21st Annual Competition Winners


First Prize $60: Jacob Rockower
Second Prize $45: Angelina Wong
Third Prize $35: Munan Cheng
Honorable Mention: Emily Tsai
Honorable Mention: Jarett Xu


First Prize $250: Mikan Tsuchida
Second Prize $150: Kelvin Jiang
Third Prize $75: Ethan Yu
Honorable Mention: Spencer Cha
Honorable Mention: Anna Guan


First Prize $500: Claire Cheng
Second Prize $250: Karina Tseng
Third Prize $150: Joshua Kushner
Honorable Mention: Evangeline Gao
Honorable Mention: Justin Wang


Munan Cheng, age 9, is a fourth grader at Dilworth Elementary School in San Jose. She is a student of Professor Hans Boepple and previously studied with Ms. Lena Grozman and Dr. Natalya Lundtvedt. She started learning piano when she was four years old. She won 1st prize in United States International Music Competition 2015 and 3rd prize in San Jose International Piano Competition 2015. She was 1st place winner of 2014 CAPMT Honors Auditions District II and 2nd prize winner in state final. She was awarded with Outstanding Golden Medalist and numerous prizes in United States Open Music Competition in 2014 and 2015. Munan loves reading and enjoys swimming and drawing.

Jacob Rockower, age 7, is a 2nd grader at The Nueva School. Jacob has been studying piano since 3, and his current teacher is Lena Grozman. Jacob is a winner of 2016 American Fine Arts Festival Competition, 2015 Golden Key International Musical Festival, and 2015 The American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, and has performed/will perform at Carnegie Hall. Jacob also won numerous awards including 1st place at 2015 CAPMT State Final Contemporary A, 2nd place at 2015 USOMC Open Solo 3C and 1st place at 2014 USOMC Treasury of Russian Junior. Jacob loves mazes and golf.

Emily Tsai, age 8, is a third grader at Eaton Elementary School in Cupertino. She started piano lesson at age 5 with Ellen Sarkisian, and her current teacher is Lena Grozman. Emily's favorite composers are Chopin and Mozart. She won 1st place at 2014 USOMC Treasury of Contemporary and 3rd place at USOMC Showcase Solo in 2015 and 2016. She also won several prizes in art contests in 2015. In her spare time, Emily enjoys reading, playing tennis, ice skating and drawing.

Angelina Wong, age 8, started her piano learning when she was four. Currently studying with Professor Hans Boepple, Angelina is always drawn to beautiful sound. She loves Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin. In her own words, “They sound so different but equally beautiful!” Among her favorite items: books, music, food, and pretty stickers, Angelina places music above all. She also plays violin and loves swimming

Jarett Xu, 9 years old, is a scholarship student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Pre-College Division, where he has been studying piano with Meikui Matsushima since 2011. He is currently a 3rd grader at Town School for Boys. Besides playing piano, he is interested in athletics like karate, swimming and basketball. He also like reading and building Legos whenever has free time.

Anna Guan is a 12-year-old 7th grader at Pine Valley Middle School in San Ramon. She has been studying piano with Ms. Liza Yasnogorodsky since April, 2009. Anna was selected to perform at various festivals and concerts mainly sponsored by MTACSF, EBMF and American Protege. Anna has won numerous awards including third place in the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition, second place in the Chopin Competition of San Francisco, second place in the Showcase piano Solo in the USOMC, first place in the MTACSF Competition. Her hobbies include reading, writing and dance.

Kelvin Jiang, a 6th grader at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, Palo Alto, is a scholarship student of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Pre-College Division, studying under Meikui Matsushima. He performed in the 2015 Pre-College Showcase Concert, the Classic Kick-Off Concert and the Sarah Chang Violin-Piano Duo Masterclass. He was selected to perform at the 2014 Junior Bach Festival and received Honorable Mention at the 19th San Francisco Chopin Competition. Kelvin loves math and participated in last November’s American Mathematics Competition 8 and received two honors. He has been playing baseball for 7 years and was selected to play Majors Division Allstars last year and this year. Kelvin also enjoys playing chess and represented team USA to compete in the World Youth Chess Championship in Slovenia in November 2012.

