2023 Irvine Conservatory International Music Competition Grand Winners

Yuesheng Zhuang

Born in Nanjing, China, Yuesheng Zhuang has been studying with Professor Kuanwen Wang, a renowned pianist in Shanghai Conservatory of Music, since the age of three.

Yuesheng Zhuang has won top prizes in many major competitions, including Grand Prize of 2023 Irvine Conservatory International Music Competition (Piano Category A), First Prize of 2023 Wefon Chimelong International Piano Open, Gold Medal of 2023 TSP International Open Competition, Gold Medal of 2022 Shanghai International Music Competition(Children’s  Division) ,Gold Medal of 2022 the 3rd Warsaw International Youth Piano Competition China Finals.
At the age of six,  Yuesheng Zhuang had his concerto debut  with Accent Orchestra at Shanghai Oriental Art Center and  appeared in prestigious festivals such as 2023 Shanghai International Music  Festival  and  USMCE International Music Festival in Qingdao. He also performed at the Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts. 

Besides piano, Yuesheng Zhuang has variety of hobbies, such as horseback riding,traveling and reading. He is a talented boy full of vigor and curiosity.

Andrew Huang

Andrew Huang was born in 2013. He is currently a fifth grader at Sycamore Canyon School in Thousand Oaks, CA. He started learning piano with Dr. Gulia Gurevich in 2020. In the last two years, Andrew has been under incredible guidance from Dr. Xiao Chen and Mr. Brandon Zhou. Dr. Chen has inspired him to find his own musicality and ignited an eagerness to learn and improve his craft.

Andrew has earned state honors in MTAC Certificate of Merit and he is currently preparing for level 8 in piano. Andrew is also learning clarinet under Mr. George Chen and has become the youngest member of charity band “Soaring Notes Youth Band” (SNYB) when he was in fourth grade. Andrew is also in his second year at JCM (Junior Chamber Music).

Outside of his music pursuits, Andrew enjoys participating in community service and has earned The President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award in the past year. Andrew is a black belt in Taekwondo. In his free time, he likes to read, swim, and play basketball. Andrew’s favorite topics are science and math. He is grateful for all his teachers and his family for their support and love.

Wanqi Huang

Wanqi Huang, born on Oct. 29, 2010 in Hong Kong, female, started to learn piano at 4 years old. Now is a 6 grade student. Has been learning piano performance from Professor Zhaoyi Dan since 2017.
■ March 2015, passed the piano level 4 examination of Chinese Musicians' Association;
■ July 2015, participated in the 7th CADENZA Piano Competition and won the first place in Shenzhen competition area;
■ July 29, 2015, participated in Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia Piano Competition and acquired the grand prize of the children group;
■ Oct. 11, 2015, successfully held her personal public performance of a piano recital in the Cultural and Sports Center of Nanshan, Shenzhen;
■ August 2016, won the second prize in the Children's Group of the 4th Outstanding Chinese Youth Performers Selection Competition in 2016;
■ Dec. 2016, passed the piano level 10 examination of Chinese Musicians' Association.
■ July 2018, won the first place in the Children's group final at the 8th Shenzhen Open Piano Competition;
■ 2020.7 Enter Shenzhen Art School to study piano performance.

Ethan Chen

Ethan Chen has been playing piano for 14 years and under Dr. Joseph Matthews, Professor Emeritus of Music from Chapman University, since the sixth grade. He has performed internationally, including at New York’s Carnegie Hall and in the Stiftung Mozarteum Concert in Salzburg, Austria. He has performed in masterclasses with internationally-renowned performers, such as Dr. Fabio Bidini and Dr. Ning An among many others. Some awards he has won this year include being the First prize winner of the Southern California Bach Complete Works competition, Grand Prize winner of the Music Teachers’ Association of California Theme Festival, and First Prize winner of the Musical Arts Competition. He was one of five performers selected statewide for Panel 2 Masterclass with Dr. Natsuki Fukasawa by the Music Teachers’ Association of California
Music Teachers’ Association of California Panel 2 State Honors Award.

Irene Fu

Irene Fu is a 14-year old young pianist from Pleasanton, California. She started learning piano at the age of 5 and a half, choosing the instrument wholly of personal interest. Her passion for piano has sprouted since; she has been performing ever since 6 years old and at the age of 10, she held her first solo mini-concert showcasing 10+ classical works. Over the course of her 9-year piano career, Irene has studied with 5+ instructors across Nevada, California, and China. She currently studies with Ms. Wei Tao. 

On top of passion, Irene also harnesses great skill in her playing - she passed the ABRSM Level 8 Performance Exam with Distinction and also the ABRSM Level 5 Music Theory Exam with Distinction. Furthermore, she has profound experience in competitions and contests. Irene has won 1st Prize in the 2023 Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition, 2nd Prize in the 2023 Charleston International Music Competition, 2nd Prize in the 2023 Steinway Piano Competition, 2nd Place in the 2022 USOMC Treasury of Romantic Composers Intermediate, 2nd Place in the MTAC Alameda East Piano Competition, and many more.

Irene is fervently affectionate towards music. Outside of piano, she also plays violin and sings Italian opera as a mezzo-soprano. In 2023, she attended the “Let's Sing Kids China” San Francisco Finals, finishing in 2nd Place and earning an opportunity to be televised on one of China’s largest shows for young vocalists. In her free time, she loves to compose vocal music, and plans to publish her first album on Spotify in 2024. Irene hopes that, as she continues her journey, she is able to spread emotional and technical depth to her audience through her music.

Bryan Liu

Bryan Liu was born in New Jersey. He currently lives in New York. Bryan has been learning piano since the age of four. He started to learn the cello at the age of eight. He is currently studying with Ms. Yi Qun Xu.
During his piano studies, he has participated in and won multiple competitions. Bryan won the American Protege Piano and Strings Competition in the young musicians' category in 2019, the Grand Prix award in the New York 10th Concert Festival International Competition in 2019, the second prize, and the Most Promising Talent award in the New York International Competition for Young Artists in 2019. He also performed several winners’ recitals at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. When he was 8, he started to learn cello. He won the first prize winner of the 2023 VIVO International Music Competition and Special Presentation Award. He performed in Merkin Hall in the spring of 2023.

Maxwell Brown

Maxwell Brown (age 12) is a student of Brian Lewis (Austin, TX) and Timothy Schwarz (Philadelphia, PA), and studied previously with Shelley Beard Santore (Lansdowne, PA). He is a member of the Youth Chamber Orchestra with Aaron Picht at the Temple Center for Gifted Young Musicians.
Max has been honored to perform as a soloist with orchestras including the Rowan Strings Ensemble, Ambler Symphony, Warminster Symphony, IYACC, MYAC, and DYSO. He has enjoyed solo recital performances in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Juilliard’s Paul Hall, Royal Albert Hall, and the Kimmel Center, and at institutes including Heifetz, the Ithaca College Preludio Program, and Northwestern University’s Bienen Institute. 
Max has been the Overall Winner of the Walgreens National Concerto Competition Junior Open Division, second place winner of the International Lowell Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition, a semifinalist for the International Young Artists Concerto Competition, winner of the MTNA junior division for his state, and winner of the Warminster Concerto Competition Children’s Division. For his age group, he has won the Bellagrande, Camerata, France Music, and Long Island Conservatory of Music competitions, among others.

Max has been honored to receive the Coastal Concerts, Frankel, Glotzer, and Menges awards, and to perform in multiple ASTA masterclasses as well as the 2023 ASTA Board Meeting. He was thrilled to be selected as one of 12 student artists for the 2023 Juilliard Starling-DeLay Symposium.

An avid fiddler, Max has won numerous youth and adult contests, and is the two-time youth champion of the world’s oldest and largest fiddlers convention at Galax, VA, where he also has placed 2nd in the adult contest. He has shared the stage with renowned artists including Del McCoury and David Grisman, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters, Trout Fishing in America, the Steep Canyon Rangers, and The Beach Boys.

For more about Max, visit www.swellstrings.com or YouTube @swellstrings

Fei Chang

13 years old, is now studying cello in Grade 6, Primary School Attached to Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and under the guidance of Professor Zhao Xiong since 5 years old, a famous cellist and educator. And she has participated in many master classes of Zdzislaw Lapinski, Martti Rousi, Natasha Brofsky, Wenxin Yang, Marc Coppey etc.

Fei Chang performed as the youngest and only cellist in the Chinese original musical "Spring 1949", a key project supported by the National Art Fund. And received unanimous praise.
In 2019, she participated in the Taiwan Cello soloist Master Class and won the first Prize of Taiwan International cello Soloist Competition.

In 2021, as a special guest in Shanghai Xintiandi to participate in the 100th anniversary of the founding, "Celebrating for Motherland" music show. In the same year, participated in the shooting of the MV of the 70th anniversary of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Affiliated Middle School.
In February 2022, she won the People's Scholarship of the Primary School attached to Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

In June 2022, won first place in the Quebec International Music Competition.
In July 2022, she won the Platinum Award of the International Music Competition in Geneva and was highly praised by Professor Phillippe Talec of the Geneva Conservatory of Music, who praised her “Solid basic skills and high quality performance.”
In July 2022, she took part in the French International Music Competition and won the first prize.
In August 2022, she won first place in both the cello performance and composition categories at the Canadian Rocky Mountain International Music Competition, which also became the competition “The only winner of a double crown.”
In September 2022, she won the People's Scholarship of Shanghai Music Affiliated Primary School again.
In September 2022, she won the golden medal of 2022 American Classical Young Musician Award.
In January 2023, she won the first prize for strings category of the 7th Hungarian Danube Talent International Music Competition.
In February 2023, she won first place in the Enkor International String Competition.
In February 2023, she won the Gold Medal of the German International String Competition.
In March 2023, she won the People's Scholarship of Affiliated Primary School continuously.
In June 2023, she won second place at the Vienna International Classic Strings Competition (first place not awarded).
In June 2023, Special Prize of String Solo Category of the International Music Competition of the Belgium Conservatory. And invited to participate at the musicorum festival.
In July 2023, she won the "Absolute 1st ” and Bonus rewards of the 15th LUIGI CERRITELLI International Music Competition.

Hannah Rubin 

Hannah Rubin is a cellist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania currently based in NYC while pursuing her Master of Music at the Juilliard School with Professor Timothy Eddy. Her undergraduate studies were completed at the Eastman School of Music with professors Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliott, where she received both a Bachelor of Music and Performer’s Certificate in Cello Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. She has performed on stages from the Kennedy Center in D.C. to Harpa Hall in Reykjavik and has participated in masterclasses with Claudio Bohòrquez, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, and the Schumann, Jupiter, and St. Lawrence quartets. Her past few summers have been spent at international music festivals such as Ravinia, Kneisel Hall, Colorado College, Heifetz, and Bowdoin. She continues to explore her passion for music outreach in the greater NYC area through multiple yearlong projects supported by Juilliard grants and classes, and spends her free time reading, watching soccer, and playing with her roommate’s German Shepherd.