Andy Sheng ’20 wins Cornell Concerto Competition

Pianist Andy Sheng ’20 is the winner of the 14th annual Cornell Concerto Competition, held Dec. 10 in Barnes Hall Auditorium. He performed the first movement of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 and will perform the piece as a featured soloist with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra in a concert March 11, 2018, in Bailey Hall.

A physics, math and music major, Sheng has been studying piano for 13 years, and is currently a student of Xak Bjerken, professor of music. He also studies conducting with Chris Younghoon Kim, associate professor of music and director of orchestras.

Sheng has won competition prizes including the Mondavi Piano Competition, the San Jose International Piano Competition and the Alexander and Buono International Piano Competition, which earned him a performance in Carnegie Hall. He has been featured on NPR’s “From the Top,” performed with the Vienna Neustadter Orchestra and played solo concerts on piano and organ in the United States, Austria and Poland.

Sheng was one of three finalists chosen from among eight student musicians entered in the first round, also Dec. 10.

Jeremy Gershonowitz ’18, a materials science and engineering major and cello student of senior lecturer John Haines-Eitzen, performed Ernest Bloch’s “Schelomo” in the final round. David Zhang ’20, a biological sciences and computer science major and violin student of assistant professor Ariana Kim, performed Pablo de Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen.”

“Each year I am humbled by the maturity and sincerity with which our students communicate their love for music,” Kim said after the competition. “We are lucky to be in a community in which so many of our students take the pursuit and study of music seriously and with so much joy. A big thanks to our teachers who provide guidance to our students to play at the highest level.”

Judges for the competition were Phiroze Mehta, emeritus professor in the Ithaca College School of Music, where he taught piano from 1976 to 2015 and was named a Dana Teaching Fellow; award-winning international conductor and Ithaca resident Katherine Kilburn, orchestra director at Kent State University; and violinist Dennis Kim, concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic and faculty member of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Pianist and doctoral candidate in music Ryan McCullough served as the competition’s official accompanist.

This story also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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Sheng playing piano