Mikan Tsuchida started piano from 3, violin 6, and trumpet 11. She studies with Anna Poklewski. She was awarded 1st prize in the Yamaha Piano Festival, Young Pianist Concert 2011. Also, she won 1st Place in The 11th Annual Korea Times Youth Music Competition 2014. In the 2016 Treasury of Baroque Composers, she was awarded Advanced. Mikan also won 3rd Place in the U.S. Open Music Competition 2016 Showcase Piano Solo - Junior

Ethan Yu is a 5th grader at Mission Valley Elementary School in Fremont. He started piano at age 6 and currently studying with Professor Anna Poklewski. Ethan is a winner of US Open Music Competition 2016. He has performed numerous piano performances at De Anza College Music Hall and Mt. View Center for the Performing Arts. Other than piano, Ethan is playing violin in his school Orchestra and also enjoy acting, golf, basketball and tennis.

Spencer Cha has been taking piano lessons since the age of 2 and currently studies with Lena Grozman. He has won multiple competitions, including the 2016 CAPMT Honors Audition and Concerto Competition, Bay Area division, and the 2014 Chopin Competition in the First Age Category. He has won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in various U.S. Open Music Competition categories and performed at their awards concert. He was also 1st place alternate in the MTAC Solo Competition and CAPMT Contemporary Competition. He is a 6th grader at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, and in his spare time, enjoys soccer, golf, tennis, and skiing.

Claire Cheng is a tenth grader at Irvington High School and studies piano with Katherine Lee. In 2015, she won first place in the junior division at the East Bay Piano Solo Competition, held in Berkeley, California. She was also chosen as second alternate in the 2015 Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) Piano Solo Northern Regional Competition. In June, she placed second at the United States International Music Competition, hosted by Chinese Music Teachers Association of Northern California (CMTANC). Claire was also the first prize winner in the 2016 East Bay Piano Solo Competition, senior division. In addition to piano, Claire studies flute and has attended both 2014 and 2015 All-Northern (NCBA) and All-State (CBDA) Honor Bands. She also enjoys drum majoring and recently won first place at the NCBA-hosted Drum Major Solo Competition at Foothill High School. In her free time, Claire enjoys reading, listening to music, and watching Studio Ghibli films.

Evangeline Gao was born in Fremont, California. She is currently a student at Mission San Jose High School. She began studying piano in first grade and currently studies under the instruction of Fonny Chandra. In the past three years, she has competed and won multiple awards at competitions including USOMC, CMTANC, East bay, American Protege, and the Golden Era of Romantic Music. In addition to winning these prizes, she has also performed in Carnegie Hall twice with American Protege and AFAF. In 2014, Evangeline took the Grade 8 ABRSM test and passed with a distinction score. That year, she also tested in CM level 10 and received a perfect playing score. Aside from piano, Evangeline also enjoys photography, dance, and playing the cello.

Joshua Kushner was born in the year of 2002. He is attending 8th Grade at Bret Harte Middle School in San Jose Unified District. He started piano lesson at the age of six. Joshua studied piano with Mrs Celia Mendez from October 2009 to June, 2013. Since September 2013, he has been studying piano with professor Namik Sultanov. In 2012 he won the second place in CMTANC International Youth Music Competition. He participated in the US Open Music Competition and earned the first place in playing music from Romantic period in Senior group in 2015 and the second place in advanced group in 2016. He also likes computer pragramming and hang out with friends playing video games.

Karina Tseng is an 8th grader in Belmont. She has studied piano with Sujeeva Hapugalle for over seven years. Karina has won numerous 2016 competitions, including first prize at the US Open Music Competition, first alternate at the MTAC Solo competition, first prize at the US International Music Competition, and a junior division winner of the Marilyn Mindell Piano competition.

Justin Wang is a 13-year old pianist from San Ramon, California, and studies with Liza Yasnogorodsky. Justin won a Second Place at the American Protege International Piano & Strings Competition in 2014 and 2015, and a Third Place in 2016. He performed in the Carnegie Hall in the past three years. He won a number of awards at the US Open Music Competition. He participated in the Bay Area Music Legacy Open Competition in 2012 and 2013, and won First Place for the intermediate age group at both events. In the summer of 2013 he was invited to perform in the Honor's Recital at the State Convention of the Music Teachers Association of California. He also has performed in numerous recitals and talent shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.