ASU to host Bösendorfer and Yamaha international piano competitions

December 13, 2012

Forty-two outstanding pianists from around the globe will make their way to Tempe, Ariz. in January as the ASU School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts hosts the 6th Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competitions in collaboration with the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Young Artist Committee, and the Arizona Piano Gallery. The public is invited to witness these fantastic young artists from Jan. 6-13, 2013 in a competition that is considered one of the best in the world.

A total of 198 pianists from 31 countries applied to compete. The 42 selected by a screening committee compete in the semi-final and final rounds for prizes including over $50,000 of cash awards, engagements with the Phoenix Symphony, and recital performances in the United States, Austria and Germany for the winners. Legendary pianist Martha Argerich joins the panel of judges and performs Download Full Image

Pianists hail from Brazil, China, Korea, Poland, and Russia – to name a few countries – and also come from some of the world’s most prestigious music schools, including: the Juilliard School, the Moscow Conservatory, the Royal College of Music in London, and the Paris Conservatory.  

“Our community can experience first-hand the amazing and talented pianists from all across the globe at a top-tier competition,” says Baruch Meir, associate professor of piano in the ASU School of Music and founder, president and artistic director of the competitions.

Legendary pianist Martha Argerich joins the panel of judges this year, an incredible addition to the competition. Argerich, one of the most prominent pianists in the world both in popularity and ability, presents a Gala Recital together with Sergei Babayan and other members of the jury at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 6, in Katzin Concert Hall on the ASU Tempe campus. The program features Rachmaninoff’s tempestuous Suite No. 2 and other works for two pianos. This special ticketed concert kicks off the international competition and tickets can be purchased through the Herberger Institute Box Office.

New to the 2013 competition, we are pleased to announce a partnership with the Phoenix Symphony that brings the final round of the Bösendorfer Competition to beautiful Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. The finalists are showcased playing a concerto with The Phoenix Symphony under the baton of Michael Christie. The announcement of winners and the presentation of medals will immediately follow onstage at the conclusion of the performance. The concert takes place at 7 p.m., Jan. 13 and tickets can be purchased through the Phoenix Symphony Box Office.

The final round for the Yamaha Senior competition takes place Jan. 11, and the final round for the Yamaha Junior competition concludes on Jan. 12. These rounds are free and open to the public.

The Winner’s Recital and Awards Ceremony for the 6th Yamaha USASU Young Artists Junior and Senior International Piano Competitions is presented at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 12, in Katzin Concert Hall. This concert highlights the junior and senior competition winners and tickets can be purchased through the Herberger Institute Box Office.

For more information about the competition, the schedule of events, and how you might get involved, visit: or contact the competition office by email: or phone: 480-965-8740.

Media contact:
Baruch Meir,
ASU School of Music

ASU bioengineer makes key contribution to cancer treatment research

December 14, 2012

Michael Caplan shares authorship of a paper on cancer treatment research published this week in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Caplan is an associate professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Michael Caplan ASU bioengineer Download Full Image

The paper focuses on results of research led by Robert Gillies at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. Caplan has been collaborating on the project since 2005.

The research team explored potential methods of making therapeutic biomaterials stick only to cancerous tumors in the body – without threatening to damage healthy body tissue – by combining two short amino acid chains, each of which stick to different molecules on the surface of cancer cells.

Researchers looked at whether these therapeutics could accumulate preferentially in the tumor if the targets for the two components were present, and compared that to the accumulation when only one of the targets was present.

The paper detailing their findings is titled “Heterobivalent ligands target cell-surface receptor combinations in vivo."

Caplan explains: “We take two peptides – think short proteins –and link them together with a short linker, a polyethylene glycol linker. The paper is about a targeting molecule that has only two peptides that are different, called heterobivalent ligands.”

The receptors in the paper’s title refer to “transmembrane proteins on cells – proteins that go all the way through the cell membrane,” Caplan says. “Certain receptor types are expressed more on cancer cells than on normal cells. Those receptors are the targets. In this case we have targeted CCK2R (CCK receptor) and MC1R (melacortanin receptor). There is a peptide that will bind to each receptor, and these are linked together to make the heterobivalent ligand.”

In this way the researchers showed that combining these two components allows the therapeutics to accumulate specifically in the targeted tumor but not in other body tissues.

The results point to ways to provide effective cancer treatment using lower doses of medicines, which would cause fewer or less intense negative side effects, Caplan says.

Caplan worked on biophysical aspects of the research, producing mathematical modeling showing precisely how the molecules behave. That helped fellow researchers understand why certain molecules worked better than others for the therapeutics delivery and treatment processes.

In addition to Gillies and Caplan, authors of the paper are Liping Xu and David L. Morse of the Moffitt Center,  and Jatinder S. Josan, Victor J. Hruby, Eugene A. Mash, Josef Vagner and Ronald Lynch of the University of  Arizona.

Read the full article.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering