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Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition

First Place - 2016

Juan Esteban Martinez, clarinet
Francaix Clarinet Concerto, Movements III & IV

Photo of Juan Esteban Martinez

Born in Colombia and raised in the Dominican Republic, Juan Esteban Martinez is currently on his second year at the Peabody Institute where he study with Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinetist of New York Philharmonic. At the age of 15 he debuted as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic and two years later he was one of the winners of the Caldas’ Young Artist Competition in Colombia performing with the Caldas Symphony Orchestra. He was a founder fellow of both the Latin-American Wind Orchestra and the Iberoamerican Orchestra. Juan was also the recipient of the Sidney Jensen Memorial Award for outstanding clarinet performance at Peabody.

Second Place & Audience Favorite Prize - 2016

Tomasz Kowalczyk, marimba
Sejourne Marimba Concerto, Movements I & II

Photo of Tomasz Kowalczyk

Tomasz Kowalczyk is a versatile musician who feels equally enthusiastic about working as a soloist, a chamber musician and an orchestral performer. Mr. Kowalczyk presents solo recitals his native Poland, around Europe and United States. Focused on heightening the stature of percussion as a solo instrument, his performances often feature a combination of the established repertoire with transcriptions of J.S Bach’s masterpieces, as well as new works commissioned, or written for him. As a chamber musician, Mr. Kowalczyk performs a wide variety of repertoire ranging from Bartok to Reich. He is a founder of the Peabody Percussion Trio, he performed with members of eighth blackbird, and his collaboration with the legendary musician Leon Fleisher and Peabody Chamber Players on Gyorgy Ligeti’s chamber operas “Aventures” and “Nouvelles Aventures” brought him to the Perelman Theater of the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia, and subsequently to New York’s Kaufman Theater in the 92nd Street Y. Passionate about orchestral performance, Mr. Kowalczyk works as an extra percussionist with the Houston Symphony, was a fellow at the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center, and performed across the globe with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, working under Pierre Boulez, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Peter Eotvos, Valery Gergiev, Pablo Heras-Casado, Fabio Luisi, Jun Maerkl, Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Simon Rattle. He succeeded in numerous international solo and chamber music competitions, including the first prize at the European Music Prize for the Youth International Marimba Competition in Münster, Germany. He was also a prize winner at the Yale Gordon concerto competition, the PAS (Percussive Arts Society) International Percussion Ensemble Competition and PAS International Solo Competition. Mr. Kowalczyk is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He holds a Master’s Degree from Boston University, a Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. His past and present teachers include: Alan Abel, Timothy Genis, Don Liuzzi, Matt Strauss, David Skidmore, Robert van Sice and Svetoslav Stoyanov.

Third Place - 2016 (TIE)

Sukyung Ahn, violin
Dvorak Violin Concerto in A Minor, Mvt. I

Born in Seoul, Korea, Sukyung Ahn graduated from Sunwha arts high school. She graduated from Seoul National University with Bachelor's degree, under Ju-young Baek. She was awarded with many prizes including Korean Chamber Orchestra competition, and Segye news music competiton. She had participated in Euro music festival, Great Mountains music festival and school, Sejong music festival and she also performed with Seoul Camerata Orchestra. She is currently pursuing a master's degree at Indiana University, studying with Mark Kaplan.

Johann Schuster, double bass
Vandal Concerto in D Major for Double Bass, Mvt. I

Photo of Johann Schuster

Born in Bloemfontein South Africa, bassist Johann Schuster was raised in a family of musicians. Upon finishing his high school diploma Johann moved to the U.S to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied with Principal Bass of the Michigan Lyric Opera, Derek Weller. With a BMus degree in music performance, Johann graduated from The Boston Conservatory in 2014 where he studied with Boston Symphony bassist Benjamin Levy. Johann is currently finishing his second season as a bassist in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and frequently works with Chicago Symphony Bassists Alexander Hanna and Robert Kassinger. In the Fall of 2016 Johann will attend the DePaul University School of Music to pursue his Masters Degree under the tutelage of Robert Kassinger.

