Young Artist Concerto Competition

Concerto Competition Winners

The Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce the winners of our Young Artist Concerto Competition held January 11, 2015 in Sugar Land. The competition attracted young musicians from as far away as Waco, although most contestants were from the local Fort Bend and greater Houston area. One delightful problem was that all competition performers were outstanding, with bright musical futures ahead of them.

First Place winner, Haeun Moon, violinist, will perform Edouard Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole in D Minor with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra on the "Stormy Weather" concert, Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Stafford Performing Arts Centre, 10505 Cash Road, Stafford, Texas.

First Place:  Haeun Moon, violin, Midway Middle School, Waco, Texas
Second Place:  Robert Rosenfeld, cello, Cypress Woods High School, Cypress, Texas
Third Place:  Ashley Xu, piano, Seven Lakes High School, Katy, Texas

Haeun Moon, violin 

1st place: Haeun Moon, violin
Haeun Moon, age 13, attends Midway Middle School in Waco. She studied violin with Dr. Julia Hardie for 4 years, and she is currently a student of Prof. Brian Lewis, the David and Mary Winton Green Chair in String Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin. She is the winner of the 2014-15 Austin Symphony Youth Concerto Competition and performed with the orchestra in January 2015. Haeun won both the State and the South Central Division of the 2013-14 MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Junior Performance Competition, and performed at the MTNA National Conference in Chicago, IL. She is also the winner of the 2014 Houston Civic Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition and 2014 Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, and performed with those orchestras as a soloist. In 2013, she was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall in New York as the first prize winner in her age division in the “American Protégé International Concerto Competition.” In addition, she has also played actively as a chamber musician: Her quintet, The Quintessential, was invited to perform at the 40th Anniversary of the National Suzuki Association of the Americas in Minneapolis, MN as the only string chamber group. She has also served as the concertmaster of the Region 8 All-Region Orchestra, Midway Middle School Orchestra, and Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Academically, Haeun is the recipient of the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, Duke TIP Grand National recognition and scholarship, and a member of the National Junior Honor Society.

Robert Rosenfeld, cello  

2nd place: Robert Rosenfeld, cello 
Robert Rosenfeld is currently a senior at Cypress Woods High School and is a member of the Cy-Woods Orchestra. Robert began his cello studies at age 13 with Lachezar Kostov, and is currently studying with Houston Symphony Cellist Anthony Kitai. Prior to playing the cello, he played the piano for eight years. He also participated in the Texas State Theory Test, winning gold or silver medals six years in a row. He has participated in the TMEA All-Region Orchestra for the past five years, and was a member of the Houston Youth Symphony for three years, serving as its Principal Cellist in the spring of 2014. Robert has participated in and received “Superior” ratings for his performances in the district UIL Solo competitions since 8th grade; in addition, he won the UIL “Outstanding American Classic Music Festivals Soloist” award in the spring of 2014. Robert attended the Lamont School of Music’s Pre-College Academy at the University of Denver in the summer of 2012, Interlochen Arts Camp on a full merit scholarship in the summer of 2013, and ARIA International Summer Academy in the summer of 2014. In his free time, Robert enjoys bicycling, construction projects, watching movies and playing video games.

Ashley Xu, piano

Third Place: Ashley Xu, piano
Ashley is a junior at Seven Lakes High School, performing under the direction of Desiree Overree, and has been playing piano since the age of 5. She currently studies with Scott Holshouser, principal pianist of the Houston Symphony. Ashley has received several music awards, such as five All-State Winner awards and two Gold Cups from TFMC State Music Festival; 2nd place in Joyce Cochran Piano Competition; and an Outstanding Medal at TSSEC, to name a few. Ashley has also studied violin since the age of 10 under the direction of Mary Song, and has been a member of the TMEA Region and All-State orchestras. In her free time, Ashley enjoys singing, dancing, and reading.

