Local pianist wins Helen B. Goodlin competition

Young pianist Anne Liu, a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy, won first place in the Helen B. Goodlin Scholarship Competition on May 13, earning the Chet and Jane Schmidt Award and a $2,000 scholarship. The Goodlin competition is one of the most prestigious music competitions open to kids and teens in the greater San Diego area.

In January, Anne also won first place in the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus Young Artists Competition, taking home a $1,500 prize.

“It’s tough to win these competitions and I was really excited when I was announced,” Anne said.

Anne, 15, competed in the Goodlin Scholarship Competition in the senior keyboard division (ages 15-18) and was the youngest contestant in her age group, just like she was in 2014 when she won in the 12-14 age division at age 12.

Anne started playing the piano at age 4.

“My parents are both classical music lovers and they often played classical music in the house,” Anne said. “I told them that I really wanted to play like that.”

Anne got more serious with her piano lessons by age 8. She has studied with Inessa Litvin’s Advanced Piano Studios and currently studies with Ethan Dong, the director at Opus119 Conservatory of Music.

“I play piano every day, not just to practice,” said Anne, who has a Steinway in her home. “It’s one way I know how to express what I’m feeling.”

In addition to playing music to express happiness or to release stress, Ann said she is also constantly practicing to keep up with her technique.

While she is too busy to participate in CCA’s music program, she has founded the Chamber Music Club at school. The club brings together students that play a variety of instruments — they learn pieces on their own with the goal to perform at civic centers or senior retirement homes.

In March 2014, Anne made her solo debut in Carnegie Hall as a winner of the International Young Gifted Musicians Festival, followed by two solo recitals in December.

“The first time I was really nervous,” Anne said of performing at Carnegie Hall. “The second time I felt more experienced. Playing there was the accomplishment of my first dream.”

In 2015 she took second at the Los Angeles International Young Musician Competition and, in 2016, she won second in the International Liszt Competition and took first in the 2016 South Coast Symphony Competition, earning her a $1,000 prize and the opportunity to perform with the South Coast Symphony in February this year.

In August 2016, Anne performed her first solo concert in China.

While she likes performing chamber music in groups, she enjoys the flexibility of performing on her own.

Playing Carnegie Hall was her first dream to be ticked off her list and she has plenty of goals to work toward: She would like to attend Julliard School or Curtis Institute of Music, she would like to become a professional pianist and she would like to spread her love of music as far as she can.

“There are a lot of places in the world that don’t have access to this kind of music,” Anne said. “I wish to travel to these places and play for them.”