We are thrilled to announce the five finalists of the 2025 American Pianists Awards!

Meet the 2025 American Pianists Awards finalists!

Photos of the five finalists of the 2025 American Pianists Awards

We are thrilled to announce five brilliant young artists as finalists of the 2025 American Pianists Awards! Michael Davidman, Avery Gagliano, Sasha Kasman Laude, Elliot Wuu and Angie Zhang will compete for the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship. By virtue of their selection from a pool of nominations from over 1,200 industry professionals, each pianist has been awarded a $25,000 prize. In April 2025, the winner will be named and will receive career support valued at more than $200,000, including two years of career management and public assistance, a media tour, an artist residency at the University of Indianapolis, a recording contract with Steinway & Sons record label, performance engagements both nationally and abroad, and more.

We will get to know these artists more over the coming months, but here is a quick introduction to each:

The youngest finalist in 2021, Awards laureate and Manhattanite Michael Davidman, 26, returns, having completed his MM at Juilliard and now pursuing his DM at Park University’s International Center for Music. He is currently studying with Stanislav Ioudenitch who previously helped guide 2021 Awards winner Kenny Broberg. Michael maintains a promising performance schedule and continues to pursue his passion for classic opera, publishing regularly to his PucciniMD YouTube page.

Washington, D.C. native Avery Gagliano, 22, made her first of three appearances on NPR’s “From the Top” at age 10 and began touring the world with the Lang Lang International Music Foundation’s Young Scholars Program shortly after. In 2020 she claimed First Prize of the 2020 National Chopin Piano Competition. Avery is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music and enjoys pop music and cooking in her free time.

Sasha Kasman Laude, 28, began her musical studies with her parents and continued studying with her father, professor Yakov Kasman, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She later received an MM degree from the Juilliard School and a DM from the University of Michigan, where she received the School of Music, Theater and Dance's top graduation honor. She recently joined the faculty of Utah State University and enjoys beating her husband in chess and transcribing Soviet film music in her leisure time.

Hiking and boba tea enthusiast Elliot Wuu, 24, is a Young Steinway Artist, received the 2018 Gilmore Young Artist award, and is a winner of the Salon de Virtuosi 2021 Career Grant. Born in 1999 in Fremont, CA, he began piano at age six and made his debut at age 16 with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra playing Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Elliot currently resides in New York City, where he recently finished his BM and MM degrees at The Juilliard School.

Equally at ease on modern and historical pianos, Angie Zhang, 28, spends her time as a soloist, chamber musician, educator and speaker. She holds BM and MM degrees with honors from Juilliard and will receive a MM in Fortepiano Performance and DMA in Piano Performance from University of Michigan in May 2024. From her base in Los Angeles, she travels around the world to perform, and this season she will be reunited with prior collaborators Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Dover Quartet.

More details are in the press release below:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

AMERICAN PIANISTS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES FIVE FINALISTS OF THE 2025 AMERICAN PIANISTS AWARDS — EACH GUARANTEED $25,000

FINALISTS MICHAEL DAVIDMAN, AVERY GAGLIANO, SASHA KASMAN LAUDE, ELLIOT WUU, AND ANGIE ZHANG TO PARTICIPATE IN 13-MONTH COMPETITION

Pianist Michelle Cann will serve as the organization’s first Christel DeHaan Artistic Partner


INDIANAPOLIS– The American Pianists Association today announced the five finalists of the 2025 American Pianists Awards. Michael Davidman, Avery Gagliano, Sasha Kasman Laude, Elliot Wuu and Angie Zhang will compete for the prestigious Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship, given every four years to an American classical pianist at the conclusion of the organization’s 13-month competition. Previous winners include Kenny Broberg, Drew Petersen, Sean Chen, Grace Fong, Spencer Myer, Frederic Chiu and Sara Davis Buechner, among others.

"The 2025 Awards are a unique celebration of our five talented finalists,” American Pianists Association President and CEO Chris Williams said. “It is incredibly rewarding to collaborate with these young pianists in the early stages of their careers and provide opportunities for them to grow as artists. I look forward to supporting our finalists throughout the Awards and beyond, as we launch the next generation of great American classical pianists.”