Finalists - 2016

Ahra Cho, violin
Saint-Saenz Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

Ahra Cho

Ahra Cho, started playing the violin when she was 4 years old. She has performed with numerous orchestras including Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra as her debut at age 11 as well as Jeonju Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean Chamber Orchestra, Sejong soloists Concert. Studying with Ju-young Baek at the Seoul National University college of music, she won the concerto competition and she also have had a couple of recitals at Kumho art hall supported by culture foundation in Korea. Also, she took part and played in San Francisco International Music Festival and she performed solo recitals and chamber music in Vianden Music Festival in Luxembourg. She graduated from Seoul National University as an honor student at 2013. After graduating, she was invited to play solo and chamber concert at Music Festival in Zaragoza, Spain, In 2015, she won the classical Mozart string competition and has performed with MSM string orchestra. Also she won second prize in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell young artist competition at Texas Music Festival and She won first prize in the 2015 Duxbury Music Festival solo competition and concerto competition. She is currently a Master's degree candidate and scholarship recipient at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studies with Lucie Robert.

Mary O’Keefe
Strauss Oboe Concerto in D Major, Movements II & III

Photo of Mary O'keefe

Mary O’Keefe is a junior at the New England Conservatory, studying with Keisuke Wakao. She is dedicated to exploring social boundaries with music, organizing a performance of the second movement of Dvorak’s 9th Symphony for a concert honoring Black History Month with NEC’s African American Student Union. This past April, she performed a junior recital that functioned as a benefit concert, raising money for the Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre Foundation. Outside of NEC, Mary also performs with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Recent studies include work with Jan Eberle at the Chautauqua Music Festival and master-classes with Maurice Bourgue.

Kathryne Salo, flute
Griffes Poeme

Photo of Kathryne Salo

Kathryne Salo, a Miyazawa Emerging Artist, is a DMA candidate at Michigan State University. She has performed in venues from New Orleans Arena to Royal Festival Hall to St. John’s, Smith Square, with musicians including Ellis Marsalis, Frederick Fennell, and Sir Colin Davis. Kathryne holds the LRAM teaching diploma and worked as a graduate teaching assistant for four years. She earned degrees from Louisiana State University, the Royal Academy of Music, and University of Tennessee. Most recently, she won the MSU Concerto Competition and third prize at the Ervin Monroe Young Artist Competition.

Winner – 2015

Photo of Tian

Yuan Tian, violin
Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 25
Cadenza - IV. Burlesque

Yuan Tian was the First Prize winner of the 2001 China National Young Artist Competition, the recipient of the Special Prize in the 2010 Cuellar-Nathan Chamber Music Competition, winner of the 2014 Fuchs Chamber Music Competition, and Second Prize winner in the 2015 Eisenberg-Fried String Concerto Competition.

Born in Shandong, China, Yuan had his first violin lesson at the age of six with professor Zhang Sen. At 13 years of age, he moved to Beijing to study with professor Liu Peiyan, Wen Wei and Zhang Ti at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing where he served as concertmaster of the China Youth Symphony Orchestra, giving concerts throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the Central Conservatory of Music, where he additionally served on the violin faculty of the College of Continuing Education. He moved to New York in 2014. He will attend the Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival in 2015.

Currently, he is pursuing his second master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music with Ms. Lucie Robert.

Second Place – 2015 (TIE)

Photo of Cho

Ahra Cho, violin
Sarasate Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25

Ahra Cho started playing violin at the age of 5, received a certificate from pre-school in Korea National University of Art (2001~2005). She has performed with numerous orchestras including Jeonju Philharmonic Orchestra as her debut at age 11 as well as Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Yewon annual concert, Korean Chamber Orchestra, Sejong soloists Concert, Seoul Nat’l University symphony orchestra. She has also performed recitals at Kumho Art Hall supported by the Kumho Cultural Foundation and Ewon Cultural Center. Her competition career includes: First prizes in Strad, Seongjung Music Competition, Sejong Music Competition and second or third prizes in many Korean competitions. Besides, she took part and played in San Francisco International Music Festival, Vianden Music Festival and 2014 Musetica Festival in Spain. She graduated from Yewon School, Seoul Arts High School and Seoul National University as an honor student at 2013. She studied under professor Ju-young Baek and is now studying at Manhattan School of Music for her Masters degree under professor Lucie Robert.

