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Winners of the 2015 Musical Club of Hartford Scholarship Competition

The Musical Club of Hartford held its annual High School Scholarship Competition in 2015. The concert with the first, second, and third place winners took place on Sunday, January 25, 2015, at 2 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford.

Prizes were awarded in the following categories: Piano, Strings, Voice, and Winds.

Piano Competition Winners

First Place in the Piano Competition was awarded to Yoshino Toi, a twelfth grade student at Hall High School in West Hartford, who studies piano with Malgosia Lis at The Hartt School Community Division (HCD). Yoshino was selected to perform in the HCD’s Piano Department’s Honors Recital from 2012 to 2014, and was also awarded the Watson Morrison Scholarship Award. She has won several competitions, including First Place in the Renée B. Fisher Piano Competition with the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work by Emily Cooley (2014), and First Place and Third Place respectively in the Audrey Thayer Piano Competition (2011, 2012) as well as in the Virtuoso Pianists Competition (2013, 2014). At the Winners Concert Yoshino will perform Frédéric Chopin’s Grand Polonaise Brillante.

The Second Place winner in the Piano Competition was Stefanie Ma, a tenth grade student at the Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy in East Hartford, who studies with Margreet Francis at The Hartt School Community Division (HCD). Stefanie has been playing piano for nine years. She was selected to play in the HCD Piano Department Honors Recital in each of the past three years, has received many Honorable Mentions in the Audrey Thayer Competition, and has placed Second and Third Place in the Virtuoso Piano Competition. Last year, she participated in HMTA contemporary festival last. Stefanie also plays bassoon in Philharmonia and has participated in the Connecticut Music Educators Association Northern Region Festival. Stefanie will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s Six Preludes and Fugues, Op. 35: No. 1 in E minor at the Winners Concert on January 25.

Third Place was won by Wendy Zhan, an eleventh grade student at Amity Regional Senior High School in Woodbridge, CT. Wendy has been playing piano for eleven years and currently studies with Svitlana Fiorito. She was the Grand Prix winner of the Concert Festival International Solo Competition, the First Prize winner of the Chopin Competition, the Second Prize winner of the Bach Competition for the Fairfield (CT) Schubert Club Awards, and the winner of the Stamford Young Artist Showcase and of the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association Annual Winter Competition in 2014. She was also the winner of the Hamden Symphony Orchestra Young Musician Concerto Competition and a Third Prize recipient of the American Fine Arts Festival’s Concerto Competition in 2013. Wendy has performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and in the Liszt Museum in Weimar, Germany. She will perform Maurice Ravel’s Jeux d’eau at the Winners Concert on January 25.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Luke Wang, Ridgefield High School, Grade 10, Teacher: Edith G. Sullivan.


Strings Competition Winners

First Prize was awarded to Madison Howard, cello, a 9th grade student at Hopkins School in New Haven, CT, who studies with Caroline Stinson, Juilliard pre-college. She had recently won the American Chamber Orchestra Competition, the Concerto Competition of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Arts Festival, and second prize in the Renee B Fisher Piano (yes, piano) Competition among other awards. At age 10, Madison joined Norwalk Youth Symphony, the youngest player ever in that orchestra. On January 25 she will perform Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, first movement.

Second Prize was won by violinist Cameron Chase, a 9th grade homeschooler from Stratford, CT, who studies with Regi Papa in New York City. Cameron is concertmaster of The Norwalk Youth Symphony Orchestra. His violin repertoire includes many of the great composers as well as acting in 6 (yes 6) Shakespeare plays. At the Winners Concert on January 25 he will perform Max Bruch, Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26, first movement.

Third Prize was awarded to violist Dora DeCaprio, a homeschooler from Lebanon, CT, who also won a prize in last year’s Musical Club High School Competition. She was principal violist of the New England Festival Associations Concert Festival in 2014. At the concert on January 25, she will perform the first movement of Paul Hindemith Sonate for viola and piano, Op. 11.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Kayla Bryan, violin, a ninth grader at Guilford High School in Guilford. Her violin teacher’s name is Donna Ngai.

