Class of 2021-2022 Accolades and Achievements



Congratulations Ellen Zhou, 1st place winner of the The Final Forte

The Bolz Young Artist Competition is a highly-regarded statewide competition in which Wisconsin’s young musicians compete for scholarships and the opportunity to perform as soloists with the MSO. The competition is open to Wisconsin residents in grades 9-12. The four semi-finalists compete in The Final Forte, which will be broadcast on PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio.

About The Final Forte 2022

This extraordinary event is an opportunity to experience the beauty of musical expression, the drama of competition and the inspiring tale of dreams come true as four gifted young artists vie for top honors in the final round of the 2022 Bolz Young Artist Competition. Broadcast from Overture Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, the concert features the magnificent Madison Symphony Orchestra led by Associate Conductor Kyle Knox. Zak Chen will perform the third movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Jane Story will perform the first movement of Lalo’s Symphony Espagnole. Ellen Zhou will also perform the Lalo Symphony Espagnole, Movement 1. Clark Snavely will perform the first movement of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. 


Congratulations Jan Nedvetsky, winner of the senior cello division

Society of American Musicians 2022 Cello Competition Winners

The Society of American Musicians, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1914 with the intent of promoting the best interests of music in America and maintaining the highest standards of musicianship. Through the competition, its awards, and performance opportunities, the Society offers assistance and encouragement to young musicians and promising artists.

Each spring, students compete in multiple levels of cello, flute, guitar, violin, viola, and piano.


Senior Division

1st: Jan Vargas Nedvetsky (Student of Hans Jensen)


The Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI) Quartet, which includes Academy violinists Sameer Agrawal and Esme Arias-Kim, as well as Academy cellist Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, had the honor of participating in a series of events with Jessie Montgomery, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Mead Composer-in-Residence. The group began with a performance of Montgomery’s Strum on a CSO Salon Series, a program for CSO donors that also included a discussion with Montgomery. Next, the quartet participated in a masterclass and workshop with Montgomery, including the rare opportunity to work directly with the composer on her own work. Finally, the quartet will provide pre-concert music for a series of CSO concerts on May 5-7. The group is coached by Academy faculty Sang Mee Lee. 



Violinist Katya Moeller and cellist Lucy Wu, both won second place in their respective divisions at the 99th Annual Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition. In addition to a cash prize, they will both perform in Ordway Concert Hall on a winner’s recital in St. Paul, MN.

Strings I

Lucy Wu  - Anne French Burnham Award

Strings II

Katya Moeller  - Helen Hunt Memorial Award


Introductions is WFMT’s weekly Saturday morning program that features talented pre-college classical musicians in the Chicago area. Area soloists and chamber ensembles perform live in WFMT’s Fay & Daniel Levin Performance Studio. This year, WFMT has hosted several Academy students. Last week, Noah Kim was featured when Introductions presented all four finalists from the 2022 Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition—which Noah won in March. Introductions will feature Sidney Lee this Saturday, April 30, Elinor Detmer on May 7, and Tara Hagle on June 4.


Tristan Zhu was named the First Place Winner in the Music Performance category for the 2021-22 Discover FAA High School Talent Competition for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.   The competition attracted registrations from 39 states/territories in the United States, and 16 countries around the world. As the first-place recipient, Tristan secured a scholarship to Illinois Summer Youth Music for the Senior Orchestra Week with acceptance to the String Chamber elective with the Jupiter String Quartet.





Katya Moeller performed Tchaikovsky's complete Violin Concerto with  the Orchestra Iowa in the beautiful and historic Paramount Theater (Cedar Rapids, IA) for 1000+ students. She performed the concerto twice—before noon. That deserves a WOW!


Sidney Lee been elevated to a semifinalist (from Alternate) in the Stulberg International String Competition, where violin, viola, cello, and double bass students perform for cash prizes and awards. She is the first violist to be named a semifinalist since 2018. Twelve semifinalists will compete in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21, 2022, before a panel of judges and an audience. Semifinalists will perform a selection from a required list of Bach and a movement(s) from a standard concerto. Six finalists will be chosen for three medal awards. Former Academy students who medaled  include ‘06-Susan Jang, ‘07-Ben Beilman ‘12-Matt Lipman and Vincent Meklis, ‘13-Laura Park ‘17-Karisa Chiu  and ‘18-Maya Anjali Buchanan.


17th Annual St. Paul String Quartet Competition - Academy wins Gold and Silver Medals!


The Peresson Quartet (Katya Moeller, Kelly Kim, Sidney Lee, and Serge Kalinovsky, coached by Sang Mee Lee) was awarded the GOLD Medal, Best Haydn Performance Winner, and Honorable Mention for their BIPOC performance, and the Omaggio Quartet (Tara Hagle, Abigail Park, Elinor Detmer, and Jan Nedvetsky, coached by Mathias Tacke) won the SILVER Medal at the national competition where six quartets performed in the final round. 





Bravo to four Academy ensembles winning top spots at the Tenth Annual 2022 A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition on Sunday, in Anne & Howard Gottlieb Hall at Merit School of Music in Chicago.


Grand Award Winner – Dando Piano Trio - Congratulations to Lily Sullivan, Mia Wimbiscus, Myroslav Mykhailenko and coaches Inah Chiu and Mathias Tacke for winning the overall prize for best ensemble.


Strings & Piano Division 1st PlaceDando Trio


Strings & Piano Division 2nd Place – Omaggio String Quartet - Tara Hagle, Abigail Park, Elinor Detmer, Jan Nedvetsky, and coach Mathias Tacke


Honorable Mentions:

Hermes Piano Trio - Carrie Wang, Amelia Zitoun, Mark Zhu, and coaches Mark George and Rodolfo Vieira

Peresson String Quartet - Katya Moeller, Kelly Kim, Sidney Lee, Serge Kalinovsky, and coach Sang Mee Lee





We are thrilled to announce that Noah Kim is the first-place winner of the 2022 Crain Mailing-Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. Noah’s winning performance, the first movement of Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2, secured his appearance as a soloist in a Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Concert during the 2022/2023 season.


Noah was one of four young pianists from Illinois who auditioned in the final round on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Symphony Hall’s Armour Stage. The final round was accompanied by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, under the baton of Andrew Grams.


Noah studies with MIC faculty member and Artist-in-Residence Marta Aznavoorian, is a member of the Academy’s Meraki Piano Quartet, and plays violin in the Vernon Hills High School Orchestra.   







Violinist Elinor Detmer, student of Almita Vamos, is the winner of the Dr. Robert Stanger Young Artists Concerto Audition for 2022 and violinist Esme Arias-Kim, also a student of Almita Vamos, won Second Place. The competition, conducted by the Elmhurst Symphony Association,  showcased twelve outstanding high school musicians from Chicago and several suburbs.  As the First-Place winner, Elinor will perform with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra at a subscription concert during the next season. Former winners include alumni Joshua Brown, Isabel Chen, and Karisa Chiu.  


First Place: Elinor Detmer, violin

Violin Concerto in D minor 1st movement, by Jean Sibelius    


Second Place: Esme Arias-Kim, violin

Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, 1st movement, by Erich Wolfgang Korngold


Cellist Amelia Zitoun, student of Horacio Contreras, is a Finalist in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Stars of Tomorrow Concerto Competition! She will have the honor of appearing as a soloist with the MSO on the Audrey G. Baird Stars of Tomorrow Concert on May 5, 2022, playing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. Amelia is one of three finalists who will perform on the concert. In addition to the honor of performing as a soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony, winners are eligible to receive up to $2,000 in scholarships.


Violinist Carrie Wang, student of Sang Mee Lee, was named a semi-finalist in the Stars of Tomorrow Concerto Competition and will be given the special opportunity to play a side-by-side with the MSO.