We are pleased to announce the results of the 2014 FBSO Concerto Competition:

1st place: Ben Hoang, piano
2nd place: Bethany Bobbs, cello 
Honorable Mention: Tiffany Hu, cello 

Ben Hoang, piano 

1st place: Ben Hoang, piano
Ben Hoang, age 10, is a 5th grade student at Holy Family Catholic School in Austin, TX. He started playing piano at the age of 5 and is currently a piano student of Dr. Saida Kafarova. Ben's first debut with an orchestra was at the age of 9 when he toured with the Austin Symphony Orchestra on their annual high school concerts. In 2011, Ben won the Gold medal at the 7th International Chopin Youth Competition in Houston. In 2012, he won first place at the Texas State University's Young Artist Piano competition for grades 3-4. Ben is also a frequent first-place winner at the Austin Distric Music Teacher Association Solo Contests. Besides piano, Ben is active in the school math team, swim team, a red belt in Taekwondo, enjoys reading and playing video games.

2nd place: Bethany Bobbs, cello  

2nd place: Bethany Bobbs, cello 
Bethany Bobbs, age 11, currently studies cello with Christopher French, and studies piano with her mother, Catherine Bobbs. Bethany has attended the CIM Summer Sonata Piano Program, the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan on merit scholarship, and the Conservatory Music in the Mountains Program in Colorado where she won the opportunity to perform on their subscription series. Bethany was the youngest winner of the Cleveland Cello Society Scholarship at age 7, and was selected to solo with the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Orchestra three times, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2011, she received the Ohio’s prestigious Elementary Buckeye String Award. In 2013, Bethany received honorable mention in the Houston Civic Symphony Concerto Competition, won the National Music Federation Mary Alice Cox cello scholarship award and the Next Generation Award. Bethany is the youngest ever member of the Houston Youth Symphony. Bethany is homeschooled in the sixth grade, and loves ice skating, drawing, and playing with her kittens.

Honorable Mention:Tiffany Hu, cello 

Honorable Mention:Tiffany Hu, cello 
Tiffany Hu is a junior at Memorial High School. She began her cello studies with Mrs. Donna Rogers at age 11. Prior to playing the cello, she studied the piano for 3 years with Jane Sugar and Lynn Pao. She has been a member of the TMEA All-State Orchestra, All Region Orchestra and the Houston Youth Symphony Orchestra. She has been the Principal in these orchestras many times. She has participated in the ASTACAP every year and has received the Gold mark for her performance. She has also received the “Superior” rating for her performances in the district and UIL Solo competitions since 6th grade. She attended the Idyllwild Music Camp in 2012 by invitation of Mr. Larry Livingston (USC music professor) on a full scholarship. Tiffany is the Vice President in her Memorial High School Orchestra class and she will be performing with the orchestra at the Carnegie Hall in New York city in April 2014 under director Bingiee Shiu. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys listening to K-pop, talking to friends, and going to movies.

We are pleased to announce the results of the 2013 FBSO Concerto Competition:

1st place:  Christina Strohmann, piano
2nd place: Bowie Lin, violin
3rd place: Nathan Lo, piano

1st place: Christina Strohmann, piano 

Christina Strohmann, age 16, is an A Beka Academy DVD Homeschooler and is currently in 11th grade.  She began playing the piano at age seven and has attended various competitions in both China and America.  At age thirteen, she gave two solo recitals in China.  Her current private piano teacher is Mr. Scott Holshouser, the pianist for the Houston Symphony. 

Her hobbies include reading, watching television, listening to music, and making latch hook rugs.  She also enjoys spending time and hanging out with her friends from church. 

2nd place: Bowie Lin, violin 

Bowie Lin is a junior at Bellaire High School. He began his violin studies at the age of six with Joyce Durfee and later studied with Henry Rubin. He currently studies with Frank Huang. Bowie has been in first violin of the TMEA All-Region Symphony Orchestra since 7th grade and served as concertmaster and soloist of the All-Region Symphony Orchestra in 2012. He has also been in first violin in the TMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra since freshman year. Bowie’s other musical achievements include 1st place in Greater Houston Youth Orchestra Competition, Finalist in Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition, and 2nd place at the Houston Civic Symphony Young Artist Competition. He is also the concertmaster of the Sinfonia Orchestra at Bellaire High School and has received the Outstanding Soloist Award several times. In addition, Bowie has received scholarship every year from the Glassell Junior School of Art since the age of ten and is now enrolled in the Advanced Junior Studio Program under the tutelage of Jane Young. Bowie swims on the Bellaire High School swim team. He is a member of the National Honor Society and an officer in the Spanish National Honor Society as well as other clubs at his school. In his free time, Bowie enjoys watching movies, hanging out with friends, listening to music, singing, and enjoying fine food.

