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Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition


First Place & Audience Favorite Prize

Matthew Lee, violin
Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 99, Cadenza & Mvt. IV

Matthew Lee is a graduated senior from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a Bachelor of Science in music performance and biology. Matthew played in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras in grade school, serving as concertmaster for Youth Orchestra from 2011-12, and won their 2013 Concerto Competition. At UW-Madison Matthew studied with Eugene Purdue for two years, then with Soh-Hyun Park Altino for his last two. In 2016 Matthew was a winner of the UW Concerto Competition, and performed with the UW Symphony Orchestra this February. This Fall, he will attend UT-Austin for his M.M. degree with Sandy Yamamoto.

Second Place

James Blanchard, flute
Nielsen Flute Concerto, Movement I


Flutist James Blanchard has performed with esteemed groups such as the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and the Prismatics Woodwind Quintet. The quintet won the Bronze Medal at the 2015 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition and was a finalist in the 69th Coleman Chamber Music Competition.Mr. Blanchard's rendition of Mozart's Flute Quartet in D Major was a featured performance at the 2016 Sarasota Music Festival's Artists' Concerts and was later broadcast on Sarasota Public Radio. Recently, James won 2nd Place in the 2017 New York Flute Club Young Artist competition. James currently studies with Robert Langevin at the Juilliard School.

Third Place

Jay Shankar, clarinet
Copland Clarinet Concerto


Jay Shankar is a James Backas Memorial Scholar at the Peabody Institute studying as a freshman under Professor Eugene Mondie. He has performed as a clarinetists in several youth orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra of the USA in 2016. In 2015, he participated in the Tanglewood Institute Summer Program and played principal clarinet for the SD Youth Symphony China tour. He currently plays in both the Peabody Concert and Symphony Orchestras. He was awarded first prize in the San Diego Clarinet Society competition and was a finalist of the San Diego Symphony’s HotShots Concerto Competition.


Jisu Choi, violin
Stravinsky Violin Concerto in D Major, Movements III & IV


Acclaimed as a brilliant and captivating performer, violinist Jisu Choi is rapidly establishing her solo career by participating in various competitions. Ms. Choi has won various prizes in both solo and chamber categories at numerous competitions. Ms. Choi has given a winner’s recital at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall with a program of Dvorak Piano Quartet. She also has given her first solo recital at Weill Recital Hall in May 2017, featuring works by Bach, Stravinsky, and Wieniawski. Ms. Choi will be pursuing her Master's degree at Manhattan School of Music as a scholarship student under the tutelage of Ms. Lucie Robert.


First Place

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

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 (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.


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.


First Place

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 (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

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.


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

Caitlin Mehrtens, harp


First Place

Jessica Findley, bassoon


First Place

Xiao Wang, violin


First Place

Lachezar Kostov, cello


First Place

Shuaili Du, violin


First Place

Yi-Chun Lin, violin


First Place

Kristin King, clarinet


First Place

Meredith Clark, harp


First Place

Amber Archibald, viola


First Place

Joanna Messer, flute