Violinist Ellen Zhou, student of Almita Vamos,  has been named a finalist in the 2022 Bolz Young Artist Competition. The Preliminary Round of the competition was held on Saturday, January 15, 2022, and judges included musicians of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Eight semi-finalists performed in the Semi-Final Round on  January 27, and four were chosen to move on to the final round, The Final Forte, on April 13. Competitors will be accompanied by the Madison Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kyle Knox, MSO Associate Conductor.  Ellen will perform Lalo Symphony Espagnole, Mvt. 1   


Cellist Xavier Miyazaki, student of Hans Jensen, has been chosen as the FIRST PRIZE WINNER of the 2022 International Music Competition "Vienna and London' Grand Prize Virtuoso . The virtual International Music Competition "Grand Prize Virtuoso" is open to all nationalities and ages in strings, piano, wind, vocal and chamber music. Winners are provided an opportunity to perform at the Winners’ Concerts in Vienna and London in April. The competition encourages young musicians to perform and grow and helps to build confidence.


Violinist Tristan Zhu, student of Almita Vamos, has also been chosen as the FRIST PRIZE WINNER of the 2022 International Music Competition "London" Grand Prize Virtuoso. Tristan will have the opportunity to

perform at the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.


Tristan has also been awarded the Gold Medal prize at the American Association for Development of the Gifted and Talented (AADGT) International Young Gifted Musicians Festival.

Tristan will have the opportunity to perform on the Winners' Concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on June 19, 2022. The AADGT FESTIVAL “PASSION OF MUSIC” has been established as an entrée into the world of classical music performance for those who deeply love music. AADGT is a leading supporter of young talented classical musicians. Scholarships are also available to winners for international festival participation.


In addition, Tristan won second prize in the VIII Odin International Music Online Competition 2022. Tristan earned high points for his Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in the II Violin category. ​​The Odin International Music Competition is organized by the European Academic Artists Association (EAAA),  a non-profit organization with the aim to promote worldwide cultural and educational exchange.  


Two Academy string quartets received an Honorable Mention in the Chicago National Chamber Music Competition, Open Division: Strings and Piano Category, sponsored by the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory.

The annual event is designed to provide an educational and competitive experience for young chamber ensembles.


Hyacinth Quartet-coached by Rodolfo Vieira

Sameer Agrawal, violin and viola Esme Arias-Kim, violin and viola Ellen Zhou, violin and viola Stefan Westerberg, cello

Omaggio String Quartet-coached by Mathias Tacke

Abigail Park, violin Tara Hagle, violin Elinor Detmer, viola Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, cello




Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition

Piano student Noah Kim is a finalist in the prestigious Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition, where top piano soloists competed in the annual competition in January. Accompanied by the Civic Orchestra, one competition finalist will be selected on March 19 to appear as soloist with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the 2022/23 season. Noah studies with faculty member Marta Aznavoorian. Former winners include pianist Yerin Yang, 2018, violinist Maya Anjali Buchanan, 2017, and violinist Isabella Brown in 2020.


Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major Kimiko Darcy piano

Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, I. Andante sostenuto Noah Kim piano

Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16, I. Allegro molto moderato Shivshankar Prasad piano

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26, I. Andante – Allegro Kevin Zhou piano


Music Teacher National Association (MTNA) National Conference

Esme Arias-Kim, student of Almita Vamos, Senior String, East Central Division Winner, will represent MIC at the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA) National Conference in March, in Minneapolis, MN.  The three-tiered Junior, Senior and Young Artist Performance Competition begins with a state competition. The winners/representatives of each state’s competitions advanced to a video-only division competition, and division winners/representatives compete in person at the finals during the annual MTNA National Conference.

MIC student Matthew Hahn, Junior Piano Division, East Central Division Winner, will also participate in the National Finals—the first time MIC will have division winners in two categories.


International Young Artist Concerto Competition

Esme was also named the first-place winner of the International Young Artist Concerto Competition held in Ganz Hall at Roosevelt University on January 29 and 30.  On Saturday, Esme was one of 16 semifinalists who had the experience of participating in the unique competition where all the contestants competed live, accompanied by a professional orchestra. Typically, students don’t have the opportunity to play with an orchestra until they win the competition.  Esme was one of four finalists who played with the orchestra again on Sunday. She performed the first mvt of Korngold Concerto. 


Almost 70 applicants from five countries and 13 states were in the preliminaries.  The orchestra was made up of professionals in the Chicago area, and the judges for the semifinal and final round were distinguished artists Ilya Kaler (violin), Antonio Pompa-Baldi (piano), and Joshua Gersen (associate conductor NY Philharmonic). Esme will have the opportunity to be on WFMT radio, as well perform a solo recital at Steinway Hall in NY in 2023.



Civic Music Association CompetitionCellist 

Amelia Zitoun, student of Horacio Contreras, was named a winner at the Civic Music Association Competition, where she played Variations on a Rococo Theme, by Tchaikovsky. In addition to a cash prize, Amelia will perform in an upcoming recital on February 6th. The CIVIC MUSIC MKE High School Competition is a well-regarded Milwaukee competition for accomplished high school age musicians. 


Johansen International Competition

Sidney Lee, viola student of Davis King and Roland Vamos, and Sameer Agrawal, violin student of Sang Mee Lee, have advanced to the semifinal round of the Johansen International Competition, March 21 - March 24, 2022.  The Johansen International Competition (JIC) is for young string players ages 13–17 (violin, viola, cello) and takes place once every 3 years in Washington, DC. The JIC offers $67,000 in prize awards, with separate cash awards for violin, viola, and cello, as well as performance opportunities for winners and scholarships to the prestigious Brevard Summer Institute and Festival.


Arthur D. Montzka 2022 Young Artists Concerto Competition

Congratulations to Esme Arias-Kim, 16, winner of the 2022 Arthur D. Montzka Young Artists Concerto Competition, who performed Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, by Korngold. Esme will perform in concert on Saturday, February 19, with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Arthur D. Montzka Memorial Concert, in the NIU Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, DeKalb, IL.  


Congratulations to the runner up, former Academy student Kimiko Darcy, who performed Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S. 124, by Liszt and to Academy violin student Abigail Park, who received an honorable mention for her performance of Tzigane, by Ravel. Both Arias-Kim and Park study with esteemed faculty member Almita Vamos.


The Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s annual Arthur D. Montzka Young Artists Concerto Competition was begun by Art Montzka in 1986 and has enjoyed a proud tradition of featuring some of Northern Illinois’ finest young artists.


Lakeview Orchestra 2022 Young Artist Competition

Dozens of applicants participated in the Lakeview Orchestra 2022 Young Artist Competition. We are proud of the Academy students who participated and their fine showing:

Second Place: Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, cello (performing Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major)

Honorable Mention: Esme Arias-Kim, violin (performing Korngold's Violin Concerto in D major)

Honorable Mention: Sidney Lee, viola (performing Bartok's Viola Concerto)


Gregory Hughes, Artistic Director & General Manager founded Lakeview Orchestra in January of 2013 and rapidly established the ensemble as the premiere volunteer orchestra in the City of Chicago. Former Academy winners include Isabella Brown (2019) and Esme Arias-Kim (2017). Janis Sakai, violin Concertmaster of the orchestra, is an MIC alumna and was in the inaugural class of the Academy in 2006.



2021 Walgreens Concerto Competition

Congratulations to all of the Winners of the 2021 Walgreen Concerto Competition that was held December 27-29 at Ravinia and MYAC. Winners will receive cash prizes and perform with the MYA Orchestra. Brava to Katya Moeller, Grand Prize Winner and Open Senior Division Winner, and Lauren Kim Open Junior Division Winner. The Open Division Overall winner will perform with the MYAC Symphony Orchestra on a concert sometime before the end of the season at a date TBD.






