2019 Piano Duo Festival Acknowledgement & Results

Thank you for participating in the 2019 Piano Duo Festival! The event was held on Saturday, February 23 at Greene Music. Students, teachers and families enjoyed the beautiful piano duet music performed by 14 teams in 6 different age-division categories. The Duo Festival chair Dan Yu made all pre-event arrangements and organized the schedule, and on the event day, my MTAC colleague Carol Ong-Chen was an indispensable help to run the two recitals back to back. Thank you to students, parents, and all participating teachers for making it a successful event. The following studios were represented: Eunice Ahn, Eunji Bae, Lee Galloway, Yu Carole Liu, Victor Labenske, Carol Ong-Chen, Galina Talis, and Anna Vasilyeva. Special thanks to our adjudicators Steve Baker and Sanaz Rezai.

Here are the results and photos from the event. Congratulations to all participants. We hope you join us again next year.

2019 Piano Duo Festival Results
Category I: Ages 5 - 9First PlaceGrace Xu & Sarah Deng
Second PlaceAllison Doung & Katelyn Doung
Third PlaceMia Davis & Jace Phillips
Category II: Ages 10 - 12First PlaceWei-Shi Lai & Peiran Liang
Second PlaceAnya Davis & Kailey Philips
Third PlaceIris Cheng & Leah Nacher
Category III: Ages 13 - 15First PlaceRuei-Chi Lai & Davina Zhu
Second PlaceStephen Zhu & Hsiang-Kuang Zhuang
Third PlacePaul Suarez & John Suarez
Category IV: Ages 16 - High SchoolFirst PlaceJessica Mar & Jenny Mar
Category V: CollegeFirst PlaceAurora Grzybek & Evan Lin

2019 Concerto Acknowledgement & Results

Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s Concerto Competition! 

I want to give a special thank you to Sarah Victor, who was my assistant both days, Dana Burnett for preparing the warm-up schedules both days, Lori Vickers, Sun Yung Cho, Alexander Mirolyan, Stacey Liao and Michael Tseitlin for providing pastries and fruit for judges.  I also want to thank USD’s Department of Music for generously sponsoring this event! 

I would also like to express my gratitude to our panel of judges this year:

PIANO: Wan-Chin Chang, Gema Garcia, Mark Gutierrez
WINDS: Beth Ross Buckley, Pamela Vliek Martchev, James Romeo
STRINGS: Elizabeth Brown, Paivikki Nykter, Philip Tyler

Here are the results and photos. Winners performances with orchestra will be announced very soon.

DIVISION I: piano through 11 yrs. 
1st placeYouchae B. – Haydn: Concerto in D Major, 1st mvt.
2nd place (alternate)Tyler C.
3rd placeSaejoon H.
DIVISION II: piano 12-14 yrs.
1st placeAlly N. – Saint-Saens: Concerto No. 2 in G minor, 1st mvt.
2nd place (alternate)Stephanie L.
3rd placeJustin L.
Honorable Mentions:Margaret F. and Christine Z.
DIVISION III:  15-18 yrs.
1st placeAlexis W. – Mozart: Concerto No. 27 in Bb Major, K. 595, 3rd mvt.
2nd place (alternate)Zachary L.
3rd placeSaeji H.
1st placeIsabelle J. – Griffes: Poem
2nd place (alternate)Helen Z.
3rd placeJennie C.
Honorable Mentions:Athena T.
DIVISION V: Strings through 13 yrs.
1st placeDasha Z. – Vivaldi: Concerto in G Minor, RV 317
2nd place (alternate)Caden J.
3rd place (tie)Ellie L. and Lucas L.
Honorable Mentions:Isabel K.
DIVISION VI: Strings 14-18 yrs.
1st placeNathan S. – Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D Minor, 1st mvt.
2nd place (alternate)Pearl d.
3rd placeSusan L.
Honorable Mentions:Jacey L., Lucy G., Josiah d., Andrew Y., Evan Z.

Members may login to view the results with full names below:

2018 Sonata Acknowledgement & Results

There were 265 participants in the 2018 Sonata Contest and I am so grateful for all of those who helped to make this a successful day. First, a very big thank you to MTAC members: Mitzi Kolar, Chutaphin Yeager, Miriam Cole, Jacki Summers, Brian Goral, Lynn Sundfor-McPherson, Magdi Bornemisza, Stuart Thurston, Dan Yu, Sarah Victor, Angelina Hardy, Yuko Maruyama and Hua Wang for their help on the day of the contest and in the preparations for the event.

