2021/2022 Winners

 

Meet the Finalists of Classicalia's inaugural competition.  🎉

Finalists of Category 1: 11 years old and under 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

RYAN HUANG (piano)

Ontario-based pianist Ryan Huang was recently awarded first prize in the XXII The Nutcracker International Televised Music Competition in Moscow (2021). Other competitive achievements include first prizes at the Young Euregio Piano Award International Competition (Germany, 2021); WPTA Finland International Piano Competition (2021), Steinway & Son Junior Competition (Canada, 2020/2019), Canadian Music Competition (Canada, 2018), and GOCAA International Competition (USA, 2018); and second prize at the 27th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for Children and Youth (Poland, 2019). Ryan has performed in halls including Carnegie Hall and Shanghai Symphony Hall, and with orchestras including Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra in China, Moscow Symphony Orchestra in Russia, Tarnow Chamber Orchestra in Poland, and Napoli Youth Orchestra in Italy. In addition to his piano studies, he has earned High Honors by John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth in both math and language. In his leisure time, Ryan likes to play chess, hockey, and baseball.

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SUNNY RITTER (piano)

Austrian pianist Sunny Ritter has studied at the Musikuniversität Wien, Toronto’s RCM Taylor Academy, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Since her first gold medal at six years old, Sunny has triumphed at more than 25 international piano competitions in Austria, Germany, Italy, Romania, Russia, and Canada. She swept up the first prize and all special prizes at the Steinway Klavierspielwettbewerb and received the Grand Prize across all age categories at Mihaela Ursuleasa IPC. At 10, she competed at the senior level and won the top prize at Toronto’s Kiwanis Festival. Sunny made her orchestral debut in Bucharest and at Vienna’s Rathaus at eight years old. Although COVID-19 postponed her Koerner Hall debut, Sunny didn’t miss a beat. A pioneer of the lockdown-livestream, she was soon performing solo recitals like Playing from my Heart for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. The lockdowns have made her all the more grateful for live performing opportunities.

 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SOPHIE WAGNER & ALEXANDER WAGNER (piano)

Sibling piano duo from Germany, Sophie and Alexander Wagner have been performing together and winning competitions for several years. The pair started playing piano at age five and currently study with Ilja Scheps. At nine, Alexander performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 20. with the Shanghai Symphonic Orchestra conducted by his grandfather Runyu Hou. As an encore he played Mozart’s Turkish March with his five-year-old sister Sophie, and since then, the children have performed in various international competitions together, returning home with first prizes at: Steinway Piano Competition in Hamburg (2019), German SWR Ensemble Competition, 3rd International Piano Competition Music of the World (Israel), and the International Hamburger Instrumental Competition. The duo holds the honour of being the only children to give a solo concert during the renowned Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in Germany. In 2018 they participated in a television show in Shanghai with Chinese music stars as mentors.

 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SHANG-EN HSIEH (violin)

Born in Taiwan, Shang-En Hsieh began learning piano and violin at the age of five. Since 2017 he has been widely recognized on both instruments with a unique stage charisma and been invited to perform as a soloist with orchestras. He has participated in numerous Taiwanese and international music competitions and has won more than one hundred first prizes. He was the winner of MozARTe Aachen, Piano Talents and Merci, Maestro! International Piano Competitions. He won first prize in Academy of Taiwan Strings, Città di Barletta, Osaka and Josef Micka Violin Competitions, and major prizes in Young Musician Tallinn, Leonid Kogan and K. Lipinski & H. Wieniawski International Competition for Young Violinists. He currently studies piano with Andreas Weber at the Mozarteum, and violin with Igor Petrushevski of Richard Wagner Conservatory.

 

Finalists of Category 2: 12-17 years old 



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

GISELA DEKORT MESALLES (saxophone)

Spanish saxophonist Gisela Dekort Mesalles was awarded a scholarship from Fundació de Música Ferrer-Salat in 2020 at age 16 to begin her Bachelor of Music studies two years early at the Fundació Conservatori Liceu under Albert Julià. She has performed as a soloist with Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León and has won many international awards. In 2019, as member of Mezzo Quartet, she won first prize at Pugem a l'escenari of Joventuts musicals de Sant Cugat del Vallès, and first prize in the Sant Anastasi competition in Lleida. In 2020 she was a semi-finalist of the Superior Category at the Intercentros Melómano competition, and she won second prize in at the XVI Encontro Galego do Saxofón; and the Special Saxophone Prize in the Conservatori de Terrassa. In 2021, she became a finalist in the Spanish talent TV show Prodigios (RTVE-1) and won many first prizes in various online competitions. 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

NIKKA GERSHMAN-PEPPER (flute)

American flutist Nikka Gershman-Pepper attends the Pre-Conservatory Program at the Colburn Music Academy in Los Angeles. She is the youngest ever Haynes Young Artist, representing her flute-maker. In 2019 she was a soloist in an LA Youth Philharmonic’s performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and has been the first-prize winner of numerous competitions, including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Young Artists’ Concerto Competition, Rising Stars Grand Prix (Berlin), Flutes by the Sea International Competition, Chicago Flute Club (Senior Division), and the Los Angeles division of Music International Grand Prix. Her solo concerts include performances in Germany as well as throughout LA and in New York. She was heard as a guest performer on NPR’s From the Top program in 2022, and received a Sir James Galway Merit Scholarship Award to attend the Galway Flute Festival 2022.

