Isabelle Ragsac plays the prelude to Kapustin's Concert Etude No. 1 during the 2022 Awards Festival concert. She will also be performing this year. Credit: Pamela Bieri

The Steinway Society of Riverside County’s Awards Festival winners will perform for a live audience at the Rancho Mirage Library at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 2. The event is free and open to the public.

“We look forward to our Awards Festival piano competition to hear nearly a dozen young pianists in both junior and senior levels play in their master classes and recitals,” said Jim McCormick, director of the Awards Festival program. “Some youngsters are debuting while most are returning to the festival year after year. It’s a great pleasure to watch them grow in confidence and skill. Having a larger live audience for the winners’ concert is an important learning component, and the Rancho Mirage Library is a wonderful venue to see and hear these young musicians.”

The top junior and senior level winners were selected during the competition held at Xavier College Preparatory High School in March, where the young pianists performed their musical pieces and worked with master teachers Antoinette Perry, Craig Richey, Catherine Kautsky and Anthony Padilla. The purpose is to award talented students and give them an opportunity to perform.

Winners in the Junior competition (ages 7-14) are Queenie Chen, 11, of Menifee, playing Chopin’s Waltz in C Sharp Minor, Op. 64. No. 2; Yuan Yin, 11, of Temecula, performing Muczynski’s Desperate Measures, Theme and Vars. 7 and 12; Melody Liu, 10, of Rancho Cucamonga, playing Liszt’s La Leggierezza; and Edina Zhang, 9, of Highland, performing Poulenc’s Toccata.

Senior level winners (ages 14-18) are Demi Jiaqi, 15, from Rancho Cucamonga, playing French Overture in B Minor by Bach; Emma Erickson, 17, of Murrieta, performing Chopin’s Scherzo in B Flat Minor, Op. 31; Jadon Wu, 16, of Mission Viejo, playing Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens/Liszt; and Isabelle Ragsac, 17, of Corona, performing Prokofiev’s Toccata Op. 11.

“The challenging work that these students have put into their music is a credit to them and their parents,” said Steinway Society founder and CEO Ruth Moir. “Mastering a musical instrument is a gift they will have for a lifetime.”

McCormick has directed SSRC’s Awards Festival since its inception in 2005. Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the Steinway Society of Riverside County has been providing free music education to all three Coachella Valley school districts since 2002, serving some 30,000 children.

For more information and to donate, visit, or call 760-341-4130.

This piece was submitted on behalf of the Steinway Society of Riverside County by Pamela Bieri.