Honorable Mention was also awarded to Kaila Piscitelli, cello, a senior at Conard High School in West Hartford. She studies with Mihae Tetel.


Voice Competition Winners

First Place was won by Maggie Kinabrew, a junior at Hall High School in West Hartford. Maggie has been singing since the age of seven. She was named a Merit Winner in voice by the YoungArts Foundation. In 2014 she won the Bel Canto voice scholarship through the Hartt School Vocal Honors Recital and a summer 2015 scholarship to the Westminster Choir College Vocal Institute. She has been a soloist in Hall High School's Pops'n Jazz for the past two years and is a member of the Hall choral department. She has sung in the Connecticut Children's Chorus since 2005 and currently studies voice with Louise Fauteux. At the concert on January 25, Maggie will sing Stizzoso, mio stizzoso (from La Serva Padrona) by Giovanni Batista Pergolesi, and Sure on this shining night by Samuel Barber.

Second Place was awarded to Ian Braverman of Simsbury, a junior at Simsbury High School. Ian has sung in several choirs including The Connecticut Men's Ensemble at The Hartt School Community Division for two years and CMEA Northern Regional Choir for four years. Since freshman year, Ian has participated in the Chorus Program at Simsbury High School, where he is presently in Chorale. In the Simsbury Summer Theatre performance of Carousel, he was cast as Enoch Snow, and has performed in all his middle and high school musicals. He is a member of Simsbury High School's Tri-M Music Honor Society, and is an auditor with the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship at the Bushnell. Ian studies with Jason Stammen. At the Winners Concert on January 25, Ian will be singing The Vagabond by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Liebst du um Schönheit by Clara Schumann.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Gabriel Garcia, a junior at Simsbury High School where he is co-director of the Men's A Capella group "Unaccompanied Minors" and a member of SHS Chorale. He was recently awarded an Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship at the Bushnell. He has been a member of several National Honor Choirs, including the 2014 OAKE National Chamber Ensemble which performed at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. Gabriel's on-stge and solo performances have included productions of Les Misérables, Beauty and the Beast, and Grease. Gabriel studies Jazz Piano at Hartt School of Music and in the vocal studio of Jason Stammen. He hopes to pursue a degree and career in Vocal Performance.


Winds Competition Winners

First Prize was awarded to Emily Guersch, clarinet. Emily is a senior at Avon High School, where she has performed with the Wind Ensemble for one year, the Chamber Orchestra for two years, and the pit Orchestra for all the Musical Productions for three years, as well as the Tri-M Honors Music Society for three years. She studies with Curt Blood. Emily has participated in the CT Youth Symphony (in grades 11-12), and is currently principal clarinet. She also played in the CT Music Educators Northern Region Band and Orchestra (grades 10-12) as well as All-State Band and Orchestra (grades 10-12). Last summer she participated in a month-long Masterworks Festival Orchestra program in Lake Winona, Indiana. She plans to pursue clarinet performance in college. At the Winners Concert on January 25, she will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Concerto for Clarinet K. 622, Allegro.

Second Place was awarded to Christopher Grossack, flute, a senior at Simsbury High School. Chris has performed with his school's Wind Ensemble (grades 10-12) and in the Pit Orchestra for all the Musical Productions (grades 9-12), and has also been the conductor for the Pep Band (grade 12), and Tri -M Music Honor Society (grade 10-12). He studies currently with Greig Shearer, and formerly with Mary Matthews. Chris is a current member of the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble, and is principal flutist in the CT Youth Symphony, which performed with the Hartford Symphony for their 70th Anniversary opening night last year. He is also a member of the Hartt Performer's Certificate program. Chris participated in the CT Music Educators Northern Regional Festivals (grades 7-12), as well as the Honors Festival Band and Flute Choir, and the ASBDA Honors Band. He plans to pursue degrees in Flute Performance and Physics. At the concert on January 25, he will perform Fantasie Op. 60 by Gabriel Fauré.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Angela Luo, flute, a junior at South Windsor High School, who also studies with Greig Shearer.