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Current and Past YPCA Participants

YPCA Facilitator

Nate Zeisler envisions a world where artists have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

As Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, Nate runs the Center for Innovation and Community Impact, which engages students, faculty, and staff from all units of the institution as well as alumni and members of the performing arts community in career development and community impact programming.
At the institution, Nate is building a pipeline of sequential arts learning for hundreds of children in greater Los Angeles so that children of all backgrounds may experience a performing arts education. In addition, Nate supports the careers of world-class artists and passionate entrepreneurs, offering career advice and action-based learning opportunities that prime them for the 21st century workforce.

When he’s not passionately developing programs and careers at the Colburn School, you can find him checking out the SoCal tidal pools with his wife and two children, contributing to this blog, and (painfully) attempting to surf.

To learn more about Nate,  view his website

In a previous life, Nate was:
• Founder and Executive Director of the Envision Chamber Consort from 2004-2007, a chamber music ensemble that was dedicated to presenting intimate concerts as a form of contemporary communication.
• Co-founder and Executive director of Arts Enterprise from 2006-2011, a chapter-based organization that helps students find sustainable careers in their chosen field.
• Assistant Professor of Bassoon and Entrepreneurship Bowling Green State University in Ohio from 2006-2011 and Principal bassoonist of the Ann Arbor Symphony.

Nate earned his Doctor of Musical Arts and master’s degree from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degree in choral and instrumental education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

2024 YPCA Participants

Dior Quartet Headshot
Dior Quartet
Joined together from Israel, Korea-Canada, Saint Lucia, and the USA, the Dior Quartet is the Quartet-in-Residence at the Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada. 

Winners of the 2023 Concert Artists Guild Competition, the quartet formed in Fall 2018 at Indiana University under the Pacifica Quartet. They are prize winners of the Fischoff and Chesapeake Competitions, semi-finalists of the Banff and Melbourne International Competitions. 

The projects they pursue intersect with their multicultural backgrounds as they seek to explore the immigrant experience through art. The quartet takes their name from the French word “D’or” which means gold.

Amir Farsi
Amir Farsi
Iranian and Pakistani-American flutist Amir Hoshang Farsi’s playing has been described as “virtuosic and birdlike” (I Care if You Listen) and having a “beautiful sound and personal sense of expression” (New York Classical Review). 

Amir has made appearances at notable halls and music festivals across the United States and Canada, including Carnegie Hall, the Banff Centre, Music@Menlo and many more.

An alum of Carnegie Hall's Ensemble Connect fellowship, Amir received went to the Peabody Institute and Yale School of Music studying under Marina Piccinini and Ransom Wilson. Amir will also be an inaugural fellow for Claire Chase's Density 2036 project.

Njioma Grevious Photo
Njioma Grevious
Described as “superb” by the Chicago Classical Review, violinist Njioma Chinyere Grevious is a passionate and versatile solo, chamber, and orchestral musician and performer. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a winner of its John Erskine Prize for scholastic and artistic achievement.

Among many awards, in 2023, Njioma won the Grand Prize in the Concert Artists Guild (CAG) Elmaleh Competition in partnership with the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) auditions as well as the Robert F. Smith First Prize and the Audience Choice awards in the Senior Division of the Sphinx Competition.

As a soloist, Njioma has appeared with the Chicago Philharmonic, the Western Michigan Symphony, and the Newark Symphony Orchestra. As a founding member of the Abeo Quartet, she won First Prize and the Audience Favorite Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition and was invited to participate in the 14th Banff International String Quartet Competition. Njioma is a frequent chamber music series player and has performed in major festivals across North America. As a Juilliard Gluck Fellow, Njioma performed regularly for medically vulnerable people, retirees, and children. Njioma loves teaching composition and collaboration to New York City elementary and middle school students from underrepresented communities through the Opportunity Music Project.

Maxim Lando headshot
Maxim Lando
American pianist Maxim Lando first made international headlines performing together with Lang Lang, Chick Corea, and The Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall’s 2017 Opening Night Gala. He has been described as a “dazzling fire-eater” (ARTS San Francisco), “a total musical being” (The New Criterion), and was lauded by Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times as displaying “brilliance and infectious exuberance”. 

In addition to being named Musical America's New Artist of the Month, Maxim won the 2022 Vendome Prize and New York Franz Liszt International Piano Competitions, the 2018 Young Concert Artists auditions, and the 2020 Gilmore Young Artist Award.

