Competition Calendar

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  • Queenstown Memorial Centre

    Collaborating Pianists Sarah Watkins and Jian Liu

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    Friday 2 June Bayley’s Quarter-final Round 1

    (each performance is 40 minute maximum and is presented in the order of the competitors’ choosing.)
    Repertoire: Unaccompanied Bach and Paganini Caprices, plus charming salon pieces and new to 2017 is a Competitors’ Choice selection called ad libitum.

    1:00 light lunch for all ‘pass’ holders
    2:30 Insider’s Guide “Why Bach”, Stephen Larsen
    3:00 – 5:55 Session 1 Competitors 1, 2, 3, 4
    7:00 – 10:00 Session 2 Competitors 5, 6, 7, 8

    Saturday 3 June Bayley’s Quarter-final Round 1 (con’t)

    9:30 Insider’s Guide “Technical Brilliance”, Andrew Beer
    10:00 – 12:55 Session 3 Competitors 9, 10, 11, 12
    2:00 – 4:55 Session 4 Competitors 13, 14, 15, 16

    Sunday 4 June Quarter-final Round II

    (each performance is 45 minute maximum as is presented in the order of the competitors’ choosing.)
    Repertoire: NZ Commissioned work by Karlo Margetic, Sonata with piano accompaniment and a virtuoso work of the competitors’ choosing.

    9:30 Insider’s guide “On an Imaginary Folksong” Stephen Larsen and Karlo Margetic
    10:00 –1:15 Session 5 Competitors 1, 2, 3, 4
    2:00 Insider’s guide “What about the Bow?” Gary Leahy
    2:30 – 5:45 Session 6 Competitors 5, 6, 7, 8

    Monday 5 June Quarter-final Round II (cont) Queens Birthday

    9:30 Insiders Guide “The Perfect Pairing” Andrew Beer
    10:00 – 1:15 Session 7 Competitors 9, 10, 11, 12
    2:30 – 5:45 Session 8 Competitors 13, 14, 15, 16
    7:00 approx Announcement of NZ Commissioned Work Prize and 6 semi-finalists

  • Auckland Town Hall

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    Wednesday 7 June Semi-final Round III

    Collaborating Artists Justine Cormack, Gillian Ansell, Julia Joyce and Ashley Brown
    Repertoire: Mozart String Quintets

    6:30 Insider’s Guide “The Mozart String Quintets” Lara Hall
    7:30 Semi-finalists 1, 2, 3

    Thursday 8 June Semi-final Round III (cont)

    10:00 – 2:00 Master classes and workshops with Judges held at the University of Auckland (free to the public)
    7:30 3 Semi-finalists 4, 5, 6
    10:30 Approx Announcement of 3 finalists

    Friday 9 June

    10:30 – 2:30 Master classes and workshops with Judges at University of Auckland (free to the public)

    Saturday 10 June Final Round

    Collaborating Artists The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra with conductor Giordano Bellincampi
    Repertoire: Concertos with full orchestra

    10:30 – 12:30 Master Class with Silvia Marcovici and the Pettman Academy of Music at University of Auckland (free to the public)
    Insider’s Guide “Soloist with Orchestra” Martin Riseley
    7:30 Final Round Finalists 1, 2, 3

  • Competitor

    1 February 2017 – Final programme submitted; Ad Libitum score provided
    20 February 2017 – Final approval provided by Competition management
    1 April 2017 – NZ Commissioned work distributed by email

    Monday 29 May 2017 – Competitors arrive in Queenstown
    Wednesday 31 May 2017 – Piano rehearsals; Welcome Reception and Official Draw
    Thursday 1 June 2017 – Piano rehearsals

Sarah Watkins, New Zealand – Piano

Sarah Watkins has enjoyed an impressive career as chamber musician, collaborative partner and recording artist, touring widely throughout Japan, England and the US with some of America’s leading instrumentalists. In 2002 Sarah formed NZTrio with violinist Justine Cormack and cellist Ashley Brown, a group which has since become one of New Zealand’s leading music ensembles. Sarah has been an official pianist for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition since its inception in 2001, has performed as a freelance player in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared as concerto soloist with St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra and the APO.

Sarah is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City, where she earned both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in collaborative piano. Resident in the US for fourteen years, Sarah was a staff pianist at Juilliard, Yale University and the Aspen Music Festival. Among academic highlights was her work as coordinator of the collaborative piano program at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and several years tenure on the music faculty of Purchase College, New York. During the period 2004-2009 NZTrio was ensemble in residence at the University of Auckland, where Sarah also taught collaborative piano and chamber music.


Jian Liu, New Zealand – Piano

Jian Liu has been gaining reputation as a well sought-after solo pianist, chamber musician, and educator across the globe. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. His artistry has been taking him to some of the most prestigious concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall in New York, Rose Hall of Lincoln Center, Sprague Hall and Woolsey Hall of Yale University, and Paul Hall of Julliard School, and as a featured soloist with orchestras including Symphony Orchestra of National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and Yale Philharmonia, among others.

Jian has also been a prize-winner at Horowitz (Ukraine) and Missouri Southern (USA) international competitions and has performed at Auckland (New Zealand), Idyllwild (USA), Beijing (China), Lausanne (Switzerland), and Krakow (Poland) music festivals. Jian’s performances have been broadcast by various TV and radio stations including KPHO public radio, CCTV (China), Suisse Romande Radio, Krakow Radio, and Radio New Zealand.

As a dedicated and enthusiastic chamber musician, Jian is the founding pianist of Te Kōkī Trio, the resident trio at New Zealand School of Music, and the trio has appeared on various chamber series in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Jian has also performed as a guest pianist with some of the world-class musicians, including cellist Jian Wang, clarinetist David Shifrin, flutist Ransom Wilson, Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Alexandre Lecarme, violinist Sarita Kwok, and pianist Boris Berman and Maria João Pires.

As a passionate performer, Jian is equally committed to education. Jian have served for four years on the faculty of the Yale Department of Music, and he is currently the Programme Leader of Classical Performance and Head of Piano Studies at New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington, as well as the honorary piano professor at Qingdao University in China. He has also taught master classes and lectures at the Central Conservatory of Music, Tianjin Conservatory of Music, and Xiamen University (China), Wellesley College and East Carolina University (USA), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (Singapore), Krakow Academy of Music (Poland) and Sydney Conservatorium, among others. Jian studied with Professor Jin Zhang from Central Conservatory in Beijing for six years, then with Dr. Caio Pagano at Arizona State University for eight years. He holds Master of Music, Doctor and Master of Musical Arts degrees from Yale School of Music, where he was a student of Professor Claude Frank.

2017 Competition Online Voting Booth