Photo of Sparago

Christen Sparago, flute – Audience Favorite Award
Gordeli Concerto for Flute in D Major, Op. 8, Movement I

Christen Sparago graduated in May from Rice University with her bachelor’s of music, where she studied flute with Leone Buyse. A founding member of the Meraki trio, Christen recently performed five world premiers as a part of Meraki’s new music commissioning project to expand the repertoire for the flute, viola, and piano ensemble. Originally from Western Massachusetts, Christen studied with Janet Arms and Linda Chesis before she came to Rice.

Third Place – 2015

Photo of Derrico

David Derrico, viola
York Bowen Viola Concerto in C Minor, Op. 25, Movement I

David Derrico is A New York City based violist. Originally from Gainesville Fl. Mr. Derrico Came to NYC to pursue his ungraduated and master’s degrees at the Manhattan School of Music studying with Karen Dreyfus. He won top prize at the FSMTA String Concerto Competition and The Philadelphia International Music Festival Concerto Competition and multiple prize winner at the Fuchs Chamber Competition. Since his graduation Mr. Derrico has been an active freelance violist around the greater New York area. He is excited to be returning to MSM this fall as part of the Orchestral Performance program studying with Irene Breslaw.

2015 Finalists

Photo of Kostic

Claire Kostic, oboe
Mozart Oboe Concerto in C Major, K. 314, Movement I

Born on Long Island, NY, 22-year-old Claire Kostic, is recent graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Frank Rosenwein. She also is a graduate of the Juilliard Pre-College Division where she studied with Richard Dallessio. This is Claire's second summer at TMF and she is excited to return. Claire will be moving to Houston in the fall to pursue her Masters of Music at Rice University where she will be studying with Robert Atherholt.

Photo of Larshin

Oleg Larshin, violin
Chausson Poeme for Violin, Op. 25


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.


First Place - 2013

Jessica Findley
Mozart Concerto for Bassoon, K. 191, Movement I

Photo of Jessica Findley

Jessica Findley, a native of Wichita, Kansas, is currently a junior pursuing a bachelor of music degree in bassoon under Dr. Eric Stomberg at the University of Kansas. She spent her first two years of college study at Bowling Green State University in Ohio studying with Drs. Nathaniel Zeisler and Maya Stone. Jessica is an enthusiastic chamber musician and she enjoys collaborating with a variety of unique instrumental combinations, including renaissance and contemporary ensembles. In 2011-12, she was selected as a finalist in the BGSU Chamber Music Competition and the BGSU Concerto Competition. More recently, Jessica was the winner of the KU Concerto Competition, performing the Mozart Concerto for Bassoon with the KU Symphony Orchestra in March of 2013. This year, she was also the first-prize winner of the collegiate bassoon division of the Midwest Double Reed Society Young Artist Competition. Jessica has performed with the Neue Eutiner Festspiele Oper Orchester in Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany as well as the Perrysberg Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony Winds, and the Ottawa Symphony.

Second Place - 2013

Julian Hernandez
Weber Concertino

Photo of Julian Hernandez

A native of El Paso, Texas, clarinetist Julian Hernandez began his musical studies at the age of nine, and went on to study with Dr. Richard Shanley, Dr. Vanguel Tangarov, and Mr. Alan Olson at Baylor University where he earned his undergraduate degree in music education. He is currently working on his Master's in Music Performance at the University of Michigan studying under Dan Gilbert. Recent engagements include performances with the Baylor Symphony, Waco Symphony, Mid-Texas Symphony, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Band. Julian is an alumni of the Brevard Music Center Festival, Hot Springs Music Festival, Marrowstone Music Festival, New York String Orchestra Seminar (NYSOS), and the 2012 edition of the Texas Music Festival. He is just as passionate about teaching as he is performing and is hoping to one day teach clarinet at the college level.