Providing further support and mentorship to the five finalists is pianist Michelle Cann, the organization’s inaugural Christel DeHaan Artistic Partner, a position made possible by a Legacy Grant from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation. In this new role, Cann oversees all artistic aspects of the competition including managing the nomination process, jury selection and concert programming.

“It is an honor to join such a prestigious organization that is elevating the voices of today,” Cann said. “I am so excited to work through this process and help support these great young pianists, and I cannot wait to see all of this through to the finals in April 2025.”

Cann performed on the American Pianists Association’s recital series in spring 2022 and has since fostered a collaborative relationship with the organization.

"As an artist whose career launched in the 21st century, Michelle has a wonderful perspective on what is needed to make it as a performer in today's world,” Williams said. “We felt she would be a strong creative influence for our young finalists, as she's doing incredible work in programming underrepresented composers and redefining the shape of a traditional concert program.”

The five finalists were selected in a blind audition process from nominations solicited from over 1,200 piano educators, artists and other industry professionals. Open to American citizens ages 18-30 and by nomination only, the competition provides a unique  platform for the national classical community to identify the best of young, upcoming American piano talent every four years.

By virtue of their selection, each of the five finalists has already won a cash prize of $25,000, performance opportunities, and global visibility from advancing to the finalist stage of the competition. Further, the winner of the 2025 American Pianists Awards will receive career support valued at more than $200,000 that includes: two years of career management and public relations assistance, a media tour, an artist residency at the University of Indianapolis, a recording contract with Steinway & Sons record label, performance engagements both nationally and abroad, and more. The 2025 Awards winner will additionally embark on a new recital tour during the 2026-27 season, as well as performing with the American Pianists Association’s partner orchestras: the Phoenix Symphony, the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and more, to be announced.

From October 2024 through February 2025, each finalist will be invited to Indianapolis for the Premiere Series—the first live-juried performances of the Awards, consisting of solo repertoire and a concerto performance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra at the Indiana History Center. While in town, the finalists will also participate in educational and community events. All five finalists will return to Indianapolis for Discovery Week, held March 31 – April 5, 2025. Over the course of the week, each finalist will perform a chamber music recital with the Dover Quartet at Christ Church Cathedral and a solo recital at The Jazz Kitchen. The final juried
performances of the 2025 Awards are the Gala Finals with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, held April 4 - 5, 2025 at Hilbert Circle Theatre.

The 2025 Awards are adjudicated by two separate jury panels: the first selected the five finalists from a pool of nominated pianists’ audio recordings via a blind listening process; the second will judge all live competition events. The jury includes:

  • STEPHEN BEUS, associate professor of piano at Brigham Young University and 2006 American Pianists Awards winner
  • MICHELLE CANN, pianist, educator and Christel DeHaan Artistic Partner
  • JANE COOP, pianist and retired professor from University of Vancouver
  • CAROL LEONE, chair of piano studies at Southern Methodist University
  • MARINA LOMAZOV, pianist and professor of piano at Eastman School of Music
  • TITO MUÑOZ, music director of Phoenix Symphony
  • AWADAGIN PRATT, pianist and professor of piano at San Francisco Conservatory
  • ROBERTA RUST, pianist and head of piano department at Lynn University Conservatory
  • PIERRE VAN DER WESTHUIZEN, executive and artistic director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival
  • JACK WINEROCK, pianist and retired professor from University of Kansas

All juried performances in Indianapolis will be livestreamed at americanpianists.org/live and on the American Pianists Association’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/apapianists) and Facebook (facebook.com/apapianists).

THE FIVE FINALISTS
More at www.americanpianists.org/classical/finalists

MICHAEL DAVIDMAN (26)
Hometown and current residence: New York City

Michael started piano lessons with Efrem Briskin at the Manhattan School of Music precollege and completed his BM degree under the guidance of Robert McDonald, also with mentor and teacher Ford Mylius Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music, his MM degree at the Juilliard School with renowned pianists Jerome Lowenthal and Stephen Hough. Presently, Michael is finishing an Artist Diploma studying with renowned pianist Stanislav Ioudenich at the International Center for Music (ICM), Kansas City, MO.

