Class of 2019 - 2020 Accolades



11.23. 19 Ashely Kim, piano student of James Giles and Matthew Hagle performed on WFMT’s Introductions last Saturday. Watch for information regarding the encore performance, replayed later this year.

Ashley performed selections of Chopin, Bach, Mozart and Rochberg.


11. 18. 19 Jonah Kartman, violin student of I-Hao Lee, is a finalist in the The Bolz Young Artist Competitionand will perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra on February 26 and 27.

Preliminary Round: Saturday, October 26   Semi-Final Round: Monday, November 18 Final Round: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 (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 four semi-finalists compete in The Final Forte, which is broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television. Winners of the Bolz Young Artist Competition are featured as soloists with the MSO during the Spring Young People’s Concert.


11.17. 19 The Sixteenth Annual Sejong Music Competition was held on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at the University of Illinois at Chicago Performing Arts Center. This competition is open to all pre-college violin and piano students. The goals of the Sejong Music Competition are to discover talented young musicians and encourage them in their studies, and to also introduce traditional Korean music expressed through Western media.

VIOLIN SENIOR DIVISION - Watch for a list of all MIC winners on the competition page of the MIC website.

First place: Noelle Naito, student of Almita Vamos and Davis King

Third: Jonah Kartman, student of I-Hao Lee

Honorable mention: Esme-Arias Kim, student of Almita Vamos


Good luck to the Finalists in the Chinese Fine Arts Society’s 34th annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius Competition on Sunday, November 24!

The Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS) is a Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to promoting the appreciation of Chinese culture, enhancing cultural exchange, and pursuing excellence in Chinese music, dance, and visual arts.

Junior II

Sameer Agrawal, student of Sang Mee Lee


Sonya Jones, student of Almita Vamos and Davis King

Abigail Park, student of Almita Vamos

Honorable Mention  

Linda Wang, student of Almita Vamos and Hye-Sun Lee


11.23.19 Yerin Yang – As the winner of the 2018 Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition, Yerin will perform several concerts with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra later in November. Yerin won the competition with her performance of the first movement from the Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16, by Edvard Grieg.  Program to include selections from: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3, Beethoven Symphony No. 3, 5, 6, and 9. Yerin studies with Jim Giles and Alvin Chow.

PERFORMERS Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Erina Yashima conductor Yerin Yang piano


11. 9. 19 Sameer Agrawal – Sameer won first place in The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest Concerto Competition and will perform the first movement of the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto, No. 5 in A minor, on Sunday, December 1, at 4pm. The symphony is conducted by Music Director Jay Friedman at Concordia University in River Forest.  Sameer studies with Sang Mee Lee. The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest’s Solo Competition is open to all musicians who have yet to complete their senior year of high school and whose primary residence is within 10 miles of Oak Park/River Forest.


11.2.19 Zechary Mo won the Grand Prize at the Illinois American String Teachers Association Concerto Competition on November 2nd, at Illinois State University with a performance of the Walton Viola Concerto.  Zechary studies with Roland Vamos and Davis King. The American String Teachers Association, founded more than 60 years ago, is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players. The Competition is open to all string students aged 16-22 studying or living in Illinois who have an instructor who is an ASTA member.  There are separate divisions for violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, and harp, and one Grand Prize.   


10.19.19 Academy violinist Katya Moeller performed Glazunov’s Violin Concerto with the Southeast Iowa Symphony (69th season), a regional orchestra that performs in Burlington, Mt. Pleasant and Ottumwa, Iowa. In addition to rehearsals and concerts, Katya was booked on the Young Professionals of Burlington, a 30-minute program that combined performance with a discussion about music. She also gave an interview on Iowa Public Radio about the Glazunov’s performances and did the Williamsburg Library "Alive after 5" series.



10.15. 19 Abigail Park, student of Almita Vamos,  participated in a masterclass sponsored by Bein & Fushi  and The Stradivari Society on October 15. The class was led by Spanish violinist Francisco Fullana, winner of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, who has received international praise as a "rising star". Abigail performed a movement from  Vieuxtemps Concerto No.


10.13.19 Academy Violinist Noelle Naito, student of Almita Vamos, was named the winner of the Music Teacher’s National Association(MTNA) state string competition in Maryland on October 13. The MTNA National Student Competitions are the most successful and prestigious student competitions in the country. Noelle will advance to the Eastern Division Online-only Video Competition. Division winners compete in the national finals at the annual MTNA National Conference in March.


Cellist Sajdah Muhammad performed with the South Side Chicago Youth Orchestra this summer, and received the opportunity to be interviewed and appear on ABC news.  

Tune in to hear Sajdah’s compelling story.


Cellist Jan Nedvetsky played live this morning on ABC’s Windy City Live celebrating Amazing Kids. The show will be repeated at 11pm tonight. Jan performed the Courante from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major by Bach.


9.28.19 ia Wimbiscus will be featured on "Introductions" on September 28. Introductions is WFMT’s weekly Saturday morning radio program that features talented pre-college classical musicians in the Chicago area.  

Mia’s program:

Pampeana No 2., Rhapsody for cello and piano, op 21 by Alberto Ginastera

Sonata in D Minor by Claude Debussy 

Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky


Piano student Eriko Darcy will be featured on the 9th Annual Franz Liszt Birthday Gala Concert next month in Nichols Concert Hall. Watch for more information regarding tickets.


Summer Highlights


Katya Moeller, violinist in the Avita Duo, was featured in concerts across the globe this summer, appearing with her mother, pianist Ksenia Nosikova.

Isabella Brown won 3rd prize in July at the 2019 Thomas & Evon Cooper International Violin Competition – in Oberlin, Ohio, United States.  


Katya Moeller, student of Almita Vamos, won GRAND PRIZE in the ENKOR International Music Competition, Violin, 6th Edition.


Sidney Lee, student of I-Hao Lee, won 1st prize in ENKOR, Category B, ages 11-15.

ENKOR provides students with the unique opportunity to get heard and recognized by hundreds of professionals and influential people in the music industry. ENKOR is the only competition with a Jury Board consisting of 500+ members from 70+ countries on 6 continents!


News from Aspen: Violinists Noelle Naito and Katya Moeller, students of Almita Vamos, performed in a master class with violinist Paul Huang, recipient of the prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists.