piano Competition Announces 2018 Semifinalists

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Ten pianists have been chosen to advance to the Semifinals of Canada’s Honens International Piano Competition. The pianists (aged 21 to 29) come from nine countries: Austria, Belgium, Georgia, Hong Kong, Italy, Romania, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States. Only one pianist will be named Honens Prize Laureate and win the world’s largest award of its kind—$100,000 (CAD) and an Artist Development Program valued at a half million dollars. The Semifinals and Finals of the Honens International Piano Competition take place during the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition & Festival in Calgary, August 30 to September 8, 2018.

Honens’ First Jury, comprised of pianists Winston Choi, Eduardo Monteiro and Pedja Muzijevic, and General and Artistic Director of the Arte Musica Foundation, Isolde Lagacé, selected the ten Semifinalists after a week of deliberations in April at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The panel reviewed 45 recitals and interviews that were recorded as part of the Honens Quarterfinals held in Berlin and New York in March.

“Our First Jury did an outstanding job in narrowing the field from forty-five to ten,” said Honens’ Artistic Director Jon Kimura Parker. “Their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives lent broad definition to the selection process. We look forward to introducing these brilliant Semifinalists to our Calgary and online audiences in September.”

The ten Semifinalists are: Stefano Andreatta (Italy), Han Chen (Taiwan), Tzu-Yin Huang (Taiwan), Adela Liculescu (Romania), Nicolas Namoradze (Georgia), Megan-Geoffrey Prins (South Africa), Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner (United States), Philipp Scheucher (Austria), Aristo Sham (Hong Kong), and Yannick Van de Velde (Belgium).

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Each Semifinalist performs two recitals (August 30 to September 3): a 65-minute solo recital and a 65-minute collaborative recital with baritone Phillip Addis and violinist Jonathan Crow. Three pianists will advance to the Finals (September 6 and 7) for quintet performances with the Azahar Ensemble and concerti performances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Karina Canellakis. The 2018 Honens Prize Laureate will be announced on September 7.

Honens also presents a variety of concerts during the ten-day Festival: a performance by Mentor-in-Residence Garrick Ohlsson; a concert by 2015 Honens Prize Laureate Luca Buratto and Szymon Nehring, winner of Israel’s 2017 Rubinstein Competition (with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra); Bison Noir, an after-hours jam session; a world premiere Storytellers presentation of a newly commissioned arrangement of The Hockey Sweater; a Xenia Concert designed to appeal to, and be welcoming to, children on the autism spectrum and their families; and Open Air, a free outdoor chamber recital for the entire community. Competition & Festival Passes—offering significant discounts—and single tickets, ranging from $10 to $97, are available now at



Honens discovers, nurtures, and presents Complete Artists—21st century pianists for 21st century audiences. The Honens International Piano Competition takes place every three years and is considered one of the world’s most prestigious events of its kind. Honens prepares its Laureates for the rigors and realities of professional careers in music and creates opportunities for growth and exposure. The annual Honens Festival is one of Canada’s premier classical music events, intended to share Mrs. Honens’ love of world renowned music with Albertans every year. The 2018 Honens International Piano Competition & Festival takes place in Calgary from August 30 to September 8.

Esther Honens created a legacy of musical excellence to be enjoyed for generations. In 1991, Mrs. Honens gave $5 million to endow an international piano competition in her hometown of Calgary. Her generosity, vision, and love of music continue to touch the lives of musicians and music lovers at home and around the world. Honens’ Legacy Partners follow in Esther Honens’ footsteps by securing Honens’ future and ensuring the continued ability to offer a broad scope of programming and community outreach projects.

The 2018 Honens International Piano Competition is presented by TD Bank Group, the 2018 Honens Festival is presented by Nexen Energy, a CNOOC Limited company; Lead Partner is TransAlta Corporation; Supporting Partners are RBC Foundation, Masters Gallery Ltd. and Sir Jack Lyons Charitable Trust. Other Partners include: Arts Commons, Avenue, Calgary Herald, Deluxe Design Group, FortisAlberta, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, The Fairmont Palliser, WAX Partnership Inc. Honens also thanks Bridgeland Market, Jaguar / Land Rover Ottawa, Philip Chong Flower Bar, Rosso Coffee Roasters; and industry partners Calgary Downtown Association, Calgary Hotel Association, Travel Alberta and Tourism Calgary. Piano partners: Fazioli / Michael Lipnicki Fine Pianos, Steinway & Sons / Steinway Piano Gallery Calgary. Public and Foundation Partners include Calgary Arts Development Authority / City of Calgary, Calgary Foundation, Alberta Foundation for the Arts / Government of Alberta, Alberta Lottery Fund, Department of Canadian Heritage.


