The Catholic University of America

Aug. 1, 2014

Music Student Named Winner of University Piano Competition

Sophomore Brian Billion, a piano performance major in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, will be one of the featured pianists from around the world to perform on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this weekend.

The concerts — part of The Catholic University of America Washington International Piano Festival (WIPF) — will take place Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2, at 6 p.m. Billion will perform Scarlatti’s Sonata in F Minor and Scriabin’s Sonata No. 2 in G Sharp Minor on Saturday night.

Billion was named the first-prize winner of the first annual Catholic University International Piano Competition this week. As the winner, he will present a solo recital during the upcoming 2014-15 concert season of CUA’s Washington International Piano Series, which will begin this fall.

Billion studies piano with Ivo Kaltchev, head of the piano division. Last fall, he was one of a few Catholic University students selected to perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City, as part of a three-day series cosponsored by the La Gesse Foundation. He also has participated in multiple international musical festivals and performed as a soloist with the Orquestra De Camara De Cascais e Oeira in Cascais, Portugal.

In addition, Billion was honored earlier this summer with the 2014 Luciana Montanari-Mendola Award, given by the Italian Cultural Society to promising young pianists, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Nellie Love Butcher Music Scholarship. He also was invited to serve on the junior jury of the Piano Arts International Competition in Milwaukee in June.

“Brian has made remarkable progress since he came to CUA two years ago,” said Kaltchev. “Everybody in the music world knows that the two most crucial ingredients for a successful career in music are talent and hard work. Brian has both in abundance. Such professional accomplishments are absolutely incredible for a student who is only 20 years old. I am so proud of Brian. It is an honor to be his piano teacher.”

The Washington International Piano Festival continues through Aug. 3, featuring performances, master classes, and lectures by guest artists and young musicians. Remaining events include a master class with world-famous pianist Santiago Rodriguez, on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Events on Sunday, Aug. 3, include a closing concert for 2014 WIPF participants at 11 a.m., an award ceremony and concert featuring The Catholic University of America Piano Competition winners at 3:15 p.m., and a guest artist recital with Santiago Rodriguez at 4 p.m. For more information, see




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