Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Winners: INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS, 2019-20

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge,is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Instrumental Performance, 2019-20, in professional, college/university, community and high school divisions. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right hand column to find specific results.

REMINDER: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21, In addition, we will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of Monday, June 23, 2020. Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Monday, July 20, 2020. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Instrumental Performance, 2019-20 (professional division)

The American Prize winner:
Cora Swenson Lee
Rochester NY 
Cello

Cora Swenson Lee
Praised by the San Francisco Classical Voice for playing "with maturity and panache," Dr. Cora Swenson Lee is a cellist and baroque cellist who performs actively around the United States, including her current city of Rochester, NY. Cora’s most influential teachers have been Eastman School of Music professor Alan Harris, Chicago Symphony member Richard Hirschl, and long-time cellist of the renowned Vermeer Quartet, Marc Johnson.  Cora holds a Doctorate of Music in Cello Performance and Bachelors Degree in Cello Performance with highest distinction from the Eastman School of Music, as well as a Masters Degree in Cello Performance from Boston University College of Fine Arts.

Cora is an active and ardent chamber musician. After a performance of Mendelssohn's String Octet with Emmanuel Music, the Boston Musical Intelligencer stated "Swenson Lee, whom I had not heard previously, was a treat to discover, especially in the Presto opening, which is so difficult to get to speak clearly." Cora was named as a 2014-2015 season Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music. During her time as cellist of the Boston Public Quartet, Cora was part of the Celebrity Series of Boston initiative Artists in Community, which brings free concerts and school presentations to several Boston communities.

Cora's early music ensemble, Trio Speranza, concertizes around the United States each season, and in 2014 won the Presentation Prize at Early Music America's Baroque Performance Competition. Cora performs frequently with Emmanuel Music, Boston Baroque, and the Rochester Philharmonic, and has previously appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society and the New World Symphony. Cora has performed in venues across the United States and internationally. Highlights include appearances at the San Francisco Early Music Society, Trinity Church Copley and Jordan Hall in Boston, Quigley Chapel and DePaul University in Chicago, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, and Odori Park in Sapporo Japan.

A passionate educator, Cora is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at Bucknell University and is on the faculties of the Hochstein School of Music and Dance and the Eastman Cello Institute.


2nd Place:
Christopher Leslie
New York NY 
Euphonium

Christopher Leslie
Cincinnati native Christopher Leslie currently serves as a euphonium player in the West Point Band. He has been a featured soloist with numerous professional and collegiate groups, including the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the University of Georgia Wind Ensemble, the Indiana University Wind Ensemble, the St. Olaf Orchestra, and the St. Olaf Band. He has garnered success in numerous national competitions, taking first place in the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium Competition, the ITEC Artist Solo Competition, and the U.S. Army Band National Collegiate Solo Competition.

Leslie earned a Bachelor in Music Education with Distinction from St. Olaf College, a Master in Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Georgia. His mentors include David Zerkel, Philip Smith, Daniel Perantoni, David Werden, and Hiram Diaz.

Leslie is a Willson Artist and performs on a Willson 2900TA.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Mili Chang 
Jersey City NJ 
Flute

Mili Chang 
Hailed for her “beautiful tone and playfulness, even Gallic charm, to the concerto for flute by Jacques Ibert.” by The Well-Tempered Ear, internationally known flutist Mili Chang received her DMA from UW-Madison and MM in Historical Performance from The Juilliard School. She has received awards including scholarships from The Juilliard School, the winner of National Flute Association Baroque Flute competition, and three-year full-ride Paul Collins Fellowship at UW-Madison. Mili specializes the historical performance practice in the Baroque era. Her solo with renowned Juilliard 415 with guest conductor Ton Koopman received praise in Bach’s b minor mass “…whose traverso playing in the Credo’s Benedictus was fluid, elegant, and well, just lovely.” She has performed with many Grammy Award recipient and nominees’ such as violinist Monica Huggett, tenor Aaron Sheehan, keyboardist Richard Egarr.  She has appeared in festivals and radios such as Boston Early Music and WQXR.  She is on the faculty of New Jersey Performing Arts Center.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Sam Nelson
Sarasota  FL 
Organ 

