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The 2024 International Competition for Piano Judges

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Suk-Rahn Taeyu Kwon

Internationally acclaimed pianist, Dr. Suk-Rahn Kwon is one of the most recognized artists in South Korea. “Dazzling and colorful sound, her playing is persuasive, and she makes music alive”-her commanding technique, lyricism, and exceptionally beautiful sound-making gifts are consistently acknowledged by the press, audience and among the critics.  Also, her in-depth knowledge in piano literature and teaching experiences in academic field is outstanding.


As a solo pianist, she has constantly performed in numerous music centers in Europe (Paris, Rome, Salzburg, Moscow), and in the USA (Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Louisiana and Dallas Texas, to name a few).  She had countless solo recitals and concerts in South Korea.  Dr. Kwon has been a frequent artist performing in the prestigious Seoul Arts Center.  She also performed with many orchestras including Busan Philharmonic and Korean National Orchestra.  As a teacher, she taught many talented young pianists. Her students won many Korean piano competitions and international competitions.  Also, her students admitted to many renowned music schools like New England Conservatory of Music, Manhattan school of Music, Indiana University, Curtis Institute of Music, Boston University, University of Texas in Ausin, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas, University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, etc., many with full scholarships.


Dr. Kwon was invited as a jury member of numerous Korean domestic and renowned international piano competitions, including: the 2009 International Louisiana Piano Competition, 2017 and 2023 Washington International Piano Festival Competition, 2018 Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition (Moscow, Russia), 2018 International Collegiate Concerto Competition (Dallas, TX),  2021 and 2019 Bryansk Symphony Festival and Concert( Bryansk, Russia).  She was also invited as a visiting professor for 2012, 2017 and 2023 Washington International Piano Festival. 


Dr. Kwon received her ‘Bachelor of Music’ and ‘Master of Music’ with Honor’s from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and her ‘Doctor of Musical Arts’ degree from the University of North Texas. She taught at Seoul Arts Center for Gifted Young Artists, Seoul National University and Korea National University of Arts. Dr. Kwon is a visiting professor of Music at Sejong University in South Korea and teaches at Tarrant County College.

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Petronel Malan

Lauded as an unmistakably creative force in classical music, Petronel continues to enthrall audiences worldwide. Her critical acclaim culminated in the nomination of three Grammy® Awards, including “Best Instrumental Solo Album” for her recording Transfigured Bach. Further releases on Hänssler Classic included Transfigured Mozart, Transfigured Beethoven, Transfigured Brahms and Transfigured Tchaikovsky , which was awarded the gold medal from "The American Prize." 


After winning multiple gold medals in piano competitions, she maintains a full schedule as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician across the world. 

She made her debut with the Johannesburg Symphony at age ten and won all major national competitions, before moving to the USA. She completed her DMA degree at the University of North Texas under Joseph Banowetz. Other teachers included Adolph Hallis, Joseph Stanford, Albie van Schalkwyk, Steven de Groote, and Earl Wild.

Although residing in the United States, Petronel continues strong ties to her native South Africa. She received the “Rapport/City Press Prestige Award” as one of the “10 Most Inspirational Women in South Africa,” and has appeared on magazine covers, fashion spreads and even as picture-clues in crossword puzzles. She received the KKNK Kanna and KykNET Fiesta awards after recent South African tours. Apart from a love for vintage gowns, Ms. Malan’s stage wardrobe is designed by foremost South African designers.

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