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ANDREW SIJIE LI (piano)

An active young performer, Andrew has given solo recitals in Metz, France, and the Renming University Concert Hall in Beijing, China, after making his solo debut at the age of eight at the Castello Scaligero in Verona, Italy. He has recently become the youngest student to be offered a full scholarship to the Frost Chopin Academy, and has received scholarships from the Miami Music Festival and the Joseph Gingold Chamber Music Festival. Andrew’s piano competition wins include the Special Prize of Best Canadian Young Artist at the Canadian International Piano Competition, and first prizes in both the Concerto Competition at the Miami Classical Music Festival, and the Hong Kong Youth Piano Competition's Beethoven group. Aside from playing the piano, Andrew is interested in world history. He also enjoys reading, movies, swimming, and hiking.

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ARTEMY SOKOLOVSKY (piano)

Russian-Israeli pianist Artemy Sokolovsky is a student of the Moscow Gnessin Special School of Music studying with Elena Berezkina. He wrote his first melody at four years old, and by seven had performed in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. In addition to winning numerous awards for his work on the piano, Artemy has performed throughout Moscow (Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory halls, Zaryadye Hall, Moscow Philharmonic, Pashkov House); in cathedrals and halls in Italy, Austria, The Netherlands, Ireland, Ukraine, and Israel; and at Embassy receptions at the residences of the Ambassadors to Germany, Norway, and Hungary. Artemy has performed with the Russian National Orchestra, Pavel Slobodkin Centre Orchestra, and Dubna Symphony Orchestra, and in 2021, was invited to perform at the Piano Duo Festival in Amsterdam. He has participated in masterclasses with Dmitry Bashkirov, Grigory Gruzman, Einar Steen-Nokleberg, Victor Ryabchikov, Antonio di Cristofano, Yulianna Avdeeva, Eduard Kunz, and others.

 

Finalists of Category 3: 18-25 years old 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SOLÈNE LE VAN (soprano)

Born in France, and now living in the USA, soprano Solène Le Van is a prizewinner of the Metropolitan Opera Council (2nd Prize Midwest / Joyce Castle Award) and the French Embassy (Cultural Services Award). She has won eighteen national and eight international competitions, including the Concours Léopold Bellan in Paris, the Ise-Shima Competition in Japan, the Danubia Liszt Contest in Budapest, and Classical Singer. In 2022, Solène will sing at Festival Theater Hudson as the Shepherd in Tannhäuser and debut the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at Vienna’s Musikverein. Other future engagements include recitals for the Metropolitan Opera and Pasadena Opera guilds, a concert with the Burbank Philharmonic, and performances at the Schloss Merode in Langerwehe, the Kloster Eberbach in Eltville am Rhein, and the Theater Meißen in Germany. Solène is a Princeton graduate and the recipient of highest honors from the Royal College of Music, London, in voice and violin.

 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SOFIA ROS (accordion)

In 2020, Scotland-based accordionist Sofia Ros won First Prize at one of the most prestigious International Accordion Competitions “Trophee Mondiale de l’accordeon”. She has also been awarded at the Klingenthal (Germany) and Castelfidardo (Italy) competitions. As soloist with orchestra, she has performed in various occasions at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh including works by Astor Piazzolla and Richard Galliano. In February 2022, she will perform Piazzolla’s Aconcagua Concerto with the Irving Symphony Orchestra in Dallas, Texas. In September 2021 she made her debut at Vienna’s Musikverein as part of the prize for Vienna International Music Competition. Sofia is supported by the Craxton Memorial Trust Award (UK), Drake Calleja Trust, and Talent Unlimited. She is an EU undergraduate ABRSM scholar at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she is currently studying with the Serbian accordionist Djordje Gajic.

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SOPHIA STOYANOVICH (violin)

American violinist Sophia Stoyanovich has captivated audiences since her premiere at age ten with the Bremerton Symphony. She has soloed with numerous orchestras, and has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia. Recent highlights include joining Chamber Music America as recipient of the 2021 Ensemble Forward grant, winner of the 2021 Beverly Hills National Auditions, and debuts on The Dame Myra Hess, Great Music L.A., and Encinitas Music by the Sea Concert Series. Sophia co-hosts the podcast American Stories with pianist Derek Wang, which examines and celebrates American identity through music in performance, illuminated by personal histories and reflections from featured guests of all walks of life. Based in New York City, Sophia currently performs with the New York Chamber Orchestra, Symphony in C, and is a chamber mentor for Midori & Friends. Sophia received her Bachelor and Master’s of Music degrees from The Juilliard School.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

THOMAS TOROK (piano)

Hungarian-born Canadian pianist Thomas Torok made his orchestral debut in his first year studying at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at the Royal Conservatory of Music, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in Koerner Hall. With an ARCT from the Royal Conservatory with first class honours with distinction, Thomas has also had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses with John O’Conor, Anton Nel, Stephen Hough, Emanuel Ax, Marc Durand, Ronan O’Hora, and John Perry. Recent engagements include chamber music performances and recitals at Mazzoleni Hall and at the Canadian Opera Company. Since 2018, Thomas has been studying as a scholarship student at the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School pursuing a Bachelor of Music Performance under the tutelage of professors James Anagnoson and Li Wang, and he is expected to graduate in May, 2022.

 

 

 

Meet the 38 Semi-Finalists of Classicalia's inaugural competition.  

Semi-Finalists of Category 1: 11 years old and under 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

JUSTIN CHEN

Canadian pianist Justin Chen began studying the piano at age six, composition at age seven, made his Carnegie Hall debut at age eight, won the Canadian Music Trophy in the CCC Music Festival at age nine, and began studying at The Royal Conservatory Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at age ten. He was invited to perform his own composition at the Canadian Junior Original Concert in Winnipeg and in the same year, participated in masterclasses in Vienna with Professor Elzbieta Wiedner-Zajaz. In 2020 and 2021, Justin won the Gold Prize in the Steinway Piano Competition. He won first place in the 2021 GOCAA International Piano Competition and became a 2021 GOCCA Young Artist. Justin loves to do things that require creativity. As a classical music lover, he is always finding ways to connect classical music to other parts of his life.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

CELINA HÖFERLIN

Austrian pianist Celina Höferlin started studying music at five and began at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory – Music Academy Frankfurt at age six. Since then, she has been a frequent prize winner of competitions including the Steinway Piano Competition in Hamburg, Henle Piano Competition, Münchner Klavierpodium, International Feurich Competition with the invitation to the Clavis Piano Festival St Petersburg, International Grotrian-Steinweg Piano Competition with a special prize by Braunschweigische Louis Spohr Gesellschaft, and International Piano Competition Frederic Chopin in Bacau with highest scores. She has performed at Gläserner Saal in Vienna’s Musikverein, at Laeiszhalle Hamburg, at the Staatstheater Braunschweig, at Carnegie Hall in New York, and at Kammermusiksaal in the Berliner Philharmonie. She is currently a pre-college student with Andreas Weber at the Mozarteum. Besides piano, Celina loves playing flute, painting, reading, doing handicrafts, and going to operas.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SHANG-EN HSIEH

Semi-Finalist in Piano

Born in Taiwan, Shang-En Hsieh began learning piano and violin at the age of five. Since 2017 he has been widely recognized on both instruments with a unique stage charisma and been invited to perform as a soloist with orchestras. He has participated in numerous Taiwanese and international music competitions and has won more than one hundred first prizes. He was the winner of MozARTe Aachen, Piano Talents and Merci, Maestro! International Piano Competitions. He won first prize in Academy of Taiwan Strings, Città di Barletta, Osaka and Josef Micka Violin Competitions, and major prizes in Young Musician Tallinn, Leonid Kogan and K. Lipinski & H. Wieniawski International Competition for Young Violinists. He currently studies piano with Andreas Weber at the Mozarteum, and violin with Igor Petrushevski of Richard Wagner Conservatory.

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ALEKSANDRA ILYASOVA

Russian pianist Aleksandra Ilyasova began playing the piano at six years old. She is currently a student at Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music, studying with Elena Berezkina. In 2021 Aleksandra was a first prize laureate of III John Field International Competition (Ireland-Russia). She has had the wonderful opportunity to play with an orchestra already on several occasions: she was the 2020 second prize winner of Concert for Piano and Orchestra All-Russian Competition. Some of her current repertoire includes Bach’s Concerto No. 5 in F minor, and the first movements of both Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major and Mozart’s Concerto No. 8 in C Major.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SALMA KHAKIMOV

Canadian violinist Salma Khakimov is a multi-award winner from the North York Music Festival, Unionville Music Academy Competition (2018, 2019, 2020) and Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association competitions since she was five years old. In 2021, she participated in the OMNI Competition, and won the Yannick Nézet-Séguin Prize, with a $2,000 scholarship. In addition, she won first prize at the Ontario Music Festivals Association Provincials for Grade 10. Salma regularly performs at recitals, outreach concerts and events with her flute-playing brother, Karim. In 2019, Salma was accepted to the Phil and Eli Taylor Music Academy for Young Artists, and in 2021, she received full tuition scholarship, studying with Marie Bérard. When not playing violin, Salma enjoys playing piano, dancing, reading, painting and photography, and expanding her intellectual and spiritual horizons. Her favourite composers are Bach, Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Kabalevsky.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

