1997 Winners

Julie Albers (cello, first prize) has been principal cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra since 2014. She is also a teacher of Zlatomir Fung (see 2015 JIC Winners). As a high school student, she was awarded the Grand Prize at the XIII International Competition for Young Musicians in Douai, France. She has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout the world. In 2001, she won second prize in Munich’s Internationalen Musikwettbewerbes der ARD, and was also awarded the Wilhelm-Weichsler-Musikpreis der Stadt Osnabruch. In 2003, she was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition. She is currently active with the Albers String Trio and the Cortona Trio and is assistant professor and holds the Mary Jean and Charles Yates Cello Chair at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Denise Djokic (cello, third prize) has appeared with orchestras and as a recitalist throughout the Americas. She was a featured performer at the 2002 Grammy Awards, and her recordings have received several awards. She was the subject of a BRAVO! TV documentary entitled “Seven Days, Seven Nights” and has been a speaker at IdeaCity in Toronto and at the Queen’s Women in Leadership Conference. She was named by MacLean’s magazine as one of the top “25 Canadians who are Changing our World” and by ELLE Magazine as one of “Canada’s Most Powerful Women.”

Yumi Kendall (cello, judges’ commendation) has been assistant principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2004, and is a member of the Dryden Quartet. She has served on the faculties of the National Orchestral Institute, New York State School for Orchestral Studies, Philadelphia International Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Miami Summer Music Festival; serves as mentor for the Curtis Institute’s Community Artists Program; and maintains a private teaching studio. She received the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Kuhn Award in 2013, which is given annually to “the member of the Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and reputation of The Philadelphia Orchestra.”

Jessica Lee (violin, honorable mention) was the grand prize winner of the 2005 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. She has appeared in solo and chamber performances all over the world. She was a long-time member of the Johannes String Quartet, which toured with the Guarneri String Quartet in its farewell season. She was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two and has toured frequently with Musicians from Marlboro. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and a master of music degree from the Juilliard School and was a faculty member at Rutgers University and Vassar College. She was named assistant concertmaster (fourth chair) of the Cleveland Orchestra in August 2016.

Mikhail Ovrutsky (violin, first prize and best performance of commissioned work) is a soloist and chamber musician. He is concertmaster of the Beethoven Orchestra and prizewinner at the 2005 Queen Elisabeth Competition. He is a recording artist with Warner Classics, Naxos, and Berlin Classics. He also been a teacher of Lara Boschkor (see 2015 JIC Winners).

2000 Winners

Nicholas Canellakis (cello, second prize) is an active soloist and chamber musician. He is currently a member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Players. He graduated from The Curtis Institute of Music and holds a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory, where he received the Gregor Piatigorsky Award. He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division and is adjunct assistant professor of cello at Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music. He is also a filmmaker and has produced and directed several music videos and fictional shorts and hosts a comedy Web series called “Conversations with Nick Canellakis.”

Teng Li (viola, first prize), a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, is a soloist and recording artist and has been principal violist of the Toronto Symphony since 2004. She won top prizes at the Holland-America Music Society competitions, the Primrose International Viola Competition, the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, Germany. She was also a winner of the Astral Artistic Services 2003 National Auditions.

2003 Winners

Stephanie Jeong (violin, best performance of commissioned work) was appointed associate concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony in 2011. Prior to joining the CSO, she was a member of the New York Philharmonic from 2010 to 2011. She won prizes at the 2008 Paganini Violin Competition in Italy, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as winner of its Feinburg Competition, and the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Competition. She also won Aspen’s AACA Concerto Competition and the DeLay Fellowship Award. In 1997, at the age of 9, she was one of the youngest students ever accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She received her bachelor’s degree from Curtis and completed her master’s degree at the Juilliard School.

Seung-Min Kang (cello, first prize) has won prizes at numerous competitions, including first prize at the 2006 Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition, fifth prize at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, and a special prize at the 2009 Rostropovich Cello Competition.

