The Heida Competition - MOCA Westport

Heida Week

The Heida International Music Competition

November 18 - 23

Congratulations to the 2019 Piano Grand Prize Winner

Priscila Navarro

Founded in 1972 by pianist, teacher, and philanthropist Heida Hermanns, the Heida Hermanns International Music Competition is dedicated to advancing the careers of the most accomplished young pianists, string musicians, and vocalists around the world, while inspiring audiences and the community with their performances.

The Competition

Each year an esteemed jury of pre-eminent musicians reviews a promising array of submissions in a particular category and chooses 4 finalists between the ages of 18-30. These finalists are then invited to journey to Westport for the final stage of the judging, where they compete in a number of events designed to showcase their talents.

The winner receives a $10,000 cash prize and each finalist receives a $2,500 honorarium and lodging with host families for the week. In addition to the cash prize, the winner receives an invitation to return to Westport for a solo performance at a later date.

Prior winners include celebrated pianists who have gone on to perform in the world’s most important halls, such as Spencer Myer, Frederic Chiu, Josh Wright, Timur Mustikimov and Yue Chu.

The 2019 competition featured four accomplished pianists who performed in various settings during Heida Week.

2019 Piano Grand Prize Winner

Priscila Navarro

An exceptionally accomplished pianist, this 24 year old has won a number of competitions across the US, Europe and South America. Her work continues at the Frost School of Music at University of Miami where she is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy under Santiago Rodriguez.

2019 Piano Finalists

Veniamin Blokh

Passionate about piano from a young age, this 26 year old Russian born musician has been pursuing vocal and chamber music ever since. He has studied and performed in venues across the globe, collaborating with musicians of great pedigree. Just this year he was accepted to the TCU School of Music with a full scholarship for the Artist Diploma Program.

Sahun Hong

Praised as an “artist already of enormous prowess” (Verbier Festival Newsletter), pianist Sahun Hong brings his colorful style and riveting energy to the solo, chamber, and concerto stage. Currently a student of Leon Fleisher, Hong is pursuing a doctorate at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Stephanie Tang

This 24 year old Los Angeles native is currently studying at the Yale School of Music as a master of music candidate with Peter Serkin. Her solo and chamber performances have garnered enthusiasm around the world at renowned competitions and recital halls, including Carnegie Hall at the age of 12.

Heida Week

November 18-23, 2019

Each finalist was invited to play a solo program in a salon setting at the home of their local host. In addition, each taught a Master Class with promising local students and met with local radio station WSHU for live interviews.

All of this offered our esteemed judges the ability to deeply understand the contestants in a variety of settings necessary for today and tomorrow’s well-rounded virtuosi. In addition to the intimate salon performances from each of the accomplished pianists, we held Master Classes at the Westport Public Library. Observation of Master Classes was free of charge and open to the public. This immersive week culminated with an awards reception @MoCA Westport.


Final Round Judges

Frederic Chiu

With a vibrant concert schedule, a legacy of 28 CDs, and a stream of superlatives from major critics around the globe, pianist Frederic Chiu occupies a special place in the world of classical music. In an eclectic career encompassing unusual collaborations and little-played repertoire, along with explorations into the psychology of performance, Mr. Chiu has demonstrated an ability to go beyond boundaries and to bring listeners with him.

Simon Mulligan

British pianist Simon Mulligan has been described by The Times of London as ‘the most abundantly gifted of pianists’, by Yehudi Menuhin as ‘one of the finest pianists I have ever had the pleasure of performing with’ and by Herbie Hancock as ‘phenomenal’. Following his début with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Simon has performed and recorded with the BBC Symphony, Detroit Symphony (under Slatkin), and English Symphony Orchestra (Boughton),  to name a few.

Spencer Myer

Lauded for “superb playing” and “poised, alert musicianship” by the Boston Globe, and labeled “definitely a man to watch” by London’s The Independent, American pianist Spencer Myer is one of the most respected and sought-after artists on today’s concert stage.

Program Host

Alexander Platt

Alexander Platt has built a unique career spanning the worlds of symphony, chamber music and opera as conductor, music director, curator and host. Based in Chicago and New York, he is Music Director of the La Crosse Symphony, the Waukegan Symphony, and the Wisconsin Philharmonic, as well as Curator of Concerts at MoCA Westport; he spends his summers as Music Director of the Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, New York, the oldest summer chamber-music festival in America.

Finalist Interviews with WSHU Public Radio

Kate Remington talks with each of the finalists: Stephanie Tang, Sahun Hong, Priscilla Navarro and Veniamin Blokh about their careers and the music they’ve chosen to perform. 

Heida Week Program Host Alexander Platt also had an informal chat with Stephanie, Sam and Veniamin.

Heida Week Photos

More Information

Visit for more information on The Heida Hermmans International Music Competition history and application process.

View the full printed program of all 2019 Heida Week events.

The public is invited to observe

Heida Week Master Classes

at The Westport Library


3pm | Veniamin Blokh

4pm | Sahun Hong


3pm | Stephanie Tang

4pm | Priscila Navarro



An Immersive package of 4 salon-style piano concerts + an awards party

November 18-23, 2019
$250 per pass, a $300 value
See events included below

Mon 11.18.19 | 6:30pm

Heida Finalist: Priscila Navarro
Location: Private home in Weston, CT

$50 per ticket, or included in Heida Week Pass (above)

Tue 11.19.19 | 6:30pm

Heida Finalist: Veniamin Blokh
Location: Private home in Redding, CT

$50 per ticket, or included in Heida Week Pass (above)

Wed 11.20.19 | 6:30pm

Heida Finalist: Sahun Hong
Location: Private home in Westport, CT

$50 per ticket, or included in Heida Week Pass (above)

Thu 11.21.19 | 6:30pm

Heida Finalist: Stephanie Tang
Location: Private home in Wilton, CT

$50 per ticket, or included in Heida Week Pass (above)

Sat 11.23.19 | 7pm

Prize announcements, piano unveiling, drinks, appetizers & entertainment at MoCA Westport

$100 per ticket, or included in Heida Week Pass (above)

Special thanks for the generous support from