The 2022 Heida Jury
Video/Final Round Judges
Finalists were judged on the abilities required of a successful modern virtuoso — namely, the ability to not only master the instrument, but to engage in creative, relevant programming, and to interact effectively with audiences and other musicians.
Final Round Judges
Chairman of the Jury
With a vibrant concert schedule, a legacy of 28 CDs, and a stream of superlatives from major critics around the globe, pianist Frederic Chiu occupies a special place in the world of classical music. In an eclectic career encompassing unusual collaborations and little-played repertoire, along with explorations into the psychology of performance, Mr. Chiu has demonstrated an ability to go beyond boundaries and to bring listeners with him.
Sara Davis Beuchner
Sara Davis Buechner is one of the leading concert pianists of our time, a musician of “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times), with “sovereign command of the keyboard” (Los Angeles Times). Japan’s InTune magazine says: “When it comes to clarity, flawless tempo selection, phrasing and precise control of timbre, Buechner has no superior.” She was the Gold Medalist of the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and a Bronze Medalist in the 1986 Tschaikowsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. With an active repertoire of more than 100 piano concertos ranging from A (Albeníz) to Z (Zimbalist) — possibly the largest of any living concert pianist — she has been soloist with many of the world’s prominent orchestras, and given recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl. Ms. Buechner enjoys wide success throughout Asia where she tours annually. Sara Davis Buechner is the most prominent transgender musician appearing on the classical concert stage today, and has been lauded as a champion of LGBTQ+ rights. She received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award of Brandeis University, and is a member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Dr. Buechner is a Professor of Music at Temple University, has taught and given master classes at prominent music institutions worldwide, and has edited important piano collections for Dover Publications. Her own compositions are published by Muse Press of Tokyo. In 2022 she will mark her 35th year as a dedicated Yamaha artist.
Argentine/American pianist Mirian Conti, based in New York City, enjoys a growing reputation as a musician whose performances combine technical brilliance with striking originality and artistic insight. Stylistically assured in a wide range of repertoire, Ms. Conti’s prolific recording output and international concerts have garnered praise and awards. In recognition of her extraordinary talent, a scholarship honoring Mirian Conti was established at The Juilliard School by the Edwin Bachman Estate. In addition, she was selected as one of the “100 Outstanding Alumni” to celebrate The Juilliard School’s Centennial in 2005-6. She was a Scholarship student of Richard Fabre and Josef Raieff and graduated from the School with a BM and MM. Other teachers include Genny Blech, Freda Rosenblatt and Byron Janis. Since 2007, Ms. Conti is on the Faculty of the Evening Division at the Juilliard School. Mirian Conti is a YAMAHA artist.
Video Round Judges
Praised as an “artist already of enormous prowess” (Verbier Festival Newsletter), pianist Sahun Hong brings his colorful style and riveting energy to the solo, chamber, and concerto stage. Currently a student of Leon Fleisher, Hong is pursuing a doctorate at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Ms. Li holds a Bachelor and Master of Music degree, both on a full scholarship, from The Juilliard School, under the tutelage of Seymour Lipkin and Joseph Kalichstein. After obtaining her Artist Diploma with Peter Frankl at Yale School of Music, she completed her doctorate studies at the McGill School of Music under Dr. Stéphane Lemelin. She has served as Piano Faculty/Chamber music coach for the McGill School of Music for undergraduate students and for the HeifetzPEG Institute in Virginia and is also the co-founder and Artistic Director for “The Last Soirée”, a multi-genre performing arts series which launched in New York last spring, and ”Fishin’ in C Chamber Music Series”, a diverse chamber concert series in Philadelphia that launched in Fall 2018.
Zhenni Li is a Steinway Artist.
2019 Heida Winner
An exceptionally accomplished pianist, this 26-year-old has won a number of competitions across the US, Europe, and South America. Her work continues at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami where she is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy under Santiago Rodriguez.