Joseph Parrish Headshot
Joseph Parrish
Joseph Parrish, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, is an Artist Diploma candidate at the Juilliard School. He has appeared as a soloist with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, American Classical Orchestra, and Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Parrish is a member of the inaugural cohort of Shared Voices with the Denyce Graves Foundation. 

Recent credits include winning first prize in the Gerda Lissner Art Song Vocal Competition and Young Concert Artists International Competition. In 2023 Parrish was a Schwab Vocal Rising Star at Caramoor, a young artist at the Georg Solti Accademia, and a Bayreuth Stipendiate recipient.

Clayton Stephenson headshot
Clayton Stephenson
Pianist Clayton Stephenson’s love for music is immediately apparent in his joyous charisma onstage, expressive power, and natural ease at the instrument. Hailed for “extraordinary narrative and poetic gifts” and interpretations that are “fresh, incisive and characterfully alive” (Gramophone), he is committed to making an impact on the world through his music. 

The New York native credits the city’s community programs, including Julliard’s program for underprivileged children, with providing him pivotal musical inspiration and resources. A recent Harvard/NEC graduate, Clayton’s bountiful accomplishments to date—the 2022 Cliburn finals among them—have led to a blossoming career, with concert dates across the country.

2023 YPCA Participants

Alexander Hersh
Having given his Carnegie Hall debut recital in November 2022, cellist Alexander Hersh has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting and creative talents of his generation.

He frequently appears as soloist with major orchestras including the Houston Symphony and Boston POPS and has received top prizes at competitions worldwide including the: 2022 Pro Musicis International Award, Astral Artists National Auditions, Salon de Virtuosi Career grant, New York International Artists Association Competition, National Federation of Music Clubs, Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra, Ima Hogg, Schadt, Luminarts, Hellam, and the Fischoff National Chamber Music competitions.

A passionate chamber musician, Hersh has performed on tour with Musicians from Marlboro and appeared at music festivals worldwide including: Marlboro, Caramoor, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, I-M-S Prussia Cove, Perlman Music Program, Amsterdam Cello Biennial, Kneisel Hall, Lucerne, and New York String Orchestra Seminar. He serves as co-Artistic Director of NEXUS Chamber Music, an artist driven collective of musicians whose mission is to make classical music culturally relevant through live concerts and multimedia content.

Raised in Chicago, Alexander Hersh began playing the cello at the age of 5. He received his B.M. and M.M. from New England Conservatory where he graduated with academic honors. Later he was a recipient of the Frank Huntington Beebe fund for studies in Berlin where he studied at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule for Musik Berlin. His previous teachers have included Laurence Lesser, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Kim Kashkashian, Nicolas Altstaedt, and Paul Katz. He plays a G.B. Rogeri cello, courtesy of Guarneri Hall NFP and Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins.

KOE (Eva Ding, flute and Emma Kato, cello) is a duo dedicated to creating interdisciplinary projects and performing the works of living Asian, Asian-hyphenate, and BIPOC composers. To that end they have presented multimedia chamber music shows as homages to immigrant families as artists-in-residence at the Center at West Park and at Arts On Site funded by the LMCC Creative Engagement Grant. They’re deeply connected to their respective heritages and cultures - Emma being a 2nd generation Japanese-American, and Eva being Chinese-born and New Zealand-raised - and make an effort to include pieces and composers that reflect that into their programming.

Originally a trio formed during the ensemble's graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music, when KOE's pianist went on to pursue a different musical career path, they thought it would be the perfect opportunity to continue their chamber collaboration and explore their journey as a duo. Subsequently, they went on to become grant recipients of Chamber Music America’s Ensemble Forward Grant generously supported by the New York Community Trust and have performed at WQXR's The Greene Space, Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, Rose Studio at Lincoln Center, and Riverside Church.

Individually, Emma Kato is a New York born and raised cellist teaching through Suzuki Methods, educating young artists about the power of music. She strongly believes that music is a universal language that anyone can speak and express themselves through, regardless of one’s background. For Eva Ding, her background in theater plays a big role in the development of her work. She has seen how spoken word, set design, and costumes, can elevate a performance experience and wants to bring that level of collaboration between the arts to classical music. They both hold Master of Music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music having studied under the tutelage of Julia Lichten and Robert Langevin respectively.