THANNAPAS LUANPITPONG

Thai pianist Thannapas Luanpitpong started piano at age three, and is currently studying with Pornphan Banternghansa and Christopher Janwong Mckiggan at the Piano Academy of Bangkok. She has won numerous first prizes in music competitions including: the Platinum Prize for highest score in The Joyeux Music International Competition (Singapore, 2021), first prize and Best Etude Award at The UCSI University International Piano Festival & Competition (Malaysia, 2020), first prize at Southeast Asia Piano Competition (Malaysia, 2020), and first prize at Yamaha Thailand Music Festival (Electone solo in 2020, piano solo and kids singing in 2019). She won third prize at the Sicily International Piano Festival & Competition (Italy, 2019) for piano solo (ages 8-18), and was invited to perform at three concerts at Carnegie Hall at age six. Thannapas has been named an Outstanding Youth by the Thai Ministry of Education for her achievements in music.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ANGELINA NGUYEN

Angelina is from Southern California, USA. She has been a student of Little Chopin Piano School since age five and is currently under the guidance of Melody Chiang and Principal Molly Nguyen. Angelina entered her first international competitions at age seven and achieved first prizes in more than one category. Since then, she has become a prize winner of several other national and international competitions as a soloist, as well as in concerto, duo, and quartet categories at the Chicago International Music Competition and Festival, International Duo Piano Competition and Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

NOAH PETERSEN

Noah Petersen is a pianist from British Columbia, Canada, studying in the gifted learners’ program at his elementary school. He has studied piano since turning five, and finds that playing music brings beauty and colours to life. He is an award winner from numerous music competitions and has had the opportunity to perform in various provincial and international events. Always interested in acquiring new skills and taking on new challenges, Noah is learning to play the drums in a rock band at his school. His other passions include playing soccer and pencil sketching. Before the pandemic he was part of the advanced development team in his city’s soccer club. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his big brother, read, draw anime and dragons, watch movies, take walks with his family, swim, ski, and eat sushi and dim-sum!



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ANTONIO ŠARIĆ

From Bosnia and Herzegovina, Antonio started playing violin at seven years old. He has had the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the Mostar Symphony Orchestra in his hometown on several occasions, and has begun winning awards in international competitions in Croatia, BiH, Serbia, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, Italy, Spain, Russia, and France. He is proud to have claimed several laureate prizes not only within these music competitions, but also academically: he won recognition for his standing as one of the best overall students in the country during the last academic year. Antonio attends the music school Muzička škola I i II stupnja Mostar and studies with Ana Pranjković. He regularly attends masterclasses with renowned violinists and pedagogues.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

CALLIOPE SMITH

Calliope Smith has been playing the violin since she was three, and currently studies at the San Francisco Conservatory Pre-College with Natasha Makhijani. She attends Synapse School in California and is a member of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, winning this ensemble’s concerto competition for three years in a row. Calliope has been awarded first prizes in many competitions, including the Vivo, Crescendo International, Little Mozarts, Great Composers, and Rising Talents of the Americas competitions. She was the youngest prize winner in the 2020 Enkor Violin Competition as well as a finalist in the 2021 Vancouver Competition. Calliope recently played in masterclasses for Ariana Kim, Violetta Todorova, Tanya Tomkins, and David Chernyavsky. In her spare time, Calliope loves reading, cooking, and doing math. When she grows up, she wants to be a violinist, composer, conductor, and astrophysicist.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SOPHIE ELIZABETH WAGNER

Young German pianist Sophie Elizabeth Wagner has already performed in many countries and has been awarded many first prizes, including the following in her age categories: In 2019: 83rd Steinway Piano Competition in Hamburg for both piano solo and duet. In 2020: 12th International Youth Piano Competition in Essen; International Music Festival Paris; 10th International Piano Competition in Milan; and 3rd International Piano Competition in Israel. In 2021: 28th Hamburg International Instrumental Competition for both solo and duet; 9th Cesar Franck International Piano Competition in Belgium and winner of the Grand Prix - BNP Paribas Fortis Laureate. Also in 2021, Sophie and her brother Alexander performed a concert during the renowned Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in Germany.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

KHLOE WU

Canadian pianist Khloe Wu is six years old and the youngest Semi-Finalist in Classicalia’s 2021 competition. Her parents named her Khloe so she would grow up to be a Kind, Healthy, Loving, Optimistic and an Excellent person. Her musicality was noticed at 20 months old when she was able to sing the entire Canadian national anthem. She started piano lessons at four years old, and loves to play for an audience. Khloe loves drawing, Disney princesses, and travel, having already visited many states in the U.S., mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan.



