For Booking Inquiries, Contact:
Elena Portnaya

Winner of the Gold Medal | $25,000

Jiale Li

Sponsored by Awilda and Louis Ramos

Winner of the Silver Medal | $15,000

Yedam Kim

Sponsored by Virginia Kane

Winner of the Bronze Medal | $10,000
Winner of the Audience Favorite Award | $5,000

Leonardo Colafelice

Sponsored by Anya Grokhovski and Rob Michaelson


Alexander Malikov


Sponsored by Dr. Leo Zorrilla Alexander

Anna Gershtein


Sponsored by Vernon Haney

Anna Grot


Sponsored by Donna and Ted Welsh

Winner of the Best Performance of a Spanish or Latin Work | $5,000



Sponsored by WestEast Design Group

Winner of the Junior Jury Award | $2,500



Sponsored by Fa Winsborough

Nikita Lukinov


Sponsored by Arseni Grokhovski and Flor Beckman

Maria Narodytska


Sponsored by Victoria Seplarsky and Leonid Bogdanov

Alexey Sychev


Sponsored by Michelle Reese

Joon Yoon


Sponsored by Luis A. Ramos & Rafael A. Ramos

Letter from the CEO

Welcome to The Gurwitz 2020!

As a pianist, and founder of Musical Bridges Around the World, I am thrilled to bring this unprecedented celebration of the art of piano to the heart of Texas – San Antonio. We are honored to have the torch passed on to us after 32 years of the San Antonio International Piano Competition and take it to new heights as “The Gurwitz.” This competition, like the Olympics, takes place each quadrennium and we look forward to the next event in 2020! I have a tremendous responsibility to make The Gurwitz one of the world’s most prominent competitions in honor of those who have come before me; Ruth Jean Gurwitz, Anne Johnson, Bryan Helbert, Lynne Noriskin, Deborah Moore and the countless others that contributed to its growth over the years. The Board of Directors of Musical Bridges Around the World under the leadership of Chairman Eric Miller, M.D. is a tremendous group of visionaries committed to making San Antonio an international cultural destination. I thank Dr. Miller and our leadership for their support in making The Gurwitz 2020 a great success!

We invite pianists from any country, 18 – 32 years of age, to apply to The Gurwitz 2020. The application process for participants is open from 1 January to 30 June 2019 through ACCEPTD. Preliminary Judges will select 12 competitors bound for San Antonio, TX from 26 January – 2 February 2020. The selected 12 will be announced by 1 October 2019. The Gurwitz will sponsor these participants’ transportation, accommodation and US visas. Along with solo piano programs in first two rounds, the third round will feature a unique commissioned chamber music piece for piano and world music instruments. The final round will feature piano concertos with the renown San Antonio Symphony. Finalists in round four will vie for Gold $25,000; Silver $15,000 and Bronze $10,000 prizes. We will also have special prizes, performance opportunities and benefits for participants and the winner which will be announced closer to the competition.

The international panel of judges is comprised of world class musicians and industry executives including Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing – Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony, concert pianists Olga Kern, Yaron Kohlberg, Boris Slutsky, Carolyn True and violinist, Director of the Sphinx Organization – Afa Dworkin. Members of the Silk Road Ensemble, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and American percussionist John Hadfield are one-of-a-kind musicians sharing their incredibly versatile artistry during the World Music Round playing the commissioned work of San Antonio composer Ethan Wickman. We are grateful to our beloved San Antonio Symphony for partnering with The Gurwitz 2020 as we look forward to a Grand Finale of concertos for piano and orchestra!

The Gurwitz is proud to have become a member of the Geneva, Switzerland based World Federation of International Music Competitions in 2018. This status recently shed a global spotlight on San Antonio in my recent interview with BBC Music Magazine.

We look forward to welcoming the best emerging piano talent from around the globe, judges and spectators from all over the world to the Crossroads of the Americas: our beautiful City of San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas! Between UNESCO World Heritage status for our Spanish Missions, our romantic River Walk, a UNESCO designated Creative City of Gastronomy, San Antonio is a unique cultural asset in Texas with tremendous southern hospitality. As The Gurwitz 2020 brings the world to San Antonio – our City, County, businesses and partners welcome you with open arms!



*The Gurwitz 2020 is run, managed and produced by Musical Bridges Around the World. Each competition year, The Gurwitz will occur as part of the International Music Festival and will be open to the public.



Every four years The Gurwitz participants and jurors from around the globe showcase the art of piano in San Antonio, Texas. Along with the standard piano concert repertoire pianists demonstrate their versatility by performing music rooted in their native cultures as well as Latin composers to celebrate San Antonio cultural makeup. Chamber Music round gives rare opportunity to perform newly commissioned piece for piano and World Music Instruments. The final round is a collaboration with the San Antonio Symphony.

Expanding the view of both participants and audiences beyond a traditional, classical mindset connects the next generation of award-winning pianists to a global audience as they develop their career and take the world stage. The Gurwitz will discover and promote versatile, well-rounded talent reflect the ever-changing cultural texture of our evolving planet.

The modern world is more interconnected than ever before. Art is a reflection of this interconnectivity. By opening classically trained pianists to world music, growth accessibility and interconnectedness.

Gurwitz Committee

David Robinson

Honorary Chairman

Susan C. Franklin

Board Chair

Dr. Margaret Kelley

Jane Macon

Debbie Montford

Sheryl Sculley

Sonya Medina Williams

Tracy Wolff


Gold Medal

Sponsored by

Silver Medal

Sponsored by

Bronze Medal

Sponsored by Virginia Kane

Winner of the Audience Favorite Award



Sponsored by

Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation

Winner of the Best Performance of Spanish or Latin Work



Sponsored by

Epitacio Resendez

Winner of the Junior Jury Award



Sponsored by

Fa Winsborough


Sebastian Lang-Lessing | Jury Chairman

Sponsered by W. Elisa Chan – Unintech Consulting Engineers, Inc.

Olga Kern

Sponsored by The Steves Family

Yaron Kohlberg

Sponsored by Drs. Alice and Sergio Viroslav

Afa Dworkin

Sponsored by The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Boris Slutsky

Sponsored by Anne Johnson

Carolyn True

Sponsored by Cassandra Carr

Preliminary judges


Ethan Wickman


Sponsored by the Muriel F. Siebert Foundation
June Tanner Jaffee Honoring Beverly Tanner Widder

Kinan Azmeh


Sponsored by Luminous Counseling Center - Fa Winsborough

John Hadfield


Sponsored by Luminous Counseling Center - Fa Winsborough

Chamber Music Round Commissioned Piece

Ethan Wickman
Sponsored by the Muriel F. Siebert Foundation
June Tanner Jaffee Honoring Beverly Tanner Widder

Murmurs from the Exile
for clarinet in B-flat, percussion, and piano

Click Here To View The Piece


  • Clarinet in B-flat
  • Percussion (medium suspended cymbal w/ soft yarn mallets, tambourine, frame drum)
  • Piano


Murmurs from the Exile is a work that combines Eastern rhythms and scales with Western tonal chromaticism in virtuosic flourishes. Both the clarinet and piano are given improvisatory passages with specific guidance as to pitch choice and collection. While specific instructions are given at the appropriate places in the score, performers of these parts should strive to use principally the pitches in the designated collection. Other pitches may be used sparingly to add color, or ‘non-harmonic tone’ effects. Overuse of non-collection pitches will undermine the harmonic integrity of these passages.

The percussionist should be an experienced hand drummer that is comfortable with improvisation and embellishment. The frame drum portions of the work provide a rhythmic outline, that may be tastefully embellished in the following passages: mm. 67-79, mm. 139-150, mm. 183-190. All other percussion passages, with the exception of the freely improvised portions (mm. 157, 160, 163, 166) should be interpreted literally. M. 156 provides guidance for the first portion of improvisation.

DURATION: ~12 minutes

Commissioned by Musical Bridges Around the World for the

13th Quadrennial Gurwitz International Piano Competition


Click To Learn More About The San Antonio Symphony

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