Together with their interest in and passion for community engagement, education, and interdisciplinary exploration they’re dedicated to illuminating classical music in a way that is exciting and interesting for a new audience – one that looks and feels more like the world around us.

Kebra-Seyoun Charles
Kebra-Seyoun Charles
With outstanding virtuosity and the rare ability to communicate their ideas effortlessly to audiences, Kebra is poised to be a leader of their generation. After winning first prize in the 2022 Sphinx Competition, Kebra-Seyoun Charles has quickly made a name for themself by soloing in front of orchestras such as the New World Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and Palaver Strings. Originally from Miami, Florida, Kebra received their Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Then, in 2022, graduated from the Juilliard School with a Master’s degree, at the beginning of which they were awarded tenure as principal bass. Kebra simultaneously received the prestigious Jerome L. Greene fellowship. In recognition of their talent and commitment to furthering their vision as a soloist, Kebra received Juilliard’s Benzaquen Career Grant.

Growing up the child of an African drummer and dancer, Kebra-Seyoun was exposed to music at a very early age. Having been steeped in jazz, gospel, and traditional African music, Kebra developed an interest in a multiplicity of genres. They honed their craft at the New World School of the Arts, in Miami, Fl, even performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center. In their early years Kebra-Seyoun was invited to perform at the Kagoshima Jazz Festival as well as the Aspen Music Festival and School.

In line with their upbringing, Kebra-Seyoun is able to give prominence to the dance qualities in all forms of music. Exhibiting their versatility, Kebra-Seyoun has performed alongside esteemed improvisers and composers such as Jon Batiste, at Carnegie Hall, and Tyshawn Sorey, at the New England Conservatory. Kebra-Seyoun was also featured in “Slugs’ Saloon” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, an interactive installation created by famed jazz musician and composer Jason Moran.

Currently, in addition to their solo career, Kebra-Seyoun Charles is a passionate chamber musician. Playing with groups like East Coast Chamber Orchestra, A Far Cry, Palaver Strings and the Sphinx Virtuosi afford Kebra the opportunity to showcase their musicianship while still playing within an ensemble. A prime example of this is their tenure on the 2019 Emmy award winning Broadway production “Hadestown”.

As if this weren’t enough, they also have 32 piercings.

Eleni Katz
Eleni Katz
Hailed for her virtuosity and vibrant musical spirit, bassoonist Eleni Katz has established herself as a prominent soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. Eleni is a winner of the 2022 Concert Artist Guild Competition and has performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra, and as a member with the New World Symphony. Other recent appearances include a 2022 fellowship with the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, where she performed alongside David Shifrin, Valerie Coleman, and Gabriel Kovach.

A classically trained singer from Iowa City, Katz has always believed that the bassoon should emulate the organic nature of the human voice. In 2021, she commissioned and premiered “Sea Glass Partita for Singing Bassoonist” with composer Lila Meretzky. Drawing its lyrics from a poem that Eleni composed, the piece interspersed bassoon performance with singing and visual projections.

Eleni’s festival appearances include the Music Academy of the West, Spoleto Festival USA, National Repertory Orchestra, Orchestra of the Americas, and the Norfolk and Madeline Island chamber music festivals. She was a semifinalist in the Meg Quigley Vivaldi competition in 2019, an international concerto competition for young women bassoon players.

Deeply passionate about musical collaboration, Eleni made her first appearance with the Willy Street Chamber Players in the 2022 season. She has also been featured as a guest artist at the Lake George Chamber Music Festival for the past four summers.

Eleni received her B.M. at University of Wisconsin’s Mead Witter School of Music under Marc Vallon. She earned her master’s degree at the Yale School of Music, studying with Frank Morelli. She was the winner of the Yale Philharmonia’s 2019 Concerto Competition, a finalist for the Eastern Connecticut Symphony’s Instrumental Competition, and recipient of the Thomas Daniel Nyfenger Prize for demonstrating “the highest standard of excellence in woodwind playing.” She currently resides in Miami, Florida.