Katya Moeller



Coralville, IA


Almita Vamos






















Lauren Kim



Hoffman Estates, IL


Injoo Choi and Almita Vamos

Overall Junior Winner

Emily Chen



Arlington Heights, IL


Injoo Choi

Strings Winner

Neal Eisfeldt



Lake Zurich, IL


Injoo Choi and Almita Vamos

Strings Honorable Mention





















Katya Moeller



Coralville, IA


Almita Vamos

Overall Senior Winner & Strings Winner

Sameer Agrawal



Chicago, IL


Sang Mee Lee

Strings Honorable Mention

Sidney Lee



Arlington Heights, IL


Roland Vamos and Davis King

Strings Honorable Mention

Abigail Park



Northbrook, IL


Almita Vamos and Injoo Choi

Strings Honorable Mention

Carrie Wang



Des Plaines, IL


Sang Mee Lee

Strings Honorable Mention

Noah Kim



Vernon Hills, IL


Marta Aznavoorian and Dr. Yumy Kim

Piano Honorable Mention

Jan Vargas Nedvetsky



Wilmette, IL


Hans Jensen

Early Music Mention

Carrie Wang



Des Plaines, IL


Sang Mee Lee

Early Music Mention


 WFMT’s 70th Anniversary Program

Congratulations to all of the students who performed live on WFMT’s 70th Anniversary concert this past Monday-- Omaggio (Elinor, Abigail, Tara, and Jan) and Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative String Quartet with Esmé and Sameer.


Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra 2021 Young Artist Competition

Violinist Lily Sullivan, student of Grigory Kalinovsky, was awarded first prize in the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra 2021 Young Artist Competition. Lily with perform with the Ann Arbor Symphony on a daytime youth concert at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor in 2022. The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra was founded by young aspiring artists in 1928. In keeping with this tradition of highlighting young talent, young artists are selected through an annual Young Artist Competition each season.


Young Artist Laureate Award

Violinist Lauren Kim, student of Injoo Choi and Almita Vamos, and Lily Sullivan, were awarded the Young Artist Laureate Award in the Young Artist (7 to 17 yrs) category for the 2021 Chicago Violin Competition.  The Chicago Violin Competition is an international violin competition held online, providing promising young artists ages 7-28 the opportunity to showcase their talents on the world’s stage.


Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest 

Cellist Serge Kalinovsky, student of Susan Moses, won First Prize in the Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest over a year ago, but the winner’s concert had been postponed due to the Pandemic. In the spring, Serge will perform the Herbert Cello Concerto with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the annual Side-by-Side Concert in March. This contest encourages accomplished young Indiana musicians (through grade 12) to set and achieve goals of technical and artistic excellence by providing an opportunity to perform in a competitive setting.

Violinist Lily Sullivan, student of Grigory Kalinovsky, was a finalist in the Young Musicians Contest.


2021 Carmel Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition

Serge Kalinovsky was named 1st Runner Up in the 2021 Carmel Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. The CSO Young Artist Competition affords exceptional student musicians from Indiana the opportunity to compete among their peers at the highest level of artistic excellence. Past Academy Winners include cellist Lydia Rhea.


2021-2022 Gustavus Adolphus College Concerto/Aria Competition for High School Musicians

Violinist Kana Aihara, student of Almita Vamos, a finalist in the 2021-2022 Gustavus Adolphus College Concerto/Aria Competition for High School Musicians, was selected as the winner at the final live audition on Monday, December 16.  Kana will be performing Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.1 in D major, 1st mvt. with the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra on Friday March 11th.


NPR Finalist

Cellist Amelia Zitoun, student of Horacio Contreras, has been named a Finalist for NPR, From the Top. From the Top is America’s largest national platform celebrating the stories, talents, and character of young classically-trained musicians. Through NPR broadcasts and digital content, scholarships, and leadership and community engagement programs, From the Top empowers extraordinary young people to engage and inspire audiences of all ages.


2021 Sejong Music Competition

Lauren Kim was awarded 1st Place & Best Interpretation of a Korean piece in the Violin Junior Division of the 2021 Sejong Music Competition. She was also awarded 1st prize in Virtuosos (9 to 16 years old) category for the 2021 France Music Competition


Violin Junior Division 2nd Place -  Emily Chen

Violin Senior Division HM – Mingshi Xia



Every December, the results of the YoungArts’ National Arts Competition are delivered, followed by regional master classes. The signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12. They are awarded in three categories: Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit. YoungArts award winners at all levels receive cash prizes between $100 and $10,000.

