Drew Petersen Named Winner of American Pianists Award

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Drew Petersen has been named winner of the 2017 American Pianists Awards. The competition is held every two years to discover the best aspiring young American jazz or classical pianists, and the 23-year old with Armenian heritage has suddenly become the next emerging American artist.

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American world-class jazz and classical pianists. The prize value for winning the American Pianists Awards exceeds $100,000 and includes $50,000 cash and two years of career assistance through the Christel DeHaan Fellowship. Additionally, Drew will serve as Artist-in-Residence at University of Indianapolis and have a professional recording.

“I’ll have the great privilege to do my debut album on the Steinway and Sons record label. The recording sessions are scheduled for October in New York City, and hopefully it will be released soon after,” said Petersen.

As one of five finalists chosen via blind auditions, the Oradell, NJ native performed a solo and concerto performance in Indianapolis in addition to a high school residency.

The culmination of the competition was April 3-8, when all five finalists together for a week of solo recitals, chamber concerts, the premiere of a commissioned work, and concerti with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, testing the acumen of each pianist in a variety of performance settings.

“For the Gala Finals, we presented five American virtuoso pianists playing major works of the repertoire with a superior orchestra conducted by an exciting, seasoned conductor, in a fine hall full of enthusiastic supporters, to a worldwide audience, said American Pianists Association President/CEO and Artistic Director Dr. Joel Harrison, “For me, that is as good as it gets, and if the playing gets any more thrilling, my heart will simply not take it! Henry Kramer, Steven Lin, Sam Hong, Alex Beyer, and obviously our winner Drew Petersen, are magnificent artists, get my admiration and respect, and deserve the highest accolades I can offer.”

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Petersen’s family was at the finals in Indianapolis and joined the celebration upon the announcement of Drew’s win. Drew appreciates elements of Armenian culture gleaned through his mom, who in addition to supporting his interest in music, introduced him to mezze, now his favorite food.

Petersen will be booked for performances across the world over the next two years. After receiving his master of music degree from Juilliard next month and performing two concerts in New Jersey, he will travel to Chicago, the Czech Republic and Spain to perform.

“My life was never without music,” said Petersen. “I could not imagine my life being any other way.”

A prizewinner in the Leeds International Piano Competition, Petersen has performed solo and concerto recitals in both Europe and the United States.

He has been a top prizewinner in the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, and the New York Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition.

He has participated in master classes with Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax, Claude Frank, Menahem Pressler, Stephen Kovacevich, Ferenc Rados, and André Michel Schub.

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists. We celebrate the beauty of music through America’s premier jazz and classical

In 2016 he was named the winner of the Sanders-Juilliard-Tel Aviv Museum prize, which included an engagement at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. As the First Prize winner of the Friday Woodmere Young Artists Competition, he was featured multiple times on the McGraw-Hill “Young Artists Showcase,” hosted by Robert Sherman and aired on New York’s WQXR.

He graduated cum laude from Harvard with bachelor of liberal arts in social science.

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