A dedicated and disciplined young musician, Michael has gone on to win numerous piano competitions, including the 2022 Long-Thibaud International Piano Competition, third place and Orchestra prize, 2021 American Pianists Awards finalist, winner 2019 Juilliard Gina Bachauer Competition, to mention a few. Davidman also received a four-year scholarship from the Chopin Foundation of the United States.

As soloist, he has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre Symponique de la Garde Republicaine, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Freixenet Encuentro Symphony Orchestra, Symphonicity, Monterey Symphony and Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra to
mention a few. 

An opera enthusiast from a very young age, Michael delights in uploading historical and rare opera recordings to his YouTube channel called PucciniMD and in accompanying opera singers on special occasions on "opera night" at a New York City restaurant.

AVERY GAGLIANO (22)
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Current residence: Philadelphia, Pa.

Having made her debut at Carnegie Hall at the age of just 20, 22-year-old pianist Avery Gagliano brings sincerity, emotional depth, and exquisite voicing, alongside a thoughtful and intriguing spirit to the stage. Avery came to international acclaim as the First Prize and Best Concerto Prize winner of the 2020 National Chopin Piano Competition, and as the only American semifinalist at the 18th International Chopin Competition in 2021.

Recent and forthcoming highlights of the 2023/24 season include her debut with the Rochester Symphony and Galveston Symphony, as well as recitals at the Luxembourg Philharmonie, Ehrbar Saal (Vienna), La Grange au Lac (Évian), Paderewski Festival, Miami International Piano Festival, and Sanibel Music Festival. With a particular passion for collaborating with other artists, Avery is also a dedicated chamber musician, regularly sharing the stage with ensembles such as the Balourdet Quartet and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players in New York.

At the invitation of Sir András Schiff, Avery appeared in recitals throughout Europe in the 2022/23 season as part of his Building Bridges series. She has also, in recent seasons, appeared on renowned concert stages and festivals including the Verbier Festival, Gilmore Festival, Bravo!Vail Festival, Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Salle Cortot, and WQXR Greene Space.

Avery’s debut album, Reflections, was released on the Steinway & Sons label in 2021, with a program at the heart of her music making, from Chopin to Haydn, Schumann, and Adès.

Alongside her successes at the two most highly regarded Chopin competitions, Avery also received the Audience Prize at the 2019 Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and was the winner of the Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition, MostArts Festival Piano Competition, and 2019 National YoungArts Competition. She is an alumna of the Verbier Festival & Academy, Gstaad Piano Academy, Lieven Piano Foundation, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation’s Young Scholars Program, a four-year holder of the US Chopin Foundation Scholarship, and has made several appearances on Philadelphia’s WRTI classical radio and National Public Radio’s (NPR) From The Top.

Avery currently studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Robert McDonald. She has also studied with Gary Graffman and Jonathan Biss while at Curtis.

SASHA KASMAN LAUDE (28)
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
Current residence: Logan, Utah

Pianist Sasha Kasman Laude is in demand as a soloist and pedagogue with engagements across three continents.

Kasman Laude appears as a guest artist and teacher at the invitation of such festivals as International Keyboard Institute and Festival, Southeastern Piano Festival, Utah State University Summer Piano Festival, Kyiv International Summer Academy (Ukraine), Busan International Music Academy (South Korea), and PianoCity Milano (Italy). She has given solo recitals at such major venues as Steinway Hall in New York City, Yamaha Ginza Hall in Tokyo, Salle Cortot in Paris, and Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. In 2019, she was named a Young Artist-in-Residence of National Public Radio’s Performance Today. This year, Kasman Laude performs for the
Birmingham Chamber Music Society, Eisendrath Series of Ann Arbor, MI, InConcert Series of Apalachicola, FL, International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival, Vivace International Music Festival, and pianoSonoma, and is a soloist with the Dayton and Ann Arbor Symphony orchestras.