Jailei Li (violin, second prize tied) was named a 2004 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

Joel Link (violin, second prize tied) is first violinist in the Dover Quartet; the group is an Avery Fisher prizewinner. Joel maintains a busy performing schedule as violinist in the Dover Quartet. One notable collaboration of the group is with the pianist Emanuel Ax; they performed with him at his 70th birthday celebration at Wigmore Hall in London in July 2019 and at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in October 2019. The quartet, dubbed by the New Yorker “the young American string quartet of the moment,” also is in its second year as Quartet-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center and will be performing there later this season. The quartet also will perform in the 2020 Waterford Concert Series on March 15. The concerts take place in Waterford, VA, a little over an hour’s drive from the Washington DC area.

Sharon Park (violin, third prize tied) was appointed adjunct faculty for chamber music at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also released her debut CD featuring Ysaÿe’s six solo violin sonatas. She sent us the following comment: I am so thankful for the support of the JIC. Having participated and won in the competition during a pinnacle point in my career, it truly helped shape the path I took as a musician, making it possible for me to further develop my musicianship and continue pursuing my dreams. Thank you so much to everyone at the JIC and for continuing to support the future generation of musicians!

Hyun Su Shin (violin, first prize) won third prize (the Count de Launoit Prize) in the 2012 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition. The award included a cash prize of €17,000 and concert proposals.

2006 Winners

Benjamin Beilman (violin, third prize) is a recipient of a 2012 Avery Fisher Career Grant. The award is worth $25,000 and is designed to help young musicians build their careers.

Narek Hakhnazaryan (cello, first prize) won the gold medal and the best chamber concerto performance award at the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Competition. Narek performed the Elgar Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony in February 2019. A review by Charles Downey was published in the Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/baltimore-symphony-orchestra-plays-on-and-with-gusto-despite-no-new-contract/2019/02/25/2ad01030-3919-11e9-a06c-3ec8ed509d15_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a8103acd29aa).

He will perform a recital celebrating the 100th anniversary of U.S.–Armenian diplomatic relations at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2020. For more information, see https://massispost.com/2020/01/celebrating-centennial-of-us-armenia-diplomatic-relations-in-washington-dc/

Dami Kim (violin, second prize) won fourth prize and $7,000 at the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. In addition, she won the prize for the best performance of a Beethoven sonata. Kim tied for first place at the 2012 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hannover, Germany. She won €50,000, a three-year loan of a violin, several recitals, and a recording opportunity with Naxos.

Tessa Lark (violin, first prize) won second prize and $15,000 at the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis as well as prizes for the best performance of an Ysaye sonata and best performance of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Fantasy for Solo Violin. In 2014, she was awarded a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, providing financial assistance of $50,000 a year for up to two years. She won the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, which includes awards of $10,000 and two fully subsidized New York performances.

Christine Lee (cello second prize) won joint first prize (with Sang Eun Lee, 2009 JIC, first prize) in the 2018 IsangYun International Cello Competition in Korea. Both winners received KRW 30,000,000 (USD $27,000) plus a number of important debut opportunities. Christine was invited by the Hermes Quartet, 2012 Young Concert Artist winners, to be their cellist for their Phillips debut in January 2020 and for concerts in the future. Christine was also a semifinalist in the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition that took place in June 2019 in Moscow.

Vicki Powell (viola first prize) was hired as permanent principal viola of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

Junping Qian (viola second prize) was appointed assistant conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, chosen by audition out of 250 applicants. Previous appointees in this 2-year position have gone on to lead major orchestras.

2009 Winners

Sang-Eun Lee (cello, first prize) won the 2014 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and first prize at the 2014 YCA Auditions in Seoul, Korea. She was also a prizewinner at the 2009 Tchaikovsky Competition for the Young. Sang Eun won joint first prize (with Christine Jeong Hyoun Lee, 2006 JIC, second prize) in the 2018 IsangYun International Cello Competition in Korea. Both winners received KRW 30,000,000 (USD $27,000) plus a number of important debut opportunities. 

Matthew Lipman (viola, first prize) won first prize viola at the 2012 Washington International Competition for Strings and first prize and the gold medal at the 2012 Stulberg International String Competition. He performs with orchestras across the United States and is teaching assistant to Heidi Castleman at the Juilliard School. Matthew, an Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient who has performed in recital at Lincoln Center and with the Minnesota Orchestra, published an article in Strings magazine in which he wrote about learning a new work he commissioned to honor his late mother. The work for viola and piano, Metamorfose, was composed by Clarice Assad in 2017 and published in March 2018 by Virtual Artists Collective Publishing.

