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Announcing the 2023 Competition Winners in Performance and Innovation

Winners of the Music Academy’s Solo Piano, Duo, and Song Competitions return in 2024 to perform commissioned premieres in recital.

The Academy sends the 12 MAX (Music Academy Exchange) fellows to London this fall to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Winners of Alumni Enterprise and Fast Pitch Awards are recognized for their innovative endeavors.

"Music Academy makes an unparalleled investment in the creative futures of its fellows and alums through these competitions. In addition to significant financial support, awardees receive unique, educational experiences and career-advancing opportunities.”

2023 Performance Competitions

The Music Academy’s annual Solo Piano, Duo, and Marilyn Horne Song Competitions offer fellows opportunities to showcase their exceptional talents. The 2023 winners are:

Solo Piano Competition:

Szuyu Su solo piano

 

Duo Competition (pictured):

Danny Jin violin

Ji Youn Lee collaborative piano

 

Marilyn Horne Song Competition: 

Navasard Hakobyan baritone

Brian Cho vocal piano

Each winner received a cash award of $5,000. They will also have a work commissioned on their behalf by the renowned composers Anthony Cheung (solo piano), Derek Bermel (duo), and Joel Thompson (song). The winners will premiere these works in recital in Music Academy’s Hahn Hall during the opening week of the 2024 Summer Festival. 

The Duo Competition is generously endowed by Leslie and Philip Bernstein

2023 MAX

2023 MAX Fellows (pictured left to right):
Chandler Currier tuba, Luke Sieve bass trombone, Michail Thompson trumpet, Tim Rinehart double bass, Oliver Leitner violin, Aaron You-Xin Li violin, Molly Prow viola, Sarah Bobrow bassoon, Mary La Blanc percussion, Alejandro Lombo flute, Jiho Seo cello, and Patrick Baek cello.

This summer, 72 instrumental fellows auditioned for the 2023 MAX (Music Academy Exchange) program with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). Five LSO guest musicians David Cohen, Gareth Davies, Clare Duckworth, Peter Moore, and Nigel Thomas worked with the fellows in person this summer and adjudicated the audition, selecting 12 winners.

The Music Academy will send the cohort to London this fall to train and perform alongside the LSO. The intensive, 10-day residency includes lessons and coaching with LSO members. Each fellow receives a $1,500 award, plus travel, housing, and meals. They will perform under the baton of Susanna Mälkki for the following two programs:

Thu, Nov 30, 2023, Barbican Centre

Susanna Mälkki conductor, Kirill Gerstein piano

GEORGE BENJAMIN Concerto for Orchestra

PAUL HINDEMITH Symphony: Mathis der Maler

SERGE RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3

Sun, Dec 3, 2023, Barbican Centre

Susanna Mälkki conductor, Kirill Gerstein piano

CLAUDE DEBUSSY Three Nocturnes

MAURICE RAVEL Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN Symphony No. 4, ‘The Poem of Ecstasy’

The Music Academy and the London Symphony Orchestra have had a vibrant partnership spanning six years. This transatlantic collaboration has provided 75 Music Academy alums with an opportunity to work with some of the world’s top conductors, perform side-by-side with LSO musicians, experience the European approach to music making, and share best practices in education and community engagement. Music Academy is grateful to the London Symphony Orchestra for collaborating to provide these transformative experiences for musicians on the cusp of an orchestral career .

Support for the London Symphony Orchestra partnership has been provided in part by Linda and Michael Keston.

INNOVATION INSTITUTE: ALUMNI ENTERPRISE & FAST PITCH AWARDS

The Innovation Institute empowers fellows and alums to use their goldmine of creative skills to blaze trails as artists of impact, seeding the musical landscape with new ideas and approaches. 

Awardee Niv Ashkenazi discusses slow motion practice technology with fellow Danny Jin.

