Past Finalists

2015
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Allison Deters

Appalachian State University - Allison Deters holds a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from Appalachian State University, having studied voice under Dr. Julia Pedigo. During her time at ASU, she performed the role of the Mother from Menotti's oneact opera Amahl and the Night Visitors and the Countess from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, was featured soprano soloist on Gustav Mahler's 4th symphony with the Appalachian Philharmonia, featured soloist on Antonin Dvorak's Te Deum and soloist on Benjamin Britten's Festival Te Deum. [read more]
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John (Eli) Kaynor

North Carolina School of the Arts - John Elias Kaynor is currently pursuing a Master's of Music degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studies in the studio of Brooks Whitehouse and holds an active position in the Chancellor's String Quartet, the Giannini String Quartet. Eli holds a Bachelors degree from Chapman University as both a Cello Performance Major in the Conservatory of Music and a Presidential Scholar in the University Honors Program.While at Chapman in the studio of Roger Lebow, Eli freelanced throughout the greater Los Angeles area, frequently performing as both a soloist and chamber musician and maintaining a full teaching studio of his own in Orange County. Beginning in his first semester at Chapman, he gained orchestral... [read more]
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Lucia Kobza

North Carolina School of the Arts - The Swiss musician with Czech-Polish origins started playing violin at the age of 4, and entered the Bern University of the Arts at the age of 16 where she graduated with honors with a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Music Performance. She studied with famous teachers such as Zakhar Bron, Hanna Weinmeister, Bartek Niziol and currently with Ida Bieler.Lucia Kobza is an actively teaching and performing artist: She was recently performing as soloist with the UNCSA Symphony, Western Piedmont Chamber Orchestra, as 1st violinist of the Giannini String Quartet, as member of the Wiston-Salem Symphony and assistant-concertmaster of the Western-Piedmont Sympony, and is currently teaching at the Community Music School of Winston-Salem, the... [read more]
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Marco Nunez

North Carolina School of the Arts - Mexican-American flutist Marco Núñez was born in El Paso, TX and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. He is currently in his first year at Indiana University in the Jacobs School of Music. Núñez is pursuing his Master in Music in flute performance under the tutelage of Thomas Robertello. Prior to attending the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University , Marco was a student at University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied with Tadeu Coelho, and at the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey studying with Luis Alfredo González. He has played in master classes for world-renowned flutists, including Sir James Galway, Emmanuel Pahud, Michael Hasel, András Adorján, Carol Wincenc, Leone Buyse, Gary Schocker, Robert Dick,... [read more]
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Jessica Small

University of North Carolina at Wilmington - Jessica Small is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington pursuing a B.M. in Music Education. She began her music studies at UNCW in the fall of 2012, and continues to study saxophone under Dr. Frank Bongiorno. Since starting school, Ms. Small has performed with the UNCW Chamber Winds, Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble I, Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, and several saxophone ensembles and quartets. In 2015, she made her solo debut as the co-winner of the Richard Deas Concerto Competition and performed "Fantasia" by Villa-Lobos with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra.At UNCW Ms. Small has also been a founding member of two different performing groups: the Seahawkappellas and the DubSax ensemble. The Seahawkappellas are UNCWs only... [read more]
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Alastair Wright

North Carolina School of the Arts - British saxophonist Alastair Wright has been praised by Classical Voice of North Carolina for his "dulcet-like tone...with a luminescent sheen". He earned his Bachelor of Music from the Birmingham Conservatoire, England, studying with Naomi Sullivan, and is currently undertaking graduate studies at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he is the Graduate Teaching Assistant to Taimur Sullivan. Alastair has also studied with Christopher Creviston, Andy Tweed and Kyle Horch.Alastair has received several awards, most recently first place in the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition, first and second prizes in the international Enkor Chamber Music Competition with Dasch Quartet and Trio Dionysus respectively... [read more]
2014
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Bennett Astrove

University of North Carolina School of the Arts - Bennett Astrove began his formal education on the violin at the University of South Florida, where he studied with Dr. Carolyn Stuart. Currently a student of Kevin Lwrence, he recently completed his Masters degree at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Bennett has participated in a variety of festivals and ensembles for both new and chamber music, including the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, NU Music Ensemble, Music from Salem, and the Robert Helps New Music Festival. When it doesn't come to music, Bennett enjoys cooking a good stew and is also a certified canoe instructor. [read more]
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Amber Carpenter

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Amber Joy Carpenter, a native of Matthews NC, grew up surrounded by music. At the age of four, she decided to become a harpist when she saw a concert harpist performing with the Charlotte Symphony. She has been following that goal for the past 20 years – loving every moment! Features of her harp performance life have been: performing as the opening solo act for one of the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra's summer concerts, being a prizewinner in two regional concerto competitions, a winner of the Suzuki Association of the America's national harp competition, and a finalist in the International Lyon and Healy Awards Harp Competition. Ms. Carpenter has twice been a featured artist on WDAV Classical Radio's "Main Street Sessions" – a program... [read more]
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Krisztina Der

University of North Carolina School of the Arts - Captivated by the flute at a performance of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Krisztina Der surprised her violinist parents by deciding to be a flutist at the age of three. Since then, she has placed first in both the Flute Society of Washington's (FSW's) Collegiate Competition and Student Honors Competition (HS division). She has soloed twice with orchestra–performing with the UMBC Orchestra and the DC Youth Orchestra, the latter of which performance was reviewed by the Washington Post: "Der played [with]... a clean, full-bodied tone and fleet fingers..." Krisztina is a lover of Hungarian music and culture, a proponent of new music and collaborative artwork, a musicology enthusiast, and member of the flute and harp duo Winds Upon a String.... [read more]
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Christopher Plaas

Appalachian State University - Chris Plaas is a vibrant young tenor that has entertained audiences throughout the United States and Europe in venues such as the Götischer Saal in Salzburg, Austria, the Berlin Cathedral, the Toledo Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, the St. Thomas Kirke in Leipzig, Germany, Orchestra Hall and Auditorium Theater in Chicago, Illinois, the Knight Center in Miami, Florida, and the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greenville, Tennessee. Chris was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but has lived the majority of his life in Johnson City, Tennessee where he obtained his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at East Tennessee State University. At ETSU, Chris participated in various nationally recognized ensembles such as the ETSU Chorale and the... [read more]