Semi-Finalists of Category 2: 12-17 years old 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

REBECCA BEATO

New York violinist Rebecca Beato began her violin studies at age four and currently studies with Viktor Basis. In 2022, she was chosen as a semi-finalist and Achievement Award winner at the 25th annual Sphinx Competition Junior Division. Rebecca has been awarded at the Rudolf Barshai International Strings Competition (2021), Camerata Artist International Concerto Competition (2021), Lyra Music Competition (2021), VIVO International Music Competition (2018, 2019 and 2020), New York Solo Competition (2019) and Cremona International Music Competition (2016). She gave her first solo performance with the Cremona International Music Academy orchestra at the age of 10 in Italy. Rebecca co-authored and was lead co-illustrator of the children’s book “Who is Florence Price?”, featured on NPR and the Good Morning America. She was granted The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Award in 2019 and has appeared on NPR’s “From The Top” show in 2020.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SOPHIA GENG

Sophia started learning violin at age five and is currently in the studio of Kelly Parkins-Lindstrom at the Phil and Eli Taylor Academy for Young Artists at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada. In 2015, she won Fourth Prize at the Hong Kong International Violin Competition as well as first place at the Guangdong Province Strings Provincial Competition in 2016. In 2017, Sophia performed alongside the Vienna Boys Choir during their tour in China. Her past teachers include Kaiyi Ma, Rui Xu and late Victor Danchenko. Outside of music, Sophia enjoys reading, swimming and mathematics.

 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

OLIVIA & MATTEO GIRALDI

As a sister/brother violin duo, Olivia and Matteo are ambitious, dedicated young musicians. From Ontario, Canada, they are French immersion students and have both been studying violin from a young age. Olivia was recently voted “most likely to be remembered for her kindness” by her peers, and is keen to pursue a career helping others. Matteo is both gregarious and sensitive, and although he’s not sure what he wants to do when he grows up, he thinks he might be a good lawyer! The pair has won numerous awards for their musical endeavours, both as a duet and as soloists. including the Toronto Kiwanis Festival and also the North York Music Festival in 2021 (first prize for Olivia, and second for Matteo; and first prize for their duet at both festivals), and the OMFA Provincial Finals (first prize and “Best in Class” for Matteo, and second for Olivia; and first prize for their duet).



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

KARIM KHAKIMOV

Canadian flutist Karim Khakimov hails from a musical family; his mother is a pianist and his sister Salma plays the violin. He is a multi-award winner at the North York, Unionville and other music festivals, as well as the OMFA Provincials Gold Medal for level 7 flute. He is the recipient of two RCM gold medals, including the National Gold Medal for flute performance Level 8, and of the Dianne and Robert Aitken Scholarship for Promising Flutists at the Contemporary Showcase in 2020. Karim studies with Susan Hoeppner at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. He loves to play solo and chamber music, and when not playing music, he is interested in digital art, video editing and technology. In 2020, Karim, his family and friends organized four live-streamed classical music concerts, raising more than $1,000 for a children’s charity.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ALLISON KIM

US-based pianist Allison Kim grew up in Virginia. She later moved to South Korea, where she made her concerto debut at the age of 10 playing Mozart with the Prime Philharmonic Orchestra, and had her solo recital debut at age 11 playing for the Kumho Prodigy Series at a packed Kumho Yonsei Art Hall. Since then, she has performed recitals at the Auer Hall at Indiana University for the Edward Auer Piano Workshop Young Artist Showcase (2018), in Halle, Germany for the Euro Music Festival (2019), a solo recital at the Lotte Concert Hall (2021), a Prokofiev concerto at the Seongnam Arts Center (2021), a joint recital at the Mozart Hall (2021), and at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, DC for the Asian American Music Society’s Prelude to Lunar New Year Young Musician Concert (2022). First prizes include the 2020 Korea Steinway Competition and the 2019 Korea Chopin Competition.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

RUTH KIM

American violinist Ruth Kim started violin at age three, and currently studies under Desiree Ruhstrat. She made her solo debut with the Midwest Young Artists Orchestra when she was twelve and has been awarded numerous times at DePaul University, Sejong Music Competition, Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Confucius Music Festival, Society of American Musicians, and Stanger Young Artists Audition. Ruth’s chamber ensemble, The Ardente String Quartet won Second Prize in The Enkor International Competition, earned the audience prize at the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, and an honorable mention at the Midwest National Chamber Music Competition. She has been the concertmaster of Midwest Young Artists Orchestra since she was eleven and this year received a Merit Scholarship for her involvement. Besides competing, Ruth relishes in giving back to her community by volunteering at local youth programs to teach younger children and performing for her church community.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

PINN MAHASARANOND

Thai pianist Pinn Mahasaranond studies music at the Piano Academy of Bangkok under Pornphan Banternghansa and Christopher Janwong Mckiggan. Solo performances have included the Budding Artist Concert by Pro Musica, and Sicily International Piano Festival & Competition. Pinn has won Platinum & Best Virtuoso Award from the 3rd WPTA Singapore International Piano Competition, Absolute Prize from 2021 Indonesia International Youth Piano Competition, First Prize from Bremen International Piano Competition Summer 2021, Fifth Prize from the 2021 CONERO International Music Festival & Competition, First Prize in her age group at the 8th GOCAA 2021, and more. She has workshopped her skills at masterclasses with Adam Gyorgy, Jenna Sherry, Prach Bundeesakunchoke, Daniel Horn, Steven Spooner, Jay Hershberger, and Christopher Harding.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

