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$30,000 Prize for Bienen School Alumnus

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Pianist Nolan Pearson -- a recent graduate of and now staff pianist at Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music -- is a 2012 recipient of the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists.

The highly competitive $30,000 award is given yearly to help launch the career of a developing artist from Northwestern, the University of Chicago, DePaul University and the School of the Art Institute. The winner is selected from among top competitors in the arts by a faculty jury.

Pearson recently presented a performance of works by Elliott Carter, Gyorgy Ligeti and Aaron Travers to a 13-member prize selection jury. Three days later, he learned that he had won the prestigious Edes Prize.

“Nolan is the quintessential Northwestern student,” said Bienen School Associate Professor James Giles, with whom Pearson studied. “He brings the ideal combination of intellect and emotion to his playing (and) is as equally distinguished in canonical music as new music.”

Internationally renowned pianist Ursula Oppens, with whom Nolan also studied at Northwestern, has called him “a stunningly well-rounded musician (who) shines as a recitalist, chamber musician and vocal accompanist.”

With plans to commission new works for solo piano and enter major European competitions to build his reputation overseas, Nolan expects the Edes Prize will allow him to focus on career-building. The winner of numerous accolades, he was hailed by The New York Times as a “high-energy” pianist who brings “beauty and cohesiveness” to his work.

The Edes Prize was created by Edes Foundation President Nik Edes, son of longtime Chicago residents and passionate arts supporters Claire and Samuel Edes. Pearson is the second Bienen graduate to receive the prize.

For more on Pearson and the Edes Prize, visit the Bienen School of Music website at
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