School of Music

For 11 years, the Lois Trester Piano Competition has been a staple event for piano students in the Fred Fox School of Music. This year, Trester is going to the next level.

The inaugural Trester Festival for Latin American Music begins this Friday, April 16, and runs through Sunday, April 18. Co-director of the festival, Fanya Lin, said that exploring the wonders of Latin American music was the inspiration for the festival. 

“A few years back, the Lois Trester Piano Competition had established the ‘Latin American Prize’ for the best performance of a Latin American work,” she said. “This year, we decided to promote the Latin American culture awareness by creating further dialogue, study, and performance of the rich and varied repertoire of Latin America.”

>> Trester Festival event page
>> Fred Fox School of Music Keyboard Area
>> Where to View: FFSoM YouTube channel

The student piano competition remains at the heart of the festival and requires students to prepare and compete at least once piece of Latin American music. One new twist, this year, audience members get to take part in the crowning of winners. 

“On top of the ‘Best Performance of a Latin American Work Prize,’ we also have a special ‘Audience Prize’ this year, for audience members to vote for their favorite performer,” Lin said.

Audience members can tune into vote for their favorite performer on Friday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. on the Fred Fox School of Music YouTube channel

Soo Yoen Kim enjoys a diverse career as a soloist, chamber musician, accompanist, orchestral player, and music educator. She has performed recitals at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York and Centennial Hall in Tucson. She was one of the soloists of the Chopin 200th Anniversary Gala Concert at the World Financial Center, New York, and the opening concert at the Italy Music Festival in Lucca, Italy. Soo Yoen is currently studying with Dr. John Milbauer and finishing a doctoral program. 

Yaowen Mei is a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance, where he has studied with Dr. Daniel Linder and Dr. John Milbauer. He is a recipient of the Lotte C. Reyersbach Scholarship. Previously, he earned a Professional Studies Diploma Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Yaowen grew up in Huaihua, Hunan Province, China. He began piano studies at the age of eight and only two years later won first prize in the Golden Melody Piano competition in Huaihua City. 

Ivan Yang is in his third year of the Bachelor of Music degree program under Dr. John Milbauer. In the past two years, Dr. Rex Woods and Dr. Nino Bakradze helped him win second place in the Michael Moore Undergraduate Piano Competition. Ivan enjoys sharing his piano talent with other musicians, frequently providing accompaniment for his school choirs, church choir, and classmates. No matter what lies ahead, Ivan is determined to continue serving the community through music. 

Siyuan Zhang is a first year Master of Music in piano performance student studying with Dr. John Milbauer. He began his studies in piano performance at the age of five. After graduating from UCSB with degrees in physics and music, he chose to pursue a career as a pianist, recognizing the vast possibilities of subjectivity and expression embedded in the field of music. Once finished with his master’s degree, he is planning to pursue a DMA degree in piano performance. 

The new virtual setting has allowed for many new endeavors including the addition of guest artists, who will give lecture recitals and teach masterclasses. 

Glenda Courtois (DMA ’17)
Music Faculty, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas / University of Sciences and Arts Chaipas, Mexico

Oscar Macchioni 
Professor of Piano, University of Texas El Paso, USA 

Daniela Salinas 
Professor of Piano, Conservatorio Nacional Superior de Música / National Superior Conservatory of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Students and guests alike will have the opportunity to learn from these outstanding figures in the Latin American Music sphere. 

Lin said, “The Trester Festival is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the rich culture of music from these guest artists who are experts in the field.”

These virtual lectures, concerts, and masterclasses are open to both students and members of the public.

While attendees attend virtually, participating students have the opportunity to perform and learn in an in-person setting. 

“Students who participate in competition and masterclass will gain valuable performance experience and feedback from recognized educators and performers in the field,” Lin said.