Violist Sofia Gilchenok is a student of Hsin-Yun Huang, Molly Carr, and Yi-Fang Huang. She has attended the Juilliard School’s Pre-college Program since 2013, where she serves as co-principal viola in the Pre-college Symphony. Sofia was chosen as the winner of the 2016 American Viola Society’s Solo Competition, Junior Division, and has appeared as soloist with the Ocala Symphony and the Willimantic Orchestra (April 2017). She was a finalist in the Ensemble 212 Young Artist Competition in 2015 and received an Honorable Mention in the Musical Club of Hartford High School Competition (2017). Sofia was the recipient of the NFMC’s 2015 National Wendell Irish Viola Award, Northeastern Division. She has participated in masterclasses with the Calidore Quartet, Sheila Browne, Kirsten Docter, Jeffrey Irvine, Juiliette Kang and Tom Kraines, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Lynn Ramsey, Karen Ritscher, Carol Rodland, Peter Slowik, and Ivo-Jan van der Werff. Sofia is passionate about chamber music and considers her participation in Music@Menlo and Pinchas Zukerman’s Young Artists Program to have been among her favorite musical experiences. Her former teachers include Heidi Castleman, Steve Larson, Melinda Daetsch, and Kathy Almquist. Sofia is set to lead the Central Connecticut region in the fall of 2018.
Ethan Fisher-Chaves, 15, is a 9th grade student that attends Juilliard Pre-College as a violin student of Joel Smirnoff and Naoko Tanaka, and composition student of Dr. Eric Ewazen.
He had his first solo performance with orchestra at the age of nine and is the concertmaster of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and a member of Juilliard Pre-College Symphony. He traveled to Germany in 2018 to perform at the Leipzig Gewandhaus for Bachfest. Ethan was awarded a 2019 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award from From the Top and performed on show 362, in Storrs, Connecticut. He is the 2018 Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras Concerto Competition winner and won the George Keches Award for artistic achievement. In 2019, Ethan attended the Musikferien am Starnberger-See at Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Germany with masterclasses by Julia Fischer and violin studies with Kirill Troussov. Ethan was a finalist in the 2017 and 2018 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, won first place in the 2016-2017 MMTA Junior Composition Competition and was the runner-up in the Eastern Division MTNA Junior Composition Competition and 2019 Next Notes High School Young Composer Awards. In 2018, Ethan joined the Neighborhood String Project in Worcester, MA, where he is a mentor and violin teacher to students in the refugee youth “New Citizens” program. In his spare time, Ethan likes to fence, study cognitive linguistics, read, and cook. Ethan will be the co-regional director starting Fall 2019.
Madison Howard, 16, studies at the Pre-College division of the Juilliard School with Caroline Stinson. She has won the International Grande Music Competition, the National League of Performing Arts Young Artist’s Competition, the American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Norwalk Symphony Concerto Competition, the Norwalk Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, the Musical Club of Hartford’s High-School String Competition. She has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Yale University’s Battell Chapel. She was also the recipient of second prize in the Renee B. Fisher Piano Competition. She served as a principal cellist of the Juilliard String Ensemble and was a founding member of the Juilliard Cello Choir. She has been given the opportunity to study with teachers such as Richard Aaron, Paul Katz, Steve Doane, Julie Albers, and Amir Eldan. Madison is set to start in the "Back to BACH" Project in the fall of 2017.
Julian Shively started piano lessons at age 4 and cello at 5½. Julian serves as principal cellist in the Principal orchestra of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras. He attends the Aerospace/Hydrospace Engineering program at the Fairchild Wheeler Magnet School and wishes to become an engineer. The highlights of Julian’s musical achievements have been solo/concerto opportunities with Danbury Symphony (2012, 2014), Greater New Haven Youth Ensembles (2013), Greater Bridgeport Symphony (2016), Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras (2016), Hamden Symphony (2017) and American Chamber Orchestra (2017). He has been lucky enough to have participated in master classes and workshops given by amazing musicians such as cellists Narek Hakhnazaryan and Nicholas Cannellakis, pianists Andrew Tyson and Vadym Kholodenko, as well as the Carducci, Harlem, Ying, and Miro Quartets to name a few. Julian is a passionate chamber musician and also has recently found interest in jazz piano. His summers are typically filled with camps and institutes that focus on chamber music.
In January 2014 Sequoia started private lessons on bassoon with Sue Zoellner-Cross from the Neighborhood Music School (NMS). After nine months she got accepted as the second bassoon of the Greater New Haven Concert Orchestra and a year later she became principal bassoon. In 9th grade she joined the Greater New Haven Wind Ensemble. In 10th grade she was second bassoon of the Greater New Haven Symphony Orchestra. She also performed with two NMS ensembles, a bassoon and a wind quartet. Sequoia completed the NMS Junior Diploma Certificate Program with music theory lessons and performance workshops. She is now participating in the Senior Diploma Certificate Program.
In 8th and 9th grade she was in the pit for her school’s production of “West Side Story” and ” Sweeney Todd”. Both years they won “Best Student Orchestra”. They also won “Best Production of the year” for “Sweeney Todd”. Sequoia is the principal bassoon in her high school Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. In 7th and 8th grade she was the principal bassoon of the orchestra of the CMEA Southern Region Middle School Music festival. In 9th grade she was the principal bassoon of the orchestra of the CMEA Southern Region High School Festival , second bassoon of the CMEA All State Music Festival Orchestra and first bassoon of the NafME All National Honor Ensembles Band. In 10th grade she was the principal bassoon of CMEA Southern Region High School Festival. She couldn’t audition for All-State, because her high school Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble toured Spain at the time of the festival. The Neighborhood Music School awarded her with the Merit Award in recognition of outstanding effort and progress for the last four years. In 2016 and 2017 she also received a Merit Award with High Honors in Performance for participating in the Concerto Competition and the Honor Recital.
