Student Accomplishments, June 2022

Community School, Esteban Lindo Benevides, string bass, received scholarship admission to Peabody Conservatory.

Community School, Kristina Brick, piano, received an honorable mention in category I of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Romantic/Impressionistic Competition. She also was a Southern California Junior Bach Festival Region IV winner.

Conservatory, Isabella Brown, violin, received an honorable mention by the 2022 Yamaha Young Performing Artists program.

Community School, Ryan Chun, piano, Southern California Junior Bach Festival, medal winner.

Community School, Lillian Feng, piano, took first place in category II of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Romantic/Impressionistic Competition. She also was a Southern California Junior Bach Festival Region IV winner.

Community School, Giovane Quartet (Andres Engleman, violin, Scarlett Chen, violin, Irene Choung, cello, and Yiting Han, piano), a part of the Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute of the Community, competed in the Fischoff Competition.

Community School, Sophia Glicklich, piano, is a medal winner at the Southern California Junior Bach Festival and received the Music Teachers’ Association of California Certificate of Merit and earned state honors by passing advanced level.

Conservatory, Victor Díaz Guerra, clarinet, won Principal Clarinet of the Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, Spain.

Community School, Elysia Han, viola, advanced to compete in the California American Strings Teachers Association state competition after securing the second position in the Bowed Strings Solo Competition Junior I level.

Community School, Elizabeth Johnstone, piano, winner of Southern California Junior Bach Festival regional competition.

Music Academy, Angeline Kiang, cello, won the Pinehurst Bronze Medal with a cash prize in the Stulberg International String Competition and will give a performance with the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra.

Community School, Trevor King, trumpet, was accepted with a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music. Also offered scholarships at New England Conservatory and Arizona State University.

Community School, Olivia Larco, piano, was accepted as a Lang Lang Scholar, a mentorship program for talented young pianists 16 and younger.

Community School, Skyler Lee, violin, was a finalist in the Henry Schwab Violin and Viola Competition.

Conservatory, Ángel Martín Mora, clarinet, is a 2022 Yamaha Young Performing Artists winner.

Conservatory, Gerbrich Meijer, clarinet, received the Buffet Special Prize at the Nielsen International Clarinet Competition.

Community School, Narayan Neti, piano, Music Teachers’ Association of California, certificate of merit, passed level 5 and awarded state honors.

Community School, Amanda Nova, piano, placed second in the Sonata Festival (Category IV), Music Teachers’ Association of California, Los Angeles Branch.

Community School, NTH Trio (Holly Lacey, violin, Nathaniel Yue, cello, and Qiao (Tiger) Zhang, piano) were semi-finalists in the Junior String Division of the Fischoff Competition. The NTH Trio part of the Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute of the Community School.

Music Academy, The Olive Trio (Anaïs Feller, violin; Mira Kardan, cello; Daniel Wang, piano) takes the gold medal in the Junior String Division at the Fischoff Competition.

Conservatory, Max Opferkuch, clarinet, won second clarinet in the San Diego Symphony.

Community School, Leilani Patao, voice, received a scholarship Award from Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for Musical Theater Performance and acceptance and scholarship to NYU-Tish where she will go to pursue musical theater performance and composition.

Community School, Lucas Peters, piano, took second place in category III of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Romantic/Impressionistic Competition.

Community School, Aviv Pilipski, viola, advanced to compete in the California American Strings Teachers Association state competition after securing the first position in the Bowed Strings Solo Competition, Junior I level.

Community School, Emmanuel Ree, piano, placed second in the Sonata Festival (Category II), Music Teachers’ Association of California, Los Angeles Branch.

Conservatory, Arin Sarkissian, flute, won Principal Flute of the Victoria Symphony and won first place in the San Diego Flute Guild Young Artist Competition. Arin also is a 2022 Yamaha Young Performing Artists winner.

Conservatory, Sonarsix Sextet (Martha Chan, flute; Victor Díaz Guerra, clarinet; Eder Rivera Acosta, oboe; Christopher Chung, bassoon; Elizabeth Linares Montero, horn; Bogang Hwang, piano; received the bronze medal in the Senior Wind Division at the Fischoff Competition.

Community School, Kaito le Tenoux, piano, is a Southern California Junior Bach Festival region IV winner and took third place in the category II of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Romantic/Impressionistic Competition.

Community School, Ashot Ter-Martirosyan, piano, is Grand (London) prize winner’s rectal at The Edgar’s Room at Albert’s Hall in London, England.

Conservatory, Chi Ting, flute, won third place in the San Diego Flute Guild Young Artist Competition.

Community School, Cassidy Walther, cello, took first place in the 9th/10th Grade Division Kiwanis String Competition.

Community School, GengJin Edward Wu, piano, won second prize in the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Sonata/Sonatina Competition.

