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The WMF Winter Piano Institute offers piano students from all over the world first-class instruction and performance experience in one of the most charming resort towns of the Southeastern United States, Wilmington, North Carolina. 

The 2020 WMF Winter Piano Institute's educational activities will take place on the campus of the prestigious University of North Carolina Wilmington and will include performances at Wilmington’s Beckwith Recital Hall at UNCW, WHQR Public Radio, and St Paul's Episcopal Church. These events will feature distinguished faculty members and international piano students.


The faculty for the WMF International Piano Institute is composed of members selected among the most eminent, internationally renowned figures on the music scene, including:

  • Professor Pavlina Dokovska, Chair of the Piano Department at Mannes School of Music

  • Vladimir Valjarevic, Professor at Mannes School of Music and Rutgers University

  • Shuai Zhao, Professor at Xi’an Conservatory of Music

  • Dr. Barry Salwen, Professor of Piano at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington

  • Aza Sydykov, Co-founder and Artistic Director of Wilmington Music Festival

*Other guest teaching artists TBA


The study program of the WMF Winter Piano Institute includes:

  • Daily individual coaching sessions

  • Up to five public masterclasses

  • Public performance opportunities at Wilmington's world-class concert venues


The 2020 WMF Winter Piano Institute features the Wilmington International Piano Competition, which offers cash prizes and performance opportunities through the Festival’s mainstage presentations at Wilmington’s prestigious venues. 


ESL at WMF Piano Institute:

The WMF International Piano Institute features intensive ESL classes by the English as a Second Language Program at UNCW, whose mission is to provide quality English language instruction and American experiential learning for cross-cultural communication, confidence in the academic setting, and friendship.


Merit scholarships up to 75% are available to candidates selected on the basis of the quality of their performances on the auditions.


The participants will receive a full variety of artist promotional services, including event and promotional photography, videography, and digital publicity. 



The WMF International Piano Institute is open to pianists of any age or nationality. 


Audition information:

Pianists should prepare two contrasting solo works of their choice.

Live audition: 

Limited openings are available in Wilmington and New York City on January 11th and 12th, 2020.  

Students preferring live auditions must submit their online applications by Friday, January 10th, 2020.

Live audition locations: 

Cultural Arts Building at UNC Wilmington, Wilmington, NC. 

Eurasia Cultural Center, 114 E 35th Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY.

Video audition:

Students choosing video auditions must submit their application materials by Sunday, January 12, 2020.

Application procedure:​​

Applications for live and video auditions must include the following materials submitted through the festival website at

  • The properly completed application form

  • The applicant’s choice of repertoire

  • A video recording (YouTube or Vimeo links). Only for those who choose a video audition.

  • A digital copy of a valid passport or government-issued photo ID

  • A short resume and biography describing education and experience

  • Two recent, high-quality copyright-free photographs in JPEG format suitable for publication 

Confirmation will be sent to each applicant upon receipt of the completed application form and the additionally required materials. Applications will not be accepted unless all of the above-specified materials have been received.

Applicants are encouraged to retain copies of all materials sent in with their applications. The WMF will accept no responsibility for material not received.


Competition eligibility:

The competition is open to students of any age, who are enrolled in the program. 


Competition repertoire:

  • Two contrasting solo works of contestant’s choice. 

  • The total program should not exceed 10 min. 


Competition prizes:

1stPrize - $500

2ndPrize - $300

3rdPrize - $200


Winners’ recital at Beckwith Recital Hall at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  


*Other performance opportunities TBA

ch student will be issued a UNCW ID card, which will enable free trips on the UNCW shuttle buses and any other campus services provided to a cardholder. The UNCW International Programs and WMF will provide airport transfers for the students.



The WMF will provide Chinese-speaking students from UNCW to translate individual lessons and masterclasses, and offer knowledge of the local setting.  


Travel insurance and liability:

Visiting international students must obtain their travel insurance policies covering the entire dates of the program. 

The Wilmington Music Festival accepts no liability or responsibility for a participant’s illness or injury or for loss of or damage to a participant’s personal property during transit to or from the site(s) of Festival events or while participating in Festival activities. No expenses for medical costs or emergency services will be paid or reimbursed.

WMF Piano Institute’s exciting features:

  • The small boutique program delivers individualized attention and care

  • World-class faculty and artists roster

  • Intensive ESL classes

  • Beautiful university campus and practice rooms

  • The interactive, student-focused learning environment at UNCW’ campus

  • Exceptional student services by WMF and UNCW’s International Programs Office

  • Chinese speaking chaperons and translators

  • Professional level publicity: Video/Audio/Photo/Press

  • Wilmington International Piano Competition

  • Performance opportunities at Wilmington’s prestigious concert halls


Wilmington, North Carolina 

  • One of the most picturesque resort beach towns in the USA

  • Historic downtown located on the majestic Cape Fear River

  • Voted No.1 among USA Today’s Best American Riverfronts (2015)

  • Award-winning tourist destination 

  • Area population: 220,000 (2015 US Census)

  • Largest film studio on the East Coast

  • World-class restaurants, cafes, and shops 

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