In the last four summers Sequoia attended at first the Junior Chamber Wind, later the Chamber Wind Week of the NMS. The last two years she also served as a mentor in the Junior Chamber Wind Week. In addition to that she attended several summer camps: Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in 2015, New England Music Camp In 2016 and 2017, Interlochen Bassoon Week in 2017, Decoda Skidmore Chamber Music Institute in 2018. Sequoia had her first performance as a soloist in May 2017. She was the “Young Artist Performer” at a “Project Music heals us concert” and performed Edward Elgar’s: Romance for Bassoon & Orchestra, arranged for bassoon and piano. The piano part played by viola and cello. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3gsEpcoAUE&t=302s) Sequoia participated in the “Brass-Wind-Percussion Experience ‘18” of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and performed Gershwin’s Cuban Overture in a side-by-side concert with the Orchestra. She was awarded with the “Silvio Risi Award”.
Ziyao Chelsea Guo
Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Guo showed passion for classical music at an early age and has already distinguished herself as both pianist and vocalist. She is a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation (2016-2018) and a young artist of the Artemisia Akademie at Yale University. Her talent was already recognized at age 11 when she was awarded a “Special Commendation for Young Talents” at the Ettlingen International Piano Competition in Germany. In 2016, she won the Young Artists Concerto Competition at Piano Texas (formerly the TCU/Cliburn Piano Institute) and she was the recipient of a U.S. Chopin Foundation scholarship in both 2016 and 2017. Equally devoted to the classical vocal repertoire, Chelsea has won voice competitions such as the American Protégé and Walgreen Concerto Competition, Voice Division. Her gifts have been acknowledged with a 2018 George London Foundation Scholarship and Gerda Lissner Foundation Scholarship.
In January 2018, Chelsea performed in the “Grammy Salute to Classical Music: Celebrating the Legacy of Leonard Bernstein “, sponsored by CAMI Music at the Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. She also participated in a joint solo recital at Carnegie’s Weill Hall that was awarded to her by the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. In May of 2018, Chelsea was invited to give recitals in the U.K. at Wigmore Hall in London and Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, as part of the first Leeds Festival in England.
Since the age of eight, when Chelsea was featured on radio station WQXR’s “Young Artists Showcase”, she has gone on to appear on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” and to perform in concert venues throughout the world, including Italy, Poland, Japan, China, Austria, England, Germany, and Canada. In the U.S., she has appeared at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Hall and Weill Recital Hall, Harris Concert Hall (Aspen, CO), the U.S. State Department (Washington, D.C.), Millennium Park (Chicago) and Pepsico Recital Hall (Texas). Recent concerto appearances have included the Ft. Worth Symphony under the baton of Barry Douglas, and Midwest Young Artists Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. Eager to continue her studies during the summer, Chelsea has participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Piano Texas, the Oxford Philamusica Piano Academy, the Mozarteum Summer Academy, the Ishikawa Music Academy, and the Paderewski and Katowice piano academies.
Chelsea is currently a piano and voice double major in the Pre-College division of The Juilliard School, where she was awarded a prestigious Nordmann Scholarship in 2015. She currently studies piano with Prof. Hung-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone, and classical voice with Lorraine Nubar. When her school and performance schedules allow, she enjoys reading, writing, dancing, cooking, and both singing and playing at her local church.
Tyler Tan is a freshman of Cheshire High School in Connecticut. He is currently studying violin at Juilliard School Pre-College Division under the tutelage of Mr. I-Hao Lee. He is a violinist of the National Youth Orchestra 2 (NYO2) for 2018 and 2019. He had his solo debut with Cheshire Symphony Orchestra at age of 10. He has been concertmaster of CMEA middle school and high school regional orchestra. Tyler is also a scholarship recipient from Joy! Conservatory program.
Taig Egan, now a sophomore at Guilford High School, started taking clarinet lessons in March of 2017, aged 14, from renowned clarinet player and teacher David Singer in Southern California; when he began, he had already studied folk and jazz guitar for three years. After four months with Maestro Singer, his family moved to Guilford, where he began lessons with Erik Elligers at Neighborhood Music School. Under Mr. Elligers’ instruction, Taig began to learn alto saxophone as well as clarinet and was admitted by audition into Guilford’s Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble. Beginning in the summer of 2018, he began studying clarinet with Julie Asuma-Levene, also at Neighborhood Music School. Later that summer, he auditioned for and was accepted into the NMS Greater New Haven Youth Orchestra. He began participating in various chamber ensembles, such as clarinet quartet, wind quartet and quintet, and chamber orchestra, both inside and outside of school. In Fall 2018, he was principal clarinet in the CMEA Southern-Regional Orchestra, and was principal clarinet in the CMEA All-State Orchestra the following spring. He is currently lead alto in the Guilford Jazz Band, and in the spring of 2019, he played lead alto/clarinet in the pit for his school’s production of the musical “Anything Goes.” He will also be principal clarinet of his school’s Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra next year. He recently performed the first movement of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-Flat, Op. 74, in an auditioned honors recital at Neighborhood Music School. He hopes to pursue a degree in music performance, and in his spare time, Taig likes to play jazz and socialize with other musicians.