Third Place and Audience Favorite - 2013

Caity Piccini
Nielsen Concerto for Flute, Movement I

Photo of Caity Piccini

Caity Piccini is an accomplished prize-winning flutist who has performed with orchestras and given numerous solo and chamber recitals across the United States and abroad. Caity is currently pursuing her DMA at the University of Houston and studies with Houston Symphony Principal Flutist, Aralee Dorough. She received her Master’s in Music Performance from NYU, studying with Keith Underwood, and holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from Temple University, where she studied with The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Associate Principal Flute, David Cramer.

2013 Finalists

Caroline Cox
Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Movement IV

Photo of Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox started her violin studies at the age of four. Caroline is a graduate of East Carolina University with a double major in violin and piano performance. She studied violin with Ara Gregorian and piano with Keiko Sekino. She has been selected to perform in the ECU Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival: Next Generation Series several times, during which she has had the opportunity to perform with Robert McDonald and Michael Kannen. Caroline won the ECU concerto competition during her freshman year. In her junior year, she won the Durham Symphony Orchestra and Raleigh Symphony Orchestra concerto competitions and as a result of this, performed the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor as soloist with both orchestras. In spring 2012, Caroline represented North Carolina in the Music Teachers National Association Competition in New York City where she was awarded first place in the Young Artist Collegiate String Division. Caroline is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Violin Performance at Mannes College of Music in New York City and studying with Lucie Robert.

Nathan Varga
Bottesini Concerto No. 2, Movement I

Photo of Nathan Varga

Nathan Varga is a recent Master of Music graduate of Boston University, having studied with Benjamin Levy. In 2011 Nathan completed a Bachelor of Music in double bass performance at Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland, Ohio. Drawn to Boston by its vibrant and diverse music scene, Nathan has been privileged to perform with Cambridge Concentus Baroque, Marsh Chapel Collegium, Boston Philharmonic, Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society, Worcester Bach Consort, Cape Cod Symphony, Alea III New Music, and the Orchestra of Indian Hill. He has drawn great inspiration from leading orchestral bassists such as Henry Peyrebrune, Edwin Barker, Paul Ellison, Scott Dixon, Meredith Johnson, Todd Seeber, Sue Yelanjin, Deborah Dunham. Nathan is pursuing a career in orchestral double bass performance with special interest in baroque music and chamber music. In addition to the pursuit of musical performance Nathan enjoys listening to and discussing modern music of all genres.

Siyu Zhang
Pagnini Violin Concerto in D Major, Movement I

Photo of Siyu Zhang

Siyu Zhang was born in Changchun, China in 1993 and began to played violin at age 5 and studied with Liu Yi. She gave performances in Harbin and Dalian which the cities of China. She has won the second prize of "Andrea Postacchini" in Italy International Violin Competition in 2009. She was accepted by the Central Conservatory of Music Middle School division with professor Wang Homg. During the school, she has received excellent grades and scholarships. She has also been invited by the famous TV Show “making progress every day” in Hunan. She has performed in master class for Hu Kun, Gerardo Ribeiro, Bill Van der Sloot, Miriam Fried, Wolfgang Jahn, Sergiu Schwartz and Guanter Pichler the first violin of the "Alban Berg" Quartet group

Siyu has been accepted the full scholarship by Meadowmount Summer Camp in 2010 and 2011. She has been accepted by manhattan School of Music as a full scholarship students 2012. Now she is a freshman and studying with Lucie Robert.


Photo of Xiao Wang, 2012 Young Artist Competition Winner

Xiao Wang, 2012 Young Artist Competition Winner

Chinese violinist, Xiao Wang, started learning the violin at the age of five. His professional training began in the middle school attached to the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music at age ten with professor Wei-Dong Tong. He achieved his first honor at the age of eleven by winning the Sonata Competition in the Central Conservatory and also a semi-finalist of the 2002 International Young Tchaikovsky Competition. In his eight years at the Central Conservatory, he has been the concertmaster for the Chamber Orchestra and Young Artist symphony. He made his orchestra debut in China at the age of sixteen playing Sibelius Violin Concerto. After graduating High School in Beijing, Mr. Wang was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in 2005 where he attained his Artist Diploma with former Boston Symphony Concertmaster Joseph Silverstein. He has been the associate concertmaster for the Opera Orchestra in Curtis from 2007-09 and has worked with many renowned conductors such as Simon Rattle, Charles Dutoit, Michael Stern, Christopher Eschenbach and Philippe Entremont. Also accompanying many famous musicians in such as Lean Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Lang Lang and Hilary Hann in Carnegie Hall.

