Two young America-based pianists, Wei Luo and Elliot Wuu, have been named recipients of the 2018 Gilmore Young Artist Award. The Awards were announced today by Daniel R. Gustin, Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards, which conducts and funds the Gilmore Artist Award program. Ms. Luo and Mr. Wuu will each receive a $15,000 stipend to further their musical careers and educational development, in addition to a commission for a new piano composition. The Award also promises several appearances from each artist during the 2018 Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo—April 25 through May 12.
The Gilmore Young Artist Awards are bestowed every two years by the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards in Michigan. Candidates for the Award are nominated by music professionals from around the world. Those nominated are evaluated for their pianism and musical promise by a six-member artistic committee over an extended period of time. They are not judged in a competition; the entire process is carried out anonymously, and candidates are unaware of their own consideration. Founded along with the Gilmore Artist Award in 1989, the Gilmore Young Artist Award is meant to single out the most promising pianists of the next generation who are under the age of 22 and living in the United States. Among the 32 pianists who have received the Gilmore Young Artist Award are Jonathan Biss, Kirill Gerstein, Daniel Hsu, George Li, Yuja Wang, and Orion Weiss.
Gilmore Director Daniel Gustin commented: “It is always a special thrill for us at The Gilmore to surprise these gifted young pianists with an Award for which they didn’t know they were being considered–not to mention the thrill of watching them mature into some of the most important artists of our time!”
Born in Shenzhen, China in 1998, Wei Luo began piano lessons at age 5 and made her recital debut in Hong Kong at age 6. In 2007, she attended the Shanghai Conservatory, before being accepted in 2012 into the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where she studies with Gary Graffman and Robert McDonald. Ms. Luo has participated in master classes with Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Seymour Lipkin, Abbey Simon, and Nelita True, and was selected to perform in Curtis’ prestigious Dean’s Honors recital in 2014.
Ms. Luo made her orchestral debut with the Shanghai Philharmonic in 2010, performing Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3, and, at 18, she has already explored a wide range of core repertoire, from concertos by Rachmaninoff and Beethoven to works by Bach, Schumann, Mussorgsky, Chopin, Ravel, and Haydn. She has been awarded numerous top prizes in competitions across North America, Europe, and Asia, including the Chopin International Competition for Young Pianists in Poland and the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Frankfurt. This season she performed at Sonoma State University, Herbst Hall in San Francisco, Festival Napa Valley, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Born in Fremont, CA in 1999, Elliot Wuu began studying the piano at age 6. He was a pre-college student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and attended Valley Christian High School and Conservatory of the Arts in San Jose, California. Most recently, he has accepted a full scholarship to attend The Juilliard School.
In 2017, he was named the winner of the National Young Arts Competition and was a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts semifinalist. He is a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation and was named a 2016-2021 Music Teachers’ Association of California Young Artist Guild member, the highest honor bestowed upon a California music student. In 2013, he was selected as one of the twelve pianists to participate in the inaugural Lang Lang Junior Music Camp in Munich, Germany, and he has performed in master classes for Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, and Dame Fanny Waterman.
Wuu’s list of competition prizes includes first prize at Hilton Head, second prize at the Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition, and first prize at the Pacific Musical Society Competition, among many others. He has performed with orchestras and in recital at major venues in North America, Europe, and Asia, including the Holywell Music Room (where Haydn performed), the Ravinia Festival, and Chicago’s Millennium Park. His performances have been featured on WQXR and NPR’s From the Top.
The Gilmore Awards are the legacy of Irving S. Gilmore, a Kalamazoo businessman and philanthropist, whose special devotion to keyboard music and its musicians inspired the creation of the biennial Gilmore Keyboard Festival and the Gilmore Artist and Gilmore Young Artist Awards in 1989. The next Gilmore Keyboard Festival will take place April 25 through May 12, 2018. More information can be found at thegilmore.org.