THE WINNERS OF THAILAND STEINWAY YOUTH PIANO COMPETITIONS

GUN CHAIKITTIWATANA

Gun Chaikittiwatana was the winner of the 1st Thailand Steinway & Sons Piano Competition in 2012. As an active pianist, his main focus is on solo repertoire but he also performs regularly in the fields of chamber music and collaborative piano. He currently pursues a Bachelor degree in Piano Performance at Mozarteum University Salzburg under the tutelage of renowned French pedagogue, Jacques Rouvier. Recently in 2018 he received 2nd prize from Wittgenstein Memorial International Piano Competition for Left-Hand, the first ever left-hand piano competition in the world. Due to its success, the competition documentary was broadcasted on NHK channel in Japan. As a result, he will be back in Japan to give a joint recital with Takeo Tchinai in December 2019.

During his time in Bangkok he took piano lessons with Dr. Eri Nakagawa who has been a key figure in his development for almost 8 years. At the age of 12, he made his first solo debut, performing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with Silapakorn Summer Music School Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Hikotaro Yasaki. Furthermore he got invited to perform 4 times with Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO). The repertoire were Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1, and most recently Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. In 2012 he performed Mozart 3 Pianos Concerto No.7 in Singapore as part of the Child Aid Charity Concert.

It was in 2013, however, when Gun achieved what he considers to be his first major international success, taking the 1st prize and Soloist Award from the 14th International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia. This was followed by further 1st prizes at the 3rd Thailand International Piano Competition and the 14th Osaka Music Competition (Recital-Course category) in the same year. His success in Japan continued in 2016 when he became the first Thai to win the Grand Prix award at the Kawai International Piano Competition. He also gave concerts twice in Japan at the Kawai Umeda and Omotesando concert halls in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Gun continues to participate regularly in international piano masterclasses, where he refines his skills from well-known professors such as Gary Graffman, Dmitri Bashkirov, Dina Yoffe, Grigory Gruzman, Pavel Gililov, Christopher Hinterhuber, Matti Raekallio, Olivier Gardon, Rolf-Dieter Arens, Martin Canin, and Aquiles Delle Vigne. In 2016, he was the first Thai to be selected to participate in the prestigious Hamamatsu Piano Academy in Japan where he studied with Hiroko Nakamura, Piotr Paleczny, Jan Jiracek von Arnim, and Einar Steen-Nøkleberg.

KANT KOSOLTRAKUL

Kant Kosoltrakul, the first prize winner of of the Steinway Thailand Youth Piano Competition as well as the runner up in the Steinway Asia Pacific Regional Finals in 2014, has accrued numerous awards and concert experiences throughout his career as a pianist, spanning from his start at the age of five up until the present day.

His performance capabilities have landed him on international stages, including that of Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, America, and many more. He was initially under the tutelage of Nat Yontararak. However, he moved to Moscow, Russia where he met Irina Novikova, who he is still currently studying under. Kant has garnered various accolades from prestigious institutions, receiving a scholarship to attend Shrewsbury International School of Bangkok, being named in the “Top 15 Outstanding Music Students” in Russia, which also allowed him the opportunity to be sponsored by Supot Terakolsan, the Thai Ambassador to Russia. In addition, he was awarded a scholarship from President Vladimir Putin and graduated from the Svetlanov Music and Art School. He now holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California.

PORNAPAS (PAM) KIJORAN

Pornapas (Pam) Kijoran is a young Thai pianist. She began studying piano from the age of four and currently under the tutelage of Ms. Irina Novikova, and a music scholar at Shrewsbury International School. Pam has a piano diploma (ATCL) from the Trinity College London Center with the highest distinction in Thailand (2016).

Pam has won many national and international competitions in Thailand, the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Russia. She is the current winner of the Kawai Thailand ASEAN Piano Competition in 2019 and also winner of the Thailand Steinway Youth Piano Competition in 2016. As a Steinway winner at the age 12, Pam has earned the incredible opportunity to enter KNS Classical as the youngest artist, and her first debut album “Bangkok Recital” also available in iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

As an active pianist, Pam has performed in the winner concerts at the Stern Auditorium Perelman Stage and Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall (New York), Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall (Seattle), MediaCorp TV Theatre (Singapore), Multimedia Art Museum (Moscow), as well as the Central Music School of Moscow State P.I. Tchaikovsky’s Conservatory's Hall. Pam is willing to use her musical capabilities to help in charity activities such as charity concerts in Penang (Malaysia) for the children of Nepal in aid of PA Nepal, and the Rotary Club of Bangkok for Pua Crown Prince Hospital in Nan province (Thailand). Pam also played for the Princess of Thailand HRH Princess Soamsawali, and donations from the concert were contributed to the Friends in Need (of “Pa”) Volunteers Foundation Thai Red Cross.

ARIYA LAOTHITIPONG (JIJA)

Born in 2004, Ariya Laothitipong (Jija) became one of the most acknowledged young Thai pianists after winning First Prize at the 5th International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianist in Weimar, Germany in 2017. She was the first ever Thai pianist to win this prestigious piano competition.

Following her international success in Weimar, Ariya won Second Prize (no first prize awarded) along with the Press Prize and the Audience Prize from the International Piano Competition 2018 in Enschede, Netherlands. In the same year, she won First Prize from the 4th Thailand Steinway Youth Piano Competition. Her most recent achievement includes being chosen as a participant at the 2019 Van Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition in Dallas, Texas, USA where she performed in public concerts and played in masterclasses with world-renown pianists such as Anne-Marie McDermott and Uta Weyand.

Ariya started her piano lessons at the age of 4 with Yamaha Music School (Central Rama3). From the age of 8 until present she is currently a student of Dr. Pornphan Banternghansa and from 2018 she has also been under the tutelage of Dr. Christopher Janwong McKiggan at the Piano Academy of Bangkok. From an early age, she has won numerous awards from national and international competitions including First Prize at Trinity College London National Youth Piano Competition 2013, the 1st Hongkong International Music Competition for Young Pianists 2014, First Prize at Yamaha Thailand Music Festival 2015 and 2017, 2nd Prize the 15th Osaka International Music Competition, 2nd Prize at the 6th ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition in Malaysia, 2nd Prize at the Princess Galyani Vadhana International Ensemble Competition 2015 , Gold Medal at the Asia International Piano Academy & Festival in Korea 2015, 2nd Prize at the Final Beethoven Competition for young string players and pianists 2017 and the 17th -21st SET Youth Musician Competitions.

Ariya also performs actively as a soloist and chamber musician. She has been featured as soloist with Orchestra Musikgynnasium Belvedere, Pro Musica String Ensemble and Thai Youth Orchestra. She also participated in multiple music festivals such as the Sicily International Piano Festival 2019 and Asia International Piano Academy and Festival in Korea, 2015.

Ariya is currently enrolled at the Regent’s International School Bangkok as a music scholar on a ‘full-tuition’ scholarship.