Thank you to the following volunteers whose help was invaluable: Abby Vickers, David Rudolph, Priscilla Ling, Chelsea Clements, Kevin Korevaar Patty Rudolph, Nancy McClintock, Evan and Austin Killeen, Aurora Gryzbek Renee Chang, Paul Otterson, Han-Min Kim, Jonathan Backues and Leslie Lucas.

Another big thank you to Eric Vickers for his computer technical expertise, and for his encouragement and support with running this event!

Finally, none of this would be possible without the constant help of Dr. Mitzi Kolar and Chutaphin Yeager who worked tirelessly on this and previous years’ contests. Thanks also to San Diego State University for their generous hospitality allowing us to use their facility.

The judges for this year were: Sharon Townsend-Roth (Glendale), Rob and Teri Watson (Fullerton), Matilda Rudolph (Vista), Sanaz Rezai (Los Angeles), Mark Mendez (Montebello), Laurie Meinhold (Aliso Viejo), Jo Ellen Vandruff (Orange) and Erika Ramos (Redlands).

Happy Holidays to all of you and we hope to see you next year.

Please login to view the 2018 Sonata Results below:

2018 Popular Music Festival Acknowledgement

Thank you for participating in the 2018 Popular Music Festival! We had 15 teachers enter 51 students who performed in recitals on November 3, 2018 at Grossmont College. The four recitals were filled with delightful music ranging from pop and rock to jazz, blues and ragtime.

The 3pm Jazz Improvisation Workshop was led by Yuko Maruyama, and the accompanists were Doug Walker on bass and Matthew Taylor on drums. Students Andrew D., Skylar L., Risa S., Eric T., Michael W., and teacher Claudia Smetona explored improvisation on blues and funk, Latin rhythms, and some jazz standards.

Studios Represented: Irina Bessonova, Miriam Cole, Kathy Kim, Amy Lee, Philip Lim, Brenda Martin, Yuko Maruyama, Leslie Olson, Carol Ong-Chen, Anna Savvas, Claudia Smetona, Anna Stal, Galina Talis, Irina Williams, and Dan Yu

A big thank-you to all the teachers, students and friends who came out and volunteered their time to make this event possible:

Irina Bessonova, Miriam Cole, Kathy Kim, Yuko Maruyama, Leslie Olson, Carol Ong-Chen, Anna Savvas, Risa Schapiro, Claudia Smetona, Irina Williams, Chutaphin Yeager and Dan Yu

2018 Chopin Festival Results

On April 14-15, we celebrated Chopin’s music triumphantly together during the inauguration of the first MTACSD Chopin Festival at the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego. Our three accomplished judges from Los Angeles, Dr. Andrew Park, Dr. Wojciech Kocyan, and Dr. Sarkis Baltaian, commented that they were “very inspired with the level of performance and very impressed with the teaching in our branch.” We had 36 contestants represented by 18 studios. There were definitely magical moments and artistic excellence present throughout the Festival. Congratulations to all the performers for their outstanding demonstration of musicianship! Thank you to all the teachers for your exemplary guidance, and please continue to inspire your students to make beautiful music.

My goal for Chopin Festival is to showcase not only some of the strongest music ever written for pianists, but also to feature the many talented musicians we have in our community. This festival encourages young musicians to express themselves with piano, connect with one another through their music-making, and uplift spirits through Chopin’s music. The highlight of the festival was, of course, the Winners’ Recital on Sunday evening, where the attendees benefited from a wonderful showcase of the magnificent artistry of the top two winners and the engaging fellowship at the reception time. I appreciate tremendously for the much enthusiastic support from many of you leading up to and during the two-day weekend. A special shout-out to incredible individuals: Dr. Ed Basilio, Jane Klofkorn, Nimpa Akana, Quynh Nguyen, Sarah Lincoln, Marilyn Carnes, Yuko Maruyama, Miriam Cole, Brian Goral, Lee Galloway, and Jaclyn Summers. I’m most grateful to the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego for hosting us with a fine Steinway concert grand and many cheerful volunteers. Partnering with them has been a real blessing for us all.

Below, please find the winners’ list that the judges have deliberated. Congratulations!

CATEGORY 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place
Waltz/Mazurka Malvyn Lai Stephanie Ling Amaia Schmitigal
Etude Claire Lewis Priscilla Ling Risa Schapiro
Scherzo Joelle Jeon Ian Llacer Justin Lee
Nocturne Sarah Deng Jason Li Alexis Wu
Ballade Andrew Vu Luke Kim Cameron Lincoln 

2018 Concerto Winners Performances

Congratulations to the 2018 Concerto Competition winners!
The first place winners of Divisions I through VI, will perform their winning pieces with orchestra as follows:

Adora Xiao, piano and Sunny Xiao, piano
will perform with the Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Dr. Angela Yeung, conductor.

Dates: Friday, March 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 pm (two performances)
Location: University of San Diego, Shiley Theatre

Adora will perform the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major, 3rd mvt.
Sunny will perform the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto in G minor, 3rd mvt.

Kevin Lu, piano, Stacy Widyono, violin, and Phoebe Olzewski, violin
will perform with the Mira Costa College Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Branden Muresan, conductor.

Dates: Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 20 at 3:00 pm (two performances)
Location: Mira Costa College Concert Hall- Oceanside Campus

Kevin will perform the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, 1st mvt.
Stacy will perform the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor, 1st mvt.
Phoebe will perform the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole, 1st mvt.

Zackery Edwards, bassoon
will perform with the New City Sinfonia, Mr. Daniel Ratelle, conductor.

Date: Sunday, June 3 at 2:00 pm
Location: Church of Mary Magdalene (Bay Park)

Zackery will perform the Weber Andante and Rondo Ongerese, Op. 35

2018 Concerto Acknowledgement & Results

Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s Concerto Competition! It is a fact that in competitions some auditioners must go home without a ribbon or plaque award. However, both days were filled with beautiful music from the morning until the end of the day.

I want to give a special thank you to Yuko Maruyama and Dana Burnett who were tremendously helpful to me. Additionally, I want to thank the teachers and helpers who furnished food for the judges and worked at the check-in table: Jane Bastien, Sun Yung Cho, Susanna Han, George Katz, Inessa Litvin, Alex Mirolyan, Anna Savvas, Risa Schapiro, Carol Seefeldt, Seiran Sohn and Danette White.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the distinguished panel of judges this year:
PIANO: Dr. Doug Ashcraft (Idyllwild), Dr. Jan Meyer Thompson (ASU), Dr. Beverly Simms (ISU)
WINDS: Beth Ross Buckley (flute), Pamela Vliek Martchev (flute), Frank Renk (clarinet)
STRINGS: Isaac Allen (violin), Alex Greenbaum (cello), Angela Choong (viola)

We are in the process of finalizing the orchestra performance for the first-place winners. I hope to have that information for all within the next few days. We will publish the concert information on the website in hopes that many of you will attend!


DIVISION I Piano (through 11 years old)
First Place Adora Xiao – Haydn Concerto in D Major, Mvt III
Second Place Leo Zhang
Third Place Gene Chang

DIVISION II Piano (12-14 years old)
First Place Sunny Xiao – Mendelssohn Piano Concerto in G Minor, Mvt III
Second Place Alexis Wu
Third Place Jeremiah Cho
HM Saeji Hong
HM Soo Hyun Bahn

DIVISION III Piano (15-18 years old)
First Place Kevin Lu – Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Mvt I
Second Place Zisheng Shang
Third Place Athena Tsu
HM Sofia Chamberlain
HM Andrew Zhao

First Place Zackery Edwards – Weber Andante and Rondo Ongerese, Op. 35 for bassoon
Second Place Helen Zhu
Third Place Michelle Liu
HM Isabelle Jamois
HM Jennie Cao

DIVISION V Strings (through age 13)
First Place Stacy Widyono – Bruch Violin Concerto in G Minor, Mvt I
Second Place Isabel Kim
Third Place Lucas Lee
HM Saejoon Hong
HM Caden Jiang

DIVISION VI Strings (14-18 years)
First Place Phoebe Olzewski – Lalo Symphonie Espagnole
Second Place (TIE) Katherine Zhu and Jacey Yang
Third Place Pearl de la Motte
HM Evan Zhou
HM Nathan Sariowan