Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition

About the Competition

The 2015 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition is open to all Texas Music Festival Orchestra participants. All finalists will receive a cash prize. The 2015 winner will perform with the Festival Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Lavard Skou Larsen at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion in The Woodlands on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 8 p.m. and also at the Moores Opera House on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. The winner will also be invited to appear as a soloist with the Akademisches Orchester in Leipzig, Germany at the famed Gewandhaus.

"There is no doubt that as a musician performing at the Gewandhaus was an amazing experience for me. It was the first step towards realizing my dream of performing on a worldwide music stage. I have played with several orchestras before, however, playing at the beautiful Gewandhaus was very special. I could feel the enthusiastic audience understand and cheer for me, and their enthusiasm made me more passionate about the music. Also, working with Maestro Foerster and the Akademisches Orchester Leipzig inspired me and helped me achieve my success on stage. Indeed, I am thankful for the Texas Music Festival and I had a great time during TMF 2010. In addition, I had the chance to meet my fantastic teacher during the festival, Ms. Lucie Robert, who helped me win the competition at TMF. As the winner, TMF offered me the opportunity to perform at the Gewandhaus and I really want to say thanks for helping with the progress towards reaching my ultimate goal."

--Shuaili Du, violin (winner, 2010 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition)


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition Requirements

  • all participants must be members of the Festival Orchestra
    • a movement of a standard concerto, or showpiece, for solo instrument and orchestra
    • total length not to exceed 15 minutes, including full orchestral tuttis
    • TMF reserves the right to reject any request to compete with repertoire that does not meet the requirements listed above.
  • work/movement to be performed from memory at every level
  • participant required to provide own piano score for accompanist
  • orchestral scores must be easily obtainable for performance
  • Please make sure that there is not a piano part in your piece's orchestration if you are planning on auditioning for the TMF Concerto Competition. A piano will not be available at The Woodlands Pavilion for the June 19 performance by the competition winner.
  • final concert program subject to conductor's approval

First Place and Audience Favorite - 2014

Photo of Caitlin Mehrtens

Caitlin Mehrtens, harp
Ginastera Harp Concerto, Movement I

Caitlin Mehrtens is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Harp Performance at Oberlin Conservatory of Music under Yolanda Kondonassis. She is rotating principal harpist in the Oberlin Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonietta, and Contemporary Music Ensemble, with whom she has recorded and premiered multiple works. Since 2012 she has been selected to participate in a Performance Improvisation Ensemble under renowned world percussionist, Jamey Haddad. Her festival credits include Eastern Music Festival, the Monteux School and the Hot Springs Music Festival. As First Prize winner of the 2010 American Harp Society Competition, Ms. Mehrtensalso had the honor of working with Maestro Charles Dutoit in a benefit concert for the Lyra Society of Philadelphia in May of 2011. She is an active secondary harp teacher at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and also a freelance performer in the contemporary, classical, and jazz genres. Ms. Mehrtens has studied the piano since age 4, and continued her studies through secondary lessons in Jazz Keyboard in Oberlin. She began her study of the harp at age nine, and is a native of Thornton, Pennsylvania.

Second Place - 2014

Photo of Oliver Scott

Oliver Scott, cello
Elgar Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, Movement I

Oliver Scott was born in Hong Kong 1993. His family moved back to Brisbane, Australia when he was four years old. He is currently a full scholarship student of Li Wei Qin at Yong Siew Toh conservatory in Singapore. Before he left Australia, he had worked freelance with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Sinfonia. He was actively involved in Australian Youth Orchestra and Queensland Youth Orchestra programs. In 2012 Oliver toured as soloist and principle cellist with the Queensland Youth Orchestra on their tour to Europe and Asia. Oliver performed Saint-Säens cello in concert halls in Germany and France on four different concerts that tour.