Kasman Laude has triumphed in numerous international competitions; most recently, she became a finalist in the 2022 Honens International Piano Competition (Canada). She has been a soloist with over a dozen symphony orchestras in the USA and abroad, including the Juilliard Orchestra and Calgary Symphony, and has appeared seven times with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. She has worked under the batons of maestros including Jeffrey Kahane, Neal Gittleman, Gregory Vajda, Jeffrey Milarsky, Yaniv Attar, Christopher Confessore, Jacques Cohen, Mykola Dyadura, Nazar Yakobenchuk, and Natalia Ponomarchuk.

Kasman Laude is an advocate and experienced performer of contemporary music, premiering works of living composers Stewart Goodyear, Marc Migó, Nathan Daughtrey, Zachary Detrick, and Eric Mobley.

In addition to her vibrant solo playing, Kasman Laude is an enthusiastic chamber musician and has collaborated with such distinguished players as Martin Beaver, Blake Pouliot, the Viano and Aeolus String Quartets, and the New York Chamber Players. She and her father Yakov Kasman have been touring as a piano duo for fourteen years.

A native of Moscow, Kasman Laude began her musical studies with her parents, acclaimed pianists and pedagogues Yakov and Tatiana Kasman. She continued studying with her father at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and received an MM degree from the Juilliard School, studying with Robert McDonald. In 2023, Kasman Laude received a DM from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Logan Skelton, won the school concerto competition, and received the School of Music, Theater, and Dance's top graduation honor, the Earl V. Moore Award.

In her leisure time, she enjoys beating her husband in chess and transcribing Soviet film music. In fall 2023, Kasman Laude joined the faculty of Utah State University as Assistant Professor of Piano.

ELLIOT WUU (24)
Hometown: Freemont, Calif.
Current residence: New York City

Elliot Wuu has captured audiences with colorful tones, sensitive musicality and emotional depth in his music. He is a Young Steinway Artist, received the 2018 Gilmore Young Artist award, and is a winner of the Salon de Virtuosi 2021 Career Grant.

Wuu has performed in major venues in the US, France, Italy, Germany, UK, Poland, Romania, and China. In New York City, he has performed at the UN Headquarters, the WQXR Greene Space, and Carnegie Hall. Other concert highlights include the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Aspen and Ravinia Festivals, La Jolla Music Society, Hilton Head Bravo Piano Festival, and Chopin Foundation of the United States. He was also featured on WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase and NPR’s From the Top radio programs.

After making his debut at age 16 with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra playing Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” Wuu has performed with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Columbia Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, among others. Born in 1999 in Fremont, CA, he began piano at age six. He studied with Yoshikazu Nagai at the San Francisco Conservatory Pre-College, as well as at the Valley Christian High School Conservatory of the Arts. The recipient of a Kovner Fellowship Award at The Juilliard School, he received a BM and MM degrees under the tutelage of Robert McDonald.

ANGIE ZHANG (28)
Hometown: Princeton, N.J.
Current residence: Los Angeles

American pianist Angie Zhang, top prize winner at the 2023 Chopin International Piano Competition on Period Instruments and Honens International Piano Competition, is hailed as "warmly expressive, sensitive, and polished" and "a valuable advocate for classical music" by NY Concert Review.

Angie has appeared as soloist with orchestras since she was 10 years old, including with the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Aspen American Academy of Conducting Orchestra, as well as the Juilliard, {oh!} Period Orchestra Poland, Missouri, Milwaukee, Michigan, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Olympia, Portland Columbia Orchestras. She has also performed chamber concerti with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, and Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra as well as conducted Mozart from the piano at Lincoln Center.

She has worked with conductors such as Fabio Luisi and Jeffrey Kahane, and shared the stage with Itzhak Perlman, Inon Barnaton, and the Dover, St. Lawrence, and Aeolus Quartets. She has performed all over the USA and Canada, as well as in England, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Poland, China, and the Dominican Republic. Festivals she has appeared at include the La Jolla Music Society, Music@Menlo, Bravo! Vail, Tippet Rise, Sarasota, Aspen, Bowdoin, pianoSonoma, and Perlman Music Program.

A fourth generation musician, she is also known for being a dedicated and inspirational teacher. Angie was the youngest at Juilliard to teach in all three divisions (pre-college, college, extension), won her first Assistant Professor position in piano, cello, and theory during her DMA, and has taught at the collegiate level for over 10 years. She actively serves as an adjudicator of competitions and scholarships, pedagogical clinician, lecturer, and ambassador for the arts outside of the music industry. Angie is a Yamaha and Bosendorfer Artist worldwide.

Admitted into The Juilliard School at age ten, where she won the concerto competition a record three times, she has since earned two more piano performance degrees from the school as a Kovner Fellow: her BM with chamber and academic honors and MM. Angie will earn her DMA in Piano Performance and MM in Fortepiano Performance from the University of Michigan in May 2024. She took further courses, most notably in STEAM Pedagogy, in the Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard Exchange Program.

Influential figures include Logan Skelton, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Joseph Kalichstein, Robert Levin, Emanuel Ax, Wu Han, Jeremy Denk, Matthew Bengtson, and Malcolm Bilson.

Next season includes engagements with orchestras and recitals around the world including performances in Krakow and Żelazowa Wola. She will be Distinguished Guest Artist-Faculty at Krakow Piano Summer 2024. Angie is also an accomplished and acclaimed fortepianist and leading American figure in period instruments.

ABOUT MICHELLE CANN

Lauded as “exquisite” by The Philadelphia Inquirer and “a pianist of sterling artistry” by Gramophone, Michelle Cann has become one of the most sought-after pianists of her generation. She made her debut in 2021 with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has recently
performed concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de São Paulo, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. Highlights of Cann’s 2023-24 season include appearances with the Charlotte, Hawaii, Indianapolis, Québec, Sarasota, and Winnipeg symphony orchestras, and recitals in New York City, Portland, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, and Denver.

Recognized as a leading interpreter of the piano music of Florence Price, Cann performed the New York City premiere of Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with The Dream Unfinished Orchestra in July 2016. Her recording of the concerto with the New York Youth Symphony won a Grammy Award in 2023. Her acclaimed debut solo album Revival, featuring music by Price and Margaret Bonds, was released in May 2023.

Cann was the recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and an Artist’s Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music. Cann joined the Curtis piano faculty in 2020 as the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies, and she joined the piano faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in 2023.

More information at Curtis.edu/revival.

ABOUT THE INDIANAPOLIS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra (ICO) advances and promotes music composed for the small orchestra through professional concert performances and educational programs. In its 40th season, ICO is comprised of 34 professional musicians. ICO presents an annual masterworks concert series and provides orchestral accompaniment for key local arts and education groups. Led by Matthew Kraemer as Music Director and Conductor, ICO proudly serves as professional orchestra-in-residence at the Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center. ICO presents a deep commitment to new music and has commissioned or premiered over 42 new works and counting for chamber orchestra. ICO offers a full range of educational programs for ages pre-K through adult, with free appearances throughout Indianapolis.

ABOUT DOVER QUARTET

Joel Link, violin
Bryan Lee, violin
Julianne Lee, viola
Camden Shaw, cello

Named one of the greatest string quartets of the last 100 years by BBC Music Magazine, the two-time GRAMMY-nominated Dover Quartet is one of the world’s most in-demand chamber ensembles. The Dover Quartet is the Penelope P. Watkins Ensemble in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music and holds additional residencies at Northwestern University and the Artosphere festival. The group’s awards include a stunning sweep of all prizes at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, grand and first prizes at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and prizes at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. Its
honors include the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, and Lincoln Center’s Hunt Family Award.

The Dover Quartet’s 2023-24 season includes a North American tour with Leif Ove Andsnes, performances with Haochen Zhang and David Shifrin, and a tour to Europe and Israel. Recent collaborators include Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnaton, Ray Chen, the Escher String Quartet, Bridget Kibbey, Anthony McGill, Edgar Meyer, the Pavel Haas Quartet, Roomful of Teeth, and Davóne Tines. The quartet recently premiered Steven Mackey’s theatrical-musical work Memoir, and works by Mason Bates, Marc Neikrug, and Chris Rogerson.