As an active chamber musician, Mr. Wang's ensembles have been coached by members of the Emerson, Juilliard, Guanari, Takacs and Tokyo String Quartets. He has also collaborated with the American String Quartet and performed with the members many times. He has taken master classes for solo and chamber works with Claude and Pamela Frank, Peter Wiley, Midori and Cho Liang Lin, Arnold Steinhardt and David Geber. Mr. Wang has performed in the New York String Seminar of Orchestra, Meadowmount Music Festival and Great Wall Music Festival in Beijing.

Mr. Wang is currently a full scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music studying with Professor Lucie Robert.


Lachezar Kostov

Hailed for the "awesome purity of his playing", and described as a "prodigiously skilled protagomist" Bulgarian cellist Lachezar Kostov was the National Winner at the 2006 MTNA Young Artists Competition and has won numerous prizes including the Cello Award at the Kingsville Competition in 2005, first prize at the Hendersonville Chamber Music Competition, and the Grand Prix at the International Music and Earth Competition in Bulgaria. He has appeared as a guest soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria. Having spent three consecutive summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, Mr. Kostov was a member of the resident ensemble "The New Fromm Players", collaborating with prominent American composers such as John Harbison, Ellen Zwilich and Harvey Solberger and participating in master classes with Yo Yo Ma and James Levine.

In the past two seasons Mr. Kostov performed series of concerts in Japan, including concerts as a soloist of the Philharmonic Orchestras of Hino and Tachikawa, as well as recitals in Tokyo's Sakura Hall and Oji Hall, where he performed with Japanese pianist Ai Shimizu. In May 2008, he performed a recital at Weill Hall, sponsored by the "Bulgarian Treasures" Foundation. In March 2009, Mr. Kostov made his official debut at Carnegie Hall's ZANKEL Hall performing rarely heard works for cello and piano by Zwilich, Roslavets, Kabalevsky and Saint-Saens. Both concert featured his long time friend and chamber music partner, pianist Viktor Valkov.

Lachezar Kostov started playing cello at the age of 5 and gave his first recital at 12. While still a student, he performed widely as a soloist of various Bulgarian orchestras and toured in Western Europe. At the age of 18, Mr. Kostov won the 1st and Special prizes at the National Music Talents Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria. He continued his studies at the State Academy of Music in Sofia, under the guidance of the famous Bulgarian pedagogue Bogomil Karakonov. Furthermore, he was an active participant at the Summer Academy in Semerring, Austria, where he studied with Hungarian cellist Csaba Onczay. During his time in Bulgaria Mr. Kostov often collaborated with prominent Bulgarian artists such as Vasko Vassilev and Angel Stankov, who had major influence over his playing. In 2003, Mr. Kostov spent several months in Munchen, where he studied privately with Russian cellist David Grigorian, whom Mr. Kostov claims as his most important cello teacher.

Lachezar Kostov is currently enrolled as a Doctor of Musical Arts student at Rice University, where he studies with Norman Fischer. He also holds diplomas from North Carolina School of the Arts and Yale School of music, where he was tutored by Zvi Plesser and Aldo Parisot. Mr. Kostov's first commercial CD will be released by NAXOS in 2010. He plays on a modern Italian cello, graciously given to him by the late Katsuo Shimizu estate.


Shuaili Du, 2010 young artist competition winner

Shuaili Du was born in 1989 in Xi'an, China. She began to play the violin at the age of five. In 2001 she entered the middle school affiliated to Xi'an conservatory of music.

During the 2002—2004, she won several the top prizes including the youth category of the Second Session of TOYAMA Asia Music Competition semi-finals in ShannXi province China and the first prize of the ShannXi province violin competition.

During 2005 and 2006, she was awarded full scholarship to the Canton International Summer Music Academy, China. In the first session of the CISMA, she won the second prize in the concerto competition and performed the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole with the orchestra there. In the same year, she also won the performance prize at the 8th National Competition in China. She has given numerous performances, including the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Xi'an conservatory orchestra, and she also was the concertmaster of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Xi'an conservatory of music.

In 2007, following her studies in Xi'an, she was awarded a full scholarship to study Professor Qian Zhou, head of string department at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore. Two years later, she won the second prize of the Singapore national violin and piano completion, and performed the Dvorak violin concerto with the Singapore Festival Orchestra.

Du is currently playing on a 1781 J.B Guadagnini on loan by Mr and Mrs Rin Kei Mei.


Yi-Chun Lin, 2009 young artist competition winner

A native of Taipei, Taiwan, violinist Yi-Chun Lin is quickly becoming recognized as a rising young star. She has performed as soloist with the National Taiwan Symphony and won prizes on both violin and piano in international competitions.

Yi-Chun has given several recitals and has served as concertmaster in New York, Taiwan, and many music festivals worldwide such as the Casalmaggiore International Festival, Italy and the Texas Music Festival.

As the 2009 fi rst prize winner, as well as winner of the Audience Favorite award, of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition at the TMF, Ms. Lin will be invited to perform as soloist with the Akademisches Orchester Leipzig, Germany in the famed Gewandhaus under the baton of Maestro Horst Förster.

Ms. Lin is a student of Lucie Robert at the Manhattan School of Music, where she has just completed her bachelor’s degree. She will continue her studies with Ms. Robert in New York as a full scholarship student at the Mannes College of Music. Ms. Du will perform Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs) with the Texas Music Festival Orchestra under the direction of Stefan Sanderling on Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 PM at the Moores Opera House.


Kristin King

A native of Downers Grove, Illinois, Kristin King began playing the clarinet at age ten. In 2006, she received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Indiana University, where she was a student of Howard Klug. This spring, Kristin graduated from Northwestern University with her Master’s Degree where she studied with Steve Cohen. While at Northwestern, Kristin frequently performed as principal clarinet in the Symphony Orchestra. She was a soloist with the Northwestern Chamber Orchestra performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in November 2007. This July, she will perform the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Northwestern Festival Orchestra.

Currently, Kristin is an active orchestral musician in the Chicago area. She has performed with the Illinois Philharmonic, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Kristin was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra in 2007 and attended the Brevard Music Festival from 2005-2006.

As a chamber musician, Kristin is a founding member of the Frangipani Wind Quintet, with whom she attended the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in 2006. She is also a member of Chicago Clarinet Ensemble, and has performed with the International Chamber Artists in Chicago. In her free time, Kristin enjoys baking and playing squash at the local YMCA.

Kristin performed the Copland Clarinet concerto under the direction of Christoph Campestrini with the TMF Orchestra. Ms. King appeared in a sold-out concert with the Akademisches Orchester Leipzig at the famed Gewandhaus on October 20, 2009.


Meredith Clark, 2007 winnerMeredith Clark begins her senior year at Oberlin Conservatory of Music this fall, where she is completing a harp performance degree under Yolanda Kondonassis. Ms. Clark has performed extensively, playing principal harp for the Oberlin Orchestra’s tour of China in January of 2006 and at Carnegie Hall in January 2007 under the direction of Robert Spano. She continues to serve as principal harpist of the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, as well as the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras at Oberlin. Meredith has also had the privilege to work with contemporary composers, such as the late Daniel Pinkham, performing his piece Vigils for solo harp, and OTHER PIECE. Currently, Meredith has commissioned Marcelle Pierson, a new composer who has had success with performances of her works at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to write a new piece for her. Meredith has been guest principal harpist of ensembles such as the Ballet Theatre of Toledo and the University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra. She has also studied with Alice Chalifoux, a legend in the harp world. In addition to winning the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition at the Texas Music Festival this summer, Meredith has participated in the Corpus Christi International Competition, and was named a national semi-finalist in the American String Teacher’s Association Solo Competition.

