First Prize winner at the Boston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, 17-year-old American pianist Amir Siraj has just been named a 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. In the past year, he was honored as a guest of NPR’s “From The Top” at Jordan Hall, selected as winner of the National YoungArts Competition, awarded Grand Prize at the Fidelity Investments Young Artist Competition, and was named First Prize winner at the Harvard Musical Association. Amir recently recorded with Lang Lang on Deutsche Grammophon.
Hailed by TheaterJones as a “gentle” yet “passionate” interpreter, Amir has performed at venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion. He has been a guest soloist with orchestras including the Boston Pops Orchestra, the New England Philharmonic, the Quincy Symphony Orchestra, the Midwest Young Artists Symphony Orchestra and the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has made appearances at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, American Liszt Society, Max Reger Foundation of America, Annual Music Festival at Walnut Hill, and the Youth & Muse International Music Festival, among many others.
Over the past few years, Amir has been a three-time prizewinner at the Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition, three-time prizewinner at the American Fine Arts Festival, laureate of the Chopin International Competition in Hartford, first prize winner at the New England Piano Teachers Association Ruth Davidson Competition, three-time first prize winner at the Music Teachers National Association’s Massachusetts division, and six-time first prize winner at the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association Bay State Contest. In 2015, Amir was selected as one of twenty-four young pianists in the world to participate in the Cliburn International Junior Competition and Festival.
Amir is currently a senior at Brookline High School at a student at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. He studies with Helena Vesterman. In the fall of 2017, Amir will matriculate at Harvard University.
As an avid proponent of the music of his time, Amir has performed many world premieres including chamber works by Stephen Feigenbaum and solo works by Larry Bell, in addition to frequent performances of published contemporary works by Lera Auerbach, Marti Epstein, and William Bolcom. He studies privately with Helena Vesterman and attends the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, and has taken master classes with the likes of Peter Serkin, Douglas Humpherys, Hung-Kuan Chen, and Meng-Chieh Liu.
Amir also has a passion for bringing music outside of the concert hall, and into communities, where classical music can transfomrative impact on people’s lives. As an Arts Leader with From The Top’s Center for the Development of Arts Leaders in Boston, he has worked over the past five years to spread the joy of music in hospitals, senior living communities, and children’s museums. Amir collaborated with the Steinway Society of Massachusetts in 2014 to give a performance at the Chapel of the Massachusetts General Hospital, where his music was broadcast live to over 1,500 patient rooms. In 2016, Amir organized a concert in partnership with From the Top and Music For Food to raise funds for local hunger relief efforts, which garnered enough donations to provide over 5,000 meals for community members in need. Amir has been featured in publications such as the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal for his work.