Sam Nelson
Sam Nelson was born in Lynn, Massachusetts and held his first church organist position at the age of 12. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Gordon College in 2011 under the tutelage of Dr. Roy Brunner and Mr. Douglas Marshall. In 2012 he won second prize at the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival. In 2018, he completed a Master of Music degree at Boston University under the tutelage of Peter Sykes. Sam was the organist at Washington Street Baptist Church in Lynn from 2002 to 2013, Music Director at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Lynnfield, MA 2013-2019, and is currently the Assistant Organist and Choirmaster at Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, FL--the largest Episcopal church in the Diocese of South West Florida. In addition to his full time church posts, Sam has been a regular substitute at Park Street Church in Boston since 2007. www.SamNelsonMusic.com



The American Prize in Instrumental Performance, 2019-20 (college/university division)

The American Prize winner:
Nicholas Buonanni
Lansing MI 
Flute

Nicholas Buonanni
Nicholas Buonanni is a multifaceted performer who has competed in numerous international competitions. He was the winner of the 2017 Donald Peck International Flute Soloist Competition and runner-up for the 2019 RAFA Flute Artist, 2019 NFA Alto Flute Artist, 2019 Kujala International Piccolo Soloist, and 2018 International Alto Flute Competitions. Nicholas has been a winner of the National Flute Association Convention Performer and Master Class Performer Competitions in 2017 and 2018. As a soloist, he has performed with the Camerata Michigan, MSU Symphony Band, and UCF Wind Ensemble. Nicholas is an active orchestral musician, serving as Performance Fellow with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performing with the Lansing, Flint, Southwest Michigan, and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestras. Originally from Orlando, Florida, Nicholas studied with Dr. Nora Lee Garcia at the University of Central Florida. He is currently in his final semester as a Doctoral Candidate at Michigan State University, where he studies with Richard Sherman. 


2nd Place:
Sooah Jung  
Rochester NY 
Violin   

Sooah Jung  
As an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician, Sooah Jung has appeared throughout North America and South Korea. Her performance highlights include solo recitals at the Eastman School of Music and the Hochstein School as well as concerto performances with Colorado College Music Festival Orchestra, Penn State University Philharmonic Orchestra, Ewha Womans University Orchestra and Korea National Police Orchestra. Her performances in the Hochstein and the Penn State were broadcast live on a local radio and online.

She is a prizewinner of numerous distinguished competitions including Sungjung Music Competition, Korea & America Music Competition, Sookmyung Music Competition, Daehan Cultural Institute Competition, and concerto competitions at the Colorado College Music Festival, Penn State University, and Ewha Womans University. She was also privileged to work with great musicians including Don Weilerstein, Scott Yoo, Andrew Wan, Lina Yu, Brentano Quartet, Ying Quartet, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and Takács Quartet in masterclasses.

She graduated from Seoul Arts High School and Ewha Womans University in South Korea and completed her Master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music, where she continues her studies with Oleh Krysa as a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts.


3rd Place (there was a tie): 
Logan Fox
Greenwood IN 
Percussion

Logan Fox
American percussionist Logan Fox is establishing himself as a rising star in the solo percussion world. As the winner of the prestigious 2018 Aeolian Classics Emerging Artist Award, as well as being one of the First Prize winners of the CCPA Concerto Competition, Mr. Fox recorded the 2015 edition of Emmanuel Séjourné’s “Concerto for Marimba and Strings,” accompanied by the CCPA String Ensemble for his solo album “Wood, Metal and Skin”, which can be listened to on all major music streaming services. Logan also transcribed and recorded two Venezuelan waltzes originally written for guitar by Antonio Lauro for his album as a means of his own personal tribute to the Venezuelan nation.

Mr. Fox feels at equally at home in a broad array of musical genres, from Afro-Cuban to orchestral playing, and his instrumental fluency varies widely, spanning repertoire for congas, timpani, xylophone, marimba, and snare.

Mr. Fox recently completed the requirements for his Master’s Degree in percussion performance under the tutelage of Vadim Karpinos and Edward Harrison at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and he holds a B.M. in music performance from the University of Indianapolis where he studied with Paul Berns graduated Magna Cum Laude and won the UIndy 2016-2017 Concerto Competition.

Mr. Fox recently won a position in the United States Marine Field Bands and will be shipping out to Marine Recruit Basic Training in October of 2020. 


