David Chi-Tou Lao, a junior piano performance major at Wright State University, captured first place in two statewide piano competitions that featured competitors from a total of 11 universities and conservatories.
Lao received first prize in the New Albany Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, in which he went up against instrumentalists from seven different Ohio universities and conservatories within the state of Ohio.
He also won first place in the Collegiate Young Artist Solo Division of the Ohio Music Teachers Association–Graves Piano Competition, where he competed against piano students from four universities and conservatories.
The competitions took place in February and March, before Wright State transitioned to remote learning and Ohio stay-at-home orders were issued to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of winning the New Albany competition, Lao was invited to play in a March 15 concert by the New Albany Symphony, but the concert has been postponed until late October because of the pandemic.
Lao is from Macau, an autonomous region on the south coast of China. He studies under Jackson Leung, professor of music, coordinator of keyboard studies and director of the Wright State University Chamber Orchestra.
“It is indeed very rewarding and gratifying to work with a student who is as talented, dedicated and humble as David Lao,” said Leung. “He has a genuine love for music, and his playing is brilliant, expressive and heartfelt, from the heart to the heart.”
Lao was the top prizewinner in the Singapore International Classical Piano Competition in 2018 and won second place in the 18-year old division of the Ohio Music Teachers Association–Graves Piano Competition in 2018, the Wright State Concerto-Aria Night Competition and the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Agnes Fowler Scholarship award, both in 2019.
A member of the Wright State Chamber Orchestra, Lao has participated in a number of master classes, working with pianists such as Misha Dichter, Michael Chertock and Laura Melton. In representing the Wright State School of Music, Lao has performed in a number of on and off-campus recitals, including at Wright State’s ArtsGala and the Troy Hayner Cultural Center.