In addition to monetary awards, all winners receive a medallion, a lifetime of creative and professional support, and access to YoungArts Post—a private, online portal for YoungArts artists to connect, share their work and discover new opportunities.

 2022 Winners

Merit Classical Music

Elinor Detmer, violin

Honorable Mention Classical Music

Sameer Agrawal, violin

Ashley Kim, piano (May graduate)

Kelly Kim, violin

Sidney Lee, viola


Merit: The YoungArts Merit award level recognizes work that has been recognized as commendable by the panel, strong technically with a clear artistic point of view. Merit winners receive a monetary award of $100.

Honorable Mention: The YoungArts Honorable Mention award level recognizes work that demonstrates exceptional technique; a strong sense of artistry; and a depth of thinking/performance that exceeds the level of peers at this career stage. Honorable Mention winners receive a monetary award of $250.

Finalist: The YoungArts Finalist award recognizes work that demonstrates exceptional technique; a strong, sophisticated, nuanced, and clear artistic point of view; and a depth of thinking/performance that far exceeds the level of peers at this career stage. Finalist winners are invited to participate in National YoungArts Week and will have their work further evaluated and recognized as one of the following: Level 3 $1,000; Level 2 $1,500; Level 1 $3,000; Silver $5,000; and Gold $10,000. Finalists who attend National YoungArts Week and meet the eligibility requirements are also considered for nomination to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.


Former students Andrew Guo, piano and Julian Rhee, violin, were selected as U.S. Presidential Scholars.



The Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Competitions are the most successful and prestigious student competitions in the country Each year, thousands of students compete for top prizes and national recognition. The purpose of the Music Teachers National Association Performance competitions is to provide educational experiences for students and teachers and to recognize exceptionally talented young artists and their teachers in their pursuit of musical excellence.


The three-tiered Junior, Senior and Young Artist Performance Competitions begin with state competitions. The winners/representatives of each state's competitions advance to a video-only division competition. Division winners compete in the national finals at the annual MTNA National Conference. The state competitions are considered the primary educational level with the division and national levels showcasing outstanding performance and honoring significant pedagogical achievement. Competitions include Brass (Senior and Young Artist only), Piano, Piano Duet (Senior only) String, Voice (Senior and Young Artist only) and Woodwind.


Composition Competitions, for Elementary, Junior, Senior and Young Artist levels, are also three tiers. The winners/representatives of each state's competition advance to the division competition. Division winners compete in the national finals. The national winners have their compositions performed at the annual MTNA National Conference.


The MTNA Performance Competitions consist of three tiers:

  1. Live State Competitions. See winners listed below.
  2. Video-only Division Competitions. Only state winners/representatives will be required to submit a video.
  3. Live National Finals. Only division winners/representatives will compete live at the 2020 MTNA National Conference, March 21–25, in Chicago, Illinois.

MTNA is delighted to showcase performances and compositions from this year’s first-place winners as a part of the 2021 MTNA Virtual Conference.

Illinois Junior Performance Piano - 20 entries

Honorable mention Clara Zhang, student of Soo Lee


Illinois Senior Composition - 1 entry

Representative Zachary Guo, student of Christopher Jones


Illinois Senior Performance Piano - 16 entries

Zachary Guo, student of Matthew Hagle


Illinois Senior Performance String - 6 entries

Winner Esme Arias-Kim, Violin, student of Almita Vamos 

Alternate Sidney Lee, Viola, student of Almita Vamos


The Illinois Music Education Association exists to advocate for universal access to comprehensive music education; deliver exemplary professional development for educators; and provide outstanding musical experiences for all Illinois learners facilitated by licensed music educators. Through auditions or nominations, students at participating schools can take part in local and state-level ensembles with other Illinois music students. Opportunities for elementary through high school students include band, chorus, general music, jazz and orchestra. llinois is divided up into nine districts for participation in ILMEA student programs.

