“Grand performance wins top prize”
June 16, 2008
By Allison Freeman
At the New York Piano Competition, 16-year-old Allen Yueh gave perhaps one of the best performances of his life.
“This may be the biggest competition I have ever been in, “Allen said in an interview last week. ìIt’s just so fortunate I could come out and play well and win.”
The Bridgewater youth was the grand prize winner of the competition, held June 22-27 at the Manhattan School of Music. He received $5,000 and will perform a solo concert Sept. 25 at Trinity Church on Wall Street as part of a Sept. 11 memorial.
Twenty-two young musicians from across the country performed in four non-elimination rounds at the competition. The pianists ranged in age from 14 to 18. Allen said the format removed much of the stress from the competition. ìI did not have to worry about making it to the next round and could focus on being an individual musician,” he said.
“It’s just a great way to express myself and my ideas and feelings,” Allen said of the piano. “I can’t imagine living without it because it’s become so much of myself and my life.”
Allen, who has played the piano for 11 years, normally practices up to three hours a day when he is in school and five hours a day during the summer.
Allen also plays the cello in his high school orchestra. He will be a senior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School in the fall.
Other New Jersey winners of the New York Piano Competition are Emiko Edwards of West Windsor, who shares the $3,250 first prize in the duo piano competition with partner Xiaopei Xu of Lititz, Pa.; Patricio Molina of West Paterson, $2,500 third prize; Heejin An of Ridgewood and Yoon Sung “Emily” Choi of Tenafly, both $1,250 finalists.
The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation of New York sponsored the competition, which also included a series of student master classes. Each pianist had to perform several works in the competition, including a sonata, a romantic piece and a work from the 20th or 21st century, Allen said.