Graciela Arguedas was born into a musical family in Heredia, Costa Rica. She began playing guitar at age five, and four years later began piano studies with Tamara Skilouvskaia, and Alexander Skilouvski at the Instituto Superior de Artes. She participated in Costa Rica’s first Festival de Música Clásica, and appeared as soloist with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica.
At age 13 Graciela made her Carnegie Recital Hall debut as winner of the 5th Pinault International Piano Competition. That same year she participated in the Eastman School of Music’s Young Artists International Piano Competition, the youngest of 20 pianists from around the world, and performed in recital as one of the six finalists, in Eastman’s Kilbourn Hall. The following year she was invited to perform again at Carnegie Recital Hall.
After moving to the United States, Graciela pursued advanced piano studies with Blanca Uribe and Natalie Ryshna Maynard. She won New Haven’s Fisher Competition, placed third in the Hartford Symphony Concerto Competition, and represented Costa Rica to win the piano competition at the International Festival of the Arts in Seoul, South Korea.
During her high school years, Graciela studied with Seymour Bernstein in New York City and with Richard Shirk and Diane Walsh in the pre-college program at the Mannes School of Music.
In 2007 Graciela made her New York concerto debut at Merkin Hall in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Camerata New York Orchestra, in our winner’s concert, and later reprised the concerto with the Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica. She also performed Mozart’s Concerto in C Major K. 467 with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in a fundraising concert with Whoopi Goldberg narrating Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, in the Skirball Center of the Arts, and with the Concert Society Chamber Orchestra in CT. Graciela’s performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.467 was recorded and broadcasted worldwide through WQXR on the McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase.
She was a top prize winner not only in our Concerto Competition but also in the Hartford Symphony Concerto Competition and the Stamford Symphony Competition, winning the Jeniam Foundation Scholarship. During the summer she participated at the Chautauqua Institution Music Festival where she studied with Rebecca Penneys.
After graduating from the Honors Program at Mannes Pre-college program, she studied with Dr. Douglas Humpherys at the Eastman School of Music. In May 2012 she received her Bachelor of Music from Eastman and since has returned to New York City for graduate studies. Please visit her website at www.gracielapiano.com.
After winning second place in our competition, Allen Yueh won first prize in the Fourth New York Piano Competition, a biennial event presented under the auspices of The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation. Yueh’s participation in the New York Piano Competition can be seen in the documentary ‘On a Personal Note,’ a behind-the-scenes look at the competition, shown on PBS nationally.
Allen was also chosen in 2009 as one of 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts, winning the opportunity to perform at Kennedy Center and receiving a cash award of $10,000, as well as the personal congratulations of President Obama.
Yueh attended Harvard, class of 2013, and in 2011 participated there in a master class given by Lang Lang. Recent concert appearances included a solo recital at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in NY.