Community School, Evan Xiong, piano, winner of Southern California Junior Bach Festival regional competition.

Community School, Iris Xiong, piano, Southern California Junior Bach Festival regional winner.

Community School, Gavin Yang, violin, winner of Southern California Junior Bach Festival for All Branch String Regional 2022.

Community School, Simon Yao, piano, won the Glendale Music Teachers’ Association of California Concerto Competition and will be performing with orchestra on Sunday, June 5.

Community School, Jayden Yeung, violin, Performed Bruch Concerto 3rd movement with Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra in Segerstrom Hall.

Community School, Echo Zhang, piano, took third prize at the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Concerto Competition South.

Community School, Tiger Zhang, piano, won the Glendale Music Teachers’ Association of California Concerto Competition and will be performing with orchestra on Sunday, June 5.

Community School, Iris Zhou, piano, Music Teachers’ Association of California, certificate of merit, passed level 4 and awarded state honors.

Community School, Isabella Zhou, violin, took first prize winner for Music Teachers’ Association of California, Glendale Branch Concerto Competition, and will be performing the Bach Concerto in A Minor with the orchestra on June 5. She is also the winner of the Southern California Junior Bach Festival for All Branch String Regional 2022.

Colburn Students Win Awards in the YoungArts 2022 National Arts Competition

The Community School of Performing Arts is proud to announce the selection of our students in the YoungArts 2022 National Arts Competition. This year, eleven Community School students and three Music Academy students have been selected for this prestigious honor.

Every year thousands of performing, visual and literary artists age 15-18 apply to YoungArts through their national competition. Finalists attend National YoungArts Week to collaborate with peers and develop their crafts with internationally recognized leaders in their fields. Finalists in their senior year are further eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts—one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

All award winners—including Finalist, Merit and Honorable Mention award levels—receive mentorship and financial awards; gain access to a lifetime of creative, professional development, and funding opportunities; and become part of an uplifting, inter-generational community that helps artists connect, create, and collaborate.

Congratulations to both these students and their respective teachers on this remarkable achievement!

Finalists

Evan Dexter, Jazz Trombone *
Fengyang Ju, Oboe +
Noah Jung, Clarinet +

Honorable Mention

Abigail Hong, Oboe *
Angeline Kiang, Cello +
Jack Lieberman, Jazz Alto Saxophone *
Duy Minh Max Nguyen, Jazz Percussion *
William Schwartzman, Jazz Piano *
Adam Zilberman, Jazz Baritone Saxophone *

Merit

Evan Dexter, Jazz Composition *
Brenda Greggio, Jazz Piano *
Apsara Kasiraman, Composition *
Cosmo Lieberman, Jazz Alto Saxophone *
Leilani Patao, Popular Voice & Singer-Songwriter *
William Schwartzman, Jazz Composition *
Luciano Soriano, Jazz Trombone *

* Community School of Performing Arts student
+ Music Academy student

Winter Countdown 2021: Students Share Fall Reflections

As part of our Winter Countdown 2021 series, we reached out to some of our students to reflect on their semester experiences and hopes for the spring semester.

Dance Academy student Samuel C. Portillo, ballet, is in his first year with Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.

As the fall semester comes to a close, would you reflect back on the past few months and share a particular memorable moment or personal triumph?
This semester here at Colburn has been an amazing experience. I felt like I have grown a lot as a person and a dancer while I have been here, and I have had many good memories made so far. A particularly memorable moment for me this semester was when the Dance Academy went to see Alonzo King LINES Ballet at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The performance was breathtaking, and a performance that I will always remember.

What are you looking forward to in the spring semester?
I am personally looking forward to performing Jerome Robbins’ The Goldberg Variations in the spring semester. I can’t wait for the opportunity to perform a piece such as this!

How are you spending your winter break?
Over winter break, I will be going back home to Colorado to spend Christmas and the New Year with my family and friends that live there. I will be resting, watching movies, and getting my wisdom teeth removed, haha!

Yirou Ronnie Zhang, violin, is in her third year at the Music Academy, following three years with the Community School.

As the fall semester comes to a close, would you reflect back on the past few months and share a particular memorable moment or personal triumph?
This past semester was even crazier than I thought. While balancing my practicing, recordings, college essays, and academic school work, the unique pandemic precautions atmosphere was also something that had always been hanging over my head. I am beyond grateful, of course, that we can safely return to in person studies. Without face-to-face interactions with my peers and teachers, I would not have the strength to cope through these challenges.

Over the past semester, my biggest accomplishment would be completing my college applications. Many friends of mine had also undergone this process, and I am extremely proud of every one of us. For myself, though, I wished I could do better for my prescreening videos. I could have been more persistent with goals that I set for myself and also have more fun with the music itself.

