May 31, 2015 at 5:00pm
Celebrating Young Musical Talent on International Children's Day!
James Bennett and Oscar Paz-Suazanbar
May 31, 2015
The Kosciuszko Foundation
2025 O Street NW
Washington DC 20005
Suggested Donation $10
James Bennett has been playing piano for over four years, and is currently a student of Dr. Marjorie Lee. He attends the gifted and talented program at Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna, VA, where he plays violin in the school orchestra. Besides playing music, James also loves to compose. He plays piano not only at competitions, but also at coffeehouses, a nursing home, and at school events at the Polish Embassy in Washington.
James won the M. Gotlieb Competition in 2013 and the Young Musician Inspiring Challenge Competition in 2015. James was also the first place winner in MSMTA Solo Competition and WMTA Hartman Competition this year. He is one of the finalists of International Young Artists Piano Competition. He achieved a Superior-Plus in the 2014 American College of Musicians National Guild auditions. He won third place in the 2014 Asian-American International Competition and WMTA Russian competition, second place in Robert Spencer Concerto Competition. James was chosen to play in YAM at the Center of Performing Arts at George Mason University. His compositions have won first place in 2012 and 2014 in the annual PTA "Reflections" contests.
Born in Warsaw, James has lived in Poland, Russia and Ukraine in addition to the United States. He speaks Polish in addition to English, and his Polish heritage comes through his interpretations of the music of Chopin. His passion for music is matched by his lively interest in math and his imaginative creative writing. His dream is to have his own orchestra.
Oscar Paz-Suaznabar is a fourth grader at The Langley School in McLean, Virginia. Since the age of three he has shown a great interest in music, playing songs by ear at the keyboard, whether it be children's folk songs or Fȕr Elise. His piano training began at age five, and after only five months he gave his concert debut at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda, Maryland, performing Franz Liszt's Consolation no. 3.
By age six Oscar had performed at the Austrian, Swiss, Russian and French Embassies in Washington D.C., the Hungarian Embassy in New York, the National Institute of Health Hospital, the John Hopkins Hospital, and Cambridge and Oxford Universities in London, UK. He has since continued an active performance schedule that included the Embassy of Bolivia, the Organization of American States in D.C., the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage, the LSF (Latino Student Fund) at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the Belmont Mansion, Fairfax Town Hall and the Sherwood Center.
Oscar Paz-Suaznabar was recently selected as a Jack Kent Cooke $10,000 Young Artist Scholarship Recipient. This great honor has inspired Oscar to continue his community performing outreach, which features upcoming performances on From the Top, a live show taping at Lisner Auditorium one day before his 9th birthday, a Young Soloists Recital at the Concerts at the Alden series, and a Young Artist Musicale at the George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts.
Oscar has been fortunate to participate in the many events sponsored by the Washington metropolitan music teachers organizations, and has been recognized with many awards such as first place in the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Piano Achievement Awards for grades 6 and younger, the Washington Music Teachers Viola Hartman Achievement Awards, the Asian American Society's Peewee Division, the Washington Music Teachers Association's Bartok Competition level one, the Maryland State Music Teachers Piano Solo Spring Competition, the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Robert Spencer Piano Concerto Competition, and finalist in the Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition.
Offstage Oscar is like any other fourth grader whose interests include playing with his friends, swimming, drawing and writing short stories. He is an avid reader of the Percy Jackson series, Greek mythology and space books. You can meet Oscar on his Facebook page.