Past Finalists

2016
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Natalie Jefferson

UNC School of the Arts - A native of northern Virginia, Natalie Jefferson is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, studying flute performance under Dr. Tadeu Coelho. She has performed in master classes for notable flutists such as William Bennett, Jeanne Baxtresser, Denis Bouriakov, Jonathan Keeble, among others. In 2015, Natalie was one of the winners of the Mid-­‐South Flute Society Masterclass Competition and a winner of the National Flute Association Masterclass Performers Competition. She was also one of the winners of the 2015 UNCSA Concerto Competition. In addition to her solo work, Natalie was a performer in UNCSA’s Flute Tour in 2013 and 2014 and is currently a member of the UNCSA Symphony... [read more]
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Eli Kaynor

UNC School of the Arts - John Elias Kaynor is currently pursuing a Professional Artist Certificate at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he is the graduate teaching assistant to Dr. Brooks Whitehouse and collaborates actively in the Giannini String Quartet of the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute. Eli holds a Master of Music degree from UNCSA, and also a Bachelor of Music degree from Chapman University as both a Cello Performance Major in the Conservatory of Music and a Presidential Scholar in the University Honors Program.As cellist of the Giannini String Quartet, Eli has had recent success with the group, including sharing the stage with pipa... [read more]
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Christina Lai

UNC Chapel Hill - Pianist Christina Lai, from Plantation, FL, began her musical training at the age of five. She was one of four chosen as a William R. Kenan Jr. Music Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a Bachelor's of Music and a Chemistry minor.Among several achievements, Christina won the UNC Concerto Competition in 2014 and was invited to play as a soloist with the UNC Symphony Orchestra. This past summer, she attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as a Thomas S. Kenan Fellow. She placed third in the National Association of Negro Musicians Piano Competition and alternate in the Young Artists Piano Competition of the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. Christina competed in the Ettlingen... [read more]
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Avital Mazor

UNC School of the Arts - Avital Mazor was born in Israel and began studying the violin at the Jerusalem Conservatory. He graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance under the guidance of Michael Gaisler. His public appearances include performances with the Holon and Ameritus orchestras as well as the Israel Philharmonic. He has participated in numerous competitions, among them the Clairmont and the Gritz competitions. Avital has taken part in master classes with some of today’s most distinguished musicians such as Ivry Gitlis, Vadim Gluzman, Daniel Phillips and Miriam Fried. He has attended renowned music festivals around the world, including Festival d'Aix en Provence in France and Keshet Eilon, Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival and Green Mountain... [read more]
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Stephen Mulvahill

UNC School of the Arts - Hailed as a “dynamic and engaging” performer, pianist Stephen Mulvahill was born to be a musician, but discovered it late. When he was thirteen, his parents bought a piano, and in one summer his interests abruptly shifted from his dream of being a professional skateboarder to falling head­over­heels in love with music. He progressed quickly, and his pre­college career was marked by both distinguished musical accomplishments and outstanding intellectual achievements, culminating with the prestigious National Merit Scholar award upon entering college.While earning his bachelor’s degree in piano performance at the University of Houston, Mr. Mulvahill simultaneously maintained an active career in the school’s Honors College. The... [read more]
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Alicia Reid

UNC School of the Arts - Alicia Reid is a senior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, studying voice with Dr. Marilyn Taylor. Originally from Canada, Alicia has studied music for most of her life; she is also a classically trained harpist. She has been a national finalist for the Classical Singer Vocal Competition in High School and College divisions and has received superior ratings in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions, most recently placing 1st in her category at the state level. In high school she performed principal roles in drama productions, including Kate from Kiss me Kate. She has most recently performed the role of Lauretta in Bizet’s Doctor Miracle, Phyllis in Iolanthe with Greensboro Light Opera and Song,... [read more]
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Terri Smith

UNC Pembroke - Terri Smith is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Music at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke where she performs with the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Faculty Brass Quintet. She has performed with many regional ensembles, including the Long Bay Symphony, the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra and the Triangle Youth Brass Band, where she held the position of concertmaster.  As a member of TYBB, Terri won the Youth Solo Division at the North American Brass Band Association Competition. She also held the position of Principal trumpet for the North Carolina All-State Band for five years.Terri’s other awards include being a past state winner of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Senior Brass Category, as well as the winner... [read more]
2015
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Jacob Cook

Appalachian State University - Jacob Cook is a young bass-baritone from the mountains of North Carolina. He developed a deep passion for singing while attending Appalachain State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he had his first experience with opera performing the role of Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Since then, he has performed several operatic roles including The Father in Hänsel and Gretel, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro. Mr. Cook has also been involved with summer opera programs where he has performed Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with both The American Singers' Opera Project in Winston-Salem, N.C. and the Astoria Music Festival in Astoria, Oregon as well as Don Alfonzo in Cosí fan... [read more]
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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]