What are you looking forward to in the spring semester?
In the spring semester, I look forward to the new round of challenges that comes with live auditions. Preparing repertoire for that will be even more difficult because of the nature of live performances and exhaustion from traveling. I am sure, however, that things I have learned about my repertoire as well as myself during this past semester will be a great help in this process. I will also treasure with my heart the support and advice from all my teachers.

Another event I am excited for is the senior concert. I hope I will have a chance to perform then, because it would be significant for me as a violinist and as a person. That performance would mark the end of my high school experience and help me dive into more challenges in the upcoming school year.

How are you spending your winter break?
For winter break, I will stay in the Los Angeles area with my parents. I will enjoy time alone with myself and my family. I will have to keep working on my live audition repertoire so that they are prepared enough for recordings and performances once the spring semester starts. During these three weeks, I will sure miss Colburn—my friends, teachers, classes, and the campus. I will be grateful for all the time I spend at home, while at the same time be very excited for the new semester!

Conservatory of Music student John Fawcett, violin, is in his fourth year at Colburn.

As the fall semester comes to a close, would you reflect back on the past few months and share a particular memorable moment or personal triumph?
In October, I was extremely happy to be hired as Concertmaster for a new promising orchestra here in Los Angeles, called the “California Young Artists Symphony.” It’s not the LA Phil, but through the organization, in which we have just had our inaugural concert, I have met so many more wonderful people and musicians from the larger artistic community in Los Angeles. It has helped me form a more accurate picture of what the music scene looks like here and how our art is best used to contribute to the community in creating an organization like this. I look forward to several more concerts with this community, and to see it grow in what is likely to be a beautiful addition to the arts in classical music here in Los Angeles and beyond.

Aside from this opportunity I have been given, I have finished with applications to study within masters programs throughout the United States. The process of recording, applying, and reaching out to teachers, etc.… took certainly a lot of preparation, and I feel that I was able to grow significantly as a player. I feel generally happy with how I am sounding, as perhaps I am getting closer to my own conceptualization of how I would like to sound on my instrument. I have a whole world of thanks to give to my teacher here [at Colburn], Robert Lipsett, for challenging me to be at my best so that I may accomplish these goals in my playing.

What are you looking forward to in the spring semester?
One of the best things that I can do for my own future is to put a lot of time and effort into my own craft as a violinist, and I certainly intend to work a lot in this regard so that I can reach my potential as a violinist. I would also like to start thinking about my future career; I plan to apply for the Concert Artists Guild, in which the final recipients receive Concert Management. As I would certainly be incredibly honored to receive an award, my goal is simply to add to my experiences in whatever way possible. Tying into career building and professional studies, I am much looking forward to giving recitals here at the Colburn School, as is required for students throughout their time studying. I have been thinking about my program and am certainly motivated not only to share what I have to say through my music in this regard next semester, but also to come up with an engaging program for everyone that displays a wide variety of musical ideas.

How are you spending your winter break?
This break, I will be going back home to Central Oregon to spend time with my family, my two rambunctious dogs (they need exercise!!), and friends that I have not seen in too long. I will also be heading to New York with several wonderful colleagues here at the Colburn School, as we will be participating in the annual New York String Orchestra Seminar that takes place over the holidays with the violinist superstar, Jaime Laredo. But aside from this very exciting obligation and visiting my home, I also would like to spend time playing the piano and composing over the break.

Music Academy Spotlight: Noah Jung

This interview has been lightly edited for style, content, and clarity.

What’s your musical background? How did you start playing clarinet?
Both my parents are musicians. My mom’s a flutist and my dad’s also a clarinetist, like I am. So he actually taught me when I was really little until I was 13[which was when I auditioned for Colburn. I started playing when I was three, but not with the full-size clarinet because I was too small to play one. He gave me a mouthpiece, and I just played around with it like a toy. When I was five or six, I started with a really, really small plastic clarinet. And as my fingers grew, I moved up in size of clarinet, and my dad was always there, teaching me. So that’s how I started.

How did you decide that you wanted to study at Colburn?
Up until middle school, I was doing competitions, but I wasn’t necessarily taking music the most seriously that I could. My dad was basically telling me, “If you want to take this seriously, you need to study with the best professors out there.” And one of the best professors, if not the best clarinet professor, in the US right now is Yehuda Gilad. I saw that he taught at Colburn, so that’s why I auditioned.

What is it like studying with him?
He’s a great teacher. He’s very passionate, very wise. I’ve studied with him for a very long time. I’m probably his youngest Academy student that he’s accepted so far. This is my fourth year.

At this point it’s like, he’s my teacher, yes, but he also feels like part of my family. He always looks out for me and takes care of me. So there is a special bond, and you can really feel that every lesson.

