SCGSAH announces winners of 8th Annual Junior Artist Piano Competition

Christina Vandiver

Winners of the piano competition

The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities held the 8th Annual Junior Artist Piano Competition (JAPC), sponsored by the Bichel Foundation, on October 30 with 23 students from across the state competing for cash prizes. 

Zhanshuo Zhang, a 10th-grade student at Riverside High School in Greer, won the first prize of $1,500 for his performances of a movement from Bach’s 6th Partita, a sonata movement by Franz Josef Hadyn and the virtuoso piece of “Ondine” by Maurice Ravel. Zhang is a piano student of Lisa Kiser.

Vanessa Nguyen, an 8th-grade student at Charleston County School of the Arts, received the second prize of $1,000 for her performance of a “Prelude and Fugue,” by Bach, a sonata by Beethoven, the “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 4.” by Franz Liszt, and the “Prelude from Pour le piano,” by Claude Debussy. Nguyen is a student of Irina Pevzner.  

Andrew Ning, an 8th-grade student at Riverside Middle School, received the third prize of $500 for his performance of a sonata by Haydn, the third ballade by Frederic Chopin and a toccata by Aram Khachaturian. Ning is also a piano student of Lisa Kiser.

Honorable mention awards of $50 were given to Harry Ding, of Mt. Pleasant; Max Nie, of Irmo; Henry Sun, of Greer; Brandon Xu, of Simpsonville; and Michael Zhang, of Charleston.
"As the official timekeeper for the competition, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing each of the outstanding performances throughout the day and the talent level was extraordinarily high," stated Dr. Stephen Taylor, Governor’s School faculty member and coordinator of JAPC. "Piano artistry is certainly alive and flourishing in South Carolina."
The Junior Artist Piano Competition began in 2012 as a way for the Governor's School and the Bichel Foundation to feature and support aspiring professional pianists throughout South Carolina. Participants in grades 8-10 perform a memorized program of works for up to twenty minutes, and then receive written comments and feedback from an esteemed panel of judges. This year's panel included world-renowned professional pianists and educators Dr. Rosalyn Floyd, Dr. Liza Stepanova and Dr. Gregory Thompson.

The 9th Annual SCGSAH Junior Artist Piano Competition will be held on October 29, 2022. Students can apply to participate at
The Governor’s School offers pre-professional piano training through summer programs and the tuition-free, residential high school. Students receive individual lessons, attend master classes with guest artists and work in teams to learn and perform masterworks from piano ensemble literature. They also gain experience performing solo and in ensembles for multiple recitals and special events throughout the year. 
The Governor's School is currently accepting applications for the 2021-2022 residential high school and summer programs. Any student who is a resident of South Carolina and in 6th-11th grade is eligible to apply to the various programs. For more information, visit