With Nicholas Cannelakis, cello (second prize, 2000 JIC), Matthew performed the Arensky quartet for violin, viola, and two cellos at Alice Tully Hall in August 2019 with David Finckel, cello, and Danbi Um, violin (video). Matt also joined forces with other esteemed musicians of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society in a concert held in Greece that was shown on September 6, 2019 on PBS. Matt joined the roster of Dorn Music in fall 2019 and is featured on his own page on their website.

Nancy Zhou (violin, first prize) won first prize in the 2009 Chinese International Violin Competition, and she was a semifinalist in the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, a finalist and recipient of the Rastor special award for the best performance of Kaija Saariaho’s Tocar at the 2010 Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki, Finland, a Laureate of the 2012 Queen Elisabeth Competition, a semifinalist and winner of the top prize for Best Performance of Paganini Caprices at the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, a semifinalist at the 2015 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition, and a finalist at the 2015 Sibelius International Violin Competition. She has performed with orchestras and as a recitalist throughout Europe and the United States. 

Nancy won first prize ($100,000 award) at the 2018 Shanghai Isaac Stern Competition. She is now under management of Fazer Artists’ Management, Inc., which includes in its roster Sarah Chang, Evgeny Kissin, Emanuel Ax, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Joshua Bell, among other renowned artists.  The JIC is mentioned in her posted bio. Nancy performed Mozart’s “Turkish” concerto with the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in December 2019, with Jaime Laredo conducting.

2012 Winners

Santiago Cañón-Valencia (cello, second prize) was a prizewinner in the 2017 Queen Elisabeth International Cello Competition in Brussels, the 2017 Sphinx Competition, and the 2016 Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition, in Morelia, Mexico. In 2014, he won third prize at the Pablo Casals International Cello Competition in Budapest, Hungary. Santiago and Taeguk Mun (cello, Best Performance of Commissioned Work) were finalists in the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition that took place in Moscow.

Brannon Cho (cello, first prize) won first prize in the 2018 VI International Paulo Cello Competition (including a monetary prize of €20,000), which was held in Helsinki, Finland. Brannon also was named a favorite of the shadow jury. Zlatomir Fung (first prize, 2015) tied for second prize. Christine (Jeonghyoun) Lee (second prize, 2006) also participated in the competition, in the first round. A total of 25 contestants had been chosen from a field of 80 applicants. Brannon will be performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Washington Chamber Orchestra on March 20 and 21. He performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonie Concertante with the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra in Spokane, WA in November 2019. He was interviewed prior to the concert on public radio station KPBX. In January 2020, Brannon was awarded a prestigious Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation scholarship.

Gallia Kastner (violin, first prize) was the featured soloist in the season opening concert of the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles on October 20, 2019. She performed the Sibelius concerto.

Taeguk Mun (cello, best performance of commissioned work) won first prize and €8,000 at the 2014 Pablo Casals International Cello Competition in Budapest, Hungary. He performed the Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor with the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in the winners’ concert during the 48th Budapest International Music Competition at the Hungarian Academy of Music. Taeguk and Santiago Cañón-Valencia, cello (second prize) were finalists in the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition that took place in Moscow. Taeguk has released a CD, Songs of the Cello: An Homage to Pablo Casals, on the Warner Classic label. The CD was reviewed on the Gramophone website, and the reviewer commented, “This is a beautiful and accomplished programme from (clearly) a very fine cellist.”

Ziyu Shen (viola, first prize) won the 2014 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions and was awarded YCA’s Sander Buchman Prize. In 2013, she won first prize viola and £7,000 at the 2013 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in Port Erin, Isle of Man, UK. Only 15 when she won, Shen was the youngest competitor in an event that goes up to age 30.

2015 Winners

Maya Anjali Buchanan (violin, third prize) is one of 44 competitors to be selected to participate in the 2020 Menuhin Competition, taking place in Richmond, Virginia, in May.

Lara Boschkor (violin, first prize, best performance of commissioned work) won first prize in the Tonali Violin Competition in Hamburg, Germany, which included a cash award of €10,000. She is a student in the Kronberg Academy precollege program and has had solo performances with orchestras in Europe and the United States.