SOPHIA NER

Canadian cellist Sophia Ner started playing cello when she was nine years old in her elementary school’s strings program where she could choose between playing the violin or cello. The sound of the cello has always captivated Sophia, and she was drawn to study it. She has completed her Grade 10 exam with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and Grade 8 music theory. She studies with Janelle Ragno in British Columbia. Outside of cello, Sophia enjoys playing baseball with her local league and badminton. She works hard to balance sports, music, and schoolwork.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

CEDAR-ROSE NEWMAN

Australian violinist Cedar-Rose Newman studies with Lucie Robert at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College, where she was a scholarship student from 2017–2021. She was inspired to learn violin after hearing works of Vivaldi and Bach played on her great grandmother’s violin; she now enjoys the opportunity to perform on this instrument. Cedar has performed recitals as soloist with orchestra, in chamber music, and orchestral concerts in Australia, North America, and Europe, and enjoys the many friendships she has made across the world while pursuing music. She will start a Bachelor of Performance in 2022 in violin. She also plays piano, having received her piano performance Licentiate Diploma in 2020. Outside of music, Cedar enjoys the outdoors (rock-climbing, bouldering, running, surfing, and skiing), cooking, and caring for the family dog, Benjamin.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ALBINA ANTONIETTA NICEFORO

Australian soprano Albina Antonietta Niceforo has performed on stage since age three, and has represented Australia in music competitions and recitals throughout the world. Her most recent accomplishments include First Prize in Nouvelles Étoiles (France, 2022), and being a finalist in the Angel Voice Winners' League (Serbia). Albina has been awarded first prize in: Forte International Music Competition, American Protégé, Crescendo International Music Competition, 21st Century Talents Music Competition, Red Maple International Music Competition, and Imka Classical Music and Dance Competition. Her love of singing has taken her to Carnegie Hall in New York and to the townships of Sanremo, Italy where she was given the opportunity to represent Australia in the 10th Edition of the Sanremo Junior World Finals receiving 3rd Classified in the competition. Albina was also invited to the 2020 Florence International Music and Arts Festival where she performed in a recital held at Santo Stefano in Florence.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

EVAN PYNE

Since his solo orchestral debut at the age of 11 with the Canadian Sinfonietta, violinist Evan Pyne has performed concerti with the North York Concert Orchestra and Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. He placed third at the International Ilona Fehér Violin Competition in Budapest (2019), and won First Prize in the Canadian Music Competition (2018). At the 8th International Noche en Madrid Competition, he placed second in his age group in the solo category and first in the chamber category. In 2021, Evan placed fourth at the Rudolph Barshai International Strings competition and was a finalist at the 13th International Grumiaux Competition. Evan has been awarded at the Kiwanis and North York music festivals and Unionville Music Academy Competitions. He received one of 10 awards of excellence from the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 2021. He studies with Marie Bérard and currently plays on an award-winning violin made by Maurizio Tadioli.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

EDEN SILVERBERG

Canadian violinist Eden Silverberg began her violin studies at the age of three. She studies at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists and recently received her ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has competed at the Canadian Music Competitions and received two first place awards at the National Finals in Quebec City and Vancouver. She was chosen in 2019 to play at Koerner Hall as a soloist at the ARCT Convocation. Eden has been fortunate to perform as a soloist with the Cathedral Bluffs Orchestra and the Canadian Sinfonietta. She was a winner of a concerto competition for the Toronto Summer Music Festival and played the Bach Double Concerto in D minor with Jonathan Crow, the concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She now studies privately with Jonathan Crow and Barry Shiffman. In her spare time Eden loves to play tennis and volleyball.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

JERRY TIAN

Canadian pianist Jerry Tian studies with Olga Chichova and has received multiple first prizes at regional competitions including the Peel, Burlington, North York, and Kiwanis Music Festivals. Provincially, he has placed annually at the Ontario Music Festival Association competition (first in 2017, second in 2018, and first in 2020). Jerry attended the Canadian National Music Competition in 2018 and was awarded third place in the under-13 category. In 2019, he won second place at the American Protege International Romantic Music Competition. In addition, Jerry won first place at the 2021 GOCAA International Piano Competition. He was selected in the 2020 Chopin Jeune Competition in Switzerland, and has attended masterclasses with Boris Petrushansky, Sofya Gulyak, Brett Kingsbury, Mia Bach and Nina Schipani. Jerry loves to share music with others and is actively involved in volunteer work, playing piano at hospitals and retirement homes.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

