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Mehana Ellis



I’m a 16-year-old piano student studying with Annamarie McCarthy at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. I found my passion for piano when I was 2 years old. I started formal lessons at age 4, but my main instrument was violin for a decade. In 8th grade, I switched to piano as my primary instrument and found I was better able to musically express myself. 

I’ve been a student for six years in the Pre-College program at SFCM, where I have tutored in musicianship and participated in chamber groups as a violinist. I have perfect pitch, love music theory and analyzing classical music, and I’ve written a piano trio and string quartet. Some of my favorite SFCM classes have been conducting, chorus, and sound design/film scoring. In my free time, I enjoy practicing piano, hiking, and playing squash. My other great passion is mathematics, and I enjoy researching and doing interesting proofs. 

I have won numerous awards for piano performance, including 1st, 2nd, and Top Performer Runner Up prizes in the US New Star Composer Competition, 2nd prize in the Fundacja Life and Art International Music Competition, 2nd prize in the Gustav Mahler Prize Piano Competition (Mahler Institute in Prague), and various prizes from the Great Composers Competitions. I have also been selected as a winner of the 2021 Junior Bach Festival, and I have been invited by American Protege to perform at the Weill stage in Carnegie Hall in 2021. My recent interpretation of a Liszt Transcendental Etude was described as “imaginative, provoking, engaging, and brilliant” by the SFCM piano jury in 2021. 

Past Awards: 

—ENKOR International Music Competition (3rd prize, 2021)
—US New Star Composer Competition (Bach) (1st prize, 2021)
—US New Star Composer Competition (free choice) (1st prize, 2021)
—US New Star Composer Competition Top Performance Runner Up
—US New Star Composer Competition (Chopin) (2nd prize, 2021)
—Junior Bach Festival Winner (2021)
—American Protege International Music Talent Competition Winner (2021)
—Gustav Mahler Prize Piano Competition (2nd prize, 2021)
—Fundacja Life and Art International Music Competition (2nd prize, 2021)
—World Piano E-Competition “Napolinova” (5th prize, 2021)
—Houston International Music Competition (Honorable Mention, 2021)
—GCC Rising Talents of the Americas (1st prize, 2021)
—GCC The music of the 17th century (1st prize, 2021)
—GCC The music of the 18th century (2nd prize, 2021)
—GCC The music of the 19th century (1st prize, 2021)
—GCC The music of the 20th century (2nd prize, 2021)
—GCC The Music of Germany and Austria (1st prize, 2021)
—GCC The Music of Eastern Europe (1st prize, 2021)
—GCC Best Bach Performance (1st prize, 2021)
—GCC Music of America (2nd prize, 2021)
—GCC Best Schubert Performance (2nd prize, 2021)
—GCC Best Chopin Performance (2nd prize, 2021)
—GCC Artist of the Year (2nd prize, 2020)
—GCC The Art of Piano (2nd prize, 2020)
—GCC Rising Talents of the Americas (2nd prize, 2020)
—GCC Best Liszt Performance (3rd prize, 2020)

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