 The Competition’s mission is to identify talent that is unusual, imaginative and informed—an artist not limited to displays of virtuosity but one who is capable of thoughtful, expressive music-making, and is ready for a professional career. Honens sees the Complete Artist as a consummate communicator and collaborator, a risk-taking explorer, a dreamer. Through performance and programming choices, he/she expresses and interprets ideas from a wide cultural context with keen imagination, informed and seasoned by a fascination for life outside the practice studio. The Complete Artist inspires the heart and engages the intellect.

The Complete Artist’s interpretations are founded upon the intellectual and emotional understanding of musical text and upon his/her ability to synthesize and express such understanding so as to challenge and stir both the intellect and the emotions of the listener. This creative awareness stems not only from knowledge of a particular composition itself but, equally importantly, from a wide knowledge of related music, of musical literature as a whole, and of the other arts, including, but not limited to, the visual and literary. If the resulting interpretation appears unusual and unconventional, it does so freshly and naturally.

Pianists taking part in the Honens Competition must also express—through their stage deportment, program design, and interviews with arts journalists—sensitivity to contemporary culture and a willingness and ability to communicate effectively with today’s audiences.



Age 27, Stefano Andreatta began his musical studies at the age of seven with his father. He made his first public appearance at the age of ten and his debut with orchestra at the age of 15, when he performed Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. In 2011, he graduated from the Castelfranco Veneto Conservatory (Italy) where he studied with Francesco Bencivenga.

In 2012, Andreatta was selected to take part in the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara (California), where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal from The Juilliard School (New York). He has also studied with Riccardo Risaliti and Anna Kravchenko. In 2014, he completed his master’s degree, submitting a thesis on piano didactics in the Soviet Union. He is currently studying with Niklas Sivelov at the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen) and with Massimiliano Ferrati in Italy.

In 2016/2017, Andreatta was the First Prize winner of the FVG International Piano Competition (Italy), with special prizes for his Beethoven and Rachmaninoff Sonatas, and Third Prize winner at Concours International de Montréal. He has recorded an album at the Fazioli Concert Hall for KNS Classical label.

Andreatta has given concerts in Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Germany, England, Kazakhstan, Canada and the USA. As a soloist, he has performed with Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Orchestra Filarmonia Veneta, Nova Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Astana Symphony Orchestra. Andreatta is also a composer and piano teacher.

HAN CHEN, Taiwan

Age 26, Hailed by The New York Times as a pianist with “a graceful touch … rhythmic precision … hypnotic charm,” (2012) and “sure, subtle touch,” (2014) Han Chen is a prize winner at many major competitions for both traditional and avant-garde music.

In January, 2016, as part of his prize package as the First Prize winner of the 6th China International Piano Competition (Shenzhen) Chen released his debut CD with Naxos Records consisting of Liszt’s operatic transcriptions. International Piano magazine (UK) praised Chen’s performance in the competition, stating that he “displayed extraordinary strength, talent, and flair.”

As an enthusiastic advocate for modern music, Chen actively performs both 20th century classics and works by emerging composers. His close collaboration with the Juilliard modern music ensemble AXIOM led him to the performance of music by composers such as Pierre Boulez, Toshio Hosokawa, György Kurtág, Magnus Lindberg, Steve Reich and Charles Wuorinen. He is currently on the roster of the New York-based Ensemble Échappé.

A native of Taichung (Taiwan), Chen received his accelerated Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at The Juilliard School (New York) with Professor Yoheved Kaplinsky under the C/Kaplan Piano Scholarship, Susan W. Rose Piano Fellowship and the Van Cliburn Alumni Scholarship. After this achievement, he obtained his Graduate Diploma with Prof. Wha Kyung Byun at the New England Conservatory (Boston). He is commences his Doctorate of Musical Arts studies at the CUNY Graduate Center (New York) in August 2018.


Age 29, Tzu-Yin Huang began playing the piano at age four in her home country of Taiwan. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree at the National Taiwan Normal University (Taipei), she came to the United States where she received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.

Huang has won many awards including First Prize and Orchestra Prize at the 12th Hastings International Piano Competition (England). This prize has led to numerous performances in England including her London debut, and concerti performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She also received major prizes at the Wideman International Piano Competition (Mississippi) and the Iowa Piano Competition, concerto competitions at both the University of Michigan and National Taiwan Normal University, and the Yamaha Piano Competition (Taiwan).