Senior Level: 9th-12th Grade Students Junior Level: 6th-8th or 9th Grade Students Elementary Level: K-5th or 6th Grade Students

Academy representation District 7 Orchestra Festival

Luke Reaume, bass, Stevenson HS

Kelly Kim, violin, co-concertmaster, Glenbrook North HS

Noah Kim, violin, Vernon Hills HS

Stefan Westerberg, cello, Niles North HS

Angelica She, viola, New Trier HS


Of special note: Piano student Zachary Guo was awarded first prize in the solo division of the ILMEA composition competition. The piece was titled “Cadenza e tesi” for solo violin.




2021 Vancouver International Music Competition

Emily Chen was awarded a Bronze Medal in Strings Age 9-12 Category for the 2021 Vancouver International Music Competition (VIMC). Established in 2017, the Vancouver International Music Competition is an invitation for young musicians around the world to perform and grow in a competitive and welcoming environment. Our purpose is to promote the inheritance and preservation of classical music and to encourage young musicians to explore contemporary and modern music with a focus on Canadian composers. 


Ronald Sachs International Music Competition

Esme Arias-Kim received 2nd prize in the junior division at the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition this past weekend held at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC. The Ronald Sachs International Music Competition, under the leadership of Competition Artistic Director, Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi, is committed to inspiring young artists and enriching their musical experiences so that they can enjoy performing at the early stages of their careers in music.


2021 International Music Competition “Rome” Grand Prize Virtuoso

Mia Wimbiscus, cello student of Hans Jensen, has been selected as the First Prize Winner of the 2021 International Music Competition “Rome” Grand Prize Virtuoso. As a first prize winner, Mia has the remarkable opportunity to perform at the Teatro Studio, Parco della Musica (Rome, Italy) on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

The International Music Competition "Grand Prize Virtuoso" is open to all nationalities and ages in strings, piano, wind, vocal and chamber music, and attracted applicants from 71 countries around the world. Participants were required to submit video/audio recording materials for the audition. Multiple winners are chosen in each age category. 


Carlsen Cello Foundation

Xavier Miyazaki has been awarded a cello from the Carlsen Cello Foundation in Seattle. The mission of the Foundation is to make fine cellos available to deserving students. The Foundation loans out instruments on a long-term basis to students selected through teacher recommendations and video performance. For a string player, the opportunity to learn and perform on a quality instrument is priceless.


DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers 

Kudos to Sameer Agrawal, Mia Wimbiscus, Elinor Detmer and Kelly Kim-- winners of the DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers (January 2021)), were featured with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago under the direction of Mina Zikri. Tune in to watch at:


OCTOBER 10 | Concerto Festival Winners Concert | Part 3

Featuring works by Popper, Elgar, and Wieniawski

Kelly Kim, violin – Wieniawski, H.: Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 22, Mvt. 1 

Sameer Agrawal, Mia Wimbiscus, Elinor Detmer and Kelly Kim-- winners of the DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, were featured with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago under the direction of Mina Zikri. Tune in to watch at:




SEPTEMBER 26 | Concerto Festival Winners Concert | Part 1

Featuring works by Mozart & Haydn 

Elinor Detmer, violin – Mozart, W. A.: Concerto in D Major, K. 218, Mvt. 1

Mia Wimbiscus, cello – Haydn, F. J.: Concerto in C Major, Hob. VIIb:1, Mvt. 3

Sameer Agrawal, violin – Mozart, W. A.: Concerto in A Major, K. 219, Mvt.


2021 CIMC International Music Competition

The Omaggio String Quartet, Elinor Detmer, Abigail Park, Tara Hagle and Jan Nedvetsky, was named one of our distinguished prize winners of the 2021 CIMC International Music Competition. The competition was extremely competitive with 1500 entries from nearly 25 countries. The quartet, was coached by Mathias Tacke in the 2020-2021 season.

Professional category 

Young artist 2

Second place