Zlatomir Fung (cello, first prize) was named a 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar for the Arts and was a prizewinner in the 2016 George Enescu International Cello Competition and the 2017 Astral Auditions. He won first prize in the 2018 Schoenfeld International Cello Competition in Harbin, China. This included a $30,000 award as well as a solo engagement with the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra. Zlatomir won the gold medal (first prize) at the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the first American in 30 years to win this prize. He then joined the Kirshbaum Associates agency, which has a roster of artists that includes Pinchas Zukerman and Andras Schiff. He also was signed by Intermusica for Europe (except Russia), Asia (except Japan), and Australasia, announced in a nice article inThe Strad. Intermusica’s roster includes some of the most in-demand of today’s classical performers. Zlatomir presented a recital at Merkin Hall in February 2019 as part of his Young Concert Artist win that was live-streamed on Facebook by the Violin Channel. Zlatomir and his collaborative pianist Temgku Irfan received an outstanding review on the blog Oberon’s Grove, which called it a “wide-ranging, thrillingly-played program.” Zlatomir was also interviewed for the podcast Skip the Repeat, where he talked about topics both musical and personal.

Alice Lee (violin, second prize) won second prize in the 2018 Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition in Vienna, Austria.

Hae Sue Lee (viola, first prize) won the 2018 Primrose Viola Competition ($15,000 award).

Yuchen Lu (viola, third prize) won second prize in the 2019 Lionel Tertis Viola Competition, which includes an award of £5,000. Two other JIC winners who were selected to participate (out of a field of 107 entries): Yifei Deng (2009 JIC, second prize and 2015 WIC first prize); and Yixiu (Sherry) Lin (2018 JIC, second prize).

2018 Winners

James Baik (cello, finalist) won first prize in the 2019 Irving M. Klein International String Competition, which includes an award of $13,000 and performing opportunities. James, who was 17 years old at the time of his win and studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen, has won numerous concerto competitions and has been finalist or winner in the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition (2017); the Walgreens National Competition (2018); and the Stulberg Competition (2019). He was named a YoungArts finalist and participated at YoungArts Week in Miami, FL, in January 2019.

Michał Balas (cello, first prize tied) performed with the Apollo Orchestra in January 2019. The concert was reviewed by Joan Reinthaler on the website Washington Classical Review, singling out Michał for praise: “The hit of the afternoon was 17-year-old cellist Michał Balas, whose sweet-toned take on the opening theme of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme belied a fearlessly acrobatic technique in succeeding variations. Most impressive was the varied repertoire of attacks on individual notes, from gorgeous legatos and soft mini-slides to steely snaps. This young artist, who has studied in the U.S. and in his native Poland, has been winning his way through the requisite competitions.”

Beatrice Chen (viola, first prize) began attending the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia in 2018 at age 15. Entrance to Curtis is highly competitive and includes a full scholarship for four years of college. Beatrice performed the Bartók Concerto with the Capital City Symphony in March 2019 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC.

Charlotte Marckx (violin, second prize) won the gold medal and a prize for best Bach performance at the 2018 Stulberg International Competition. Charlotte performed the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Kalamazoo Symphony in January 2019. She performed the Barber Violin Concert with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in September 2019. Charlotte also won a $50,000 scholarship as a 2019 Davidson Fellow. Charlotte and her sister Olivia, a cellist, are both freshmen at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. They are scheduled to perform the Brahms double concerto with the Port Angeles (Washington) Symphony on November 7, 2020.

Julian Rhee (violin, first prize) won second prize in the 2018 Irving M. Klein International String Competition and won the prize for best Bach performance and best performance of the commissioned work. His string quartet (in which he switched between both first violin and viola) won the Junior Division Gold Medal in the Fischoff Competition. He also was chosen to be a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performed at the Kennedy Center in June 2018. He began attending the New England Conservatory in fall 2018 as a student of Miriam Fried. A performance of Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne by Julian was featured by the Heifetz Institute as their video of the week on October 14, 2019. In January 2020, Julian won first prize in the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition held in Boca Raton, Florida. Prizes include $30,000, three years of management, 30 concerts with orchestra, and web development. He performed the Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 3.