Class of 2018 - 2019 Accolades



10. 14/ 18 

Congratulations to the 2018 33rd Annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius Competition Winners

The competition was held on Sunday, October 14 at the Merit School of Music. 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. Since its founding in 1984, CFAS has been a leading champion of Chinese culture, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to celebrate the beauty and majesty of both traditional and contemporary Chinese art.

First place winners of the competition will be featured at the Winners Concert on Sunday, November 18.


CELLO SENIOR 1st Place: Camille Toubol, student of Hans Jørgen Jensen

CELLO JUNIOR II 1st Place: Mia Wimbiscus, student of Hans Jørgen Jensen

VIOLIN SENIOR  Honorable Mention: Claire Arias-Kim, student of Almita Vamos  

Honorable Mention: Kaylin Liu, student of Almita Vamos

VIOLIN JUNIOR II  2nd Place: Linda Wang, student of Hye-Sun Lee and Almita Vamos


Irina Casasnovas and Claire Arias-Kim, students of Almita Vamos, will participate in a master class led by violinist Augustin Hadelich at Bein and Fushi on Tuesday, October 9 at 6:30 pm. Classes are held in the Great Room at Bein & Fushi, 410 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1014  Chicago. Please RSVP to reserve your seat: or 312-663-0150. Admission is free, but seating is limited. 
“He has firmly established himself as one of the great violinists of today. Showcasing a wide-ranging and adventurous repertoire, he is consistently cited for his phenomenal technique, soulful approach, and beauty of tone.”  Don’t miss this great class with two of our Academy violinists who were invited by special invitation.


Eriko Darcy, piano student of Matt Hagle and Irina Casasnovas, will participate in the Illinois State MTNA Competition, October 26–27, at Northern Illinois University.
MTNA competitions include Composition, Brass, Piano, String, Voice, Woodwind and Chamber Music.  The three-tiered competitions begin at the state round. First-place winner of the each state's competition advances to a division competition. Division winners compete in the national finals at the annual MTNA National Conference.  There are no screening or preliminary auditions to enter the Illinois state MTNA competition.  


Violinist Esme Arias-Kim, student of Almita Vamos, will perform on the Young Steinway series at the Skokie Public Library this Sunday Oct. 7 at 3:00. Esme will perform Dvorak , Bruch, Paganini and Sarasate. The concerts showcase young people with extraordinary talent, giving local audiences the chance to enjoy first-class music, for free, close to home. Concerts begin at 3 pm in the Petty Auditorium. Free tickets are distributed at 2:30 pm. Doors open at 2:45 pm, beginning with people with disabilities.


Cellist Luka Coetzee, student of Horacio Contreras, was featured on a Canadian Global TV interview promoting the Mount Royal University Conservatory Program in Calgary.


Claire Arias-Kim will be featured on "Introductions" in December. Introductions is WFMT’s weekly Saturday morning radio program that features talented pre-college classical musicians in the Chicago area. Claire was also invited to perform as soloist by the Elgin Symphony Orchestra on their education concerts.   She will perform the Polonaise in D major by Wieniawski in 8 concerts during April 2-5.  Claire spent two months this summer performing on concerts and master classes at the Aspen Music Festival and School.


Katya Moeller was featured in a "Recital to Benefit the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra" on August 19 with the University of Iowa Symphony, conducted by Dr. William LaRue Jones.  On September 9, Katya performed on the Piano Sundays at the Old Capitol Museum "Rising Stars Showcase".  In its 12th season, the concerts are featured six times each year.


Esme Arias-Kim won first place in the New York International Artist Association (division 11-14yrs).  She will be one of six performers featured in a recital this Sunday, September 23rd, at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall where she will perform the first movement of the Bruch Concerto as well as Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen. This comes after an amazing summer that included Center Stage Strings in Michigan, the Il Piccolo Violino Magico Competition in Italy, and the Heifetz Institute in Staunton, Virginia.


Yerin Yang was featured on Introductions last week.  Yerin won the 2018 Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition, and as a result, she will perform with the CSO during the 2018/2019 season. She will also be featured on the 8th Annual Franz Lizst Birthday Gala Concert, Saturday, Oct 27 2018, Nichols Concert Hall. Watch for more information regarding tickets.



7.1.18  Each summer the Southeastern Piano Festival transforms the University of South Carolina School of Music into a cultural destination that draws in audiences and young piano talent from across the United States. The Southeastern Piano Festival is a high-level training platform for the young pianists, a presenter of new and world-renowned concert pianists and master teachers, an advocate for new piano music, and a vehicle for exploring different roles the piano plays on stage and beyond. Twenty of some of the best pre-college pianists on the piano scene today take part in a rigorous program that includes daily lessons with USC piano faculty, master classes with guest artists and up to five hours of practice a day. The week's events culminate with the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, adjudicated by a distinguished panel of judges. 


MIC is happy to announce that Academy pianist Yerin Yang has won First Prize in the 2018 Arthur Fraser Competition along with the Young Jury Award and Best Solo Work. Yerin will perform a complete concerto with the South Carolina Philharmonic in Masterworks concert series during the 2018/2019 season. Earlier this spring, Yerin won first prize in the Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition. 


6.5.18 Congratulations to twelve-year-old newly accepted Academy violinist Esme Arias-Kim, who will be representing the United States at the 2018 il Piccolo Violino Magico International Competition.

The competition will be held in San Vito al Tagliamento, Italy, from the 4th to the 8th of July. Open to international violinists aged 9 to 13 years old, the first prize winner will receive a cash prize and a number of international performance opportunities. 


6.4.18 Academy violinist Julian Rhee, first-prize winner in the 2018 Johansen International Competition, has won second prize as well as Best Performance of a work by J.S. Bach and Best Performance of this year's Commissioned Piece, in the Irving M. Klein International String Competition. Julian was one of only three finalists in this prestigious competition. Judges were Glenn Dicterow, Karen Dreyfus, David Froom (who wrote the JIC commissioned work in 2015!), Janet Horvath, Mel Margolis, Ian Swensen, and Barbara Day Turner.