The Young Artist Award grants each pianist $15,000 in cash, a $10,000 commission for a new piano work to be written for him or her, and several performances at the 2008 Gilmore Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Kudo, age 20, won the 2007 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition at Juilliard (not to be confused with the Salt Lake City competition of the same name) and currently attends The Juilliard School as a student of Yoheved Kaplinsky. Born in Washington, D.C. to Japanese and Korean parents, Kudo grew up in Chicago and divided her formative years between Japan and the U.S., where she made her orchestral at age 16 as a soloist with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The following year she was named a 2004 Davidson Fellow Laureate.
In 2005, Kudo was the only American finalist at the the 2005 International Fr_d_ric Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, and she later received Second Prize at the Seventh National Chopin Competition in the U.S. Her playing has been broadcast on radio programs such as NPR's From the Top and WQXR's Young Artists Showcase.
Among Kudo's former teachers are Emilio del Rosario of the Music Institute of Chicago and Kum-Sing Lee of the Vancouver Music Academy.
Golka, also 20, received the gold medal and audience-favorite awards at the 2nd China Shanghai International Piano Competition, and the Artist Diploma from Texas Christian University in 2005 as a student of Jos_ Feghali.
The Houston-born Golka made his orchestral debut at age 10 and has also won awards from the Fr_d_ric Chopin International Piano Competition in Corpus Christi, the Kingsville International Concerto Competition and the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition, among others.
The Gilmore Young Artists Award "single[s] out the most promising of the new generation of pianists" in the U.S. who have not passed the age of 22. Selection of nominees and winners is an anonymous process carried out by professionals over time rather than via a competition, with a six-member advisory committee evaluating potential candidates.
Previous winners include Andrew Armstrong, Jonathan Biss, Kirill Gerstein, Adam Neiman, Natasha Paremski, Orli Shaham, Christopher Taylor and Yuja Wang.
The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival also grants the quadrennial Gilmore Artists Award, which is given to an excellent pianist of any age and carries a $300,000 cash prize. The current Gilmore Artist, named in 2006, is Ingrid Fliter; among her predecessors are Piotr Anderszewski and Leif Ove Andsnes. Both the awards and the festival are named for Irving S. Gilmore, a Kalamazoo businessman and philanthropist.