Introducing the 2022 Gilmore Young Artists, Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson
November 19, 2021
Pierre van der Westhuizen, Executive and Artistic Director of The Gilmore, today announced that two pianists—Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson—have been named recipients of the 2022 Gilmore Young Artist Award. Ms. Carissa and Mr. Stephenson will each receive a $15,000 stipend to further their musical careers and educational development, as well as $10,000 towards the commissioning of a new piano composition for which the artist will have exclusive performance rights for one year. The pianists will also give solo recitals and orchestral performances during the 2022 Gilmore Piano Festival in Kalamazoo—April 24 through May 15, 2022.
Mr. van der Westhuizen honors Ms. Carissa and Mr. Stephenson in a virtual award presentation featuring Ms. Carissa and Mr. Stephenson in conversation with 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Jonathan Biss, along with performances by both recipients, now streaming at TheGilmore.org and via The Gilmore’s YouTube channel. Commenting on the awardees, he said: “In both Janice Carissa and Clayton Stephenson we see a compelling future for our artform. They blend dedication to their craft with their own creative impulse, resulting in two unique artists. It was obvious to the committee that Carissa has an intelligent, musical personality, and that she still exudes a youthful joy which so often gets lost in the competitive grind of the music industry…Seeing and hearing Stephenson play immediately reminds you of another element of youth: a sense of wonder. In addition to his technical abilities, he has managed to find his own creative voice early on and to maintain it. The Gilmore is excited to be able to recognize and support these two young artists in the years ahead.”
Founded along with the Gilmore Artist Award in 1989, the Gilmore Young Artist Awards are bestowed every two years to single out the most promising of the new generation of pianists living in the United States, age 22 and younger. Candidates for the Award are nominated by music professionals from around the world. Those nominated are evaluated for their pianism and musical promise by a six-member artistic committee over an extended period of time. The process is carried out anonymously, and candidates are unaware of their own consideration. Among the now 38 pianists who have received the Gilmore Young Artist Award are Misha Galant, Kirill Gerstein, Daniel Hsu, Maxim Lando, George Li, Wei Luo, Micah McLaurin, Yuja Wang, Orion Weiss, and Elliot Wuu.
Pianist Janice Carissa is a rising star to watch (Philadelphia Inquirer), and has been praised for a “fleet-fingered touch that is particularly impressive” (Chicago Classical Review). Her success has captivated audiences in venues such as Sydney Opera House, The Kennedy Center, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Penderecki Center, Carnegie Hall, Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, The Mann Center, WQXR’s Greene Space, and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. She has appeared under the batons of Cristian Macelaru and Stephane Deneve with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and she has replaced Andre Watts as soloist with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Since coming to Philadelphia in 2013 she has performed with John Hopkins Symphony, Symphony in C, St. Peters by the Sea Orchestra, Eastern Wind Symphony, Midwest Young Artist Orchestra, and Bay Atlantic Symphony. This season she makes her orchestra debuts with Kansas City Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, and Amarillo Symphony.
Her honors include a 2019 Arkady Fomin Scholarship and 2018 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant, and prizes at 2014 Aspen Music Festival Competition, 2012 American Protégé, 2011 Indonesia Pusaka Competition, and IBLA Foundation’s 2006 Piano Competition. She is an alumna of Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Her performances have been featured across platforms such as PBS, Philadelphia’s WHYY Public Radios, Robert Sherman’s WQXR, The Violin Channel’s Vanguard Series, and NPR’s From The Top.
Deeply devoted to chamber music, Ms. Carissa has appeared at Marlboro, Ravinia, the Evnin Rising Stars series at Caramoor, Kneisel Hall, Oxford, Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth, and performs regularly with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, North Shore, and Ensemble 132. She has performed with prominent artists such as Vadim Gluzman, Miriam Fried, Pamela Frank, Peter Wiley, Marcy Rosen, David Shifrin, Lucy Shelton, Josef Spacek, Jennifer Cano, and players of Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble; and given world premieres of compositions by Timo Andres, Wang Jie, Katherine Balch, Alyssa Weinberg, Andrew Moses, and Thomas Oltazerewski.
Native to Indonesia, Ms. Carissa began her musical journey at age five with her pianist mother. She entered the Curtis Institute of Music at age fifteen, where she presently studies with Gary Graffman and Robert McDonald. During her spare time, she enjoys exploring different culinary experiences in her Philadelphia neighborhood and capturing portraits for musicians.
Named the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Clayton Stephenson is applauded for having “a bounty of talent that flows out of him, with impeccably mastered and correct musical instincts” (Theater Jones). He has been recognized with many accolades, including prizes from the 2015 Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition and the 2016 Cooper International Piano Competition; he is the recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award; and is a Gheens Young Artist and Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.
Highlights of Mr. Stephenson’s burgeoning career include recitals at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Kissinger Sommer Festival in Bad Kissinger, BeethovenFest in Bonn, Stars and Rising Stars in Munich, Swiss Alps Classics at Switzerland, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. He has been featured on NPR, WUOL and WQXR, and has also appeared at “Grammy Salute to Classical Music” Concert at Carnegie Stern Auditorium. His upcoming engagements include performances with the Newport Symphony Orchestra (Oregon), the Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra (IL), and Rock Hill Symphony (SC). He has performed as guest artist with orchestras including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Louisville Symphony, Augusta Symphony, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and the Midwest Young Artists Symphony. On the 69th U.N. Day, he played with the International Youth Orchestra at the United Nations General Assembly Hall.
Mr. Stephenson was admitted into the Juilliard Pre-College at age ten, after receiving two years training at the Juilliard Music Advancement Program. Currently, he studies at Harvard’s dual degree program with NEC, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics at Harvard and a master’s degree in piano performance at the New England Conservatory with Professor Wha Kyung Byun.