How do you think he’s helped you develop as a musician?
Wow. He’s helped me in so many ways. The very first years I came here, we focused mainly on building strong fundamentals. But now, he’s probably impacted me the most in changing the way that I think.

Before I studied with Yehuda, I was always trying to copy other people’s sound. I would hear a really good recording on YouTube and I would be like, “Oh, I want to sound like her, him.” But after studying with Yehuda, I realized that the best sound is your own sound. And so I changed the way I think. Now when I’m practicing, I’m thinking more like, “How do I want myself to sound?” instead of, “How do I copy someone else?” It’s more about the mindset.

You mentioned that you were the youngest Academy student he’s accepted. Why do you think he chose to accept you into his studio?
Honestly, I have no idea. My prescreening recordings were kind of hilarious. I recorded them in my living room. Terrible acoustics with my iPhone. I really had no idea what I was doing. I think, or I hoped, at least, he saw some potential. I was nowhere near perfect when I auditioned, but I really loved music, and I still love music. And I think he saw that when I was playing. So that might be one of the reasons why.

Why do you love music?
It’s become such a vital part of my life. I can’t imagine myself without music. It’s been part of my life since I was a baby. Every day I heard my parents teaching, practicing.

It’s become such a part of my life that when I hear something, I love the music, but I also love the memories that comes with the music. So when I hear a clarinet sonata, I love the sonata, but I also hear my dad practicing in the living room. I honestly cannot live without it because of all those personal connections and memories.

Do you have a favorite piece to play or listen to?
It always changes, but currently, I’ll say Mozart clarinet quintet, because I’m really enjoying playing it with my chamber group right now. It’s one of my favorite pieces ever.

I particularly like the second movement. I like all the movements, but I like the second movement because of how calm it is, very relaxing. Sometimes I listen to it before I go to sleep. But also after the second movement, towards the end, there’s a really playful melody that you honestly don’t need to take too seriously, which is why it’s more interesting and more fun to play. It sounds humorous to a certain extent. I just like how the atmosphere is very light and lively, especially the last couple of movements.

How has it been at Colburn in general over the last four years?
It’s been a ride. There are lots of really, really great things about Colburn, like of course, the music element. But Colburn has also taught me so much about life in general, including so many life lessons and things that you can’t really learn when you’re just at home: experience, connections, friends, colleagues, and teachers. It helped me grow as a musician, but also helped me grow as a person and helped me develop myself in that kind of way. It’s almost like my second home at this point.

What’s been one of your most memorable experiences?
There’s so many to choose from. Actually, my most memorable experience was in a private lesson just with Yehuda. I was working on some fundamentals and I was having some trouble; I couldn’t quite get it, but there was a moment in the lesson where it clicked and everything fell into place. And that moment, Yehuda was extremely happy and I was really happy, and it was such an important moment for me, because from that day on, everything fell into play. That was probably one of my most memorable moments during my lessons.

This is your last year in the Music Academy. What are you planning to do with your music in the future?
I really want to play in an orchestra when I’m older, just because I love the feeling of… I mean, solo playing is really great. Playing solo is just a completely different feeling. You’re able to connect with the audience in a certain way when you’re playing solo, and you can do more with the music; there’s more creativity. And that’s something that I really like when I’m playing solo rep. That’s also why I like contemporary music.

But I also really love playing in an orchestra setting because of the feeling of playing together with a community. There’s something I can’t really describe, when all of these instruments come together and blend and create a certain sound. It’s a really, really amazing feeling. And I felt it when I was in NYO [National Youth Orchestra] the past summer. That was my first time playing in an orchestra since the pandemic. So it was like a new experience, but it was so great because everyone was so connected. We were listening to each other. The conductor was fantastic leading us. Just the whole element of community in an orchestra, I really like that.

Back at Last! Students Share Their Back to Campus Experiences

With fall semester in full swing, students and faculty are reacquainting themselves with face-to-face instruction and interaction with their friends and teachers. Live performing arts are back on campus, and we asked students from each unit to reflect on their experiences so far.

Kaela Seltzer
I’m most excited to play in the Tuesday night Big Band... I’m really grateful to have a spot in the band this year. Kaela Seltzer

Community School student Kaela Seltzer, flute and saxophone, is a senior at LA County High School for the Arts who is in her fourth year of attending Colburn.

What are you most excited about this fall semester?
I’m most excited to play in the Tuesday night Big Band. Earlier in high school I had the opportunity to sub in the Big Band a couple of times, and each time I left feeling so inspired and eager to practice my instruments. I’m really grateful to have a spot in the band this year.

How has your experience of being back on campus been?
It has been a really positive experience being able to play with musicians I don’t see often at school [LA County High School for the Arts]. The first rehearsal back in person felt very normal and everyone seemed excited to be back and playing together.

