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9-Year-Old MCW Piano Student Wins Competition

Mar 11, 2021

Congratulations to Music Conservatory of Westchester piano student Kylee Zhang for winning first place for the Open Category in the 2021 New York Open Music Festival competition! A Conservatory student since 2017, 9-year-old Kylee also placed second in the Educational Composers Category in the competition.

“I am super excited and happy about winning the New York Open Music Festival,” Kylee says. “I know all my hard work on the piano practice leads me to this success.”

“I’m very proud of Kylee’s hard work and progress, and more importantly, she is becoming very confident with her piano skills,” says Kylee’s piano teacher, Song Gonzalez.

For the Open Category, Kylee performed Bouree in Bb Major by Richard Jones and Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven. For the Educational Composers category, she played Moonlight Mood by William Gillock.

The Conservatory has been teaching music online since March 2020 and Kylee adjusted well to the new lesson format.

“I always enjoy piano lessons with Ms. Song. No matter if it’s in-person or online. She illustrates the hard technical skills in a way that a nine-year-old can understand and perform it. She recor

ded the lessons and provided me with the link after the classes. The recorded lessons allow me to go back and listen to the details that Ms. Song taught me during the class,” says Kylee.

“Kylee has been taking online lessons since the closure last year and it has been a delightful discovery that the online format did not affect her ability to grasp technical elements and musical ideas at all,” Gonzalez says. “Her understanding and ability to interpret different musical styles has really improved over the past year and she is always consistent with practice and spending time to review lesson videos and work on what we talked about in lessons.”

“I want to give big thanks to my teacher, Ms. Song Gonzalez,” Kylee adds. “Thanks for always being fun, patient, and encouraging. I also want to thank my family for the endless support of my piano learning.”

Song Gonzalez has been on the faculty at the Conservatory since 2016 and also serves as Associate Dean for Student Services. An exceptional pianist, she has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist at venues such as Steinway Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space, and Avery Fisher Hall.