2022 YPCA Participants

Gabriel Martins
Cellist Gabriel Martins (b. 1998) has established himself as one of the world’s most compelling young musicians. His artistry has already been recognized through an extensive list of accolades including the Concert Artists Guild/Young Classical Artists Trust Grand Prize, the Sphinx Competition Gold Medal, the David Popper International Cello Competition Gold Medal, the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians Silver Medal, the Schadt String Competition Gold Medal, the Orford Music Award, and the Prague Spring Czech Music Fund Prize. These successes have led to a number of high-profile debuts including Wigmore, Carnegie, and Merkin Halls, 92nd Street Y, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Maison Symphonique in Montréal, and the Arkansas, Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Russian State, Omaha, Pacific, and Phoenix Symphony Orchestras. In 2022, The Strad Magazinedeclared his New York City recital debut to be "flawlessly played...a deeply moving experience” and Classic FM named him one of their “30 under 30” Rising Stars.

Lauded for his "rich, warm" and "mesmerizing" sound, Martins carries a concerto repertoire spanning every major work. In recital, his performances of the Bach Cello Suites have garnered particular recognition. Martins’ playing has been broadcast on NPR, WQXR, KUSC, WFMT, and more. His festival appearances include Aspen, Bard, Brevard, Chamberfest Cleveland, Four Seasons, Ravinia, and Yellow Barn.

Born of American and Brazilian heritage, Martins grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. He began playing the cello when he was five, studying with Susan Moses at the Indiana University String Academy. He went on to receive his B.M. as a Presidential Scholar at the USC Thornton School of Music with Ralph Kirshbaum. In his freshman year at USC, he won the school’s concerto competition as well as its Bach competition. He received his M.M. at the New England Conservatory of Music with Laurence Lesser. Martins now resides in South Carolina with his partner, violinist Geneva Lewis. In addition to performing, he also composes, arranges, and teaches. He plays a composite Francesco Ruggieri cello made in Cremona, c. 1690 and a François Nicolas Voirin bow made in Paris, c. 1880.

Balourdet Quartet
The Balourdet Quartet, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is currently in residence at the New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Program. The quartet received the Grand Prize at the 2021 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, as well as prizes in international competitions including the Banff, Paolo Borciani, and Carl Nielsen competitions. They were also awarded the Gold Medal at the 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the 2021 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition.

Highlights of the Balourdet’s 2022-23 season include appearances at Chamber Music Detroit, the Grand Piano Series in Naples, FL, NEC’s Jordan Hall, Merkin Hall, and Wigmore Hall. Summer 2022 also saw the Balourdet performing at festivals including Bravo! Vail, Music Mountain, and Strings Music Festival. Additionally this season, the quartet is thrilled to premiere a new commissioned work by celebrated composer Karim Al-Zand, made possible through Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Grant.

The Balourdet has performed at festivals and series including Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, the Dame Myra Hess Concerts, Montgomery Chamber Music, Santa Fe ProMusica, and the Schneider Concert Series. Committed to sharing their musical values with the next generation, the quartet has given masterclasses and coachings at New England Conservatory Preparatory Department, Fischoff Chamber Music Academy, Upper Valley Chamber Music, and Wright State University, as well as a residency teaching and performing at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.

The Balourdet Quartet was formed in 2018 at Rice University in Houston, Texas under the tutelage of James Dunham, Norman Fischer, and Cho-Liang Lin. It currently works primarily with Paul Katz at the New England Conservatory, as well as Miriam Fried and members of the Cleveland and Borromeo Quartets. The quartet takes its name from Antoine Balourdet, chef extraordinaire at the Hotel St. Bernard and beloved member of the Taos School of Music community.

Francisco Fullana
Spanish-born violinist Francisco Fullana, winner of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, has been hailed as an "amazing talent" (Gustavo Dudamel) and "frighteningly awesome" (Buffalo News). His solo violin album Bach’s Long Shadow, was named BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Choice of the Month. Its five star review stated: ‘Fullana manages to combine Itzhak Perlman's warmth with the aristocratic poise of Henryk Szeryng'.

A native of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain, Francisco is making a name for himself as both a performer and a leader of innovative educational institutions. As a soloist, he has performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Bayerische Philharmonie led by the late Sir Colin Davis, the Sibelius Concerto with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, and the Brahms Violin Concerto with Venezuela’s Teresa Carreño Orchestra under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.