What is a specific or personal area of focus for you this semester?
This semester I’m focused on addressing gaps in my playing. For me this includes elements of saxophone technique that I’ve yet to dig into and addressing challenges I have when improvising. My hope is to have improved these areas by early December when college prescreen recordings are due.
 

Sam Portillo
I believe that having the dynamics, clarity, and delicacy in my movement will strengthen me a lot as a dancer. Samuel C. Portillo

Dance Academy student Samuel C. Portillo, ballet, is in his first year with Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.

What are you most excited about this fall semester?
For this fall semester, I am most excited about learning Jerome Robbins’s The Goldberg Variations. While we won’t perform it until spring semester, we will get to learn and practice sections of it throughout this fall semester. I can’t believe we get the opportunity to learn and perform such an amazing piece of work!

How has your experience of being back on campus been?
This semester is my first time on campus, and I have been having an excellent time so far! The campus has great places to hang out, and the Colburn Café provides great food as well. It is very welcoming, and I have enjoyed it a lot here.

What is a specific or personal area of focus for you this semester?
My main area of focus this semester is working on my artistry and musicality in my dancing. I believe that having the dynamics, clarity, and delicacy in my movement will strengthen me a lot as a dancer. I’ve already started working hard at it, and I’m excited to continue throughout this entire year as well!
 

Yirou Ronnie Zhang
Being able to communicate with music spontaneously with my friends and teachers is something that I had been dreaming about ever since March 2020. Yirou Ronnie Zhang

Yirou Ronnie Zhang, violin, is in her third year at the Music Academy, following three years with the Community School.

What are you most excited about this fall semester?
It is really hard to pick which event I am the most excited for since basically everything is so fresh after online learning. One thing that I am totally pumped about is being able to rehearse and perform chamber music with my peers. This also includes our string ensemble—Academy Virtuosi. Being able to communicate with music spontaneously with my friends and teachers is something that I had been dreaming about ever since March 2020.

How has your experience of being back on campus been?
My experience back on campus has never been better. Words cannot describe how delighted I am to be able to watch music-making in action, regardless of the instrument and player. I had also noticed that students, faculties, and staff of our entire school are strictly observing the COVID guidelines. They make me feel safe and secure when it comes to the risk of being exposed to the virus.

What is a specific or personal area of focus for you this semester?
I am a senior this year, so the primary focus would of course be working on my prescreening and live audition repertoire for college applications. Other tasks related to it, such as writing essays and filling out applications, are also priorities that I’d like to focus on. As always, balancing solo repertoire with chamber music, Virtuosi, and keyboard repertoire is definitely a challenge. I’m sure I’ll learn from these experiences as I manage to work through this school year.
 

John Fawcett
Being back at Colburn this year, I am experiencing an overwhelming appreciation for the spark of inspiration that my tremendously talented and hard-working peers bring me. John Fawcett

Conservatory of Music student John Fawcett, violin, is in his fourth year at Colburn.

What are you most excited about this fall semester?
An invaluable element that comes with being at Colburn is the impact that musical excellence—and constant exposure to it—has on your own playing. During the pandemic, I felt a bit deprived of this asset involving a high-level musical training. Although I was still able to work with my teachers and see/hear my colleagues over Zoom, there was some magic that was lost to the whole process away at home.

Being back at Colburn this year, I am experiencing an overwhelming appreciation for the spark of inspiration that my tremendously talented and hard-working peers bring me. It’s almost as if you don’t fully realize how much you have cultivated inside this truly exceptional institution until you leave and interact with others outside of Colburn—then you truly realize how special your education is.

Excellence promotes excellence within this community, and we are all here for each other to demonstrate what this means for each of us and to lift each other up to our highest individual potentials. I believe this may have been a factor provided by Colburn’s education that I may have taken for granted earlier on.

How has your experience of being back on campus been?
Although it can be difficult to admit at times, I think that significant adversity we deal with in our lives always has a counteracting benefit for our future. We learn from struggle and hardship. In many ways, I think returning to Colburn from the adversity of the pandemic quarantine from home embraces this idea. Colburn is a truly unique place which gives the aspiring performing artist the tools needed to have a successful and meaningful career path. However, there are individual struggles that we all face, and inhibit us from following our own track that we intend for ourselves.

During the pandemic, I feel that I was able to discover many things about myself that helped me to build my character and potential to a higher reflection of the person I want to be… and as introspective as I might sound saying this right now, I really think that this time of reflection has helped me to make more use with what Colburn has to offer me than ever before! All that said, it seems to me that my experience on campus has been terrific, full of promise and opportunity, fun, and a positive reflection of any growth I may have attained from adversity I faced during the worst of the pandemic. I’m sure that many of us can share this sentiment.

