24th Annual Competition Winners


First Prize $60: Alexandr Anisimov
Second Prize $45: Miwa Baba
Third Prize $35: Xinran Shi
Honorable Mention: Jiajing Liang
Honorable Mention: Isabelle Hu


First Prize $250: Leo Yoshida
Second Prize $150: Brian Lin
Third Prize $75: Natalie Burr
Honorable Mention: Ester Leng
Honorable Mention: Rachel Xu
Honorable Mention: Pravin Balasingam


First Prize $500: Spencer Cha
The Winnie Tso Memorial Prize
Second Prize $250: Alexander Lee
Third Prize $150: Angela Gigi Tsang
Honorable Mention: Emanuel Luo
Honorable Mention: Curtis Li
Honorable Mention: Daniel Yim


Alexandr Anisimov (9 years old) is a 3rd grader at the Sequoia Elementary School in Pleasant Hill. He began studying piano with his mother at the age of 4. Since 2015 he has been studying with Nadia Blank-Koliha. Alexandr won 1st place at the  last three Sonata Competitions held annually by the Contra Costa Branch of MTAC. He also won first prizes in different categories at the US Open Music Competition, including 2nd place (twice) in the Showcase Solo category. In his spare time Alexandr enjoys reading, drawing and riding his bicycle.

Angela Gigi Tsang, 15, is a sophomore at Valley Christian High School. She begins piano education at five and currently studies with Dorothy Su. Angela received numerous awards from the Fremont Symphony Young Artist Competition, MTAC Concerto Competition, SF Chopin Competition, USOMC, USIMC, GSYO Solo Competition, American Protégé Concerto Competition, CAPMT Honors Competition, ENKOR, GCC Masters of Concerto, Junior Bach Festival, CMEA, and etc. Performing biweekly at senior centers, Angela has received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for five years. Besides piano, Angela enjoys violin, reading, travelling, hiking, and tennis.

Brian Lin, age 11, student of Peyhwan Kuan. He won 1st place in 2019 KAMSA, USOMC Advanced Baroque Category, District II CAPMT Honors Competition, EBMF Piano Competition. He is also the winner of the EBMF Contemporary Award and Marilyn Mindell Piano Competition. He was invited to perform for 2019 Junior Bach Festival both concert 1 and special concert at Rossmoor Event Center.  Brian loves spending time at senior nursing homes by regularly playing piano to the elderly. Apart from piano, Brian is very passionate about basketball. 

Curtis Li, 15, is a freshman at Amador Valley High School. He began playing piano at the age of 6, and he now studies under Peyhwan Kuan. He holds DipABRSM with distinction. Curtis has attended various piano competitions, holding awards at CAPMT Honors Competition, U.S. Open Music Competition, Marilyn Mindell Piano Competition, SF Chopin Competition, East Bay Musical Society, and more. He also recently placed 2nd at the Pacific Musical Society Competition. Aside from playing piano, Curtis plays the flute and piccolo in the school’s freshman band, and he also enjoys doing math and learning languages. 

Daniel Yim, 13, is from San Jose and is a 7th-grader at Dartmouth Middle School. He has been playing the piano for 5 years and studies with Dr. Hyun-Ju Sung since 2017. He won First Prize at James Ramos International Competition and received First Prize and Top Performer runner-up at US New Star Competition. He won several prizes at USIMC and USOMC, along with recent Honorable Mentions at MTAC Piano Solo Competition and Marilyn Mindell Competition. Aside from piano, Daniel plays the cello in the SFSYO and likes to read, write, and listen to music.

Ester Leng, 11 years old, student of Peyhwan Kuan. In February of 2019 Ester won first at the Advanced Level of The Treasury of Romantic Composers, and 3rd place in the Senior Level of Treasury of Russian Composers at USOMC. Ester also won second place for US New Star Piano Competition by Composer in March.

Emanuel Luo, age 13, is a 7th grader at Valley Christian Junior High School. He started learning piano at age 5, and currently studies with Nataly Gingis. He has won 1st Place and an Outstanding Gold Medalist Award in USOMC, 1st Place in US International Competition, 1st Place in the American Fine Arts Festival Russian Music Competition, with a performance at Carnegie Hall, and has participated in the 2018 InterHarmony International Music Festival in Germany. He also plays violin in his school's chamber ensemble. In his spare time, he enjoys math, basketball, and swimming.

Isabelle Hu is 9 years old and she is from San Ramon, CA. She goes to Live Oak Elementary School. Her current piano teacher is Zita Sandor. She has performed at the 2019 Junior Bach Festival, Berkeley, CA. She also won 1st place in the Junior Concerto category in the 2019 US Open Music Competition. She was invited to a Master Class with Prof. Nicholas Dold, and was accepted into the 2019 Music at Tateuchi Intensive Music Program. In her spare time she enjoys coding, reading, math and ballet.

Jiajing Liang is currently a 3rd grader at Lincoln Elementary and studying piano with Mrs. Lena Grozman. He previously won 2nd place at USOMC Showcase Solo and 3rd place in Steinway Junior piano competition, both in 2019. Besides playing piano, Jiajing loves reading Rick Riodan and playing computer games. His new favorite sport is tennis.

Karen Baba, age 12, is a 6th grader in Palo Alto and studies with Lena Grozman. She won 1st place in Elite International Music Competition, Little Mozarts Competition, 2nd place in US Open Music Competition showcase piano solo, Best Haydn Performance in Great Composers Competition. She has performed twice as a top prize winner at Carnegie Hall in New York City, also has performed at Yamaha Hall and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Aside from piano, she loves singing in her school choir class.

Leo Yoshida, 10 years old, is a 4th grader at Foster City Elementary school.  He has been studying piano for the past five years. He moved from Japan to the United States at the end of 2017.  His current teacher is Machiko Kobialka. He was 2nd in showcase piano solo of the U.S. Open Music Competition  this February.  He likes reading, swimming and running.

Natalie Burr, age 11, is a 5th grader at Sequoia elementary school in Oakland, CA.  She has been studying piano with Machiko Kobialka for 3 years. She received the “Contemporary Award” in the East Bay Music competition in 2018, also 2nd place for “Best Bach performance” in the Great Composer Competition series. She took 3rd place for CAPMT District 2 Contemporary Music Competition in 2019. She was selected perform at the Junior Bach Festival in 2018, 2019. Beside piano, she enjoys playing clarinet at the school band.

Pravin Balasingam, from Los Gatos, California, is a current student of Matt Wang. He was born in 2008, and started playing piano at the age of four years old. He was recently chosen as Third Place Winner (Young Musicians Category) , in the American Protégé International Piano & Strings Competition 2018. This qualified him to perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York, in June 2018. He has also participated in several, public piano recitals, and has received many accolades, from audiences and teachers. He has a keen ear for the intricacies of music, and has rapidly progressed in his piano recital skills, during the last few years. Other than music, he has also participated in Speech competitions, and recently won a first place. He is also a competitive soccer player, winning several local and state tournaments. 

Rachel Xu is a 5th grade Challenger School and Johns Hopkins CTY student. She started her piano with Ms. Irina Basin at age 5 at the Avloni Academy of Music. At age 8, she entered SFCM to learn piano from Dr. Robert Schwartz.  She likes reading, writing, ballet, and swimming.   

Spencer Cha has been taking piano lessons since the age of 3 and studies with Lena Grozman. He has won multiple competitions, including the CAPMT State Honors Competition, CAPMT Northern California Concerto Competition in two age groups, the Marilyn Mindell Competition, the Chopin SF Competition, and the Thera Rabinowitch Competition. He won Outstanding Gold Medalist twice in the 2018 U.S. Open Music Competition and has placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in various USOMC categories over the years.  In March 2017, he performed at Carnegie Hall after winning 1st place in the American Protégé Competition of Romantic Music and 2nd place in the American Protégé Piano and Strings Competition. Spencer was a winner of the 2019 Palo Alto Philharmonic Concerto Competition and will perform with the orchestra in May 2019. Spencer was also 1st place alternate in the MTAC Solo Competition and MTAC Concerto Competition and has performed at the MTAC State Convention. He placed 2nd in the 2019 Marilyn Mindell Competition (Senior Division) and participated in a master class with Frank Wiens in the finals of the 2019 Zeiter Piano Competition.  He is a 9th grader at Harker School and enjoys composing music, soccer, skiing, and tennis.