Fullana is one of the first international solo violinists to fully embrace and absorb the baroque language of historical performance. His passion for the gut strings has blossomed into fruitful collaborations with Baroque groups all over the world. Last season, Fullana was the Artist-in-Residence with the Grammy-winning ensemble Apollo’s Fire, performing 18 concerto performances on tour, including stops at Carnegie Hall and Severance Hall among many others. They recently released Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on Avie Records to great success: The album debut at #2 of the Billboard Charts and was named Top Ten Album Of the Year by the Sunday Times. BBC Music Magazine’s review stated: ‘Francisco Fullana reveals Vivaldi’s poetry with effortless refinement.’ The partnership continues this spring, performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons on tour around the UK, including stops at Aldenburgh Festival & St. Martin in the Fields.

Born into a family of educators, Francisco is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, where he matriculated under the tutelage of Manuel Guillén. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School following studies with Donald Weilerstein and Masao Kawasaki, and holds an Artist Diploma from the USC Thornton School of Music, where he worked with the renowned violinist Midori.

Francisco Fullana performs on the 1735 "Mary Portman" ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesù violin, kindly on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

Hanzhi Wang
Dominic Cheli
“You can tell that his interests extend not just to playing the piano, but to being an artist citizen.” (Ohio News). Dominic Cheli embraces the role of an artist-citizen in his multifaceted career as performer, educator, composer, and director. He is described as an “inspired keyboardist” (artsfuse) whose playing is “spontaneous yet perfect, the best of how a young person can play.” (Symphony Magazine). His rapidly advancing career included his Walt Disney Concert Hall Debut with the Colburn Orchestra where Dominic was “mesmerizing, (he) transfixed the audience.” (LA Times).

In 2017, Dominic was named 1st prize winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York City. He gave his Carnegie Hall Recital Debut in 2019 and has had a busy performing and recording career ever since. Upcoming engagements include appearances with the Seattle Symphony, a debut at Alice Tully Hall, and his 4th appearance at Carnegie Hall.

As a recording artist, Cheli’s albums have been met with acclaim. Musicwebinternational hailed Cheli’s 1st album, featuring the music of Muzio Clementi, as “definitive performances” and his 2021 album, Liszt: Schubert transcriptions, as “utterly brilliant”. He recently completed work as a composer, audio editor and performer on the documentary Defying Gravity (2021).

With a fascination and appreciation for the benefits of technology especially in our new virtual age, Dominic was appointed LIVE Director of Tonebase Piano in 2021. As a result, he is the host and presenter of numerous virtual lectures, performances and workshops each month to the 5,000+ subscribers on the platform.

Committed to engaging with his surrounding community, Dominic regularly performs and brings curated programs/educational residencies to schools and retirement homes. He also performs with Street Symphony, an organization centered in practices of relationship, renewal, re-entry, and recovery, presenting musical programs in Skid Row built on sustained relationships and partnerships with Skid Row organizations and community individuals.

Dominic received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and the Colburn School studying with Zena Ilyashov, Andre-Michel Schub, Peter Frankl, and Fabio Bidini. Mr. Cheli is a Yamaha Artist and recently appointed faculty member of the Colburn Community Music School. In his spare time, Dominic enjoys cooking and training for Ironman triathlons.

Hanzhi Wang
SooBeen Lee
Violinist SooBeen Lee has been praised by The Washington Post for her “poised presence, a luxurious sound, spot-on intonation, and a bow arm that surely will be the envy of her peers”. She has already appeared as soloist with every major Korean orchestra, including the Seoul and Busan Philharmonics and KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) Symphony Orchestra. Other distinctions include performances for former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, at the Blue House for the King and Queen of Malaysia, with China’s Wuhan Philharmonic at the Seoul Arts Center, and for many state guests in Korea.

As First Prize Winner of the 2014 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, SooBeen was also honored with The Slomovic Soloist Prize for support for her Washington, DC recital debut at the Kennedy Center, the Michaels Award, which provided support for her New York recital debut, and three performance prizes including the Korean Concert Society Prize. SooBeen made her New York concerto debut performing the Chausson Poème with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Alice Tully Hall.
SooBeen’s festival engagements have included appearances at the Heifetz Music Festival, Chopin Music Festival in Poland, City of London Festival, Busan International Music Festival, Great Mountains International Music Festival, Seoul Spring Festival, and Japan’s Ishikawa Summer Music Academy, where she worked with YCA alumnus Koichiro Harada.

In the coming season SooBeen will make concerto appearances with the Aiken Symphony and the Oregon Symphony. She will be presented in recital and chamber music performances by the Tri-County Concerts Association (Wayne, PA), FPC Concerts (Myrtle Beach, SC), and the Morgan Library & Museum. As part of Young Concert Artists’ special season finale performance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in May 2023, SooBeen will perform alongside fellow YCA roster artists and distinguished alumni including pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Chee-Yun, and harpsichordist Anthony Newman.

SooBeen began studying the violin at the age of four. At eight years old she won the National Competition of the Korean Chamber Orchestra, she won First Prize at the Russia International Youth Violin Competition the following year, and she captured First Prize at the 2013 Moscow International David Oistrakh Violin Competition. SooBeen currently studies with Miriam Fried at the New England Conservatory, where she performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto as winner of their Concerto Competition.

2020 YPCA Participants

Hanzhi Wang
Hanzhi Wang
Praised for her captivating stage presence and performances that are technically and musically masterful, the groundbreaking young musician Hanzhi Wang is the only accordionist to ever win a place on the roster of Young Concert Artists in its 59-year history. Other firsts include being named Musical America “New Artist of the Month,” an interview and performance on the 2,145th episode of New York WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase as the first solo accordionist on the program, the Naxos label’s first ever solo accordion CD, “On the Path to H.C. Andersen, which was nominated for the prestigious Danish Radio P2 Prize in 2019.
Described by one pretty important radio guy as “not classical...but not not classical” (SiriusXM), Invoke continues to successfully dodge even the most valiant attempts at genre classification. The multiinstrumental quartet’s other not-nots encompass traditions from across America, including bluegrass, Appalachian fiddle tunes, jazz, and minimalism. Fueled by their passion for storytelling, Invoke weaves all of these styles together to form a unique contemporary repertoire, featuring original works composed by and for the group. This passion also inspired Invoke’s ongoing commissioning initiative “American Postcards,” in which they draw on composers from all backgrounds to help tell the stories of America.
Omer Quartet
Comprising of Mason Yu, Erica Tursi, Jinsun Hong, and Alex Cox, the Omer Quartet is a leader among today’s young string quartets. Most recently first prizewinners of the Young Concert Artists Auditions, the quartet came into prominence in 2013 when it received Grand Prize at the Fischoff National Competition. They further received top prizes at major European competitions including Borciani, Trondheim, and Bordeaux. The quartet inaugurated a Music for Food concert series in the metro-DC area to support local hunger relief. They have been appointed Visiting Fellows at Yale University and are completing their Doctorate Degrees at the University of Maryland.
Jiji Kim
Jiji Kim
Applauded by the Calgary Herald as “…talented, sensitive…brilliant,” JIJI is an adventurous artist on both acoustic and electric guitar. Recent highlights include a wide array of venues, including: Carnegie Hall, David Geffen hall, Lincoln Center, National Sawdust, Krannert Center, LPR, and 92nd Street Y. A passionate advocate of new music, JIJI has premiered works by numerous composers—including Paul Lansky, Joao Luiz, Natalie Dietterich, Molly Joyce, Krists Auznieks, Gulli Björnsson, and etc. ACO is commissioning a new guitar concerto by Hilary Purrington, to be premiered by JIJI in 2019 Fall. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Guitar at ASU.
Jiji Kim
Ivalas Quartet
Founded in Ann Arbor in 2016, the Ivalas Quartet is composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Anita Dumar, violist Aimée McAnulty, and cellist Pedro Sánchez. The quartet won first prize in the 2019 WDAV Young Artists Chamber Music Competition, first prize in the 2018 Briggs Chamber Music Competition, and was a semifinalist group at both the M-Prize and Concert Artists Guild competitions. Ivalas regularly performs at schools, museums, shelters, and many other community centers. This year the quartet was privileged to attend the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, as well as the Aspen Music Festival’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies.

