In March 2016, NMNYAC asked previous winners to update us with their new biographies and successes since entering the competition. As their information comes in, we will gladly update their stories below. We feel strongly that it is important that future competitors know how others feel about the competition. The material below is not edited by the NMNYAC editorial staff.
Ms. Nadia Azzi, NMNYAC Overall Winner
- What is Nadia doing today with the piano ?
I am happy with my advancement in piano performance. I feel like I have accomplished a lot more in recent years following my win at NMNYAC in 2011. I feel as if I became more brave in challenging myself with harder pieces and better at handling more pressure in learning them in a limited amount of time.
- Have any doors opened for Nadia because of the competition and why?
The win at NMNYAC gave me an opportunity to perform live on WFMT98.7. I have never performed in a 45-minute-long live program prior to this engagement, so such experience helped me to prepare for many other performance opportunities where I was given only one chance to do well. Furthermore, at age 12 when I won the 1st NMNYAC, I gave my first full 75-minute solo program. It helped me to focus more and build stamina for all my following performances. In addition to improving my personal musical aspects, I have been invited by Maestro Muspratt to perform with two of his orchestras, Northwest Indiana Symphony and New Phiharmonic, since my win and appearance at NMNYAC. I truly felt honored to perform with such a distinguished conductor.
- What was Nadia's opinion of the competition and does she recommend it to others?
Yes, I of course recommend this competition to others. Actually I recommended it to my friend whom I met at Aspen Music Festival and she happened to become the winner at the 2nd NMNYAC. I am always talking about this competition as well as New Music School to anyone who is interested in listening to me. Most competitions do not give competitors a chance to get to know the administrators, judges, and anyone who works for the competition. NMNYAC is totally different. I was even given a chance to work with a world-known composer, to perform in master classes, and invitations to return to give recitals. The organizers are not only accomplished musicians but also wonderful persons whom you would love to get to know more about every time you talk to them. They even go extra miles to come to see my concerts and continue to be interested in my musical growth. I feel fortunate to become the winner of this competition not because of the tangible awards given to me but because of the way they care about their winners individually.
- Is there any advice Nadia would give to future competitors.
Don't look for the results all the time. I treat all competitions the same way. If I don't win at competitions, I of course get disappointed, but I get more upset if I don't play to the best of my abilities. I don't normally let the competition results bother me as long as if I feel I did my best. I think you should compare how you were doing in the past with how you are doing now, not how others around you are doing. Remember that the only person you are competing is with yourself. Focus on enjoying the process of leaning. This competition gives an opportunity to learn a new music piece which most of students at my age never had a chance to learn. I enjoyed such experience very much!
- If Nadia is still pursuing piano, what are her future goals.
I hope to be performing in places all over the world and making music for the rest of my life :)
Hailed by Newport Daily News as having “extraordinary finger technique for a musician so young," fifteen-year old NADIA AZZI is a recipient of numerous top prizes at national and international levels. Born in Dunedin, Florida to Lebanese-Japanese parents, Ms. Azzi began playing the piano at the age of five with Kinuyo Engelbrecht. Her notable prizes include the 1st prize in the 2013 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, 2nd prize and Audience Prize at 2013 Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, Grand Prize in the 2012 Crescendo International Music Competition, Open Junior Piano and Early Music Categories at the Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Tampa Bay Symphony Young Artist Competition, New Music National Young Artist Competition, Orfeo International Music Competition, and AADGT International Music Festival. Ms. Azzi made her debut at Carnegie Hall at age eleven. Recent engagements of note include her third performance at Carnegie Hall, appearance on the NPR’s From the Top as well as on WGN-TV Chicago, her European debut in Italy, and orchestral debut with the Boston Neo-politan Orchestra at age twelve. She also made her Canadian debut and was heard on Radio Canada International. Her most recent highlights include her performances at the Newport Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, in Washington, D.C. by an invitation from the Florida House on Capitol Hill, and as a featured soloist with the New Philharmonic Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra, Richey Orchestra, and Juilliard Pre-College String Ensemble. Ms. Azzi was featured exclusively live on the “Impromptu” program of 98.7WFMT Chicago. She has been invited to perform at the 2014 Junior Piano Academy Eppan in Italy, Bravo Niagara International Music Festival in Canada, and the 15th Youth America Grand Prix Anniversary Celebration at David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center. Fluent in Japanese and English, Ms. Azzi was one of the Duke TIP’s most academically gifted students and is a member of American MENSA. Ms. Azzi actively promotes music through numerous outreach programs and community services both in solo and chamber music performances through the New York Youth Symphony. Ms. Azzi is a student at the pre-college division of The Juilliard School studying under Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky.