May 23, 2023
Junior pianist places first at competition
Upper St. Clair High School junior Leona Chen was selected as the first-place winner of the inaugural Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh Concerto Competition, hosted by the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania. She will perform the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor alongside the orchestra as soloist on Sept. 9, 2023.
Leona also recently won first place and the American Prize at the 2023 Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Association Advanced Honors Awards Competition. She performed Liebermann's Gargoyles, Op. 29, No. 4, Chopin's Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1, and Debussy's L’isle joyeuse, L. 106, receiving a total of $2,500 in scholarships at the winners' recital in May. Leona also placed third in the Streator-Smith Memorial Competition this past April.
Leona began taking piano lessons at age 5 and currently studies with Professor Luz Manriquez at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. She has won various awards at the Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition, the Pittsburgh Concert Society, the Pittsburgh International Piano Competition, the UIUC High School Competition and the PFMC Piano Competition.
A Young Artist in the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania since 2016, Leona has played in pre-concert recitals in the lobby of Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall and has been invited to play at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. She regularly plays at a local nursing home and volunteers to teach piano lessons to children.
In addition to piano, Leona plays violin and was selected for the 2022 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra. She was recently inducted into Upper St. Clair High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society.