2019 YPCA Participants

Ruben Rengel
Rubén Rengel
Praised for his “warm lyricism and rich passion,” Venezuelan violinist Rubén Rengel is quickly gaining recognition as a remarkably gifted concert violinist, continuously captivating audiences with a lush, singing tone, and charismatic virtuosity. Mr. Rengel was the Winner of the 2018 Sphinx Competition. Concerto engagements this season include concerts with the Houston, Vermont, and Signature Symphonies. He has previously appeared with the Venezuela, Firelands, and CIM Symphony Orchestras. Mr. Rengel is an avid chamber musician, appearing in collaborations with Joseph Silverstein, Joel Krosnick, Pamela Frank, Timothy Eddy, and Gilbert Kalish. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Shepherd School of Music, as a student of Paul Kantor. Previously, he was a student of Jaime Laredo in Cleveland, and Iván Pérez Núñez in Caracas. He also enjoys performing other genres such as Venezuelan folk music and Jazz. Mr. Rengel plays on a 1908 Stefano Scarampella violin on loan from a private collection.
Brandon Ridenour
Brandon Ridenour
A virtuoso trumpeter and composer/arranger, Brandon Ridenour is a winner of the 2014 Concert Artist Guild competition and also an International Trumpet Guild solo competition winner. At age twenty, Brandon became the youngest member of the Canadian Brass, recording ten albums and receiving three Juno Award nominations during his seven years with the ensemble. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Brandon recently created two chamber ensembles, Founders and Useful Chamber, complementing his frequent international solo engagements in recital and with orchestra. His new album, Come Together, features his arrangements of Beatles songs scored for a diverse array of musicians/instruments, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the song and the importance of humanity coming together.
Thalea String Quartet
Thalea String Quartet
The Thalea String Quartet is dedicated to bringing timeless music to audiences from all walks of life. From living rooms to concert stages around the world, the Thalea String Quartet aims to connect with audiences on a musical, emotional, and personal level, from first time listeners to string quartet aficionados. They are devoted to building a new and diverse audience for chamber music through innovative programming and community engagement. The Thalea String Quartet were top prize winners at both the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the 2018 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition. They were the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2015-17 and were recently named the Young Professional String Quartet at the Butler School of Music, where they will study with the highly acclaimed Miró Quartet. They will also serve as Associated Artists at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel for the 2018/19 season, where they will be mentored by the Artemis Quartet. They are managed in North America by Lisa Sapinkopf Artists.
Verona Quartet
Verona Quartet
Hailed by The New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble,” the Verona Quartet’s members represent four different nationalities, defying convention through their singular approach to musical and cultural cooperation. Notable projects include a performance art installation entitled “Bows and Elbows” (Ana Prvacki), a groundbreaking cultural exchange with Emirati poets (UAE) and numerous commissions including the 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Quartet, by Michael Gilbertson. A winner of the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition, the quartet was selected by Musical America as “New Artists of the Month” for May 2016, and since then has continued to garner worldwide recognition for their “interpretive strength…robust characterization [and] commanding resonance” (Calgary Herald).
The Westerlies
The Westerlies
Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots, and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.

2018 YPCA Participants

Annelle Gregory by Michael Oletta
Annelle K. Gregory
Award-winning violinist Annelle K. Gregory is a laureate of international competitions, virtuoso violinist, and recording artist. She is 1st Prize winner of the 2017 National Sphinx Competition and Laureate of the 2013 Stradivarius International Violin Competition. Gregory's most recent project was the release of the first-ever CD of Rachmaninoff's complete violin/piano works with Russian pianist Alexander Sinchuk. The CD has received international acclaim and aired on radio stations across the U.S. and Europe. As a soloist Gregory has performed with the symphonies of Detroit, La Jolla, San Diego, Chicago Sinfonietta, Houston, Nashville, Santa Monica, and Torrance, and made appearances at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, and the Kennedy Center, as well as abroad in Russia, the U.K., Germany, and Portugal. She has been featured on BBC, American Public Media, KUSC, and WQXR radios, as well as on German Television and Detroit Public TV. Gregory graduated summa cum laude from USC’s Thornton School of Music, where she studied under Glenn Dicterow. She also studied with Michael & Irina Tseitlin.
Argus Quartet by Ben Gibbs
Argus Quartet
Praised for their "supreme melodic control and total authority," (Calgary Herald), the Argus Quartet is gaining a reputation as one of today's most dynamic young ensembles. The quartet has received grants from Chamber Music America, Tarisio, and the Caramoor Center to support their efforts to commission, perform, and record works by living composers. Argus has served as the Fellowship Quartet in Residence at the Yale School of Music and began an appointment as the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the Juilliard School in fall 2017. The quartet was recently awarded first prize at the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition and first prize at the 2017 Concert Artists Guild Competition.
Delphi Trio
Delphi Trio
Praised for “…spot-on ensemble playing and a beautifully blended sound…” the Delphi Trio has become a powerfully eloquent voice in the world of chamber music. Prizewinners of the 2015 Orlando Concours, the Trio has performed in Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, and across the U.S. World premieres include trios by William Bolcom, Max Stoffregen, and Sahba Aminikia. Delphi Trio runs an Emerging Artist Program collaborating with collegiate students; curates the Practice Project, a social media group that fosters community among both professional and amateur artists; and collaborate with the Prison University Project to bring classical music to inmates in California.
Fei-Fei Dong
Fei-Fei Dong
Praised for her “bountiful gifts and passionate immersion into the music she touches” (The Plain Dealer), Chinese pianist Fei-Fei Dong is a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition and a finalist at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Her burgeoning international career includes numerous prominent concerto engagements, including the Fort Worth Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Recent recital highlights include performances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Gilmore Rising Stars, and, in Europe, at the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall and the Louvre. Dong is the winner of the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition and finalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Tessa Lark
Tessa Lark
Recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (highest American-born finisher), and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time. She has performed throughout the U.S. since making her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age sixteen. Keeping in touch with her Kentucky roots, Ms. Lark also performs bluegrass and Appalachian music regularly. She is a graduate of New England Conservatory, where she studied with Miriam Fried. Ms. Lark is represented worldwide by Sciolino Artist Management.

2017 YPCA Participants

Cheng 2 Duo
Cheng² Duo
Named one of CBC Music’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30”, Cheng² Duo engages global audiences with its innovative programming and presentations of classical music. Comprised of cellist Bryan Cheng and pianist Silvie Cheng, the sibling duo has performed recitals at prestigious venues and festivals in North America, Europe, and Asia, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Aspen Music Festival, Trasimeno Music Festival, and Ottawa Chamberfest, as well as live on CBC Radio and Vermont Public Radio. Captivating audiences and critics alike with its youthful spirit and mature artistry, the duo released its debut album, Violoncelle français, on the German label audite in October 2016.
Heigo Rosin
Heigo Rosin
Heigo Rosin (1989) is the first solo percussionist to emerge out of Estonia. He has appeared frequently performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras and solo recitals in all over the Europe and the USA. In 2015 Heigo was accepted into the Sponsorship Program of the Orpheum Foundation for the Advancement of Young Soloists. In the same year Heigo was also selected as principal percussionist with full scholarship to the World Percussion Group tour in the USA. Since 2016, Heigo is endorsed by Malletech Percussion Instruments. Over ten years of karate practice has inspired Heigo to combine the movements of karate with his percussion playing. This unique aspect of his playing makes his performances extraordinary not only to hear but to see.
Neave Trio
Neave Trio
Hailed by Fanfare Magazine as having “exceeded the gold standard and moved on to platinum,” the Neave Trio recently gave the world premiere performance of Augusta Read Thomas's “Klee Musings,” which the esteemed composer wrote for them. 2016-2017 season includes residency at Brown University, release of all-American début CD on Chandos, and Piazzolla music video and CD on Azica label. Having appeared at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and La Jolla Music Society, they aim to fulfill the Boston Musical Intelligencer's prediction: “it is inconceivable that [Neave] will not soon be among the busiest chamber ensembles going.”
Telegraph Quartet
Telegraph Quartet
The Telegraph Quartet recently won the 2016 Naumburg Chamber Music Competition, the prize that also launched the careers of the Emerson, Pacifica, Miró and Brentano Quartets. Telegraph also won the Grand Prize in the 2014 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and were the only American quartet of the 15 from around the world invited to showcase at the 2016 Paris String Quartet Biennial. Formed in 2013 with a passionate commitment to the standard repertoire as well as contemporary and new music, Telegraph seeks to spread its music through education and audience engagement. The quartet's esteemed collaborators include pianist Simone Dinnerstein.
Thomas Mesa
Thomas Mesa
Cuban-American cellist, Thomas Mesa, is a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and teacher. Thomas is the winner of the Sphinx Competition (2016), Vivo Competition (2016), Thaviu Competition (2013), Alhambra Competition (2006), member of the Grammy-nominated St. Petersburg String Quartet and Piano Quartet, and doctoral candidate at Manhattan School of Music. He has collaborated with artists of the highest caliber including Itzhak Perlman, Kikuei Ikeda, Ivan Zenaty, Andres Diaz, Paul Katz, Roger Tapping, and Barry Shiffman. Past and present faculty positions include Montecito Music Festival, John Jay College, Meadowmount School of Music, Brooklyn Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and St. Petersburg Academy.
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