Arts & Culture

UK Piano Student Earns Honors in Two International Competitions

photo of Olivia-Xin Zhang and Irina Voro with awards
Olivia-Xin Zhang (left) and UK Piano Professor Irina Voro.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 13, 2017) — Olivia-Xin Zhang, a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky School of Music, took home honors at two international competitions this fall. Most recently, Zhang won a bronze medal in the Piano Artists Category of the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition held this October. She also placed second in the 2017 Concert Artist International Virtuoso Competition, and in turn was asked to perform at a concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

The 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition, or VIMC, is organized by the Canada International Arts and Music Society and is supported by the Canadian Music Centre and worldwide music organizations. The VIMC’s purpose is to host a quality musical event for competitors and the Vancouver community, while presenting an invitation for young musicians around the world to perform and grow in an environment that is both competitive and welcoming. VIMC’s goal is to promote the inheritance and preservation of classical music and to encourage young musicians to explore contemporary and modern music with a focus on Canadian composers.

Zhang was recognized for her bronze medal finish in the 2017 VIMC at a gala concert held Oct. 8, at Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

Concert Artists International (CAI) was created by active professional musicians and music educators. The 2017 CAI International Virtuoso Competition was open to musicians of all nationalities and countries. The competition’s categories included: instrumental soloists (piano, strings, winds, brass and percussion); chamber music ensembles (duos to quintets); and vocalists.

Zhang, who competed at the professional artist level at CAI’s competition, took second place in the piano division of the instrumental soloist category. In recognition of her honor, Zhang was invited to play Carnegie Hall.

When asked how she began playing piano, Zhang said, “I began playing the piano at 4 years old. My parents had to work every day, and nobody could be there to take care of me. I had nowhere to stay except a music child care center. There were violin, piano and cello classes. My parents chose piano class for me because it was the only class we didn’t need to buy an instrument for.”

Zhang is currently a student of UK Piano Professor Irina Voro. Zhang, who holds both bachelor’s and master's degrees in music, has been playing the piano for over 25 years.

The UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.

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