The Clear Lake Symphony held a competition on Saturday, January 27, 2018 for young artists from Houston Metro area high schools, junior highs, and elementary schools. The Youth Concerto Competition winners will be provided with a scholarship and perform as a featured soloist with the Clear Lake Symphony at the Friday, March 23, 2018 concert at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at 18220 Upper Bay Road, in Nassau Bay. A total of thirty five (35) participants participated in this year’s competition.
2018 Youth Concerto Competition Winners
Kyle Tsai (clarinet) Winner, Junior Wind Division, Concertino in E-flat Major, Op. 26 by Weber. Age 14 in the 9th grade at DeBakey High School. Kyle is the son of Robert Tsai and Laura Wu. He has studied the clarinet for 3.5 years and is the student of Alexander Potiomkin. Kyle enjoys playing basketball, swimming, watching movies, listening to music, trying new cuisine, and world traveling. His dream is to have the opportunity to play alongside of some of the world-class concert clarinetists.
- TMEA 6A All-State Band (2018)
- Finalist, Symphony North of Houston Young Artist Concerto Competition (2017)
- Houston Youth Symphony (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) Symphony Orchestra
Honorable Mention: Jack McBurnett. (bassoon), “Concerto for Bassoon & Strings, 1st mvt.” by Gordon Jacob. Music teacher: Jan Cutting
Brandon Benson (tuba) Co-Winner, Senior Wind Division, Tuba Concerto, 1st mvt., by Gregson. Age 15 and in the 10th grade at Ridge Point High School. Brandon is the son of Jake and Stacey Benson. He has studied the tuba for 4 years and is the student of Ali Jackson. Brandon’s goals are to study music performance in college and to play in a professional symphony orchestra. When he is not practicing the tuba, Brandon enjoys watching sports and playing in his church band.
- TMEA All-State (2018)
- 2nd Place, Houston Brass Band Young Soloist Competition (2017)
- All-Region, 1st Chair, Orchestra (2016, 2017)
No Honorable Mention
Nevin George (marimba) Co-Winner, Senior Wind Division, Concerto for Marimba and Strings, 2nd mvt., by Sejourne. Age 17 and in the 11th grade at Cinco Ranch High School. Nevin is the son of Babu George and Deepa Joseph. He has studied percussion for 6 years and is the student of Brady Spitz. Nevin enjoys participating in math and physics competitions, computer programming and volunteering. Some of his hobbies include playing basketball, ping pong, frisbee, baking and playing on his drum set. He hopes to double major in math and computer science, and eventually work as a data scientist.
- TMEA All-State Percussionist (2018)
- 3rd Place – Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition (2018)
- All-Region – High School Symphony Orchestra (2015, 2016, 2017)
Bryant Li (piano) Winner, Junior Piano Division, Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 19, 1st mvt., by Beethoven. Age 13 in the 7th grade at Beckendorff Junior High. Bryant is the son of Jia Guo and Gar Li. He has studied piano for seven years and is the student of John Weems. Bryant is the founder for Music of Harmony, a non-profit organization with over 200 student volunteers which has presented over 80 volunteer performances and outreach concerts at senior homes and hospitals. He is also in the highly competitive school science Olympiad, as will as on the math and science teams. Bryant wishes to major in both neuroscience and music, and to utilize the sensation and happiness of music to aid in cure for patients.
- 1st Place – Clear Lake Youth Concerto Competition (2016)
- 2nd Place – MTNA Texas Division – Junior Piano (2017)
- 1st Place – Texas State University Young Pianist Competition (2016, 2017)
- HYAC Young Artist (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
- Music Doing Good Scholarship Recipient (2016, 2017)
No Honorable Mention
|Aditya Deshpande (piano) Winner, Senior Piano Division, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, 1st, mvt., by Liszt. Age 18, Aditya is the son of Ashish and Swati Deshpande. He has studied the piano for 11 years and is currently under the tutelage of John Weems. Aditya’s interests include classical music history, improvisation and soccer. He wants to major in computer science and music.|
- 1st Place, Symphony North of Houston Concerto Competition (2017)
- 1st Place, TMTA Concerto Competition (2017)
- 2nd Place, TMTA Piano Solo Competition (2016)
- Finalist Seattle International Piano Competition (2015)
- 3rd Place, lnternational Keyboard Odyssiad Competition (2015)
- Pianist for Houston Young Artist Concerts (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
No Honorable Mention
James Li (violin) Winner, Junior String Division, Symphonie Espagnole in D minor, 1st mvt., by Lalo. Age 15 in the 9th grade at Bellaire High School. Jimmy is the son of May Wu and Miao Li. He has played violin for ten years and has studied with Ying Fu. Jimmy’s interests outside of music include debate and political science.
- Winner – Houston Youth Symphony Concerto Competition (2017-2018)
- Concert Master – Houston Youth Symphony (2012, 2013)
- Honorable Mention at Philadelphia International Music Festival
Honorable Mention: Timothy Feng (violin), “Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64, 1st mvt.” by Mendelssohn. Music teacher: Yong Chun Li
Emily Jihee Sonn (violin) Winner, Senior String Division, Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, 1st mvt., by Mendelssohn. Age 16 in the 10th grade at Memorial High School. Emily is the daughter of Hye Won An and Song Dok Sonn. She has studied the violin for ten years and is the student of Ji Yeon Min. Emily enjoys listening to classical, hip-hop and K-pop music. She enjoys running with friends and singing Karaoke music. around Houston.
- All Region – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, Concertmaster 2015 and 2016
- TMEA All-State (2017)
- 1st Division Rating, UIL State Solo Contest (2017)
No Honorable Mention
Note: Honorable Mention will not be performing with the Symphony.
Thank You Becky Merritt !
Many thanks go to Competition Coordinator, Becky Merritt, for her tireless work to put this competition and concert together. A big thank you also goes to their committee who helped during the competition and the judges on January 27, 2018.
.A fine job was done by the competition Judges. This year's judges are the following:
Dr. Angie Schindler
- Co-Principal Player – Clear Lake Symphony
Mr. John Stuckey
- H.S. Band Director (retired)
- Principal Horn – Galveston Symphony& Co-Principal Clear Lake Symphony
- Adjudicator in marching concert contests
Mr. Robert Wall
- Assoc. Conductor – Clear Lake Symphony
- Principal Clarinet – Clear Lake Symphony
Dr. Janice Fehlauer
- Professor of Piano – Kingwood Music School
Dr. Charles Johnson
- Conductor & Music Director – Clear Lake Symphony
- Viola Player – Houston Ballet Orchestra (retired)
Dr. So Yoon Lee
Piano Professor – Lone Star College
Ms. Laurie Arnold
- Orchestra Director – Pasadena ISD
- Former Member – San Antonio Symphony
- Substitute cellist – Dallas Symphony
Dr. Julie Carson
- Concert Master – Clear Lake Symphony
- Violinist – Clear Lake Chamber Ensemble
- Violin Instructor – University of Houston Preparatory & Continuing Studies
Mr. George Tate
- Principal Viola – Clear Lake Symphony
- Viola Player – Halcyon String Quartet
- Past President – Texas Orchestra Directors Association
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