Amateur Piano Competition 2021

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Performance videos of award winners - click here

Outstanding Category Winners

1st Prize - Carl Di Casoli (Italy/USA)
2nd prize - Ian Roy (UK)
3rd Prize -  Alan Marie (France)
4th Prize - Youjin Hong (South Korea)

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Carl Di Casoli

1st Prize

A citizen of both the USA and Italy, Carl Di Casoli studied statistics at North Carolina State University in Raleigh earning both his masters and PhD degrees in statistics in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Although he currently works as a director of biostatistics at Sumitomo Dainippon Pharmaceuticals America (Sunovion) in Marlborough, Massachusetts (Boston area), he finds time to indulge his passion for piano by performing recitals and entering amateur competitions. In 2021, he was finalist and laureate at the International Chopin Competition for Amateurs in Warsaw, Poland. In addition, he was first prize winner in the amateur divisions of the Bradshaw and Buono International Competition (2020), the Windsor (UK) International Competition (2020), the Muse International Competition (Greece) (2020), music@e-contest International Piano Competition (2020), a winner of the inaugural Pianolink International Amateurs Piano Competition (Italy) (2020), and first prize winner in the San Diego International Amateur Piano Competition (2019).

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Ian Roy

2nd Prize

Ian was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and attended Wick High School. He began playing the piano at age eight and studied initially with Emma Bruce in Wick. After leaving Wick High School he studied for two degrees in maths and physics at the University of Aberdeen. Ian then worked on two research contracts at the universities of Plymouth and Newcastle upon Tyne. Thereafter he worked for the ship safety department of QinetiQ at Rosyth, and then for Petroleum Experts in Edinburgh. Ian now works as an engineering analyst for the Coventry based firm of OLEO International.

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Alain Mari

3rd Prize

I started playing the piano at the age of 6.

I then entered the conservatory of Nice (France) where I won the first prize in 1988.

Afterwards, I put the piano aside to devote myself to my studies, but briefly resumed it in order to take part in a student concert.

I seriously played the piano again in 2014 on my own, without a teacher. I won the first prize in the "La Note Celeste" competition in 2020 and I was a finalist in the "Pianolink" 2020 competition.

I performed in public for the first time in many years at the final of this competition.

In 2021, I won the 2nd prize in Piano Bridges competition.

Currently a computer engineer, I am passionate about music and computer science, and these two seemingly very different worlds have this in common that they allow you to create, to create something new.

My favorite repertoire ranges from baroque music with Bach or Scarlatti to the music of the 20th century, through the romantic music of Chopin.

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Youjin Hong

4th Prize

After medical studies at Korea’s Ulsan University, I did my psychiatry residency at the Seoul Asan Medical Center and have been a practicing psychiatrist since 2011.


Promising Category Winners

1st Prize - Utako Tanigawa (USA)
2nd Prize - Not awarded
3rd Prize - Georgina Lavery (New Zealand)

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Utako Tanigawa

1st Prize

Utako Tanigawa took piano lessons from 3 to 13 years old but changed her direction to study philosophy.  After coming to the U.S., she studied mathematics, computer science, and information management.  Since then, Dr. Tanigawa has worked in multiple global corporations for more than three decades.  About ten years ago, her life had a dramatic turn due to a life-threatening illness. Although it severely damaged her body, her love of music returned, and music provided a tangible lifeline.  Music continues to play a key soothing and healing role. In the recovery process, to challenge herself, she participated in several international amateur piano competitions including Van Cliburn Outstanding Amateur, Frederic Chopin Competition for Amateur Pianists in Poland, and Washington International Piano Artist Competition three times in addition to Piano Bridges in Russia and Seattle International Competition.  She was honored to be selected as a finalist and special awards at several competitions.


Not awarded

2nd Prize


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Georgina Lavery

3rd Prize

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Ms. Lavery received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Otago in Dunedin where she studied with Professor Terence Dennis. Prior to moving to the United States, she completed a Master of Arts degree at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with the University of Maryland, European Division. Since moving to the United States Ms. Lavery completed her Master of Music degree at the University of New Mexico with Professor Falko Steinbach. After graduating she worked as a financial advisor for First Command Financial Services. During that time she resumed piano study with Dr. Alexander Tentser in Tucson, Arizona. Ms. Lavery was selected to participate in the California Concerto Festival for Amateurs in 2017 and 2018 and performed the first and third movements of the Grieg Concerto. She attended Piano Texas International Academy and Festival in 2016, 2017, and 2019.



Outstanding Category

Dr. Wei-Han Su

Giuseppe Devastato

Kyu Butler

Promising Category

Dr. Sarah Rushing

Dr. Peter Ryan

Kyu Butler