“Lancaster Mennonite Pianist Wins Again”
New Era
June 25, 2008
By Stephen Zook

A Lancaster teen won an international piano competition last week, and is already competing in another.

Xiaopei Xu, 17, is in New York City competing in the Fourth New York Piano Competition after she won a similar contest in Washington, D.C.

Xu took first place Friday in the International Young Artists Piano Competition. The competitions vary, but usually include solo recitals, piano concertos, and sometimes piano ensembles, or a group of two or more entrants playing together.

Practice has been intensive in order to compete.

“She basically practices all day,” said Xun Pan, her piano teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music. “During school, she can’t practice until after 3 (p.m.), but now that school is over, she has been practicing between six and nine hours a day.”

The award was the third first prize in a national or international competition that the Lancaster Mennonite High School student has won. Xu will start her senior year this fall.

Xu, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shuguang Xu, was born in Rizhao City in the Shandong Province of China.

She moved here a year ago to study with Pan, who had taught courses at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she was studying.

She lives with a host family during the school year and visits her parents during the summer.

“It’s rare to see someone who is very talented, and putting a lot of time into one thing,” Pan said. “It’s very pleasant to work with her.”