2020 Youth Concerto Competition Winners

The Clear Lake Symphony held a competition on Saturday, January 25, 2020  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 20, 2020 concert at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at 18220 Upper Bay Road, in Nassau Bay.  A total of forty seven (47) participants participated in this year’s competition.

Stephanie Han (Flute) Winner, Junior Wind Division, Chaminade – “Concertino in D Major, Op. 107, mvt. 1”

To view Stephanie Han’s recorded performance, click here.

Stephanie, the daughter of Jiyun Lee and Choongyong Han, attends Memorial High School in Houston. She is in her Freshman year at age 15. She has studied the flute for 6 years, and studies privately with Susan King.

Stephanie place third in the Houston Flute Club Young Artist Competition in 2018 and 2019, was named HYAC (Houston Young Artists’ Concert) Artist for the 2019-2020 season, and qualified for the UIL State Solo & Ensemble Competition 2020.

In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys doing archery, and likes to read, draw, and crochet. At school, she finds learning about biology and psychology interesting.

Honorable Mention: Oliver Lampson (trumpet), Bohme – “Concerto in F minor; Allegro Moderato”.  Music Teacher: Roman Jakubas

Jack McBurnett (Bassoon) Winner, Senior Wind Division, Rossini – “Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, mvt. 3”

Jack is the son of Jennifer and Matt McBurnett. He is 16 years old and a tenth grader at Clear Lake High School in Clear Creek ISD. He has played the bassoon for 5 years, and studies privately with Jan Cutting.

He was runner up in the 2018 Clear Lake Youth Concerto Competition, Junior Division, and was runner-up in the 2019 Clear Lake Symphony Youth Concerto Competition, Senior Division. In 2019, he made TMEA Region Band and Orchestra, and made Area Band. In 2020, Jack made first chair in Region band, first chair in Region Orchestra, and first chair in Area. He is also in TMEA All-State.

Jack loves to travel, try exotic foods, play bassoon and other instruments including bagpipes and various types of drums. He refers to his not-so-distant elementary school days as when he listened to “music with words”, as his Spotify playlist now solely comprises classical pieces, mostly with Bassoon features. Like most teenagers, Jack loves to play video games, watch movies and hang out with friends.

Honorable Mention: Kyle Tsai (Clarinet), C.M. von Weber – “Concerto No. 2 in E flat Major, mvt. 3”. Music Teachers: Sasha Potiomkin & Chester Rowell


Harry Sha (piano) Winner, Junior Piano Division, Beethoven – “Concerto No. 1, mvt. 1”

To view Harry Sha’s recorded performance, click here.

Harry is the son of Jian Sha and Muping Lu. He is 14 years old, and a freshman at Clear Springs High School in Clear Creek ISD. Harry has played the piano for 8 years and currently studies with Ying Zhang.

Harry was a finalist of the Steinway & Son Piano Competition 2019. He won a Silver Medal award in the senior division of the Eleventh International Chopin Houston Youth Competition 2019.

Harry uses his talent and love for music to entertain and spark joy to people’s lives. In addition to music, he enjoys reading books, coding computer programs and playing various sports such as soccer, golf, and swimming. He is also a USCF rated chess player. With his optimism and sense of humor, Harry carries a sense of lightness and happiness into every aspect of his life.

Honorable Mention: Benjamin Yang (piano), Kabalevsky – “Piano Concerto No. 3, Op 50, mvt. 1”.  Music teacher: Matthew Loudermilk


Emily Ji (Cello) Winner, Junior String Division, Saint-Saens – “Concerto No. 1 in A minor, op. 33, mvt. 1”

To view Emily Ji’s recorded performance, click here.

Emily is the daughter of Ying Fi and Ying Wang of Katy, Texas. She is 15 years old and a freshman at Seven Lakes High School. She has played the cello for nine years and studies with Daniel Saens.

Emily has been member of the Houston Youth Symphony for five years, received a Music Doing Good scholarship, is a Music of Harmony Team leader, and has been in Region Orchestra for four years.

She enjoys playing tennis and is interested in subjects relating to the medical field. Emily’s ambition is to pursue a double major in college.

Lauren Mathews (Cello) Winner, Senior String Division, Elgar – “Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, mvt. 4”

Lauren Mathews, 16, is in the eleventh grade at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas. She currently studies cello with Brinton Smith, principal cellist of the Houston Symphony and Sami Myerson Khang. Lauren began studying cello with Donna Rogers at the age of 5. As a 9th grader, Lauren was named as a 2018-2020 Texas Young Master by the Texas Commission on the Arts and received a generous grant to further her cello studies. Lauren was accepted into the New York String Orchestra Seminar in December 2019 and performed with the orchestra in Carnegie Hall. She has recently won the Houston Civic Symphony Concerto Competition, the Starlight Symphony Concerto Competition as well as First Prize in the Juanita Miller Concerto Competition. Lauren has also won concerto competitions and performed as a soloist with the Symphony North of Houston, the Houston Civic Symphony, the Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra, and the Houston Youth Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra.  Since 2012, Lauren has been a member of the Houston Youth Symphony. Lauren earned a top spot in the Texas All-State Symphony Orchestra in 2018, 2019 and 2020. In January 2018, Lauren performed with the Esperanza Trio on the Houston Young Artists’ Concert at Rice University. Since 2010, she has earned superior ratings with honors at the ASTA Certificate Advancement Program. Lauren has attended summer festivals at The Meadowmount School of Music, Bowdoin International Music Festival, The Eastman Cello Institute, and The National Cello Institute. In her free time, Lauren enjoys working with the Back to BACH Project which helps to inspire a love of music in young children and promote arts education.

Honorable Mention: Joshua Cheng (violin), Lalo – “Symphonie Espagnole, mvt. 5”.  Music Teacher: Assia Dulgerska

Honorable Mention: Catherine Wu (Violin), Prokofiev – “Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63, mvt. 1”. Music Teacher: Tong Yan

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 25, 2020.
A fine job was done by the competition Judges.  This year's judges are the following:

Dr. Angie Schindler

  • Co-Principal Player – Galveston Symphony
  • Professional reed maker
  • Oboe Instructor

Mr. Mike Smith

  • Principal Horn – Clear Lake Symphony
  • Band Director – Westbury Christian School

Mr. Robert Wall

  • Assoc. Conductor – Clear Lake Symphony
  • Principal Clarinet – Clear Lake Symphony

Dr. Charles Johnson

  • Conductor & Music Director – Clear Lake Symphony
  • Viola Player – Houston Ballet Orchestra (retired)

Mr. Todd Van Kekerix

  • Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy – University of Houston

Dr. So Yoon Lee

Piano Professor – Lone Star College

Dr. Charles Johnson

  • Conductor & Music Director – Clear Lake Symphony
  • Viola Player – Houston Ballet Orchestra (retired)

Dr. Julie Carson

  • Concert Master – Clear Lake Symphony
  • Private Music Teacher

Mr. George Tate

  • Principal Viola – Clear Lake Symphony (retied)
  • Viola Player – Halcyon String Quartet
  • Past President – Texas Orchestra Directors Association


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