After scrutinizing four days of piano performances, a nine-member jury for the 2008 Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition selected six finalists Friday night.

The six pianists who will advance to tonight's finals at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center are Qi Xu, 13, China; George Li, 12, Lexington, Mass.; Jan Lisiecki, 13, Canada; Ching Toa Aristo Sham, 12, Hong Kong; Yi Jia Wang, 12, China; and Anna Han, 12, Chandler, Ariz.

These pianists were selected from 33 international artists whose ages ranged between 11 and 13 years old. The artists represented nine countries — Canada, China, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

Finals will be held tonight at 7 in the Jeanne Wagner Theater of the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South. Tickets are still available for $10 at www.arttix.org or by calling 355-2787 or 888-451-2787.

The first-place winner will receive a coveted Gina Bachauer gold medal and a $7,000 cash award. Second place will take home the silver medal and a $5,000 cash award. Third place garners the bronze medal and $4,000 while fourth, fifth and sixth place winners will receive $3,000, $2000 and $1,000, respectively.

The jury was composed of Rolf-Dieter Arens, Paola Bruni, Alan Chow, Mirian Conti, Faina Lushtak, Thomas Shumacher, Zhe Tang, Veda Zuponcic and jury chairman Douglas Humphreys, all world-renowned pianists in their own right.

The jury's standard, according to the official Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition rules, is based on the cumulative quality of all performances at the current competition. They cannot take in consideration performances, instructors' reputations or "other credentials of any kind."

Next Tuesday marks the beginning of the Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Piano Competition featuring 30 pianists ranging in age 14 through 18 from 11 countries including Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain and the United States. For more information, log on to www.bachauer.com


E-mail: scott@desnews.com