NICHOLAS VASILAKOPOULOS-KOSTOPOULOS

Canadian violinist Nicholas Vasilakopoulos-Kostopoulos began his music education at age eight in Montreal and within several years, became concertmaster of the Institut Suzuki Montreal string orchestra. In 2021 he was awarded gold medal in the Vancouver International Music Competition and was a finalist in the OMNI Competition. Nicholas was the second prize winner at the 2019 Canadian Music Competition and won a scholarship for the highest mark in Quebec. Extremely passionate about classical music and very creative, Nicholas enjoys performing to bring joy to people. He is a full scholarship student at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists studying with Jonathan Crow and generously supported by M. Oundjian. He is also studying with Jan Mark Sloman, and has worked with James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Jennifer Frautschi, Vadim Gluzman, Jinjoo Cho, Elaine Klimasko and Rebecca Whitling. Since November 2021, Nicholas has been playing on a Nicolas Lupot violin generously loaned by Roger Dubois, Canimex Inc.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

PHILIP WANG

Canadian violinist Philip Wang started playing the violin when he was six years old, and is currently attending The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Outside of the violin, Philip enjoys playing basketball and tennis. He has won many awards from music festivals, including Kiwanis and he was one of the award winners of the Play Along with Jonathan Crow from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra competition in 2021.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ELLA XU

Cellist Ella Xu began playing the piano at age four and the cello at age five. She is currently a fourth-year scholarship cello student at The Taylor Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Ella is a multi-award winner from a wide variety of competitions in both piano and cello, including The Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, Arts Richmond Hill, Markham Music Festival, and North York Music Festival. In 2016, she won Second Prize in The American Fine Arts Festival Romantic Competition for piano and Second Prize in The American Protégé Piano and String Competition for cello, and performed in Carnegie Hall. Other awards include Third Prize for Piano at the Canadian Music Competition (under 8 category), First Prize at the Steinway Piano Competition (age 9), and Third Prize in the Chopin International Competition in Hartford. Ella enjoys playing chamber and orchestral music.


Semi-Finalists of Category 3: 18-25 years old 

Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

FRANCO ASCOLESE

Italian flutist Franco Ascolese graduated in flute performance from the Conservatorio di Musica 'Giuseppe Martucci' Salerno in Italy under the guidance of Salvatore Lombardi. After a year at the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome, he is currently enrolled in his Master’s in Music Performance in Lugano, studying with Andrea Oliva. He has performed in masterclasses with Emmanuel Pahud, Sir James Galway, Patrick Gallois, Jean-Claude Gèrard, Andrea Manco, and others. He has performed in concert at the Beethoven House in Bonn, Germany; Scriabin Hall in Moscow, Russia; Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome and Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy; TASIS Hall in Lugano, Switzerland, and Carnegie Hall in New York, USA. Since 2019 he has attended the annual SOLO Advanced Training Course with flutist Andrea Griminelli.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

DALI GUTSERIEVA

Winner of the 2012 Knushevitsky International Cello Competition, Russian cellist Dali Gutserieva began studying cello at age six and performing through Russia and abroad at age nine. Performances in 2021 included concerts in France with the Latvian Chamber Orchestra and cellist/conductor David Geringas, and in Moscow with Maestro Daniel Oren. Dali has performed with the Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Oren; The National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia with Vladimir Spivakov in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and London; The Danish Royal Orchestra with Alexander Vedernikov in Moscow; and The Latvian Festival Chamber Orchestra with David Geringas in Rome and Riga. Often collaborating with the Chamber Orchestra of the Lithuanian Philharmonic, she performed as a soloist in Finland, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Italy. Future performances include an Austrian and Italian tour with The National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia under the baton of Maestro Vladimir Spivakov in May, 2022.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

GABRIELLE HSU

American pianist Gabrielle Hsu studies at the Manhattan School of Music with Alexandre Moutouzkine and is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music. She made her orchestral debut at age 10 and had appeared in Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall New York multiple times for solo and chamber music performances as a laureate of various competitions. In 2016, she performed in Poland as part of the XXII International Chopin Festival, and the IX Chopin Festival in Kurozweki Palace. In 2019, as a participant in The International Holland Music Sessions, she gave recitals throughout the Netherlands. First Place winner of the 2016 Greater Princeton Steinway Society Piano Competition, Gabrielle was invited back as a co-recitalist the following year. In summers, Gabrielle enjoys traveling to study with new teachers, and in 2021, was a Young Artist at the PianoTexas International Festival and Academy where she participated on a full scholarship.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

YURO LEE

Australian violinist Yuro Lee started violin at age seven, studying over the years with Judy Yang, Kerry Smith and currently Spiros Rantos. She will begin studying at the Queensland Conservatorium this year. While attending St Peters Lutheran College she had many opportunities to perform as a soloist with piano and orchestra. She appreciates the bright tone of the violin that makes it stand out from other instruments and enjoys the challenge of developing her technique to highlight the beauty of the instrument. She looks up to violinists including Sarah Chang, Bomsori Kim and Leonidas Kavakos and studies their performances online to learn from them, incorporating their ideas and expression into her own music. Yuro enjoys listening to music that conveys a deep and emotional message to its audience. Aside from listening to music, Yuro enjoys pop music, watching movies and spending time with her family and friends.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

