American Protege International Music Competitions at Carnegie Hall

International Piano and Strings Competition 2023

The American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition is open to school students and adults of all nationalities and countries. All instruments, including piano, strings, voice and winds are welcome to participate in the Competition.

Participants are required to submit video/audio recording materials for the audition.

Multiple winners will be chosen in each age category.

We invite school students and adults to participate in the Competition. There is no age limit for the adult participants.

A record number of talented musicians applied for this year’s Piano and Strings Competition. They hailed from 16 countries, including different parts of the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South, Korea, St. Maarten, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.


Multiple winners will be chosen in each of the following age groups:

School Students:  Adults (18 and older):
  Young Musicians, 5 - 10Amateur without professional degree
 Junior, 11 - 14 College Students and Professional Musicians
 Intermediate, 15 - 18 

18-year-old school students must enter in the Intermediate Category. 18-year-old college students must apply under the College Students/Professionals Category.


Since the situation with Global Health Crisis is still uncertain, winners will be offered to perform at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on the dates to be announced, or to receive a Winner’s Package by mail.

Judges’ Distinction Award were granted based on the judges’ recommendations.


Four qualified judges will evaluate audition materials. All judges are independent; their students are not allowed to apply this season. Dr. Sophya Genis was invited as a Chairwoman of the Competition 2023. Mrs. Genis holds a Doctor of Music Arts Degree. She studied piano with such renowned professors as Alexander Yoheles, Yakov Milstein and Yakov Zak.

American Protégé
International Piano and Strings Competition 2023 Results

Judges Distinction Award (Plaque Trophies) Winners

Henry Yao, from Bay Area, California, began piano study at the age of six. He is a distinguished honor student and a dedicated musician. He is passionate about music, enjoys playing piano as a way to express himself. He has participated and performed in multiple regional, national, and international competitions, and has been active in performing at community events and local medical foundations to bring music to local community. Some of his achievements include first-place winner at 2019-2022 American Protégé Piano and Strings Competitions with Judge’s Distinction in 2021 and 2022, first-place winner in Competition of Romantic Music 2019-2022, multiple Outstanding Gold Medalist Awards with scholarships at US Open Music Competition, first place awards at International Music Competition Grand Prize Virtuoso 2021-22, first place awards at 2019-2022 Elite International Music Competition, etc. Henry also excels at academics, with state and national awards in math, science, history, and creative writing.

Dustin Zhao began taking piano lessons with Professor Olga Bornovalova at the age of 5. Dustin has made several successful appearances at national and international competitions. Some of his successes include being the grand prize winner for intermediate level at 2019 Carmel Klavier international piano competition, the 1st place winner for Steinway Chicago junior piano competition division II (2019) and winning 2nd at the Costa Rica international piano Competition (2021).

Ashley Choi, 15, a 9th grader from Phillips Academy (Andover, MA), started her piano when she was 3 years old, and piano has been one of her major interests all the time. Ashley studied piano with Professor Dr. Peter Vinograde at Manhattan School of Music and Rebecca Plummer at Phillips Academy Andover. Among Ashley’s achievements are 1st places in: American Protégé 2017 and 2018; Manhattan International Music Competition 2016 and 2017; Forte competition and East Coast International Competition 2016, Rondo Young Artist Festival 2015, 2016; Rondo Vanguard Competition 2017; K-Radio Piano Competition 2018; IMO New York Piano Competition 2019 and Elite International Music Competition 2021. In 2021, Ashley was admitted To Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division (Piano). She is also interested in flute, history, biology, English, cooking and rowing.

David Gatien is 13 years old and from Bellevue, WA. At age 6 and just months after starting piano, David entered his first piano competition (USA Chopin Foundation NW Council Competition) and won a Gold Medal, the youngest in his division. Since then, David has received several top performance awards, including First Prize in the 2019 and 2020 Golden Classical Music Awards International Music Competition; First Prize in the 2020 American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition; Gold Medals in the 2020 and 2021 AADGT International Young Gifted Musicians Festival; First Prize in the 2022 Central Washington University Pianofest Sonata/Sonatina Festival; and Gold Medals in the 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 NW Chopin Competition, among others. Most recently, he received First Prize and the Judges Distinction Award in the 2022 American Protege International Competition of Romantic Music. In his free time, David enjoys biking, watching movies, and listening to music.

Sara Nishimura is 11 years old and studies at the Seisen International School in Tokyo, Japan. She started playing violin at the age of three and has been playing for over eight years now. When she was 5 and 8 years old, she participated in volunteer concert groups with Suzuki Method Japan in Cremona, Italy, as well as in nursing homes and churches in Florence, Milan, and Rome. Sara was also featured on the Italian local news program. She has won First Prize + Exceptional Young Talent Special prize of “2022 Golden music Classical Music Awards” and went to Carnegie Hall to perform. She is also a first prize winner of “2023 International Music Competition ”Brussels and London” Grand Prize Virtuoso” and is scheduled to perform at the Centre for Fine Arts of Brussels on April 22, 2023.

Emily Saito-Noble, 9 years old, resides in Western Australia studying under the tutelage of Dr. Raymond Yong. Her musical journey started at very young age growing up in an environment surrounded with beautiful music. She has absolute perfect pitch and began her piano study at the age of four. Emily’s hard work has begun to bear fruit as she has achieved first prize in various international competitions, interstate eisteddfods, local competitions and music festivals. Her most recent performance was during the winners concert held at Amphitheatre, Paris Philharmonie, France in 2022. She also plays violin and very much enjoys performing at local concerts and at her junior school ensemble. She strives to enter the competitions and festivals to gain the opportunity to perform and meet great musicians from all over the world. 