What is a specific or personal area of focus for you this semester?
This is honestly not a straightforward question. During the past year, I have had so many creative manifestations of what I would like to see myself doing, especially with the extra time that I had to think and plan ahead last year in particular. The great thing about being a musician is that the avenues which I can see myself aspiring toward are almost never-ending. There are so many ways in which I find I might be able to express my passion for musical art. At heart, I am a violinist and in love with the violin’s sound. But I almost equally love the piano, or playing in an orchestra. I also love to write music, and was fortunate enough to record my piece, “Waltz-Fantasy on a Theme of Chopin,” recently.

Speaking of orchestra, I have an immense guilty pleasure for orchestral scores and figuring out how a large ensemble fits together—it’s just like architecture, except it’s aural and not visual! I would love to be a conductor someday; I feel that this job would be an ultimate void in fulfilling my goal to be a true servant of the music. In short, there are SO many things I want to do. For now, I am continuing to focus on my greatest passion, being the violin, and seeing what different directions that could take me (i.e. writing music for violin, meeting composers and conductors or gaining orchestral/other performance experience).

Student Accomplishments, September 2021

Emma Lee (cello, MM ’23), Jonathan Wisner (percussion, PSC ‘23), Cristina Cutts Dougherty (tuba, BM ’19), Javier Morales-Martinez (Community School ’18) were 2021 London Symphony Orchestra Keston MAX Winners at Music Academy of the West. They will have the opportunity to perform with the the opportunity to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Sir Simon Rattle in 2022.

Conservatory violinist Fiona Shea (BM ’22) won the 2022 Dorothy DeLay Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School. She also soloed with the Pacific Symphony in August 2021, performing Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1.

Community School pianist Lillian Feng was selected as a recipient of the 2021 Chopin Foundation Scholarship.

Music Academy pianist Daniel Wang (’23) was selected as a recipient of the 2021 Chopin Foundation Scholarship.

DeVonte’ Tasker (Dance Academy ‘18) will join the faculty of Ballet Arts Tucson, the official school of Ballet Tucson, to teach Modern, Theater Dance, and Hip Hop/Jazz Funk.

Conservatory harpist Anya Garipoli (AD ’23) was appointed Principal Harpist with the Venice Symphony in Venice, Florida.

Music Academy pianist Lindsey Yang (’24) was a finalist in 2021 Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition.

Devan Jaquez (Conservatory ’19) has been named Principal Flute of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

Isabella Bertagni (Dance Academy ’21) has been accepted into the Professional Division of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Justin Cummings (Conservatory ’18) has been named Principal Bassoon of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

Conservatory cellist Benett Tsai (BM ’24) was a semi-finalist for 2021 ABC’s Young Performers Award, one of Australia’s most prestigious awards for young classical musicians.

As a first prize winner of the International Music Competition “Grand Prize Virtuoso,” Music Academy flutist Nikka Gershman-Pepper (’26) performed in the historic Beethoven House in Bonn. Nikka also performed a solo concert with the LA Jewish Symphony and won first prize of Rising Stars Grand Prix 2021 – International Music Competition Berlin.

PBS SoCal and KCET will broadcast The Music Center’s Spotlight Virtual Grand Finale featuring Grand Prize Finalist and Music Academy student William Ju (oboe, ’22).

Modern dancer Tess McCharen (TZDI ’17) signed a contract with the Limon2 dance company.

Community School cellist Nathaniel Yue received first prize in the Young Artist Category of the Chicago International Music Competition.

Abigail Ullendorff (Dance Academy ’18) has been appointed the President of the student-run ballet company at Duke University, Devils en Pointe.

Music Academy clarinetist Noah Jung (clarinet, ’22) performed in Carnegie Hall with the National Youth Orchestra.

Student Accomplishments, July 2021

Music Academy violinist Anaïs Feller won first prize in the Instrumental Division of the 2021 La Jolla Symphony & Chorus Young Artists Competition.

Dance Academy graduate Niamh Perrins (’20) accepted an apprenticeship with Ballet Tucson.

Community School violist Allison Park has been selected as a 2021 US Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Allison is one of the 20 students selected that were chosen by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars based on their artistic achievements, academic accomplishments, leadership and overall creativity.

Conservatory flutist Austin Brown (PSC ’22) is one of only three American finalists in the Kobe International Flute Competition.

Community School violinist Moshi Tang won the Suburban Symphony Orchestra Youth Competition.

Community School violinist Nathan Lin was the Grand Prize Scholarship Winner for the Music Teachers Association of California Glendale branch.

Community School vocalist Lauren Gmelich was a finalist in the 2021 Jerry Herman awards.

Community School pianist Lillian Feng won Honorable Mention CAPMT Romantic/Impressionistic Competition.