3rd place: Nathan Lo, piano

Nathan Lo currently enrolled at Kinkaid School,started the piano at age 4 and the cello at age 7. He currently study under John Weems for piano, and Lachezar Kostov and Brinton Smith for the cello. He has won numerous 1st place awards in competition through the area, including:

2004, 2006, 2008, 2009: First Place, Houston Forum for Young Artists competitions
2005: First Place, Texas State University in San Marco for Grades 3-4.
2006: First Place, Houston Tuesday Musical Club Foundation with $500 scholarship award
2007: Soloist, Bloch Piano Concerto Grosso
2012: First Place, TMTA Concerto Competition for Grade 11-12 Cello Awards:
2012: Co-Winner of the Clear Lake Concerto Competition

We are pleased to announce the results of the 2012 FBSO Concerto Competition:

Grand Prize: Christopher Henselman, Piano
Honorable Mention – Melissa Du, Violin
Honorable Mention – Andrew Shiau, Cello

Grand Prize: Christopher Henselman, Piano 

Christopher Henselman, a sixteen year-old resident of Austin, Texas, has extensive performance experience as soloist and in ensemble settings. He has performed as soloist with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and three times with the Austin Civic Orchestra. He is currently serving as piano/keyboard/celeste player with the Austin Civic Orchestra for his second season. His competitive awards include international, national, state, as well as regional honors. As a winner in the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition (New York City) at ages 9 and 10, he performed twice in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall with works by Bach, Shostakovich, Debussy, and Toch. He has earned multiple prizes in the United States Open Music Competition in California, the United States International Duo Piano Competition in Colorado, and the Debose National Piano Competition in Louisiana. He has been awarded top awards in the Texas Music Teachers Association Performance Competition at the TMTA state convention.

Christopher’s repertoire includes music of all historical eras, as well as jazz, duet, and duo piano literature. His performance schedule involves dozens of appearances each year, including recitals, festivals, competitions, and honors concerts. In addition to his passion for music, Christopher loves playing ultimate frisbee, juggling, and climbing mountains in the Rockies.

Melissa Du, Violin 

Melissa Du, 15, is a 10th grader at Cypress Falls High School. She is a distinguished honor roll student with straight “A” grades in all classes since elementary school. Melissa began her violin studies at 6 years old, and has been a member of TMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra, Houston Youth Symphony, and All Region high school orchestra. She has been concertmaster in her Region 27 orchestra in both middle school and high school, and consistently receives “Superior” ratings in Solo and Ensemble competitions in 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade.

In 2010, she won the Houston Civic Symphony Young Artist Competition. In 2011, she has won the Clear Lake Symphony Concerto Competition, and was also awarded second place in the Civic Symphony Concerto Competition Senior Division and third place in the Fort Bend Symphony Concerto Competition. She was selected to have a solo performance in the 2009 and 2011 Houston Young Artists “Rising Star” concert, and was a finalist in the 2011 and 2012 Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition. In 2010 Melissa was privileged to perform in a master class with well-known violinist Leila Josefowicz. Melissa currently studies with Eric Halen. In addition to her passion to classical music, Melissa also shows interests in other areas. She actively volunteers through her school and competes in competitive Science Olympiad tournaments. Her interests include surfing the web, having fun with her friends, eating out at restaurants, and watching good movies.

Andrew Shiau, Cello

Andrew Shiau started his studies with Cornelia Watkins at age eleven. He has won competitions including the Houston Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, the Clear Lake Concerto Competition, and the Houston Civic Symphony Concerto Competition. He won the bronze medal at the Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition. In addition, he has been a member of the Texas all-state orchestra for three years, and was selected as a 2011 Houston Young Artist. He attended Madeline Island Music Camp in 2009 and 2011 and the Indiana University Summer String Academy in 2010. He has played in masterclasses with luminaries such as Steven Isserlis. He enjoys reading and listening to classical music.

First-Place Co-Winners: Patrick Pan (piano) and Nina Sandberg (violin)

Nina Sandberg 

Nina Sandberg, 16, is a junior at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. She began her violin studies at the age of five with her former teacher, Lucy Shaw. She currently studies with Professor Kenneth Goldsmith at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. At her high school, she is a member of the chamber and symphony orchestras and participates in the HSPVA chamber music program.