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Rajan Kapoor
Hebron CT 
Cello 

Rajan Kapoor
Cellist Rajan Kapoor is an avid solo and chamber musician who has performed throughout the United State, Europe, and the Caribbean. Rajan is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The Hartt School under the tutelage of Professor Mihai Tetel while working as a teaching artist with the Worcester Chamber Music Society. Rajan recently received 1st Prize in the 2018 Grand Junction Symphony Young Artist Competition which culminated in performances of the Elgar Cello Concerto with the orchestra, under the baton of Charles Latshaw, in the fall of that year. He was also recently awarded 1st Prize in the 2018 Connecticut Bach Festival Competition. Rajan has gained additional recognition in the Hellam, Mondavi, and Orchestra Noir Young Artist Competitions and plays on an 1855 Goldmann cello generously loaned to him by the Carlsen Cello Foundation. In 2017, Rajan co-founded the concert series An die Musik NYC and currently serves as the organization’s assistant director. Please visit kapoorcello.com to learn more.


The American Prize in Instrumental Performance, 2019-20 (high school division)

The American Prize winner:
Aaron Hsia  
Santa Clara CA 
Violin 

Aaron Hsia  
Aaron Hsia started playing the violin since he was four years old and is currently studying with Zhao Wei at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music pre-college division. Aaron has won many awards, including second place at the Chinese Music Teachers Association of Northern California (CMTANC) international competition, third place at the United States International Music Competition (USIMC), first place at the Bay Area Music Association (BAMA) competition, first place at the Silicon Valley Philharmonic Youth Music Competition, and first place at the United States Open Music Competition (USOMC). Furthermore, Aaron’s piano trio (Trio Cantare) won third place at the 2018 Galante Prize Competition. During the Christmas of 2017, Aaron played a concert with International Tchaikovsky Competition winner, Haik Kazazyan, in Taiwan. In addition, Aaron attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) during the summer of 2018. Aaron is currently a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.


2nd Place:
Christian Wong  
Huntington NY 
Violin
 
Christian Wong  
CHRISTIAN WONG, sixteen years old, has been studying the violin since 2010, in addition to taking piano lessons. He has performed on both instruments in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the Museum of Theater and Music, and at the baroque-era Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Christian has also performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, Engelmann Recital Hall at the Baruch Center for the Performing Arts, the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, the Steinway Gallery, and the historic Chandler Hall in Vermont. In 2015 and 2016, Christian has performed in the first violin section as the youngest member of the Concert Festival Orchestra, and was also one of their featured soloists. In addition, he has been featured as the Next Generation Artist multiple times by the forty-five year old Omega Ensemble and has performed at several of their annual benefits. More recently, he has had master classes with Mr. Earl Carlyss, Mr. Daniel Phillips, and Ms. Hsin-Yun Huang. In  2018, he joined the CMC and NYYS chamber music programs.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Phoebe Wang  
Englewood CO 
Cello  

Phoebe Wang  
Phoebe Wang was born in Colorado in 2003. She began her cello study at age seven.  Her current cello teacher is James Todd.  She is a member of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO).  Phoebe was the winner of the 2014 DYAO String Ensemble Concerto Competition.  Phoebe was also the winner of the 2016 DYAO Conservatory Orchestra Concerto Competition.  In 2017 Phoebe was chosen as a First Place Winner (Junior Category) and Judges’ Distinction Award Winner at the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition and performed at the winners’ recital at Carnegie Hall.  Phoebe has appeared on Colorado Public Radio three times; twice in solo performances and once this year with her string quartet.  In 2014 Phoebe co-founded Non-Sibi Strings, a chamber group.  “Non Sibi” is a Latin phrase meaning “not for oneself,” and the group has performed at multiple fundraisers for local charities, nursing homes, and outreach programs. 


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Sheeline Yu 
Brentwood TN 
Violin    

Sheeline Yu 
Sheeline Yu, 16, from Nashville, TN is a junior at University School of Nashville. She is a violin student of Connie Heard at the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University. At Blair she is a recipient of the Myra Jackson Blair full merit scholarship and is a member of the Curb Youth Symphony. She was the 2018 and 2019 concertmaster of the TN 9-10 Mid-state Orchestra and was a finalist in the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition.

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Congratulations!

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