Young Artist Competition
The Starlight Symphony Orchestra is hosting a solo competition and invites outstanding musical youth to compete. The top performers will be selected as the featured soloists with the Starlight Symphony Orchestra and will perform at the Young Artist Concerts.
The solo competition is open to all orchestral instruments including brass, percussion, piano, strings, and woodwinds. Suitable pieces are solo works that are intended to be performed with orchestral accompaniment. Examples of such pieces are a movement of a concerto, or one, two, or three movements of a suite, divertimento, or concertina. Students performing slow movements may want to also include a contrasting fast movement. Time length of your selection should not exceed 15 minutes.
Congratulations to our 2024 Young Artist Competition Winners!
Josephine Chow – Piano
Josephine Chow is 14 years old and currently attending Westwood High School. She started learning piano when she was 5 and is currently a student of Alexander Malikov. Josephine loves playing the piano because it brings joy and comfort to herself and her audience.
Some of Josephine’s achievements include 1st place at, Steinway Piano Concerto Competition at Austin in 2020 and 2022, Paderewski International Piano Competition in 2020, and Chopin Youth International Piano Competition at Houston in 2021. Recently, she has won the Texas MTNA Junior Piano Competition and will compete in the South Central division with other state winners for advancement to the national final round.
Josephine has participated in numerous piano festivals, including PianoTexas, New Orleans Piano Institute, Texas State Piano Festival, and the International keyboard Odyssiad Festival. Through private lessons and masterclasses, she has had the opportunity to learn from distinguished pianists such as Yoheved Kaplinsky, Pascal Nemirovski, Alan Chow, Marina Lomazov, Hung Kuan Chen, and Tamas Ungar.
Josephine has also performed in various venues, including Weill Recital Hall, PepsiCo Recital Hall, and Van Cliburn Concert Hall. She made her orchestral debut in June 2022, performing the first movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Las Colinas Symphony under the baton of Geoffrey Simon.
In an effort to give back to her community, Josephine frequently performs in senior living homes and fundraising concerts for the Food Lounge, a non-profit organization that supports those who struggle with food insecurity. She also enjoys participating in chamber ensembles and is the piano accompanist for Long Yin Choir, an amateur adult Chinese choir based in Austin that works towards sharing Chinese culture through music.
Outside of piano, Josephine enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, and reading.
Brigid Dever – Cello
Brigid Dever, 16, is a homeschooled sophmore. She has been playing cello since the age of five, and studies with Melissa Solomon. She is a member of the Austin Civic Orchestra. This past summer she attended Interlochen and Texas Strings Festival. Brigid helps provide music for Mass at her church, St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Brigid is especially passionate about chamber music. As part of the Bluebonnet Suzuki Studio, she has had the joy of being in a quartet, octet, and cello quintet over the past six years. She also plays in a cello duet coached by her teacher.
The things Brigid loves best are inorganic chemistry and playing music with her friends.
Congratulations to our 2023 Young Artist Competition Winners!
Brayden Cheang, age 13, is an 8th grader at West Ridge Middle School in Austin. Brayden began piano studies with Dr. Susan Groves at the age of 5. He was awarded Grand Prix in the IV International Chopin Piano Competition organized by Gloria Artis in Vienna (2022), First Prize in Neapolitan Masters International Piano Competition (2020), Gold Prize in the World Piano Teachers Association Finland International Piano Competition (2020), Gold Medalist and winner of Outstanding Nocturne and Jan Ekier awards “The Best Performance of the Most Difficult Piece” in the Chopin Society of Houston Eleventh International Youth Piano Competition (2019), First Prize and Exceptional Young Musician Special Prize in the Golden Classical Music Award (2019), First Prize in International Piano Talents Competition Milano, Italy (2019), and First Place in the Rochelle Liebling Kahan Memorial Fund Competition for Child Piano Prodigies (2018). He was also a prize winner in Henle Piano Competition (2021), Chicago International Music Competition and Festival (2020), Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition (2020), and Steinway Piano Competition (2018). Locally, he was the First-Place winner in numerous piano contests organized by Austin District Music Teachers Associations, including Solo Contest (2015-2017) and Scholarship Contest (2016-17, 2019-22).
Besides playing the piano, Brayden enjoys skiing, playing football, swimming and hanging out with his friends.
Joshua Henselman is a sixteen-year-old sophomore at Veritas Academy and has studied piano since he was five. He enjoys many genres, including all classical music, film scores, musicals, and pop music. For three years, he has been the captain of the Veritas drum line, leading the drum line in earning several top state honors at TAPPS competitions. He plays a wide variety of percussion instruments in the Veritas percussion ensemble.
Joshua has earned many awards locally, state-wide, and nationally. These awards include top prizes in the Fort Bend Marielle Ogletree Young Artist Concerto Competition, DeBose National Piano Competition, TMTA State Performance Contest, Steinway Piano Gallery Concerto Competition, ADMTA Solo Contest, ADMTA Scholarship Contest, Baylor/Waco Piano Competition, and Blinn College Competition. Joshua also enjoys collaborative playing. As an eighth-grade student, he accompanied a full-length production of The Greatest Showman presented by the Veritas high school drama troupe. This spring, he will provide the piano/orchestral reduction accompaniment for the Veritas drama departments musical production of Into the Woods. He accompanies other student instrumentalists for competitions and festivals and regularly collaborates with other pianists in duets, duos, trios, and quartets.
In addition to his musical endeavors, Joshua also enjoys spending time outdoors. He especially enjoys hiking in the Colorado Rockies and playing football, frisbee, and table tennis. He pursues a rigorous course load at Veritas Academy, planning a STEM-heavy graduation plan. He also
works as a member of the custodial staff for his school.
Joshua’s primary instructor is Peggy DeArmond (Naples, Idaho), with support from his previous teacher, Jeannie DeArmond-Henselman. He is self-driven, often selecting his own repertoire and defining his own ambitions. Performing the Prokofieff Piano Concerto No. 2 has been his dream for many years. Having performed the first movement of Prokofieff 2 with the Fort Bend Symphony in March 2022, he is thrilled to collaborate with the Starlight Symphony on the third movement of this marvelous concerto.
Adrian Fisher, age 14, is a freshman at Dripping Springs High School. He started playing cello at the age of 5. Melissa Solomon has been his cello teacher since he was in 5th grade. He was a member of the Austin Youth Orchestra from 2016 to 2020. Recently, he received a superior rating for UIL Region Solo and Ensemble and he will participate in UIL All State Solo and Ensemble in May. He was named 2nd chair for TMEA All-Region High School Orchestra in 2022. He was also named 2nd chair for TMEA All-Region Middle School Orchestra in 2021.
Adrian is currently a member of Dripping Springs High School Camerata orchestra, their top orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Jessica Gilliam-Valls. He is also a member of Melissa Solomon’s studio cello choir and cello quartet.
In addition to cello, he plays piano and he has been working on composing music. He loves to visit Japan during the school summer break and helps his grandmother with grape and apple orchards and enjoys hiking mountains there.