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Marian Garcia International Piano Competition and Festival

October 26-29, 2017

2017 Winners


  • 1st prize: Jun Luke Foster, Peabody Conservatory
  • 2nd prize: Yong Murray, Manhattan School of Music
  • Honorable Mentions: Chen-Shen Fan (Brooklyn College CUNY), Weiyan Li (Penn State), Suejin Jung (The Juilliard School)

High School

  • 1st prize: Kelsey Lee (Summit, NJ)
  • 2nd prize: Uyen Nguyen (Boalsburg, PA)
  • Honorable Mentions: Sophia Guan (Chattanooga, TN), Ami Hatori (Leola, PA), Ellie Kim (State College, PA)

Welcome to the Marian Garcia International Piano Competition and Festival page! Hosted by the Penn State School of Music's piano faculty, this year's event includes competitions and masterclasses for collegiate and high school pianists. The festival was created through a generous grant from Edith Garcia, mother of local physician Dr. Marian Garcia.

Note: Due to construction of our new recital hall, events usually occurring in Esber Recital Hall have been relocated to other venues. For this reason, there are no guest or faculty piano recitals scheduled during the 2017 Garcia Competition weekend. Click here to see the plans for our new hall.

High School Competition

The high school competition will be held on Sunday, October 29, 2017. It is open to students currently in grades 9-12. First prize is $750; second prize is $400. Senior winners of the competition who are accepted as music majors at the School of Music are guaranteed a minimum of $5,000 in tuition scholarship at Penn State. The application deadline is October 6. Click here for details and application information.

Collegiate Competition

The collegiate competition will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2017. It is open to students who are enrolled and currently pursuing undergraduate or graduate level music studies. First prize is $1,000; second prize is $400. The application deadline is October 6. Click here for details and application information.

Masterclass Participation

On Thursday evening, October 26 and Friday, October 27, there will be opportunities for high school and collegiate pianists to participate in masterclasses with guest pianist Alan Chow, as well as Penn State faculty members Christopher Guzman, Jose Ramon Mendez, and Timothy Shafer. Students who have applied to the Garcia competitions are eligible to participate. Please check the appropriate box on the application form and list your repertoire if you would like to be considered for the masterclass.


Thursday, October 26

  • 7:30 p.m.  Masterclass with Alan Chow, featuring Penn State students

Friday, October 27

  • 1:00-2:30 p.m.  Collegiate Masterclass with Christopher Guzman (Helena Hyesoo Kim, Brahms Piano Pieces, Op.119; William Kim, Chopin Preludes, Op.28, #1-12)
  • 2:30-4:00 p,m.  Collegiate Masterclass with Alan Chow (Yihan Sun, Beethoven Sonata Op.53, mvt. 1;  Victoria Young, Chopin Polonaise-Fantasy, Op.61)
  • 4:00-5:30 p.m.  Collegiate Masterclass with Jose Ramon Mendez (Jinhee Im, Schumann Carnaval, Op.9; Yidi Jiao, Bach Toccata in C Minor, BWV 911)

Saturday, October 28

  • 9:00-4:00 p.m.  Collegiate Competition
  • 5:00-7:00 p.m.  High School Masterclass with Timothy Shafer (John Arlievsky, Rachmaninoff Prelude in G Minor, Op.23 No.5; Sophia Guan, Medtner Forgotten Melodies II, Op.39: mvt. 5; Frances Keohane, Haydn Sonata in B Minor, Hob XVI:32, mvt. I

Sunday, October 29

  • 10:00-1:00 High School Competition


Click for information regarding hotels and accommodations.

Click for directions to the School of Music at Penn State University.

A Steinway Artist, Alan Chow has performed to critical acclaim in recital and in concert in such major venues as New York’s Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, and Chicago’s Symphony Center. He has performed with Alan Choworchestras in the United States and Asia, included concerto performances with the National, Pan Asian, Utah, Oakland, Kansas City, and Omaha symphonies, and the Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tulsa Philharmonics. Chow won first prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and the silver medal and audience favorite prize at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. His awards also include first prize in the UCLA and Palm Beach Invitational International piano competitions.

As a chamber musician, Chow has collaborated with the America, Pacifica, and Miami String quartets and has been a guest artist at numerous festivals. He regularly tours Asia with performances in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and China, and has also presented masterclasses and lectures at major conservatories there. In addition, he appears in recital with the Cheng-Chow Trio and with pianists Angela Cheng and his twin brother Alvin.

Chow has given masterclasses throughout North America and Asia at conservatories, universities, and summer festivals, and he is active as a juror for many piano competitions. He has served as guest professor at the Central Conservatory in Beijing, honored visiting professor at the Shenyang Conservatory, and visiting associate professor at Oberlin Conservatory. His former and current students have been winners in international piano competitions.