Huang has performed at the Innsbrook (Missouri) and Meadowmount (New York) music festivals, and is a fellow of the Gijón International Piano Festival (Spain). She has performed with Music Michigan (CMM), and most recently formed the duo “Ecius.” Her principal teachers include Chung-Wen Tsai, Louis Nagel, and Logan Skelton. Huang believes artists have a responsibility to bring music and inspiration to others and that playing music from the heart is only this way that allows music to touch people’s souls.


Age 25, Adela Liculescu was born in Craiova, Romania in 1993. Since 2012, she has been studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts (Vienna) with Professor Martin Hughes.

Liculescu is a prizewinning pianist. In February 2018, she was awarded the Prix du Piano Bern (Switzerland). As one of only four invited pianists chosen for the competition, she was awarded First Prize by the votes of the audience present. In September 2017, Liculescu won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize at the Brahms International Competition in Pörtschach (Austria) and in the Brahms International Competition in Detmold (Germany) she was awarded the First Prize and several special prizes including a professional CD recording. In 2017, she won the Yamaha Music Prize (Austria) and became a scholar of the Thyll-Dürr Foundation of Switzerland. Previous competition accolades include First Prize at the Bösendorfer Piano Competition (Vienna) in 2015 where she performed together with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

Liculescu has performed concerts at the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), Musikverein Vienna, and the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. As an active chamber musician, she performs regularly in her duo with violinist Kirill Maximov and has performed in ensembles and collaborations with Alexander Sitkovetsky, Natalia Lomeiko, Barnabás Kelemen, Corinne Chapelle, Domenico Nordio, Diana Ketler, Mirabela Dina, Maxim Rysanov, Maria Kliegel, Julian Arp, Boris Andrianov, and László Fenyö.


Age 26, The performances of pianist and composer Nicolas Namoradze have been hailed by critics as “sparkling … sensitive and coloristic” (The New York Times) and “simply gorgeous” (Wall Street Journal). He has given recitals at prestigious venues in several countries around the world. He has appeared as a soloist with renowned orchestras and conductors in Europe and the United States. His performances in Hungary, Georgia, Spain, and the USA have been broadcast on radio and television and his compositions have been commissioned and performed by leading artists and festivals in the United States.

Highlights of his current season include appearances at the Chelsea Music Festival (New York) as a featured composer and pianist, recitals in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as Artist-in-Residence at The Drozdoff Society, as well as commissions for ensembles such as the Barkada and Verona Quartets and a series of concerts with violinist Rolf Schulte. Namoradze was recently awarded the Fidelio Fortissimo Prize for young composers (Budapest). During the past season, he also composed and produced the soundtracks for Walking Painting, a film by Fabienne Verdier, and Nuit d’opéra à Aix, a short film made in association with the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

After completing his undergraduate studies in Budapest, Vienna and Florence, Namoradze moved to New York to receive his master’s degree at The Juilliard School. He now pursues his Doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center (New York) holding the Graduate Center Fellowship, studying piano with Emanuel Ax and Yoheved Kaplinsky, and composition with John Corigliano. Nicolas serves on the faculty of Queens College, CYNY (New York).


Age 28, Megan-Geoffrey Prins, from Riversdale, South Africa, is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Cleveland Institute of Music (Ohio) where he completed the Master of Music program with Antonio Pompa-Baldi. Praised for his technical prowess, imaginative interpretation and keen sensitivity, Prins has received numerous awards from competitions in South Africa and abroad, including First Prizes at the UNISA 120th Anniversary Competition (Pretoria), the inaugural Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival Competition (Matieland), and the 2017 SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition (Johannesburg). In 2012, Prins received the Sadie Zellen Piano Prize from the Cleveland Institute of Music (Ohio) and in 2017 was awarded the Maurice and Judith Kaplow Prize for Uncommon Creativity.

Prins made his concerto debut at the age of 11. By the age of 14, he had performed concerti with all the major orchestras in South Africa. In recent years, Prins has travelled to South Africa, the USA, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Mozambique for solo performances. Prins is an active chamber musician. He served on the faculty of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (Matieland) from 2016 to 2017 and frequently collaborates with artists in Cleveland and South Africa.


Age 21, Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner has been lauded as “poetic, electrifying” (Michigan Live), “masterful technique” (La Presse Montreal), and “a gifted virtuoso” (San Francisco Chronicle), for performances that have stirred the intellect and humanity of his listeners on five continents. Named a Gilmore Young Artist (2014), an honor awarded every two years to the most promising American pianists of the new generation, Sanchez-Werner also received the Atlantic Council Young Global Citizen Award recognizing his dedication to social action through music in countries including Iraq, Rwanda, France, Canada, and the United States. General Petraeus commended his “courageous humanitarian contributions through the arts … strengthening the ties that unite our nations.”