2023 ALUMNI ENTERPRISE AWARDS

This year, nine Music Academy alums, representing seven ventures, received Alumni Enterprise Awards (at either the Founder or Prototype Award levels). 105 applications were reviewed by 27 Music Academy leaders and affiliates.

Founder Awards were given to leaders with a track record of spearheading innovative projects. These awardees received training at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Design Thinking Program and up to $10,000 in support for entrepreneurial projects at their organization. 

 Prototype Awards were given to alums developing new ventures poised for impact. These awardees received project development opportunities at Music Academy’s Summer Festival and up to $2,500 in entrepreneurial funding. 

Applications for 2024 Alumni Enterprise Awards open Oct 16.

Founder Awardees & Projects

Molly Carr / ’07 alum, viola

New York, NY
Founder & Artistic Director, Project: Music Heals Us: global performance and education initiatives for refugees, elderly, and those hospitalized and incarcerated

Bruno Lourensetto ’12 alum, trumpet / Camila Barrientos Ossio ’11, ’12 alum, clarinet

Bolivia & Brazil
Founders & Artistic Directors, La Sociedad Boliviana de Música de Cámara | Projects: Música para Respirar Festival in Sucre, Bolivia, featuring the commission of MATILDE en las Ojeras de la Noche; Real-time video concerts for patients across Latin America

Brenda Patterson / ’00 alum, mezzo-soprano

Charlottesville, VA
Co-Founder and Director of Music, Victory Hall Opera | Projects: producing Orpheus & Erica; a ground-breaking production for Deaf and hearing performers and audiences; multi-city tour of Ned Rorem’s "Evidence of Things Not Seen"

Tim Maines / ’22 alum, trombone

New Haven, CT
@trombonetimo, social media guru / influencer with millions of views on multiple platforms, increasing exposure for classical music

Prototype Awardees & Projects

Niv Ashkenazi / ’11 alum, violin

Los Angeles, CA
Project: Eye for Technique; an online consulting practice that brings a new, slow-motion technology developed to guide violinists towards greater artistry and understanding of their own playing

John Irrera ’08 alum, violin / Annie Stevens ’06 alum, percussion

Blacksburg, VA
Project: Practice 10K; an app/practice hub that helps musicians reach their performance goals by assisting in structuring practice sessions (with functionality to plan sessions, share data, and gamify key processes)

Alexandra Smither / ’16 alum, soprano

Houston, TX
Project: New Community Songbook; expanding the tradition & impact of communal singing by creating movement songs, in collaboration with organizers, poets, and composers, that demonstrates how classical music can operate in new, vital spheres

2023 FAST PITCH AWARDS

8 new ventures were selected for the final round of the Fast Pitch Awards, presented before a live audience on July 21, 2023. Solo piano fellow Priscila Navarro was named the winner for her project Peru Piano: an anthology for inclusive education. Watch the video of her winning pitch.

Learn about all the finalists and their innovative concepts here.

The Innovation Institute is generously supported by Lead Sponsor, the Ladera Foundation, with additional support provided by Marcy Carsey, Bobby Woods, and Cheryl & Peter Ziegler.

ABOUT THE 2023 SUMMER FESTIVAL WINNERS
(click to view bio)

2023 competition winner
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Brian Cho

vocal piano

ABOUT
Fellow
2023
Age
29
Birthplace
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
School
University of Western Ontario
Compeers
Danner Schefler, Priscilla Gaines, and Sheila Wald
Scholarship Donor
Patricia and Nicholas Weber Scholarship in Vocal Piano
Music Academy Award
2023 Marilyn Horne Song Competition winner

  • Brian received his master's degree from the University of Western Ontario, and studies with Liz Upchurch;
  • He has served as both a collaborative pianist and an intern repetiteur with the Canadian Opera Company in several productions and also works with the Magisterra Soloists and Can of Soup Collective;
  • Brian was a finalist in the Classical Musician category for Forest City London Musician of the Year;
  • Other training programs include Orford Musique and Accademia Europea Dell'Opera.