In the Great Composers Competition, Community School cellist Irene Choung won first prize for the Music of the 19th Century category and second prize for the Music of the 17th Century category. Irene also won second prize in the Baroque Category of the Southwestern Youth Music Festival.

Community School pianist Alexander Wang won second prize in the CAPMT Competition for the Sonatina – nine and under category.

Community School violinist Kate Yamaguchi won the Book Award in Instrumental Music at the Marlborough School. The award is presented to students who have demonstrated excellence in class work, preparation, performance and leadership.

Student Accomplishments, May 2021

Community School cellist Hannah Innis performed with country music artist Mickey Guyton at the Grammy Awards.

Music Academy clarinetist Noah Jung won first prize at the International Grande Music Competition.

Conservatory violinist Hannah White (PD ’22) recently soloed with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and Symphoria, The Orchestra of Central New York.

Kris Bowers (Community School ’06) was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the documentary short, A Concerto is a Conversation.

Community School pianists won prizes in the Southern California Junior Bach Festival: Alexander Wang, Eric Yu, Fiona Chun, Kaito le Tenoux, Karina Chun, Leonardo Dinner, Lillian Feng, Lucas Peters, Soma Watanabe, Yahan Lin, Alexander Si (Honorable Mention).

Music Academy violinist Anaïs Feller won second prize at the 2021 Tibor Junior International Violin Competition. She also won the Orchestra Prize (le Prix de l’orchestre).

Community School pianist Ryan Chun received honorable mention in the CAPMT Honors Competition State Finals.

The Lerman Gold Prize was awarded to the Zelter String Quartet at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition. The Zelter Quartet includes Conservatory violinist Gallia Kastner (BM ’19, MM ’22), Kyle Gilner, Nao Kubota, and Allan Hon.

Community School cellist Madison Gamboa received a full scholarship to SPA (Sphinx Performance Academy) at Curtis Institute, BUTI (Tanglewood Institute) Cello Workshop, Young Artists Instrumental Program, and Interlochen Advanced String Quartet Program.

Alex Mansour (Community School ’13) and current Conservatory student Gallia Kastner performed Alex’s composition, A Thousand Cranes, recorded for the American Youth Symphony. Watch the performance.

Community School students won prizes in the Great Composers Series Competition.

 Music of Eastern Europe division:
 Pianist Vienna Lee, first place
 Pianist Matisse Wittman-McChesney, third place
 Pianist Samantha Fung, third place

 Music of Northern Europe division:
 Pianist Mia Safdie, second place
 Pianist Samantha Fung, third place

Music Academy Spotlight: Mei Hotta

This interview has been lightly edited for style, content, and clarity.

How did you start playing the cello?
My brother played the violin. When I was little, I used to want to do everything my brother was doing. So I also wanted to start the violin at age 3, but it wasn’t a good match for me, and I was not really ready to take any formal lessons.

My mom was watching Yo-Yo Ma’s YouTube videos, and I was excited about how the instrument was way bigger than the violin. That’s why I started the cello at four. Then I slowly fell in love with the sound.

How did you start studying at Colburn?
When I was in fifth grade, I saw older students in the studio playing chamber music, and I wanted to start it, too. I asked my then-teacher, Sarah Koo.  She had a few students who were enrolled in the [Ed and Mari Edelman Chamber Music Institute] program at Colburn and seemed to enjoy it a lot. So I applied for an audition.

What did you learn from the Chamber Music Institute?
I had zero experience with chamber, so it was really something brand new to me. I started off with piano trio with amazing coaches, Jennie Jung and Varty Manouelian. I learned a lot of communication skills with my colleagues. I learned how to cooperate with others to make music together.

What else did you participate in during your time in the Community School?
I did a few Honors Recitals and I got to meet other talented performers in the backstage and at receptions. That was really fun, especially because I got to play at Zipper Hall. It’s such a huge hall and it sounds amazing, so that was really exciting. I also got to perform at LACMA a couple times for KUSC’s radio show.

I was in an honor program, which gave me a lot of opportunities such as master classes. Last year, before the pandemic broke out, I got to play for Sheku Kanneh-Mason in a master class.  I also had an opportunity to get chamber music coachings from renowned musicians such as David Finckel and Peter Wiley.

Now you’re a Music Academy student studying with Clive Greensmith. How have your lessons with him been?
I had expected to study with him in-person obviously, but virtual lessons are actually not as bad as I had thought would be. Over time, I think we both got used to [the technology challenges]. His teachings are still amazing nevertheless. And I’ve been learning a lot. We’ve been going through a lot of musical ideas and he gave me a lot of tips about technique and just overall developing parts of that needed a little bit more work. But I really wish to get back in-person soon.

