Harrison Jude Benford and Nathan Zhong Shan, both 15, came together in 2019 as the Baozi (包子) Duo under their teacher, Nancy O’Neill Breth. In 2020, they took first place at the MSMTA Spring Festival Piano Ensemble Competition performing Schumann’s Piano Quartet Op. 47, arranged for four-hands by Johannes Brahms. Harrison began studying piano at age five and this past summer won both First Prize and Audience Prize in the HeartOut International Piano Competition, competing against pianists from across the United States, China and Russia. Harrison, a sophomore, adores classical music and also plays in the Winston Churchill High School Honors Jazz Ensemble. In his spare time, Harrison is a competitive online gamer and tournament Scrabble player, ranking third in North America at the 2017 North American School Scrabble Championships. Nathan is a sophomore in the magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School and has been playing piano for nine years and cello for five. He especially enjoys playing music with others in chamber ensembles and orchestras. Nathan has been in the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra for four years and currently plays in their most senior group, the Philharmonic. When not performing, Nathan likes reading, competitive math, and playing with his younger brother. Both Harrison and Nathan perform in nursing homes and hospitals as volunteers for the Tacy Foundation.
You can find the duet’s performance here.