 

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Navasard Hakobyan

baritone

ABOUT
Fellow
2023
Age
25
Birthplace
Voronej, Gribanovsky, Russia
School/Position
Houston Grand Opera
Compeers
Siran and Emmanuel Maldjian
Scholarship Donor
Elizabeth Mosher Endowed Scholarship in Voice
Music Academy Award
2023 Marilyn Horne Song Competition winner

  • Armenian baritone Navasard Hakobyan is a second year Butler Studio Artist with Houston Grand Opera, where he has performed the roles of Second Nazarene in R. Strauss' Salome, Antonio in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and Douphol in Verdi's La Traviata;
  • Navasard received several awards in 2022, including the Sullivan Award, First Place in the Eleanor McCollum Competition, and First Prize in the Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition;
  • He studies with Stephen King.

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Danny Yehun Jin

violin

ABOUT
Fellow
2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
Age
23
Birthplace
Gunsan, South Korea
Position
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Compeers
Heejung Kim and David Sherman; Mimi Do & Heidi Do
Scholarship Donor
William Hymanson Endowed Concertmaster Scholarship in Violin provided by Irene Hymanson
Music Academy Award
2023 Duo Competition winner

  • Danny is earning a bachelor's degree at Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Ida Kavafian;
  • He joins the violin section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in fall 2023;
  • He has also performed with the Royal Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Suwon Philharmonic, and Charleston Symphony orchestras.

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Ji Youn Lee

collaborative piano

ABOUT
Fellow
2023
Age
26
Birthplace
Seoul, Korea
School
The Juilliard School
Compeers
Marilyn Zellet and Linda and Robert Van Buren
Scholarship Donor
Music Academy Scholarship in Collaborative Piano, anonymous donor
Music Academy Award
2023 Duo Competition winner

  • Ji Youn is earning her master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where she studies with Jonathan Feldman;
  • Awards include winning the 2019 New England Conservatory Concerto Competition, and Second Place in the 2022 Ke’alohi International Piano Competition;
  • She has performed with the New England Conservatory Symphony, Broad Street Orchestra, and on the Wednesday at One series at Alice Tully Hall;
  • She appeared in the Trio Muto chamber music recital in Korea.

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Priscila Navarro

Solo Piano fellow

ABOUT
Pronouns
She/Her
Area of Study
Solo Piano
Birthplace
Huanuco, Peru
YouTube Handle
https://www.youtube.com/@PrisLN
Current School
University of Miami
Facebook Handle
https://www.facebook.com/priscilanavarropiano
Music Academy Award
2023 Fast Pitch Awardee

  • Born in Huanuco, Peru, Priscila earned her doctorate from the University of Miami
  • She was awarded the Christa Marschall-Bach Foundation Prize at the 2022 Bach Leipzig International Competition
  • Priscila is director of keyboard studies at Whitworth University, and artistic director of Parnassus Music Society in Peru

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Szuyu Su

Solo Piano

ABOUT
Pronouns
She/Her
Area of Study
Solo Piano
Age
25
Birthplace
Tainan, Taiwan
Compeers
Ellen Barger and Tony Helf; Clive Chang and Chad Tendler
Scholarship Donor
Clive Chang and Chad Tendler Scholarship in Solo Piano
Music Academy Award
2023 Solo Piano Competition winner

  • Szuyu graduated with a master’s degree from The Juilliard School, studying with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Hung-Kuan Chen;
  • She was the second prize winner of the 2022 Mieczyslaw Munz Piano Scholarship Competition, and placed in the second round of the 2021 Warsaw Chopin International Piano Competition;
  • She has appeared as soloist with the Taipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and as a recitalist in Taiwan.