He is a member of the artist faculty at the Eastman School of Music.

chris guzmanPianist Christopher Guzman regularly performs for audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia, as soloist and chamber musician. He is a multiple prizewinner in many international competitions, including the Walter M. Naumburg Competition, the Seoul International Music Competition, and the Isang Yun Competition of South Korea. Recently, he garnered the grand prize and several special prizes at the 10th Concours International de Piano d’Orléans of Orléans, France. As a result, he regularly travels to France to perform in Paris and throughout the Loire Valley. His CD of German and Austrian music from the past one hundred years, Vienne et après, was released in March 2014 on the Tessitures label.

Guzman’s career has brought him to such venues as Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and others. He performs regularly with some of the world’s most exciting soloists including Ilya Gringolts, Antoine Tamestit, David Fray, and Jeremy Denk, among others. He continually performs with members of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2013, he was a guest artist on the New York Philharmonic’s chamber music series “Philharmonic Ensembles.”

His performances showcase a broad range of styles, from Baroque to the avant-garde. He continues to collaborate with many of the nation’s preeminent new music ensembles; his performances have included world premieres by Donald Martino, Nico Muhly, and Paul Schoenfield. The New York Times hailed his performance of Christopher Theofanidis’s Statues as “coiled” and “explosive.”   

Born in Texas, Christopher Guzman began studying piano at age nine and violoncello two years later. He worked primarily with Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald at the Juilliard School, Anton Nel at the University of Texas at Austin, and the late Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory. He is an associate professor at Penn State.

Described as “an artist with a polished sound and tremendous constructive power” and hailed by the Hoja del Lunes de Madrid, as “the Spanish pianist of his jose mendezgeneration,” Jose Ramon Mendez is one of the most exciting Spanish pianists on the concert scene today.

Mendez received his first music instruction from his father, and by the age of seven was already performing on Spanish television and radio stations. He first gained international recognition when he performed Liszt’s first piano concerto under the direction of Sergiu Commissiona at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since then, he has concertized extensively in his native Spain, the United States, Italy, England, Portugal, Holland, and Japan to great acclaim. With his poetic performance expression, intellect, and masterful technique, he has been praised by critics and celebrated by audiences around the world.

At the age of 18, Mendez’s success brought him to the United States, where he began his studies with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music. He also completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree there under the tutelage of legendary pianist Byron Janis, a pupil of Vladimir Horowitz and Miyoko Lotto. While a student, he won top prizes in the Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head Island International Piano Competition, the Frederick Chopin Competition in New York, and the Hermanos Guerrero International Piano Competition, among others.

Mendez has been a guest performer at many music festivals, including the Caramoor Festival, the Barge Music Series, the Festival Internacional de Piano de las Islas Canarias, and the Santander International Music Festival, to name a few. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree, and Pinchas Zukerman.

His professional teaching career began in 1996, when he was invited to teach masterclasses at the Gijon School of Music. He gave masterclasses at the Lugo Professional Conservatory of Music in 1999 and, most recently, at the Aviles Conservatory and the Santiago Conservatory. He has also taught during the summers at the Perlman Music Program, a program for gifted young musicians founded by Itzhak Perlman. He previously held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin and at New York University's Steinhardt School. During the summers, Mendez serves as executive director of the Stony Brook International Piano Festival and is also co-director of the Gijon International Piano Festival in Gijon, Spain. Jose Ramon Mendez is a Yamaha Artist.

tim shaferTimothy Shafer has concertized extensively throughout the United States, performing, teaching, and discussing the rich heritage of piano repertoire. He is the recipient of Oberlin Conservatory’s “Rudolf Serkin Outstanding Pianist Award,” Indiana University School of Music’s annual Concerto Competition, and the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association “Teacher of the Year” award.

Shafer has appeared both as a soloist and a chamber musician in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, maintains an active solo recital and chamber music schedule in the United States, and is a frequent soloist with regional orchestras, having appeared in more than 40 concerto performances in his career. As a member of Duo Concertant with violinist James Lyon he has recorded “Outstanding in Our Field,” a CD featuring works for piano and violin by Strauss, Debussy, and Stravinsky. He appears frequently in recital with his daughter, soprano Sarah Shafer.

As professor of piano at Penn State, he has concertized, taught, and adjudicated in South America and Asia. He is also well-known as a frequent masterclass clinician and competition adjudicator throughout the country for professional music organizations and colleges.

Shafer is the co-author of Class Piano for Adult Beginners, published by Prentice-Hall, and his articles on piano teaching and repertoire have appeared in the Piano Pedagogy Forum, the American Music Teacher, and in both volumes of The Pianist’s Craft. Shafer served for many years as the national chair of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy's Student Committee. Currently, he is serving as the senior music consultant for the psalter-hymnal project of the joint committees of the United Reformed Church of North America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church denominations. The volume is slated for publication in 2017. Shafer earned degrees in piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.