Joston Liew is a 9 years old boy. He began learning the piano at the age of 5 with Karen Wong at Forte Musicademy. Joston won several awards in piano competitions over the last 3 years. The most recent competition he did was organised by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts which is Nanyang International Piano Academy 2022 where he was a Prizewinner (for 2 years consecutively) and was invited to perform at the Opening Gala Concert. He was awarded First Place in the 2020 Singapore International Piano Competition. He has also received Platinum awards in Le Petit festivals organised by The Singapore Music Teachers’ Association. He was awarded First Prize in the Muse2020 International Music Competition. He has attended piano masterclasses with Steinway Artists Mr.  Congyu Wang and Dr.  Abigail Sin as well as pianist Mrs. Junghwa Moon Auer. During his free time,  Joston likes to swim and cycle.

Ximing Leon Chen, is a 10-year-old violin enthusiast from Sydney Australia. He got his first 1/16 size violin when he was 3 years old out of interest, and formally started learning violin when he turned 5. Since then, he has been showing strong passion in violin and received numerous awards in national and international competitions. Some of the achievements include 1st Prize in International Grande Music Competition in 2021, Gold award in 2021 Singapore Raffles International Music Festival (SRIMF) Violin Solo Competition, 1st prize in 2021 Melbourne International Piano and Strings Festival Competition, and 3rd prize in Leonid Kogan Competition in 2022. He is the concertmaster of one of his school string ensembles and also enjoys playing the piano.

Louis Gao is 9 years old. He started to play piano at the age of 5 with Professor Ludovica Tassani. Louis won many National and International competitions (Piano Star International Competition, The Princeton Festival piano competition, New York International young Musician competition, G. Henle Verlag competition, Bach Festival Seattle international Piano Festival). He has been invited to play at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He is excited to make his first appearance on the Carnegie Hall stage on December 17th 2022. Louis loves to play with Legos, drawing and he also plays the violin.

8-year-old Andrew Lun is a 3rd grader at St. Bernard’s School in New York City. He has been learning the piano under Mme. Fumiko Bauer since the age of five. In the past few years, he has received top prizes at numerous piano competitions.  Andrew is a two times Grand Prix winner of the Rising Talents Festival and was invited to play at Carnegie Hall twice at age 6 and age 7. He won First Prize and Judges’ Distinction Award from the American Protege International Competition of Romantic Music in 2021. In February 2022, he was given an Encouragement Award from The 23rd Chopin International Competition in Asia. He has also received First Prize + Exceptional Young Talent Special Prize at the Grand Virtuoso International Music Competition in Vienna, London and Paris, and made his Paris debut in December 2022 at the Amphitheatre Cite de la Musique-Philharmonie de Paris.

Caden Chan is six years old and a native of San Francisco, USA. He started learning piano at the age of four with his current piano teacher, Ms. Min Chao. He actively participates in piano recitals and competitions, and in 2022 he was awarded first place in the American Protégé International Piano & Strings Competition, the SF International Innovative Music Competition, and the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition with the Judges’ Distinction Award. As a third-place winner in the Chopin Avenue International Piano Competition (Spring 2022), Caden performed publicly at the Winner’s Concert in June 2022 at the prestigious Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) Concert Hall in Katowice, Poland. Apart from the piano, Caden also enjoys playing the ukulele and composing his own music. He is also an active chess and soccer player, and has a blue belt in Taekwondo.

Sophie Sherry-Yau, from Vancouver, Canada, is 6 years old and has been playing the piano since she was 3.5 years old. She entered The New York International Artists Praelusio Competition – her first competition – at the age of 5 and was the only award recipient in her age range and was subsequently invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. In that same year she was also awarded the Gold Medal at the AADGT International Young Musicians Festival and was again invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. Outside of piano, she enjoys soccer, ballet, gymnastics, coding, and creating her own art pieces.   

Winners by Age Category


Other applicants received Diploma of Participation


1. Each Winner will perform at one Recital. Recital date and time will be offered to the Winner based on the Competition results.

2. To change a performance repertoire, a $55 fee must be submitted on the Contact Us page no later than two months prior to the Recital.

3. Extra performance time of up to 1 minute can be accepted for the Winners Recital with an additional fee of $100.

4. Only piano accompaniment can be used at the Winners Recital. Only one grand piano will be available at the Weill Recital Hall. No acoustic system will be provided.

5. Participants must bring their own piano accompanist. American Protégé does not provide piano accompanist, but can recommend one (contact the office).

6. Organizational Committee collects short biographies to introduce the performers at the Winners Recitals. American Protégé reserves the rights to edit, reduce and re-format any submitted biographies as it seems appropriate and fit into the Recital Brochure.

7. All participants are responsible for their own expenses (travel, housing accommodations, etc.).

8. During the COVID-19 Health Crisis, U.S. participants, who are unable to or unwilling to take a risk to travel to NYC for the Recital, may request a Competition Winner’s Package with a non-refundable $300 fee. The Package includes online recognition, Winner’s Certificate, Teacher’s Diploma, four Booklets with biographies and photos, and participation Plaque Trophy. International participants may arrange a Package pickup or request a shipment of the Winner’s Package to the friends or relative residing in the U.S. We do not mail packages internationally.

9. Photography and video/audio recording is not permitted for audience at Carnegie Hall.

10. Detailed Winners Recital Guidelines will be emailed to the participants.

Upcoming Competitions:


Competition of Romantic Music 2024

Deadline: October 10, 2024


Woodwinds and Brass Competition 2024

Deadline: October 25, 2024


Music Talent Competition Fall 2024

Deadline: November 3, 2024


Piano and Strings Competition 2025

Deadline: January 20, 2025


Concerto Competition 2025

Deadline: February 20, 2025