NIKOLAY MARINOV

Nikolay Marinov is a Bulgarian pianist, currently studying at the National Academy of Music in Sofia. He started playing piano at age six, and since then, has participated in more than 40 international competitions throughout Europe and the USA, winning many first prizes and laureate awards. Nikolay has performed as a soloist with orchestra in Europe and the USA now 15 times. His first recital was held at the age of eight, followed by many recitals in Bulgaria, Brussels, Paris, and beyond. He was honoured to be the only child invited to ever give a solo recital during the 52nd International Chamber Music Festival in Plovdiv (2016). Nikolay has participated in masterclasses with Dmitri Bashkirov, Boris Slutsky, Itamar Golan, Jason Kwak, and Julian Martin. He is a three-time prize-winner of the award from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture for high creative achievements.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

JENN MONG

Currently studying their Master’s of Music in Piano Performance at McGill University under Sara Laimon, Canadian pianist Jenn Mong, enjoys playing a diverse range of repertoire with special focus on 20th and 21st century works by underperformed composers. With 20 years of piano playing experience, Jenn has been awarded many distinctions; such awards include the Kiwanis National Capital Region Senior Piano Concerto Trophy, the Kiwanis Newfoundland Junior Rose Bowl, the Lynda Rehder Medal for the highest Grade 10 piano mark in Canada, and the Conservatory Canada travelling scholarship award. They have participated in music festivals including the Brescia Talent Summer Music Course (Brescia, Italy), Interharmony International Music Festival (Acqui Terme, Italy), and the Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival (Newfoundland, Canada). In their free time Jenn can be found knitting, DJing, reading, cooking, and hanging out with their bunny Vanille.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

ARMEN PUCHINYAN

Armenian pianist Armen Puchinyan studies at Yerevan’s Tchaikovsky Music School with Hasmik Petrosyan and with Armen Babakhanian at the Yerevan State Conservatory. He has participated in international competitions since a young age with recent wins including the 2021 Clara Schumann International Competition (Second Prize), 2020 scholarship from the Artis Futura International Foundation, 2020 Absolute Prize from the WPTA Finland International Piano Competition (duo category), and 2019 First Prize in the Riga International Piano Competition (duo category). Armen has performed across Europe in countries including France, Switzerland, and Austria, as well as in New York, and has played with the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra. He was honoured with the opportunity to perform with the Presidential Orchestra of Russia in the Kremlin Hall of the Moscow Kremlin as part of the Melody Generation International Music Festival.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

IDAN SHTURMAN

Israeli pianist Idan Shturman played his first recital at 12 years old and performed with the Ashdod Orchestra at 14. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Buchmann Mehta School of Music studying with Arie Vardi and is currently studying with Benjamin Oren. Idan has participated in masterclasses with great pianists including Maria João Pires, Murray Perahia, Sonia Rubinsky, Claudio Martínez Mehner, and Emanuel Krasovsky. He has performed in Israel and abroad at Bösendorfer Saal and the Wiener Saal in Salzburg, and has been the recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship since 2012. He has won prizes at the Ashdod National Piano Competition, the Young Artist Competition Jerusalem, and the Maria Giubilei International Piano Competition (Italy), as well as a full scholarship to the Mozarteum Summer Academy. In 2021, Idan won The Marina Bondarenko Memorial Prize at the Tel-Hai International Piano Competition, and the Ronen Foundation Scholarship.



Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

TOMI VETTER

American pianist Tomi Vetter is a Double Master’s student at Oklahoma City University in Piano Performance and Music Composition. She has been composing since the age of six and has a lifelong passion for the piano, sparked by her family that encouraged it. With initial teaching by her grandmother, aunt, and sister, she considers music one of the gifts that she can use to help those around her. Tomi plans to pursue her doctorate degree after her Master’s, and is currently a private music teacher to more than 35 students, aged 4-66. She also teaches a group piano class for John Rex Charter School in Oklahoma. Tomi has won awards throughout her career in piano and has had the wonderful opportunity to travel for performances as well. She is an ambitious pianist eager to push past boundaries and continue to achieve.


Classicalia 2021 Semi-finalist

LUCIA WARREN

Canadian violinist Lucia Warren has studied at international music festivals, including Domiane Forget and Orford Musique, and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. She has been a featured soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Orchestra, and won its youth orchestra’s Concerto Competition with a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Lucia travelled to the Netherlands and Belgium with the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Orchestra, and in 2019 was a member of the Westben Festival Orchestra, playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She is the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships through the Guelph Kiwanis Music Festival, and was selected as a Provincial finalist twice. Lucia has performed in masterclasses with Vadim Gluzman and Olivier Charlier, and received the Mamie May Memorial Scholarship while studying at the University of Toronto. Lucia regularly performs outreach concerts with her parents in hospitals and retirement homes.

Classicalia 2022/23

Registration for the 2022/23 competition has started.