Ning-Wu Du & Helen Sim
Ning-Wu Du is an accomplished artist both as pianist and composer. His parents both being composers, he showed an affinity to music at a young age. Among his piano teachers were Kong-Fun Zhang, Ya Huang and Qi Li, as well as Prof. Ming Xiao, with whom he studied at the Middle School of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He also studied composition with his father Qian Du. At the age of sixteen, he was a top prizewinner of the 2 nd Tokyo International Music Competition. Enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike, he was described as “unaffected and natural, possessing emotional depth and youthful energy.” Consequently, Du was invited back to Japan the following year to give a concert tour. Among his many awards is the 1 st prize of the 3rd Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia which he won at the age of eighteen. The American music critic Harold C. Schonberg, one of the jury members, later wrote in the New York Times magazine: “Du has the greatest natural talent.”
Ning-Wu Du furthered his piano study at the Juilliard School in New York under concert pianists Russell Sherman and Oxana Yablonskaya. He has performed world-wide in recital and with orchestra, in places such as China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Holland, England, France, Germany, Canada, and the U.S. He also collaborates in chamber music with artists such as Cho-Liang Lin, Qian Zhou, Liang Chai, Jian Wang, and Hai-Ye Ni. In the field of composition, Du has produced many works for solo piano and chamber groups. He has successfully premiered, together with cellist Jian Wang, his cello and piano sonata in Tokyo and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Korean-American pianist Helen Sim started her piano studies with Juliette Eisenmann and Mary Helton, and made her debut at the age of ten performing the Mozart “Coronation” Concerto in Carnegie Recital Hall. A year later, she won the Honorable Mention Award in the Music for Westchester Competition and, being the youngest musician ever invited, was featured on the prestigious McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase, hosted by Robert Sherman on the New York radio station WQXR. Sherman wrote in the New York Times: “In the prodigy department, the really astonishing entrant was Helen Sim, who had to twirl the piano stool to its highest point just to reach the keyboard. She started the Beethoven C Major Piano Concerto with the aplomb of a professional, and gave a mature performance of the first movement that completely belied her age.”
Sim studied in the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School with Naumburg winner Jane Carlson and later in the College Division with world-renowned Russian pianist Oxana Yablonskaya. She has won two concerto competitions at the Juilliard School and the 1 st prizes of the Westchester Symphony Orchestra Competition, the Yonkers Philharmonic Music Competition, the National Young Artists Competition of Texas, and the Senigallia International Piano Competition of Italy. She is also a top prizewinner of numerous competitions such as the D'Angelo Young Artists International Competition, the UNISA International Piano Competition of South Africa, and the World Music Masters Concours of France. She has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, among them being the American Symphony Orchestra in Lincoln Center , New York , and the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra in Switzerland .
Ning-Wu Du and Helen Sim, now married and residing in New York , met while both studying with Mme. Yablonskaya at the Juilliard School . They formed the piano duo "Du & Sim" in 2000 and, in the same year, made their enthusiastically received debut at New York 's Carnegie Recital Hall. In 2001, they were the top prizewinners and recipients of the "Baronessa Titetta Cafici Savarese Award" at the IBLA Grand Prize International Piano Competition in Italy . The duo’s activities since have included concerts in Tokyo (Opera City Hall), Seoul (as guest artists for the 10 th anniversary of Chinese-Korean diplomatic relations), New York City (Lincoln Center and Society Hall), Arkansas, California, New York, and tours in China. They recently gave a successful recital and master classes at Louisiana State University . As a result of winning the IBLA "Baronessa Titetta Cafici Savarese Award”, the duo was invited back to Sicily and gave highly acclaimed recitals in Catania and Ragusa .