Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, September 22nd, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Sep 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

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Performer Bios 

15-year-old Olivia Li from Cary, NC studies the piano with Florence Ko and has over the years garnered myriad awards and scholarships. She placed first in various competitions including the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs (NCFMC) Young Artist Auditions, 6 years consecutively from divisions Senior I until Concerto IV, as well as the Princess category of the NCFMC Royalty Competition, the SYMF Southwestern Youth Music Festival Competition, the USA IMAE Music & Art Exchange International Piano Competition where she had a masterclass with the renowned Gary Graffman, RTPA Scholarship Competition, CAPTA Bullard Competition, and 2nd prize of the prestigious NC symphony concerto competition and 3rd Annual Hayes School of Music Piano Competition. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys sharing her music with others and frequently hosts performances at local retirement centers, and hospitals. She has also been invited to perform at various events, such as 5 consecutive meetings for the 2023 Cary Environmental Symposium at the Cary Arts Center, where many esteemed speakers and mayor are invited as well.

Chris (Yuanduo) Li, who is 17 years old and currently in the 11th grade, attends Green Level High School in Apex, North Carolina. He was born in China in 2006 and began his musical journey when he was just six years old. He started taking piano lessons in June 2021 after moving to the United States, and he’s been guided by Florence Ko. Since then, Chris has achieved some impressive accomplishments: he came in second place in the 2022 Young Artist Auditions (YAA) competition at the Prince level. He also got first place in the Senior level of the 2022 Raleigh Piano Teacher Association (RPTA) scholarship competition, the Bullard piano competition (High School level), and the Raleigh Music Club Scholarship Auditions. It’s worth noting that he got second position in the Senior division of the 2022 Music Teacher National Association (MTNA) competition, and he won in the Senior division of the International American Protege competition. Additionally, he had the chance to be part of the East Carolina University piano festival and their master classes. In 2023, he achieved second place in the North Carolina Royalty Competition at the King level. He also won the National Federation of Music Clubs competition at the King level and the Hinda Honigman piano scholarship in Statesville, NC, performed in Environmental Symposium at Cary Arts Center. Apart from his dedication to playing the piano, Chris enjoys taking part in basketball and tennis, which brings him joy.

Jared Alan Yoakem is a pianist from Grand Rapids, MI. As a recitalist, he has performed at the Brendle Recital Hall, Wake Forest University, NC; Covington Arts Center, Radford University, VA; Katzen Arts Center, American University, DC; and Porter Arts Center, Brevard College, NC. As a collaborative artist, he has performed with ACDA, NATS, the National Orpheus Competition, and a variety of choral projects including two national PBS broadcasts at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He has been awarded with the Dean’s Advisory Council Award for outstanding achievement in music from Belmont University in 2019. Yoakem has participated in the Collaborative Piano Institute at Louisiana State University, the Leon Fleisher Academy of Washington D.C., and the Vivace Music Foundation of Wilmington, NC. He has participated in masterclasses by Stanislav Ioudenitch, Marina Lomazov, Julian Martin, Anne-Marie McDermott and Robert McDonald. Yoakem holds degrees from Belmont University & East Carolina University, under the instruction of Elena Bennett and Kwan Yi. He currently serves as a piano faculty member at the Cary School of Music and as a teaching assistant to Kwan Yi.




Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, October 27th, 7:30PM @ Ruggero Piano
Oct 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Click here for Livestream link!

Performer Bios 

[caption id="attachment_10955" align="alignleft" width="150"] Grace Ueng[/caption]

Grace began studying piano last year to honor the memory of her mother, her first teacher. With an older sister who consistently placed first in their state and would go on to compete nationally and internationally, Grace quit after only a few years of lessons. She went on to study at MIT and Harvard Business School, pursuing interests outside music. Her sister, Vivian Fang, went on to earn two degrees from Juilliard and her doctorate from Peabody Conservatory. Vivian teaches in her private studio, serves on faculty at The Fay School outside Boston, and is President of New England Piano Teachers’ Association. After purchasing her Steinway from Ruggero, Grace started studying with Teddy Robie.  Additionally, Vivian provides sisterly coaching. Grace also enjoys being a part of the Presto piano performance group. Grace is an ardent lifelong student of positive psychology studying under Tal Ben Shahar, the creator of Harvard’s most popular course ever on happiness, Arthur Brooks of Harvard Business School and Noa Kageyama, Juilliard’s performance psychologist. Grace is the founder of Savvy Growth, a leadership coaching and strategy consulting firm, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Prior to that, she served on the leadership teams of five technology companies. She writes a weekly column on Happiness & Leadership and has been covered in Inc. Magazine, The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal.

[caption id="attachment_10957" align="alignleft" width="150"] Triocha[/caption]

This trio features Erin Munnelly, flute, Sanford Enslen, cello, and Stephanie Schmidt, piano.






[caption id="attachment_10956" align="alignleft" width="150"] Newnew Hong[/caption]

Kangqi Hong, also known as “Newnew,” is a 14-year-old student born in Zhuhai, China, and currently resides with her aunt and uncle, Hong Schulte and Stuart Schulte, in Moore County, North Carolina. She attended Episcopal Day School from 3rd to 5th grade and is now a 9th grader at the O’Neal School. Newnew started learning to play the piano at the age of 6 in China, taught initially by her mother. She studies under Dr. Kristina Henckel and practices daily on a 1931 Baldwin grand piano. In February 2023, Newnew had her first public performance at a sold-out concert sponsored by the Arts Council of Moore County. She performed pieces by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns, impressing the audience with her skills. Newnew has taken part in numerous music competitions, winning first place in the solo piano category at Carmel Klavier 2022, Carmel IN, Fayetteville Piano Teacher’s Association competition in 2022, Fayetteville, NC, and Weymouth Young Musician’s Festival in 2020, Southern Pines, NC. Furthermore, she was a finalist in the 2023 North Carolina Symphony Concerto Competition. Newnew is also a laureate of the Piano League competition, participated in the MTNA competition, and received the Grand Prize in the Rising Talents Festival 2021, allowing her to perform at Carnegie Hall. Apart from concerts and competitions, Newnew has performed for local nursing homes, art shows, fundraisers, and Habitat for Humanity. In addition to her love for music, she is also interested in art, history, and science-fiction.


*Subject to credit approval. Monthly payments of $55.56 per $1,000 borrowed for 18 months at 0% APR. On purchases of new and in-stock qualifying Yamaha pianos from November 1, 2023 to January 2, 2024.

*Subject to credit approval. Monthly payments of $55.56 per $1,000 borrowed for 18 months at 0% APR. On purchases of new and in-stock qualifying Yamaha pianos from November 1, 2023 to January 2, 2024.

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Ruggero Piano is fantastic. We know the family well. Richard, John or Chris will take great care of you and your piano. - Jim Tiller

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