As part of the Inferno string quartet, she has performed on The Front Row (KUHF) and on a St. Cecilia Chamber Music Society concert. She participated in the Rice Preparatory School chamber music program from 2008-2010, taking part in several chamber ensembles. Over the past two summers she attended Madeline Island Music Camp where she pursued her interest in chamber music. Nina also enjoys attending concerts, riding her bike, reading, and spending time with her friends and her crazy cat, Zeke.

Patrick Pan, piano soloist 

Patrick Pan, 12 years of age, graduated from Westbrook Intermediate School in May 2010. He is pursuing his interests in science, music, math, and computer science as a homeschooled student. Patrick plans to attend Clear Lake High School in fall of 2011. Patrick started playing piano at three and violin at seven. His current music teachers are Mr. John Weems (piano) and Mr. Henry Rubin (violin).

Patrick has won the titles of Houston Young Artist (HYAC, 2009-2010 and 2011-2012) and Impulse Young Artist (2010) as a pianist. He also won first place at the Houston Forum Young Artist Piano Competition (2006, 2007, and 2009), TMTA State Piano Competition (2010), first place at the Clear Lake Symphony Concerto Competition (Violin in 2010 and Piano in 2011), first place at the Houston Civic Symphony Concerto Competition (Violin in 2011), and first place at the Houston Youth Symphony Concerto Competition (Violin in 2011). Patrick has been a member of the Houston Youth Symphony for three years and has been concertmaster. He has been a first violinist of the Texas Region 17 Orchestra yearly from 2007 to 2011, and is in the top level of the TMEA All-State Orchestra (2011).

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Second place: Clio Sun (piano)
Third place: Melissa Du (violin)

I am pleased to announce the results of the 2010 FBSO Concerto Competition:

Grand Prize Winner: Charles Seo, cello

Charles Seo, Cello

Charles Seo, performing Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major.

Charles Seo is an 8th grade honor roll student and is a National Junior Honor Society Member at Memorial Middle School in the Spring Branch ISD. He began playing cello when he first came to the United States which was less than 5 years ago. He has been a member of the Houston Youth Symphony(HYS) for 5 years and is the principal cellist in the HYS, despite the fact that he is one of the youngest members. He was also the principal cellist in the Region 23 Orchestra in the 6th, 7th and 8th grade. He has received "Outstanding" rankings at concerto competitions. He also received honorable mention as a 6th grader in the 2008 Houston Civic Symphony Competition as well as in the HYS Competition.

In 2009, he won the Civic Symphony competition and the HYS solo competition. He went to the Madeline Island Music Camp and he was invited to perform for the Garden of Music Concert in Minnesota. Also, he was invited for the West Houston Assistance Ministries(WHAM) concert as a special guest performer with the Civic Orchestra. This year, he won the Fort Bend Symphony Competition. Charles was taught by Donna Rogers. He is now working with Dr. Brinton Smith. He enjoys playing the saxophone and Taekwondo.

Erik Lawrence, pianoErik Lawrence, piano

Erik Lawrence is a 17-year-old home schooled student. He has been with the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program at the Shepherd School of Music since the age of ten. His former teacher was Dr. Sohyoung Park and his teacher for the past two years has been Dr. Robert Roux, who heads the Piano Department at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. He has participated in the Chamber Music program and both Honor's Recitals with the Preparatory Program there.

Erik was a finalist in the 2007 Texas Music Teacher's Association State Competition, a finalist in the 2007 and 2008 World Piano Pedagogy Conference Competitions, and a winner in the 2005, 2007 and 2009 Houston Young Artist Competitions. He attended the 2009 Indiana University Piano Academy, receiving the maximum Merit Scholarship as well as the only Incentive award. He played the Brahm's Piano Concerto No. 1 as the finale performer in the Honor's Recital. Erik has also been privileged to participate in numerous Masterclasses with well-known pianists, including Jon Kimura Parker, Jean-Phillipe Collard, Gustavo Romero, Jonathan Biss, and Andre Watts. In addition to his passion for Classical music, Erik enjoys reading the Classics, including C.S.Lewis and Herman Melville. He loves traveling, body surfing, and Thai food.

