Pianists Taiga Sekizawa, 8, left, and Jessica Yeung, 12, rose to the top of the recent Young Festival Performers Competition at Sacramento State University's Festival of New American Music. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo


Young pianists shine in music competition

By From page A11 | November 18, 2011

Youthful Davis pianists Jessica Yeung and Taiga Sekizawa were awarded first and second place, respectively, at Sacramento State University’s 34th annual Festival of New American Music Young Festival Performers Competition last weekend.

The competition offers young pianists an opportunity to learn new American music, a change from the standard classical repertoire young students usually learn. Music performed by students was written by American composers since 1960.

Eleven finalists ranging in age from 7 to 15, who had been selected in a preliminary round, competed Saturday at Sacramento State. They also performed in a master class led by Australian pianist Lisa Moore on Nov. 8.

Jessica, age 12, played “Two Motions in One Movement” by Samuel Zyman, while Taiga, age 8, played “Medieval Kingdom” by Melody Bober.

A seventh-grader at Da Vinci Charter Academy in Davis, Jessica began piano lessons at the age of 4 at Music Stream Center, and has been under the private instruction of Huei-Ping Chen Lin since 2006.

Over the years, she has won many piano competitions. She was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2008 West Coast Ragtime Society Youth Ragtime Piano Competition. In 2009 and 2010, Jessica placed first in the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Regional Honors Audition.

In January 2010, she won the 13th annual Sylvia Ghiglieri Piano Competition and in June finished second in the Classical Masters Music Festival Piano Competition.

Most recently, Jessica was a featured pianist in her first piano benefit concert hosted by St. Martin’s Church in Davis, which raised funds for the Davis Schools Orchestral Music Association and Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network.

Jessica is a member of the Emerson Junior High Choir. In addition to her love for music, Jessica enjoys reading, art and swimming competitively with the Davis AquaMonsters.

Taiga, a third-grader at Patwin Elementary School in Davis, started music classes at Music Stream Center at age of 3. He has been a student of Nga-Man Cho for the past two years. Besides playing music, he likes building Legos, reading and playing soccer.

Jessica and Taiga love to share their music, and have participated in Music from Home, a Yolo County community service outreach program of Music Teachers’ Association of California in Davis since 2008, entertaining many senior citizens at numerous recitals.

For information about the competition, call (530) 757-2579.

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