In addition to her performances with the TMF Symphony Orchestra, her first place win in the Mitchell Competition includes an invitation to perform with the Leipzig Akademisches Orkester in Leipzig’s famed Gewandhaus.

The Texas Music Festival took place on June 22 at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion with scores of young orchestral musicians demonstrating their skills. Meredith Clark, winner of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition, and Texas Music Festival director Alan Austin shared their perspectives of the festival with MyMusic Houston, a Web site for the local FOX television affiliate. The interview video has since been removed from the Fox Website.


Amber Archibald, 2006 Young Artist competition winner

Amber Archibald's first taste of being a musician came when she was selected to be a part of the 1990 World Children's Festival in Tokyo, Japan as a vocalist alongside celebrities such as Brooke Shields and Carl Lewis. A native of Houston, Texas, Amber knew she wanted to play the violin after hearing several symphony children's concerts. As a violinist, she has played many interesting concerts including the premiere of "AM Fugue" for violin and tape by Kristi McGarity at the University of Texas New Music Symposium. By age 23, she had played in over a dozen operas ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart. Other performances included being an electric violin soloist with the band "Marynka" at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX in 2003.

Amber Archibald at event

A first generation American of Dominican and Panamanian descent, Amber earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University on violin. It was not until 2004 that she found her true voice, the viola. As a violist, she has concertized at several venues across the Houston area such as Zilkha Hall, and at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Ms. Archibald has recently graduated with a Master of Music degree in viola from Rice University where she studied with Karen Ritscher. Amber has experienced many places throughout her musical journey. Her studies have taken her to an array of countries around the world including Austria, Germany, Portugal and many cities within the U.S.

Picture outside of a building where Amber performed.

In addition to her personal musical endeavors, Ms. Archibald enjoys teaching children. She was a violin instructor at the Indiana University Summer String Academy from 2000-2002 and in 2003, became one of the assistant orchestra directors of the program. She has also taught violin and viola in the Austin Chamber Music Society and the Rice University Preparatory Department. Ms. Archibald's teachers have included Joyce Durfee, Mika Hasler, and Mimi Zweig. Aside from music, Ms. Archibald enjoys a host of other activities. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, an avid video gamer, and a collector of 1980's cartoons. She also enjoys spending time with her family, and her Shetland Sheepdog, Jazz.

Amber Archibald

Amber is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the New England Conservatory as a student of Martha Katz. She was the 2006 winner of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition at the Immanuel & Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival. She performed with the TMF Orchestra at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and in the Moores Opera House in June 2006 under the direction of Giuliano Silveri. As a result of winning the Mitchell Young Artist Competition, she performed the Stamitz Viola Concerto with the Akademisches Orchestra Leipzig in the famed Gewandhaus in December 2006.


A native of Polo, Illinois, Joanna Messer is currently rotating principal flutist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She serves as substitute with the Madison Symphony (WI), the Kalamazoo Symphony (MI), and the New World Symphony (FL). Ms. Messer won First Prize in the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition in 2003 and presented her New York debut recital at CAMI Hall as part of the NYFC's Recital Series. She also received Second Prize at the 2003 Julius Baker Masterclass. In 2002, she won the University of Chicago Concerto Competition and performed Mozart's Concerto in G Major with the Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Messer is also an avid chamber musician and has founded the Hara Quintet with colleagues from the Civic Orchestra.

Ms. Messer received her Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004, where she studied with Jeanne Baxtresser and Alberto Almarza, and her Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude from Lawrence University in 2001, where she studied with Dr. Ernestine Whitman and Suzanne Jordheim. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lamda, the national music honor society, and an alumna of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity.

As winner of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition, Ms. Messer performed the first movement of the Nielsen Flute Concerto on June 24 and 25, 2005 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion with the TMF Orchestra under the direction of Horst Foerster. As part of her first prize, Maestro Foerster invited her to perform with the Leipzig Akademisches Orchestra in the Gewandhaus in May 2006.