Erik Wheeler, Cello

Erik Wheeler, cello

Erik Wheeler, 15, is a student at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas. Erik began his cello studies with Diane Bonds and continued with Steve Laven, Lynn Harrell and Brinton Smith. He currently studies with Desmond Hoebig. Erik performed numerous solos as a member of the Johnston Middle School Advanced Orchestra, under the direction of Kathryn Brown.

Erik has been a member of the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra for six years, and was the winner of the GHYO Concerto Competition for the String Ensemble and the Orchestra, appearing as soloist both times. He also performed as soloist with the Houston Civic Symphony and the Clear Lake Symphony as winner of their respective Junior Division Young Artist's competitions. Last year, Erik was selected as the first-chair cellist of the Texas All-State Symphony Orchestra. He won the GHYO Concerto Competition this past December and will perform with GHYO in May, and performed as soloist with the HSPVA Orchestra in December. Both of Erik's parents are professional musicians.

Honorable Mention:

  • Erik Lawrence, piano
  • Erik Wheeler, cello

The Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce the winners of our Ninth Annual Young Artist Concerto Competition held January 10, 2009 in Missouri City.

The Grand Prize Winner is Benjamin Zannoni (Viola) of Houston. Benjamin Zannoni featured guest artist at "In a Latin Mood," a concert full of the fascinating rhythms and melodies of Latin America. Mr. Zannoni performed the first movement of the Viola Concerto by Carl Stamitz.

Benjamin Zannoni
Benjamin Zannoni (Viola) of Houston
Christopher Henselman
Christopher Henselman (Piano) of Austin
Liana Wang
Liana Wang (Piano) of Houston
Erik Wheeler
Erik Wheeler (Cello) of Houston

The Runners Up are Christopher Henselman (Piano) of Austin; Erik Wheeler (Cello) of Houston; and Liana Wang (Piano) of Houston.

The Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra wishes to thank all the participants in the 2007 Young Artist Concerto Competition which took place on Saturday, January 27, 2007. Our four distinguished judges were: Jennifer Oliver, Debbie Moran, Amy Floyd, and Paul Harris.

Here are the results of the 2007 Young Artist Concerto Competition of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra.

First Place Winners

Benjamin Kwak

1st Place Piano -
Benjamin Kwak, age 16
Kinkaid School
Teacher: John Weems

Hyeok Kwon

1st Place Strings -
Hyeok Kwon, age 15
High School for Performing and Visual Arts
Teacher: Donna Rogers

The first place winners will perform with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra on the May 13, 2007, concert at the Stafford Centre.

Honorable Mention:

Aidin Ashoori

Honorable Mention: Piano
Aidin Ashoori, age 17
Pearland High School
Teacher: John Weems

Andrew Sheu

Honorable Mention: Violin
Andrew Sheu, age 16
Elkins High School
Teacher: Ya-ning Hu

Kaede Uesugi

Honorable Mention: Piano
Kaede Uesugi, age 9
West University Elementary School
Teacher: Yelena Brusilovskaya

Kelly Ding

Honorable Mention: Violin
Kelly Ding, age 16
Clear Creek High School
Teacher: Henry Rubin

Fort Bend Symphony Announces
Young Artist Concerto Competition Winners for 2006


Kevin Charubhat
Winner -
Kevin Charubhat
Westside High School
Teacher: Galina Lay

Kana Tanaka
Runner Up -
Kana Tanaka
Walker Station Elementary School
Teacher: Shu Hao Pao

Kenneth Chan
Honorable Mention -
Kenneth Chan
Honorable Mention
Teacher: Carmen Yip


Jasper Chen
Runner Up -
Jasper Chen, Violin
Cinco Ranch High School
Teacher: Yueming Song (Mary)

Jennifer Moon
Honorable Mention -
Jennifer Moon, Cello
James E. Taylor High School
Teacher: Vagram Saradjian

Lillian Pettit
Honorable Mention -
Lillian Pettit, Cello
Teacher: Chris French


Rebecca El-Saleh
Winner -
Rebecca El-Saleh, Harp
Teacher: Kimberly Snaufer

Marielle Ogletree Concerto Competition

Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra
Marielle Ogletree Concerto Competition
Attention: Diana Quam, Competition Chair
P.O. Box 16861
Sugar Land, Texas 77496

Phone: 281-276-9642
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