An active chamber musician, Sanchez-Werner has collaborated with leading artists such as Renée Fleming, Eric Owens, Marina Poplavskaya and Cynthia Phelps. Since making his concerto debut at age six, he performs regularly under the batons of conductors including Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Michael Morgan, Boris Brott, Tito Muñoz, David Lockington, William Noll, Burns Taft, Robert Lawson, and Karim Wasfi.

Sanchez-Werner has been featured on NPR, CNN International, the Wall Street Journal, and WDR-Arte and was honored to perform at the White House and Kennedy Center for President Obama’s Inauguration concert. He received his bachelor’s and master’s from The Juilliard School (New York) where he also received the Kovner Fellowship. Principal teachers have included Yoheved Kaplinsky and Ilya Itin, and Lowell Liebermann for composition. Sanchez-Werner studies with Boris Berman at the Yale School of Music (Connecticut) as the only candidate selected this year for their prestigious Artist Diploma program.


Age 25, Whether in Vienna’s Musikverein, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus or Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Philipp Scheucher is at home in the most prestigious concert halls of the world. When he was awarded First Prize at the International Music Prize (Cologne), the German Broadcasting Corporation, WDR, stated Scheucher’s “absolute stage presence and his crisp-lively sound of his interpretations set new quality standards.”

Scheucher was born in Graz, Austria, in 1993. At the age of ten, his extraordinary musical talent was noticed by Maria Zgubic at the University of Music and Performing Arts (Vienna), where his career as a pianist started to develop. Under the guidance of Markus Schirmer, he found his own personality and artistry on the piano. This gave him the rare ability to revitalize classical music and bring it to the 21st century. His repertoire includes a wide range covering the standard repertoire of today’s classical pianists. More recently, Scheucher’s affinity for contemporary music is being appreciated, and is confirmed by many of his collaborations with living composers. He was involved in the premiere of Marc-André Hamelin’s piano solo work L’homme armé and he collaborated with Austrian composer M.G. Kendlinger to premiere his piano concerto Larissa.

Scheucher’s musical flexibility, technical abilities and his interaction with an audience all add to his promise as a leading artist of his generation.


Age 22, Hailed by the Washington Post as a young artist with “boundless potential” who can “already hold his own with the best”, pianist Aristo Sham has dazzled audiences on five continents. In 2009, Sham was featured in the documentary The World’s Greatest Musical Prodigies, broadcast in the UK. The New York Concert Review remarked that “in addition to showing passion and pianism, [his performance]reflected logic and clarity.” Sham has also performed for royalty and dignitaries such as Prince Charles, the Queen of Belgium and ex-President Hu of China, and collaborated with orchestras such as the English Chamber Orchestra (London) and the Minnesota Orchestra.

Sham first gained international recognition when he won First Prizes in the Ettlingen International Piano Competition (Germany) in 2006, and the Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition (Utah) in 2008. More recently, he has won First Prizes in the inaugural Viseu International Piano Competition (Portugal), the Wideman International Piano Competition (Louisiana), the PianoArts Competition (Wisconsin), and the New York International Piano Competition as well as prizes in the Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Clara Haskil International Piano Competition (Switzerland), and Viotti International Piano Competitions (Italy).

Born in Hong Kong, Sham was first introduced to the piano at the age of 3. His principal teachers include Professors Eleanor Wong, Colin Stone, Victor Rosenbaum, and Julia-Mustonen-Dahlkvist. He was a student at Harrow School (London), and is currently pursuing a Bachelor in Economics and French and a Master of Music in piano performance as a joint program at Harvard University and New England Conservatory (Massachusetts). In addition, he travels to Sweden regularly for studies at the Ingesund School of Music. In his free time, Aristo enjoys travelling, languages, gastronomy and oenology.


Age 28, Yannick Van de Velde is a prize-winner in many international competitions: a finalist in the Busoni Competition in Bolzano (Italy), Prize Walkiers-Carbonelle in the Queen Elisabeth Competition (Belgium), Sixth Prize in the Los Angeles Piano Competition in 2018, Public Prize and Prix d’Argent in the Piano Campus Competition (Paris), and First Prize in the Nany Phillepart Foundation Competition (Brussels).

Van de Velde has considerable experience as a soloist as well as a chamber musician, with 30 concerti in his repertoire and much of Ravel’s piano catalog. He has played under the baton of conductors including, but not limited to, Stanley Dodds, Erich Lederhändler, Etienne Siebens, Michael Hofstätter, Ivo Venkov, and Fabrice Parmentier. Strongly interested in contemporary music, he played the world premieres of Chanson for piano and orchestra by Jean-Frédéric Neuburger and Dream by Frederic Rzewski.

Van de Velde has performed in over 40 countries in famous venues such as the Great Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie (as soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra), the Acropolis Museum (Athens), and Lincoln Center (New York).

He has studied with Klaus Hellwig and Eliso Virsaldze and currently studies with Boris Berman at Yale University (Connecticut).

He is a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Soloists Trio with principal violist Christophe Horak and solo cellist Bruno Delepelaire.


30 August to 3 September 2018


12:30 and 7:30 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

Ten Semifinalists perform a 65-minute solo recital and a 65-minute collaborative recital with baritone Phillip Adis and violinist Jonathan Crow.

1 and 2 September 2018


9:00 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

Visiting pianists Ingrid Fliter and Inon Barnatan instruct and inspire music students from across Alberta.

3 September 2018


 10:00 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

Join us for the world premiere of the newly commission arrangement of The Hockey Sweater.


11:00 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

Xenia Concerts are a series of accessible concerts that are designed to appeal to, and be welcoming to, children on the autism spectrum and their families. The series embodies the philosophy that everyone should have equal access to quality chamber music performances.

Bo-Yon Koh piano
Min-Jeong Koh violin

Elgar                                             Salut d’Amour

J.S. Bach                                      Chaconne from Partita in D minor for solo violin, BMV 1004

Grieg                                            Sonata for violin and piano No. 3, Op. 45 in C minor

  1. Allegretto espressivo alla Romanza

Kreisler                                        Liebesleid

Beethoven                                  Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor for solo piano, “Für Elise”

Daniel                                          Metsa Maasikad “Wild Strawberries”,

  1. Tip top tilluke (tip toe, little one)

Bartók                                          Romanian Folk Dances for violin and piano (Arr. Zoltán Székely)

4 September 2018


8:00 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

Honens’ 2018 Artist and Mentor-in-Residence and multi award-winning pianist, Garrick Ohlsson, performs in Calgary for the first time in more than 15 years as part of the Honens Festival.

Garrick Ohlsson piano

Brahms                                        Eight Pieces, Op. 76
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21 No. 1
Variations on a Hungarian Song, Op. 21 No. 2

Chopin                                        Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 45
Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20
Mazurka in C-sharp minor, Op. 50 No. 3
Mazurka in F minor, Op. 7 No. 3
Ballade in G minor, Op. 23

5 September 2018


6:00 pm

The Fairmont Palliser

Celebrate the extraordinary—Heather Bourne and Masters Gallery Ltd. are the 2018 Honens Honours recipients. Honens Honours pays tribute to individuals and organizations whose dedication to the arts, like Esther Honens before them, has made an extraordinary contribution to cultural life and arts in Calgary.


8:00 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

A rare opportunity to hear two international piano competition winners perform together with the CPO. 2015 Honens Prize Laureate Luca Buratto and Szymon Nehring, winner of Israel’s 2017 Rubinstein Competition, perform a program of Mozart, Prokofiev, and Strauss with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Karina Canellakis.

Luca Buratto piano

Szymon Nehring piano

Karina Canellakis conductor

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Mozart                                         Overture to Die Zauberflöte, K. 620
Concerto No. 10 for two pianos in E-flat Major, K. 365/316a

Strauss                                          Burleske in D minor for Piano and Orchestra

Prokofiev                                                       Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major, Op. 10

6 September 2018


7:30 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

The three Finalists each perform a quintet with the Azahar Ensemble.


10:00 pm

Royal Canadian Legion No. 1

Bison Noir is the after-concert place to be where competitors, musicians, and jurors jam into the wee hours.

7 September 2018


7:30 pm

Jack Singer Concert Hall at Arts Commons

The three finalists each perform a concerto of their choice with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Karina Canellakis. The 2018 Honens Prize Laureate is awarded the top prize of $100,000 (CAD) and an Artist Development Program valued at a half million dollars.

8 September 2018


2 pm

Central Memorial Park

The ever popular Open Air is back to wrap up the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition & Festival.

Bask in the warmth of the September sun while listening to an outdoor chamber music concert. Bring your sunglasses, picnic basket, and blanket… and don’t forget the kids!

Program to be announced.


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