Piano Performance Student Wins Prestigious International Competition

Pianist Corinne Penner will perform at Carnegie Hall

Mar. 18, 2014 By Lauren Frey

Corinne Penner, junior piano performance major, was selected as an Honorable Mention Winner of the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition 2014 — a prestigious international competition for classical musicians. In November 2014, Penner will have the experience of a lifetime — she will perform the Winners’ Recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City.


Penner, 21, won out of a large field of competitive professional applicants in the college student and professional division for ages 19 and above, making her one of the youngest winners in the category.


“I was so thrilled,” said Penner on her response to hearing the news.


This is the first time a Biola student has been selected as a winner in this competition.


“She is competing with people in a professional field,” said Li-Shan Hung, associate professor of music at Biola University. “It’s [the competition] for piano and strings — violin, viola, all of that. Just the honor to be invited to perform at Carnegie Hall is great. It’s huge.”


Penner has studied with Hung since she was 17 years old.


“Penner competed not only against pianists, but against the most talented strings players from all over the world, such as Asia and Europe,” said Hung.


Penner met Hung in a piano lesson for prospective students in 2010, and later continued to study under her at MasterWorks Festival, a summer music festival in Indiana.


“I was drawn by both her incredible musicianship and her beautiful spirit, so when it finally came to choosing a college, I knew I wanted to study with her,” said Penner.


Penner will perform a high-energy, six-and-a-half minute solo piece by Maurice Ravel titled “Alborada del gracioso” that she learned for her junior recital at Biola in 2013.


“It requires a lot of energy and personality, but demands a lot of work before it can reach that point,” said Penner. “Right now I'm really looking forward to the performance, although I'm sure some nerves will kick in when November gets closer.”


Penner said this accomplishment is humbling and an encouragement to her to continue working diligently.  


“It has really been amazing to me to see [God’s] faithfulness throughout this entire journey. He has taught me so clearly that I am His child in both my failures and my successes, which is the best comfort in the failure, but is also humbling in the success,” said Penner.


After she graduates from Biola, Penner has decided to continue developing her talents in graduate school.


“We both are very grateful for this honor. We know that God has a special plan on her, and she’s walking in Him. We want to give glory to God with this opportunity and this award,” said Hung.


Learn more about Biola University’s Conservatory of Music and major options.


Written by Lauren Frey, Media Relations Intern. Photo courtesy of Tomber Su. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.


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