Venue: The University of Auckland's, School of Music
6 Symonds Street, Auckland

Avan Yu - WIPF 2018

Avan Yu

Thursday  |  12 July  |  7:30pm


Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 18 in D Major, K. 576
I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Allegretto

Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin
I. Prélude
II. Fugue
III. Forlane
IV. Rigaudon
V. Menuet
VI. Toccata

Liszt: Sonetti del Petrarca 104 & 123 from Années de Pèlerinage Book 2, Italy, S. 161

Liszt: Piano Sonata in B Minor, S. 178
I. Lento assai – Allegro energico – Grandioso – Recitativo
II. Andante sostenuto – Quasi Adagio
III. Allegro energico – Più mosso – Stretta quasi presto – Presto – Prestissimo – Andante sostenuto – Allegro moderato – Lento assai

One of Canada’s most exciting young pianists, Avan Yu achieved international recognition when he triumphed at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2012, winning First Prize along with nine special awards. He was first noticed by Pinchas Zukerman and Bramwell Tovey who invited him to perform with their respective orchestras, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Vancouver Symphony.  Since then, he has appeared with conductors and musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, Rafael Fruehbeck de Burgos, Christian Arming, Juanjo Mena, Johannes Moser, and the Armida Quartet. He has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia and at venues such as the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Salle Cortot in Paris, and the Sydney Opera House.

Avan Yu became front page news as the youngest competitor ever to win the Canadian Chopin Competition at the age of 17. On the world stage, he went on to win the Silver Medal and Audience Prize at the Santander International Piano Competition. Following his First Prize at the Sydney International Piano Competition, the newspaper West Australian wrote: “there is an ability to probe and reveal the inner depths of whatever he plays which is far more suggestive of the real McCoy than the surface prestidigitation that too often is all that many a young, hotshot piano player aspires to.”

His teachers include Horacio Gutierrez, Klaus Hellwig, Kenneth Broadway, Ralph Markham, and Kut Kau Sum. He has obtained Diplom and Konzertexamen degrees at the Berlin University of the Arts in Germany and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Manhattan School of Music. While in Germany, he has performed at festivals such as the Rheingau Music Festival, Heidelberger Frühling, Kissinger Sommer, and Ruhr Klavierfestival, and for the President and the Bundestag President of Germany.

He has received generous support from Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Vancouver Women’s Musical Society, and The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation.

His latest recording of Liszt's piano transcriptions of Schubert's Winterreise and Schwanengesang, released by Naxos, won glowing reviews from critics at Gramophone Magazine, American Record Guide, and Fono Forum.

Besides playing the piano, Avan has also written for the National Post. He loves studying languages and in his spare time enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. He now resides in New York City.



Marta Zabaleta

Friday  |  13 July  |  7.30pm



Chopin: from 24 Preludes, Op. 28
No. 1 in C Major
No. 2 in A Minor
No. 3 in G Major
No. 4 in E Minor
No. 5 in D major

Granados: Selections from Goyescas
El fandango de candil Quejas, o la maja y el ruiseñor Los Requiebros

Chopin: from 24 Preludes, Op. 28
No. 11 in B Major
No. 12 in G Sharp Minor
No. 13 in F Sharp Major

Albéniz: Asturias from Suite Español

Albéniz: Rondeña from Iberia, Book 2; Mallorca, Op. 202; Eritaña from Iberia, Book 4

Chopin: Nocturne in G Minor, Op. 37 No. 1

Manuel de Falla: Suite del amor brujo
I. Pantomima
II. Canción del fuego fatuo
III. Danza del terror
IV. El círculo mágico
V. Danza ritual del fuego

At the age of 16, Marta completed her musical studies in San Sebastian where she was awarded First Prize in piano. She then went on to continue her studies at some of the most prestigious European academies: the National Superior Conservatory of Music in Paris under Dominique Merlet, the Reina Sofía College of Music in Madrid with Dmitri Bashkirov, and the Marshall Academy in Barcelona with Alicia de Larrocha. She received many prizes at international competitions such as the Santander ‘Paloma O’Shea’, Darmstadt, Premio Jaén and the Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition in Zaragoza.