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ABOUT THE 2023 MAX FELLOWS
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2023 LSO MAX Winners
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Patrick Baek

cello

ABOUT
Pronouns
he/him
Fellow
2022, 2023
Age
24
Birthplace
Seoul, South Korea
School
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Compeers
Clay Tedeschi; Junie and Eddie Jinkins
Scholarship Donor
Clay Tedeschi Family Endowed Scholarship in Cello
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Patrick is currently earning a Doctoral Music degree at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he is studying under Eric Kim;
  • He was awarded third prize at the 2022 MTNA National Finals in the Young Artist category;
  • A graduate of Eastman, he has served as principal for the Eastman Philharmonia and Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, and has been selected to perform in the Eastman School of Music’s Honors and Intensive Chamber program.

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Mary La Blanc

percussion / timpani

ABOUT
Fellow
2022, 2023
Age
23
Birthplace
Laguna Hills, California
School
The Juilliard School
Compeer
Carole MacElhenny
Scholarship Donor
Marilyn and Dick Mazess Scholarship in Percussion
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Mary is currently earning her master’s degree at The Juilliard School, studying with Daniel Druckman;
  • She competed in the 2021 International Artist Competition and won second prize in the Collegiate Solo Category for marimba;
  • She is a recipient of the Kovner Fellowship at Juilliard.

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Sarah Bobrow

bassoon

ABOUT
Pronouns
She/Her
Fellow
2023
Age
24
Birthplace
New Hartford, New York
Current School
The Juilliard School
Compeers
Lois Phillips
Scholarship Donor
Jeanne C. Thayer Endowed Scholarship in Bassoon
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Sarah earned a master’s degree at The Juilliard School, studying with Kim Laskowski;
  • She was a finalist in the 2021 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition;
  • She has performed with the New York Philharmonic and as principal with the Juilliard Orchestra in Carnegie Hall under David Robertson.

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Chandler Currier

tuba

ABOUT
Fellow
2023
Age
19
Birthplace
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
School
The Juilliard School
Compeers
Ben and Justina Sarmiento; Kim Bantilan
Scholarship Donor
Scholarship in Tuba supported by Jim and Jamie Self in honor of Music Academy President Emeritus David L. Kuehn
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Chandler is earning a bachelor’s degree at The Juilliard School studying with Alan Baer;
  • He won the 2019 Tennessee Music Education Association Solo Competition and has appeared with The Greenwich Village Orchestra;
  • He served as a teaching assistant at the 2022 Interlochen Arts Camp.

 

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Oliver Leitner

violin

ABOUT
Pronouns
He/Him
Fellow
2023
Age
23
Birthplace
San Diego, California
Current School
Yale School of Music
Compeers
Shirley and Ken Waxman
Scholarship Donor
Linda and John Seiter Scholarship in Violin
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Born in San Diego, California, earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in Chemistry, recently began a master’s degree at Yale School of Music
  • He was a recipient of the 2022 Yale Music Department Selden Memorial Award, was one of three finalists in the 2021 Yale William Waite Concerto Competition, and received Yale's 2023 Wrexham Prize;
  • He is a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

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Aaron You-Xin Li

violin

ABOUT
Pronouns
He/Him
Fellow
2023
Age
24
Birthplace
Tainan, Taiwan
Current Position
New World Symphony
Compeers
Beth Gates Warren and Robert Boghosian
Scholarship Donor
Zvi Zeitlin Endowed Scholarship in Violin
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Born in Tainan, Taiwan, Aaron earned a master’s degree at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
  • A first-year Fellow at New World Symphony, he has played with the Evansville Philharmonic, Owensboro Symphony, and Terre Haute Symphony
  • He was awarded first prize at the 2023 Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Collegiate Competition

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Alejandro Lombo

flute

ABOUT
Pronouns
he/him
Fellow
2019, 2023
Age
25
Birthplace
Miramar, Florida
School
The Juilliard School
Compeers
Patricia Quealy Moore and Walter Moore; Susan and Peter Tortorici
Scholarship Donor
Sima Mannick Endowed Scholarship in Flute / Jill Brandin and Durian Pingree Scholarship in Flute
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Alejandro graduated with his master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Jeffrey Khaner;
  • He was named winner of the Sphinx Orchestral Partners Audition in 2023;
  • He was the winner of the Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition in 2019.