What’s been special about the Music Academy this past year?
The Academy has a lot of communication classes. There are seminars where we learn about development of communication with the audience. Sometimes we had a drama teacher come and she would teach us to open up and be freer. It helps to bring that into our music and playing. So there’s definitely a lot of trying to open ourselves up.

You were just accepted into the Conservatory. What made you decide to come back for undergrad?
The number one thing is Mr. Greensmith.  He’s just an amazing teacher. Over this year, even if it was all through virtual and through Zoom, I felt that I really wanted to continue studying with him. Especially since I only got to study with him for one year, I wanted to continue studying with him. Another thing is the level of his studio. I have attended his studio class for a year and have been so inspired by everyone.

Also, the number of opportunities to perform. I didn’t have that many before joining Colburn.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music professionally?
It was a decision made over time. I have had experiences of performing for many people, including private intimate occasions, and the reactions that I got from them was something that I never experienced if not for music.

I learned that music could touch people’s hearts.  Music is really a form of therapy. I really enjoy communicating with the audience through music. And so I felt I wanted to keep on doing that and trying to help other people.

Do you have any plans for what you want your musical career to look like?
I think I’m still deciding on that. It’s hard to decide on one thing because I like doing a lot of different things with music. Like I said, I want to be able to collaborate with other musicians.

I want to be a performer, but I think I really love chamber music, so I hope to continue that and also maybe some orchestra. So I’m still deciding, but I want to try to do a lot of different things with music.

What kind of impact do you want your music to have on your audience?
I really love listening to music myself on my own time and the feeling that I get from listening to it. It’s really therapeutic. And I think people can be very vulnerable when they’re listening to music.

I wish that when people listen to me perform that they can be open to themselves. I want to be able to have a connection between me and the audience. Whatever I feel when I listen to music, that’s what I want the audience to also feel.

What kinds of music do you like to play the most?
Well, I’ve experienced a lot of different genres over the years. My main focus at least for now is obviously classical music. But I’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with other genres.

For instance, I once played with traditional Japanese musicians, koto and taiko players, in a Japanese theatrical musical. I got to collaborate with artists of different genres, modern dancers, Bali dancers, traditional Japanese dancers.

Also, since I was nine, I have collaborated with a performing artist. It’s a duo, in which I play the cello and the artist expresses with movements and live installation. I want to do more collaborations with different mediums of art.

Student Accomplishments, April 2021

Music Academy student Ruoxin Cindy Jia won a silver award at the 2021 Canada International Youth Piano Festival.

Community School pianists Ryan Chun and Leonardo Dinner won first place in their age categories for the Great Composers Competition: Best Chopin Performance.

Conservatory cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing (BM) recently performed the world premiere of Joel Thompson’s work breathe/burn: an elegy for cello and orchestra with the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Community School students Giselle Wu, Ashot Ter-Martirosyan, Echo Zhang  won first prize in the 2021 International Music Competition “London” Grand Prize Virtuoso.

Community School pianist Giselle Wu won the Silver Award at the Canada International Youth Piano Festival.

Community School double bassist Esteban Lindo was awarded a position in Carnegie Hall’s 2021 National Youth Orchestra-2.

Conservatory bass trombone player Charles Johnson (BM) is a semi-finalist of the Solo-Competition at Southeast Trombone Symposium. Finals will be held during the International Trombone Festival in July in Columbus, GA.

Music Academy pianist Daniel Wang won first place in the MTAC Southern Regional Piano Solo Competition this month and will compete in the State Finals.

Community School students won awards at the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Honors Competition.
 Lillian Feng: Regional Winner and Honorable Mention at the State Level
 Ryan Chu: District Winner, Category D
 Hrayr Seraydarian: 2nd Place, Category C
 Brielle Lubin: Honorable Mention

Community School pianist Sophia Glicklich was a Medal Winner at the Southern California Junior Bach Festival.

Conservatory trumpet player Joseph Tkach (MM) is a finalist in the National Trumpet Competition, Graduate Solo Division.

Community School alumnus Kris Bowers (’06) was recently featured by NPR on his work as a film composer.

Community School students won positions in Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association ensembles.
 Suri Feng, Percussion and Nadav Brandes, Percussion: Middle School Honor Band
 Rory Hemmings, Percussion and Truly Zanda, Percussion: High School Honor Wind Ensemble
 Joseph Chilopoulos, Trombone and Leo Smith, Percussion: High School Honor Symphonic Band
 Chris Gaw, Percussion and Viraj Sonawala, Percussion: High School Honor Symphony Orchestra

Community School trombonist Joseph Chilopoulos was awarded a spot in the California All-State Honor Orchestra.

Community School vocalist Giorgio Santorelli received an acceptance to Walnut Hill High School and Idyllwild High School for voice.