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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

Chen earns American Prize honors, performs with U.K. symphony

Yi-Yang Chen
Yi-Yang Chen

May 21, 2019

JOHNSON CITY — Yi-Yang Chen of East Tennessee State University recently received national honors in The American Prize competition.

Chen, an assistant professor of piano and music theory in the ETSU Department of Music, took second place in the American Prize in Piano Performance (Concerto), The Lorin Hollander Awards, professional division, for 2018-19 with his performance of Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 4.” He also tied for third place in the American Prize in Piano Performance (Solo), professional division, with Matthew Bengtson of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

The American Prize: Celebrating American Excellence in the Arts is a series of non-profit national competitions in the performing arts. Unique in scope and structure, the program provides cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition. Each year, The American Prize rewards the best recorded performances by individual artists and ensembles in the United States at the professional, community/amateur, college, university, church and school levels.

In addition, Chen was a medalist in the 2019 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, which was held in March at Hilton Head, South Carolina. He was selected from among 237 applicants for this honor.

Now on an international concert tour, Chen recently made a solo appearance with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra in the United Kingdom. During this program, he played Saint-Saens’ “Concerto No. 5, The Egyptian’” in “Tales of the Arabian Nights,” an Eastern-inspired program that included Dvorak’s “Carnival” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”

Chen’s critically acclaimed performance with the WSO follows his first-place finish in 2018 in the fourth Sussex International Piano Competition, which was sponsored by the WSO. Worthing Herald music critic Richard Amey praised Chen’s “flair for the unusual and his technical and artistic capacity to deliver,” as well as his “musical and emotional intelligence, dexterity and virtuosity.”

Chen is continuing his tour in Asia. Among his stops is Changsha, China, where his activities include adjudicating a piano competition, giving master classes and performing a solo recital.

Chen joined the faculty of the ETSU Department of Music in 2017.