The Dover Quartet’s GRAMMY-nominated recordings include its highly acclaimed three-volume recording, Beethoven Complete String Quartets (Cedille Records), which was hailed as “meticulously balanced, technically clean-as-a-whistle and intonationally immaculate” (The Strad), and The Schumann Quartets (Azica Records).

The Dover Quartet was formed at Curtis in 2008; its name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber. The Dover Quartet proudly endorses Thomastik-Infeld strings.

ABOUT JOANN FALLETTA

Multiple Grammy Award-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center, and Conductor Laureate of the Hawaii Symphony. Named as one of the 50 great conductors of all time by Gramophone Magazine, she is hailed for her work as a conductor, recording artist, audience builder, and champion of American composers.

As Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta became the first woman to lead a major American orchestra. Other firsts in her career include the first woman to become music director of an American regional orchestra (Long Beach Symphony), the first woman and the first American to be named Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra, the first American woman conductor to lead an orchestra at the Beethoven Easter Festival in Poland, and the first woman to conduct Germany's ancient and famous Mannheim Orchestra. Named by Bachtrack as one of the world’s busiest conductors, she has conducted over 100 orchestras in North America, including the National Symphony, and the orchestras of Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Nashville, Indianapolis, Houston, Toronto, Milwaukee and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Falletta is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has served by Presidential appointment as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during the Bush and Obama administrations, and is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Mannes, Falletta received master’s and doctoral degrees
from The Juilliard School.

For more information, visit www.joannfalletta.com

ABOUT THE INDIANAPOLIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1930 by German conductor and local violin teacher Ferdinand Schaefer. At first, comprised of volunteer musicians who split the revenue from ticket sales, the ISO became a professional orchestra with salaried musicians in 1937. That same year, Fabien Sevitzky – a Russian-born conductor and nephew of famed conductor Serge Koussevitsky – became Music Director of the ISO. Sevitzky’s appointment was highlighted in an April 5, 1937 article in Time Magazine, which began, “Of Midwestern orchestras, none has risen so rapidly or so recently as the Indianapolis Symphony.” Soon after, the ISO blossomed into one of the nation’s most renowned orchestras. Sevitzky worked to promote the ISO through a variety of national radio broadcasts, and his successor, Izler Solomon, ensured the creation of the Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University as a venue meant specifically for the ISO (until then, the ISO had been performing at the Murat Theater). Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the ISO traveled around the world to perform “Salute” concerts in countries such as Finland, Korea, Japan, Formosa, Portugal, The Netherlands, Israel, Mexico, Austria, Venezuela, Thailand, Greece, and Chile – earning the Orchestra a Citation from the Voice of America and the United States Information Agency as well as a letter of commendation from President John F. Kennedy – the first-ever such commendation to a symphony orchestra.

The ISO welcomed Jun Märkl as its eighth Music Director of the ISO effective September 1, 2024, which marks the beginning of the 2024–25 season. Prior to that, Maestro Märkl will make his debut as music director designate conducting The Music of Strauss on January 26–27, 2024, at Hilbert Circle Theatre amid a week of celebrations.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN PIANISTS ASSOCIATION

The American Pianists Association has been supporting aspiring young American pianists for over 40 years. Founded in New York City as the Beethoven Foundation in 1979 by Victor Borge, a Danish-American pianist and comedian, Tony Habig of Kimball International and Julius Bloom, former Executive Director of Carnegie Hall, the organization moved to Indianapolis in 1982 and changed its name to the American Pianists Association seven years later.

The American Pianists Awards alternate between classical and jazz piano every two years and offer significant opportunities for American pianists, ages 18–30, to advance their careers. Each winner receives career support valued at over $200,000, which is tailored to the particular needs of the winner and includes a cash award, performance engagements, publicity and recording opportunities. The organization strives to provide the bridge between academic training and a full-fledged professional career, focusing on individual sensibilities of each pianist to help them develop as artists. It is the intent of the American Pianists Awards to focus on artistic growth rather than competitive prowess. As such, the organization does not impose repertoire requirements during its classical and jazz competitions other than those necessary for the different genres. For more information on the American Pianists Association, please visit www.americanpianists.org


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