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Musical Success: Two Cello Students Recognized for Talent

by McKenzie Feitler '11

This semester, two music students’ hard work is paying off– both received significant recognition for their musical abilities. Xian Zhuo was selected as 1 of 25 cellists for the prestigious 14th International Tchaikovsky Competition. Sheng Zhang placed second in the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition for 2011.

Zhuo is a prominent cello student enrolled in APU’s Artist Certificate program. The 14th International Tchaikovsky Competition will take place in Moscow from June 14–July 2. More than 583 musicians from 47 countries applied, and only 120 contestants– pianists, violinists, cellists, and vocalists– were asked to move on to the first round. Of the 140 young cellists who applied, only 25 contestants were chosen.

Sheng is also a cellist and Artist Certificate student. The judges praised Sheng’s performance saying Sheng was “a very engaging performer with a great command of the music, character and temperament.” As a result of his second place win, Sheng performed in a recital on Sunday, February 27, at the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center in New York City, one of the most prestigious halls in New York.

“The success of Xian and Sheng, without a doubt, helps place APU’s School of Music among the very best music schools in the nation,” said Marek Szpakiewicz, adjunct, cello professor. “At the same time, their accomplishments contribute to other students in the School of Music, by inspiring and motivating them. It is a testimony that the music program has witnessed the dramatic improvements in the last few years.”