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Winners of Youth Concerto Competition Announced

September 19, 2017, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 4:34 PM
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Concerto Competition winners Celina Lim, Joshua Chang and Allyson Kwong. Photo: Danny Waddell.

The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra has announced the winners of its annual Madeline Schatz-Harris Youth Concerto Competition, which took place in Kona on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.

Young string players from across the state competed in the competition in three age categories: 12 years and under, 13 to 15 years, and 16 to 18 years. Each performed one movement of a piece from memory chosen from standard concerto repertoire with piano accompaniment.

The winners are cellist Celina Lim, 11, violinist Alyson Kwong, 14, and cellist Joshua Chang, 18. Judges found it difficult to choose winners due to exceptional student performances. They will perform their solo works in concert at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea, accompanied by the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, as part of the Orchestra’s winter concert Rustic Inspirations. Winning contestants will also receive cash rewards.

“In my nearly thirty years of music making, this year’s group of young musicians was spectacular,” Artistic Director and Conductor, Brian Dollinger stated. “The level of difficulty that these musicians tackled from memory, as well as incredibly musical, was truly inspirational to me as an educator. It shows what dedication by not only the young musician, but by families and teachers, can produce.”

Celina Lim is a student of Nancy Masaki of Honolulu. She gave a lively performance of Georg Goltermann’s Concerto No. 4 in G major, opus 65, mvt. 3: Allegro molto. Alyson Kwong, a student of Sheryl Sohet of Honolulu, was described as “a standout in the largest group of competitors” with her rendition of Eduoard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, opus 21, mvt. 1: Allegro non troppo. Joshua Chang, who is also a student of Nancy Masaki, performed Edward Elgar’s Concerto in E minor, opus 85, mvt. 1: Adagio Moderato.

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Violinist Maya Chang, 14, a student of Kathy Hafner of Honolulu, was the runner-up in the middle age category, playing Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 in G minor, opus 26, mvt. 1: Prelude Allegro moderato. Cellist Alexander Canicosa-Miles, a previous year’s winner in the youngest age category, received an honorable mention for his performance of Concerto in E flat major, opus 107, mvt. 1: Allegretto by Dmitri Shostakovich.

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“I am very excited to perform these works in January with our winners,” Dollinger said. “The vast majority of the time, this performance is a first for these musicians and becomes a lifelong memory for them. In some cases, it serves as a huge inspiration for them to continue on in life with music. My goal with every young artist performance is to make it as fun, relaxing, and memorable for the musician. If I accomplish this, their performance will come through with such success that the audience and KPO musicians will feel more closely connected to this memorable experience.”

Founding Artistic Director and Conductor Dr. Madeline Schatz-Harris, a longtime teacher, started the concerto competition as a showcase for some of the talent exhibited by local students.

The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra is a nonprofit focused on furthering the musical knowledge of local youth. Those interested in contributed to this effort may do so financially, or in other ways, by contacting the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra either through the website at kamuelaphil.org or at P.O. Box 2597, Kamuela, HI 96743.

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