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Molly Prow

viola

ABOUT
Pronouns
She/Her
Fellow
2023
Age
21
Birthplace
Toubei, Jiangxi, China
School
The Juilliard School
Compeers
Andrea & Ron Hein; Kia McInerny & Gary Kuist
Scholarship Donor
Ingrid Olssen and Charles Schweppe Scholarship in Viola
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Molly is earning a bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School;
  • She studies with Misha Amory;
  • In 2019, she was a silver medalist and winner of the Joseph Haydn Prize at the St. Paul String Quartet Competition, and a semifinalist at the Fischoff Chamber Competition Junior Division.

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Tim Rinehart

double bass

ABOUT
Pronouns
He/Him
Fellow
2023
Age
21
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
School
Rice University Shepherd School of Music
Compeers
Nancy and Stillman Chase
Scholarship Donor
Mary Lynn and Warren Staley Endowed Scholarship in Double Bass
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Tim is earning his bachelor’s degree at Rice University Shepherd School of Music, studying with Paul Ellison;
  • He was the winner of the 2023 Les Violons du Roy Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition 2023;
  • He has performed as a substitute musician with the Houston Symphony and the North Carolina Symphony.

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Jiho Seo

cello

ABOUT
Pronouns
She/Her
Fellow
2023
Age
24
Birthplace
Seoul, South Korea
School
New England Conservatory of Music
Compeers
Betsy Wise
Scholarship Donor
Gabor Rejto Endowed Scholarship in Cello
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Jiho recently received a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory, studying with Lluís Claret;
  • In 2022, she earned first prize in the NEC Tecchler-Forster Cello Competition;
  • She has performed with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, served as principal cello for the New England Conservatory Philharmonic Orchestra, and appeared with Busan Philharmonic Orchestra as soloist.

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Luke Sieve

bass trombone

ABOUT
Pronouns
He/him/his
Fellow
2023
Age
23
Birthplace
Dallas, Texas
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow
Scholarship Recipient
Dietrich Emory Sauer Memorial Scholarship in Trombone

  • Luke earned his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory, studying with James Markey;
  • He is an S.E. Shires Rising Artist, and performs with the Cincinnati Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestra as a substitute musician;
  • He was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for their 2021-2022 season.

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Michail Thompson

trumpet

ABOUT
Pronouns
He/Him
Area of Study
Trumpet
Age
23
Birthplace
Portland OR
Current School
Rice University Shepherd School of Music
Compeer
Jack Funk
Scholarship Donor
Lea Kerchman Memorial Scholarship in Trumpet
Music Academy Award
2023 MAX Fellow

  • Born in Portland, Oregon, Michail graduated with a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Rice University Shepherd School of Music
  • He was a winner of the SFCM Concerto Competition and also a solo finalist in the National Trumpet Competition;
  • He is a substitute musician with Canadian Brass and the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet.

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ABOUT THE MUSIC ACADEMY

Located in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy creates a space where exceptional talent can thrive by encouraging artists to stretch, experiment, improvise, and play. We give artists the tools they need to become not just great musicians but great leaders. 

The Music Academys year round programs are: Sing!, a children’s choir free of charge for all participants that performs with local, national, and international partners; the annual eight-week Summer School & Festival which trains up to 140 fellows ages 18-34 and presents more than 120 performances and events, competitions, and a fully staged opera; the MAX (Music Academy Exchange) partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra; the Innovation Institute’s Alumni Enterprise Awards; and the Mariposa Series of concerts by Academy-affiliated artists. For more information, visit staging.musicacademy.org.

released: October 11, 2023

photos: Zach Mendez

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(Innovation photos courtesy of artist)

 

Kate Oberjat (she/her/hers)
Senior Director of Content Marketing & Digital Experience
Music Academy
805-695-7908 / koberjat@musicacademy.org