In her long career as a concert pianist, Marta has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the English Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra (Berlin), the Basque National Orchestra, and the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra (RTVE), as well as the symphony orchestras of Bilbao, Extremadura, Castile and León, Murcia, Community of Madrid, Galicia, Málaga, Granada, Valencia and Reina Sofía, amongst others. She has performed under the baton of outstanding conductors including Sir Colin Davis, Daniele Gatti, Harry Christophers, S. Comissiona, C. Mandeal, M. Venzago, G. Varga, G. Neuhold, J.C Spinossi, G. Pehlivanian, J. Mena, D. Wilson, L. Pfaff, J.M. Encinar, J. Amigo, M. Bragado, G. I. Ramos, and C. Wilkins. Marta has been invited to significant international festivals and concert halls, debuting in the Carnegie Hall with cellist Asier Polo.

Marta has made a number of recordings, which include the works of Joaquín Rodrigo, recorded by EMI; F. Escudero, with the label CLAVES; chamber works with Asier Polo under the label BBK; and M. Pompey’s Concerto for Two Pianos with the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra (RTVE). She has also recorded an album “Pecados de juventud” (“Sins of youth”) of compositions by Alicia de Larrocha, and has recently released two new albums: “Goyescas and El Pelele” by Granados, edited by La má de Guido, and works for cello and piano by Rachmaninov and Franck with IBS Classical.

In addition to her performing career, Marta has a great deal of experience and recognition in piano pedagogy. She has given masterclasses at Trinity Laban College of London and at universities in Bogota and Medellin, among many others. Marta is currently professor of piano at Musikene (the Higher Academy of Music of the Basque Country), and, at the wish of her predecessor Alicia de Larrocha, she is the current director of the Marshall Academy in Barcelona.

Marta recently won the Albéniz Medal granted by the Fundación Pública Isaac Albéniz.

Lixin Zhang - WIPF 2018

Lixin Zhang

Sunday  |  15 July  |  5:00pm


Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 26 in E Flat Major, Op. 81a, ‘Les Adieux
I. Das Lebewohl: Adagio – Allegro
II. Abwesenheit: Andante espressivo
III. Das Wiedersehen: Vivacissimamente

Liszt: from Six Consolations, S. 172
No. 1 in E Major
No. 2 in E Major
No. 3 in D Flat Major

Schumann: from Novelettes, Op. 21
No. 1 in D Minor
No. 2 in D Major

Debussy: from Préludes
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir
Les collines d’Anacapri
Des pas sur la neige
Feux d’artifice

Chopin: Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2    

Lixin Zhang is 17 years old and is in his fifth year at Burnside High School, Christchurch where he is in the Specialist Music Programme playing both piano and violin. He began piano lessons at the age of four with Neville Baird and later also studied with Michael Endres and Richard Mapp. Lixin was awarded the Irene Lassen Exhibition award from the Royal Schools of Music for his first diploma exam and passed his LRSM diploma with a high distinction. In addition, he has attained his fellowship diploma certificate from the Trinity College of London. In 2017, Lixin was invited to perform two solo concerts at festivals held in Mallorca, Spain. During the same year, he attended a summer school programme held in Switzerland and was invited to return the following year to perform as a guest artist at a festival concert. Lixin has won the 2017 Wallace National Piano Competition, the 2016 Wallace National Junior Piano Competition, various IRMT piano competitions, and the Ruby Hay Pianoforte Scholarship. Earlier this year, Lixin recorded a CD with Rattle Records. Away from the piano, he enjoys playing table tennis, chess, and tennis.

Avan Yu performs the iconic Piano Sonata in B minor by Franz Liszt

Marta performs Fandango del Candil (The Oil Lamp Fandango) from Goyescas by one of Spain's most celebrated composers, Enrique Granados

Meet Lixin Zhang

Lixin's winning performance at the 2017 Wallace National Piano Competition