2024 Youth Concerto Competition Winners

The Clear Lake Symphony held its annual Youth Concerto Competition on Saturday, January 13, 2024 for young artists from Houston area high schools, junior highs, and elementary schools.  The winners will be provided with a scholarship and will perform as a featured soloist with the Clear Lake Symphony at the March 22, 2024 concert at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at 18220 Upper Bay Road, in Nassau Bay.   A total of fifty three (53) contestants participated in this year’s competition.



Alan Bennett (Oboe) Winner, Junior Wind Division

Tamaso Albanoni Oboe Concerto in D Minor, Op. 9,Mvt. I “

Alan is the son of Steven and Liza Bennett.  He is currently in 8th grade (age 14) at Fairmont Junior High School in Deer Park ISD.  He has studied oboe for less than one  year and his music teachers are Jennifer Sanford and Michael Way.

Alan’s musical achievements are:
• Best soloist Cello  – UIL Solo Contest, 2021 -2022
• 1st Chair Bassoon – All Region, 2022 – 2023
• 1st Chair Oboe – All Region, 2023 – 2024

Alan’s interests are in reading, trying different musical instruments, and listening to and performing different kinds of music.


Emily Nickl (Flute) Winner, Senior Wind Division

Cecile Chaminade –Concertino for Flute, Op. 107″

Emily is the daughter of Jeff and Lisa Nickl.  She is 16 years old and attending Clear Creek High School in Clear Creek ISD.  She has studied flute for 7 years and her music teacher is Lisa Nickl.

Emily’s musical achievements are:
• Regional Band – 2022
• Regional Orchestra – 2023 & 2024
• All State Band – 2023 & 2024
• CCHS Band Leadership Team – 2022 to present
• Plano Symphony Summer Orchestra Camp
• CCISD Musical Orchestra – 2023 & 2024

Emily enjoys reading, baking and lifting weights. She plans to pursue flute performance in college and as a career.



Lawrence Feng (Piano), Winner, Junior Piano Division

Felix MendelssohnPiano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor,  Op. 25, Mvt III

Lawrence is the son of Chen Feng and Karen Luu.  He is in the 9th grade (age 14) at Elkins High School in Fort Bend ISD.  He has studied piano for 9 years and is a student of Colleen Haffar.

Lawrence’s musical achievements are:
• Plano Guild District Founder’s Plaque – 2 Years
• Solo/Ensemble Level 1 Rating – 3 Years
• Attended Baylor Piano Camp

Lawrence enjoys playing the violin and piano. In Lawrence’s free time, he loves ice skating.

Shangen Zou (Piano), Honorable Mention, Junior Piano Division

Felix Mendelssohn – “Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25, Mvt. III

Shangen is the daughterChong and Weenti Zou.  At age 12, she is attending 7th grade at Annunciation Orthodox School.  She has been studying piano for 8 years and her music teachers are: Timothy Hester, Alina Uddin and Chong Zou

Shangen‘s musical achievements are:
• 1st Place – HMTA Concerto Competition, Junior Division 2023
• 1st Place – Piano Solo – 11th  Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia International Youth Piano Competition, 2022
• 1st Place – 10th Macao International Competition

Shangen interests are dancing, walking her dog, school and hanging out with her friends.

Note: Honorable Mention contestants will not be performing with the competition winners at the March 22,2024 concert.


Harrison Yu (Piano), Winner, Senior Piano Division

Sergei Rachmaninoff – “Piano Concerto No. 1 in F# minor, Mvt. I”

Harrison is the son of Hsinyu Su.  At age 17, he is attending 11th grade at Cyprus Woods High School in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.  He has been studying piano for 12 years and his music teachers are: Dr. Scott Cuellar, Dr. Zhu Zhu and Dr. Richard Marshall.

Harrison’s musical achievements are:
• 1st Place – HMTA Solo Piano Contest
• 3rd Place – TMTA Piano Concerto Contest
• 1st Place – Marielle Ogletree Youth Artist Concerto Competition – 2024
• 3rd Place – 11th International Chopin Youth Competition

Harrison is a drum major/conductor of his high school marching band. He also enjoys physics and biology as well as weight lifting while working out in the gym. Harrison hopes to purse a degree in piano performance with future studies in medical school to become a neurosurgeon. 



Riko Kasyan (Violin), Winner, Junior String Division

Henri Wieniawski – “Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 22, Mvt. III”

Riko is the daughter of Masako and Armen Kasyan.  She is attending 9th grade (age 15) at Memorial High School in Spring Branch ISD.  She has been studying violin for 11 years and is the student of Chizu Kataoka.

Riko’s musical achievements are:
• 1st Chair – Region 27 – 2022
• 3rd Chair – Region 27 – 2023
• All State Symphony First Violin, 2023-2024

Riko enjoys singing karaoke with friends, playing the guitar in her free time and running with friends.  She loves facing new challenges in life.


Kaisong (Sam) Lin (Violin), Winner, Senior String Division

Camille Saint Saens –Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 61, Mvt. I”

Kaisong is the son of Qunhao Lin and Quiming Li.  He is a Senior (age 17) at Seven Lakes High School in Katy ISD. He has been studying violin for 9 years and his music teacher is Dr. Kirsten Yon.

Kaisong’s musical achievements are:
• TMEA All State Orchestra – 3 times
• Katy Young Artist Competition Winner – 2022
• Ranked #1 – Region 23 Pre-Area Competition – 2023

Kaisong enjoys taking long runs in George Bush Park and playing volleyball with his friends. He likes studying Atkin’s Chemical Principles.  He is a fan of Taylor Swift and loves listening to her songs.  Kaisong hopes to pursue work in chemistry research.



Thank You Melodie Shelton!

Many thanks go to Competition Coordinator, Melodie Shelton 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 13, 2024.

A fine job was done by the competition Judges.  This year’s judges were the following:

Robert Wall
Associate Conductor – Clear Lake Symphony
Orchestra Director – University Baptist Church
Principal Clarinetist – Clear Lake Symphony

Dr. Kristi Miller
US Army Band
Professional Flute Educator & Clinician

Jonathan Persaud
Master of Music – Boston Conservatory
Professional Trumpet Player

Dr. Charles Johnson
Music Director & Conductor – Clear Lake Symphony

Dr. Janice Fehlauer
Professional Pianist – Kingwood Music School owner

Dr. Diego Caetano
• Professor of Piano – Sam Houston University

Chris Tran
Master of Music Orchestral Conducting
Orchestra Director – Clear Falls High School, CCISD

Bryan Buffaloe
Orchestra Director – Clear Lake High School, CCISD
Professional Violinist
Master of Music Education

Diana Frazier
Cello Performer & Teacher
Orchestra Director – Clear Springs High School, CCISD