Young Artists Competition winners perform Sunday

By From page A9 | March 28, 2012


What: Young Artists Competition winners perform

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $25 general, $12.50 students; www.mondaviarts.org; (530) 754-2787

About two dozen talented musicians — some from the San Francisco Bay Area plus a few from Southern California and one from New Mexico — will compete this weekend in the finals for the Mondavi Center’s seventh aAnnual Young Artists Competition.

The winners will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre.

“Come and be surprised!” said pianist Lara Downes, the primary organizer behind the event. “It is really fun to come and hear the winners.”

This year’s contestants range in age from 10 to 21. The competition is organized into four categories: instrumental category (all string instruments this year), piano, vocal and ensemble (string quartets). There are junior and senior divisions in the instrumental and piano categories.

The top prize is $3,000, with other prizes in the $350 to $1,000 range. And the grand prize winner gets some extra exposure as well — a future booking on the Mondavi Center’s Debut Series, an engagement at the Napa Valley Festival del Sole and a concerto appearance with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.

This year’s contestants include:

* Ensemble Category: the Echappe String Quartet, based in Vallejo, and the Elara String Quartet, based in San Jose.

* Instrumental Category, Junior Division: Elena Ariza, cello, Cupertino; Phoenix Avalon, violin, Santa Fe, N.M.; Ashwin Kirshna, guitar, Los Altos; and Alex Zhou, violin, San Jose.

* Instrumental Category, Senior Division: Yujin Ariza, violin, Cupertino; Daniel Baeg, violin, Cupertino; Travis Chen, cello, Palo Alto; Leah Hansen, cello, Irvine; and Alina Kobialka, violin, San Francisco.

* Piano Category, Junior Division: Christopher Son Richardson, Danville; Elliott Wuu, Fremont; and Eric-Bohan Yap, Palo Alto.

* Piano Category, Senior Division: Rachel Breen, Oakland; Jonathan Mamora, Beaumont; and Brian Zeng, Palo Alto.

* Vocal Category: Anush Avetisyan, soprano, Los Angeles, and Kelsey Lauritano, mezzo soprano, San Francisco.

Judges who participated in this year’s competition — which held preliminary auditions last October, and semifinal auditions in January — include Christian Baldini, conductor of the UCD Symphony Orchestra; Sheri Greenawald, director of the San Francisco Opera Center; Charles Letourneau, artistic manager and special projects, IMG Artists; and Downes, pianist and artist in residence at the Mondavi Center.

Tickets are $25 general, $12.50 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787.

Jeff Hudson

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