Third Place – 2014

Photo of Eleanor Dunbar

Eleanor Dunbar, violin
Korngold Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35

Eleanor Dunbar, 18, is a sophomore at Southern Methodist University studying with Professor Emanuel Borok. She has soloed with various orchestras such as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Thomas Wilkins at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She has worked with renowned performers and teachers such as Ken Aiso, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Martin Chalifour, Nathan Cole, Victor Danchenko, Andres Diaz, Ivry Gitlis, Paul Kantor, Ida Kavafian, Chee-Yun Kim, Gustav Rivinius, Sylvia Rosenburg, Abram Shtern, Michael Tree, and Bing Wang. She also was the third-prize winner at the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition in April 2013

2014 Finalists

Photo of David Cook

David Cook, clarinet
Carl Maria von Weber Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, Movements II & III

David Cook holds Master of Music degrees in Clarinet Performance and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan and Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Central Michigan University. He has worked with world-renowned conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Rossen Milanov, and Carl St. Clair.

In the fall, David will attend the University of Oklahoma as a student of Dr. Suzanne Tirk, pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Clarinet Performance and the Master of Music degree in Music Theory with a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. David’s principal teachers include Chad Burrow, Theodore Oien, and Dr. Kennen White.

Photo of William Karns

William Karns, double bass
Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen

William began studying double bass in high school with Steve Zesserman (San Antonio Symphony), and is currently studying Double Bass Performance at Baylor University with Dr. Sandor Ostlund . He has performed in master classes for Edgar Meyer, Francesco Petracchi and Jeff Bradetich. William attended the 2012 & 2013 Eastern Music Festival (EMF), winning the 2013 EMF Concerto Competition and performing as soloist. He won the San Antonio Youth Symphony (YOSA) Concerto Competition, performing as soloist in 2013. William is a two-time recipient of a Colburn Pledge Foundation Music Scholarship. He enjoys performing chamber music and transcribing double bass solos.

Photo of Liu Minglun

Ming Lun Liu
Elgar Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61, Movement I

Liu Minglun is currently studying in Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore with full scholarship, studying under Prof. Zuo Jun, head of violin in the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

Minglun first started learning violin when he was 4 years old. At the age of 6, Minglin won the first prize of He Nan Violin competition Junior Category. He started his study in Shanghai Music Middle School with full scholarship sponsored by Mr. Rin at the age of 9 under Lu Mengda, concertmaster of Shanghai Sinfonietta. Minglun had been very active in playing chamber music since young. At the age of 10, he had performed frequently with string ensemble all around Shanghai.

Minglun also actively participate in international festivals like Beijing Great Wall Music Festival and was the concertmaster of the orchestra in Festival Orchestra in Stuttgart. He also performed as the leader of the second violin in Shanghai Youth Symphony Orchestra. He performed in master classes conducted by David Takeno, Vilmos Szabadi, Ning Feng, Hu Kun and Qian Zhou. With his string quartet, he also had master classes with Miro Quartet and Takas Quartet.

Minglun plays on a 1810 Joannes Maria Valenzano on loan from the Rin Collection.

Photo of Cornelia Sommer

Cornelia Sommer, basoon
Villa-Lobos’ Ciranda das sete notas

Cornelia Sommer is from Seattle, WA, where she began studying the bassoon with Francine Peterson. A recent graduate of Indiana University, Cornelia received her Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance and studied with William Ludwig. In 2014, Cornelia was a semi-finalist in the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition, a finalist in the IU Woodwind Concerto Competition, and competed in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and J. C. Arriaga Competition as a founding member of the Videnia Quintet. She has attended Sarasota Music Festival, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, and Brevard Music Festival. In Fall 2014, Cornelia will continue her bassoon studies with Frank Morelli at Yale University.

Photo of Ian Woodworth

Ian Woodworth, oboe
Goossens’ Concerto in One Movement for Oboe

Ian Woodworth graduated from the Baldwin Wallace Universtiy Conservatory of Music in May 2014 where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Oboe. At Baldwin Wallace, his primary teacher was Jeffrey Rathbun, Assistant Principal Oboe of the Cleveland Orchestra. During his studies at Baldwin Wallace, Ian held oboe and English horn positions in the BW Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble, as well as various chamber ensembles. In the summer of 2013, Ian was an apprentice at the National Music Festival in Chestertown, Maryland, and attended the Bay View Music Festival in Northern Michigan, where he won the Adrian Boyer Concerto Competition. Ian will begin his graduate studies in fall of 2014 to pursue his Master of Music degree in Oboe at Carnegie Mellon University as a student of Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, Principal Oboe of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Past Winners