Community Music School Student Takes Third in International Piano Competition

Jun. 30, 2017

Community Music School Student Takes Third in International Piano Competition
Jerry Chang and Zena Ilyashov in New York City moments after Chang learned he took third place

ST. LOUIS - Nine-year-old Jerry Chang, a Community Music School student of Zena Ilyashov, won third prize at the Kaufman International Youth Piano Competition, Junior Division, in New York City this week.

Chang has been studying piano under Ilyashov for the past five years, having started at the age of four. In preparation for this rigorous competition, Chang mastered 15 minutes of music for the semi-finals and an additional 20 minutes of music for the finals. He could have used some of the same pieces in both the semi-finals and finals, but he refused, insisting that he learn new music for each round of the competition.  “Our practices are very intense, but whenever I ask him if he is tired and wants to stop, he says, 'No!,'"  Ilyashov said.

During the school year, Chang attends Forsyth School in Clayton and works with Ilyashov during two, one-hour sessions every week through the Community Music School at Webster University.  When he's not playing the piano, he pursues his favorite sport, soccer.

The Kaufman International Youth Piano Competition attracts young pianists age 7 to 17 from all over the world to compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to perform in the prestigious Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, New York.  This year's competition winners were chosen from over 166 applicants representing 5 countries and 14 states.  Applicants submit a video to competition judges who then choose the semi-finalists.  Semi-finalists gather in New York to compete and winners move on to finals just two days later.  After being awarded 3rd place in the finals, Jerry and the other competition winners performed at the Winners Concert on June 27th.  All competition events took place in the prestigious Merkin Concert Hall.

Founded in 1925, the Community Music School at Webster University offers outstanding music education and performance opportunities to students of all ages and abilities and serves the entire St. Louis metropolitan region. Classes are available in University City, at Faust Park in West County, and at CMS headquarters located on the Webster University campus in Webster Groves. For more information call 314-968-5939 or visit

The Community Music School of Webster University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and is a certified member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.   The Community Music School receives assistance from the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis. Financial assistance for the Preparatory Program has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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