Past Finalists

2014
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Alex Sidwell

Appalachian State University - Alex Sidwell is currently seeking his Masters of Music in Percussion Performance at Appalachian State University under Dr. Rob Falvo. At Appalachian State, Alex has performed as principal percussionist of the ASU Wind Ensemble and principal timpanist of the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra. He has also a member of the Percussion Ensemble, the New Paradigm Percussion Quartet, and has performed with the Jazz II Ensemble. Alex is currently a substitute percussionist with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra, and currently holds an assistantship at ASU in both music history and administration.Alex received his Bachelors of Music in Percussion Performance from Auburn University under Dr. Doug Rosener. In his time at Auburn, he was principal... [read more]
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Erica Spear

Appalachian State University - Erica Spear is currently an undergraduate student at Appalachian State University, pursuing degrees in both Music Education and Flute Performance. She began her musical studies in Japan with piano at the age of five, picking up the flute several years later. Her primary flute teachers include Ms. Susan Fritts (Raleigh, North Carolina), Dr. Brooks De- Wetter Smith (UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) and Dr. Nancy Schneeloch-Bingham (Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.) Ms. Spear has performed in master classes for flutists Jane Berkner, Christina Jennings, Göran Marcusson, and Stephen Preston. She has been a finalist in the Hayes School of Music Concerto-Aria Competition twice (2012, 2013) and has played in... [read more]
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Diana Yodzis

University of North Carolina at Greensboro - Diana Yodzis, mezzo-soprano, will be returning to Carnegie Hall in January, 2015 to give a Spotlight Recital as part of Marilyn Horne's annual song celebration, The Song Continues. She participated in the workshop, singing on Christa Ludwig's masterclass this past January. Diana made her West Coast debut last summer as Second Lady in The Music Academy of the West's production of Die Zauberflöte. Her other roles include Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Dorothée (Cendrillon), Laurey (Oklahoma!) and more. Diana has made appearances with the Albany Symphony, Winston Salem Symphony, Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra, and the Greensboro Symphony among others. She has been awarded 1st place prizes at... [read more]
2013
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Chelsea Bonagura

A native of Rochester, New York, Ms. Bonagura’s voice has been described as “beautifully warm and rich.” She has recently performed with Opera Roanoke and Greensboro Opera Company. In 2011, she made her Charlotte Symphony début under the direction of Maestro Warren-Green, and was a second place winner in the Opera Guild of Charlotte Voice Competition. Operatic performance highlights include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Monica in The Medium, La Princesse in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Geraldine in A Hand of Bridge, and Aloès in L’Étoile. Ms. Bonagura created the roles of Princesa and Bambina in Car Crash Opera, and Mei in A Dream of Flight, two newly composed operas written by Michaela Eremiasova and Jairo Duarte... [read more]
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Jennifer Lazarz

Fletcher Opera Institute - Jennifer Lazarz, mezzo-soprano, is currently attending the Fletcher Opera Institute to pursue her Masters degree. This season she played Ernesto, the Goat Boy, in The Billy Goats Gruff outreach program, Suzy/Lolette in La Rondine, and the role of Kate in Owen Wingrave. In addition, Jennifer recently competed and placed third in the 2013 Heafner/Williams Voice Competition. This past fall Jennifer sang the role of the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Starmount Presbyterian Church in a fundraiser for the charity Family Promise. She joined Opera Tampa as one of their New Artists for the 2010-2011 season and sang the role of Dodo in Maestro Anton Coppola's adaptation of The Merry Widow. Jennifer’s other roles include Isolier in Le... [read more]
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Bal Eum Lee

University of North Carolina School of the Arts - Bal Eum Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. As a native Korean flutist, she works mostly in Korea. Her Korean appearances have included major concert halls such as the Seoul Arts Center, the Kim Hae Arts Center, KT Hall, Kumho Arts Hall, Kumho Recital Hall, and KBS Hall. She has participated in various musical projects: the Vivaldi Concerto Series, a Christmas-Concert with the harp ensemble, Noon Concerts, and the Easy Classic Concerts. She has performed as an ensemble player. She was a member of the Oberlin Orchestra Asia Tour. She has toured extensively throughout Korea and internationally. China, Japan, Singapore, and France have been some of her international destinations. Currently she is pursuing a Master's in Flute Performance at... [read more]
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Shane Rathburn

Indiana University Bloomington - As a soloist and chamber musician, Shane Rathburn has recently been successful in competition, placing 3rd in the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Quartet Competition with the Aidai Saxophone Quartet, winning the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Concerto Competition, and receiving an honorable mention in the Music Teachers National Association String Chamber Music Competition with the Eunea Trio.Shane is a native of Burnsville, North Carolina where he has made solo appearances with the Toe River Chamber Orchestra and the Mountain Heritage Symphonic Band. He most recently performed with his quartet at the U.S. Navy Band Saxophone Symposium and with the UNCSA Saxophone Mob in Alexander Lee's production of the "The... [read more]
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Molly Reid

Appalachian State University Hayes School of Music - Molly Reid, a native of Cary, NC, is a rising senior majoring in Piano Performance at Appalachian State University. She began her musical studies at a very young age with her parents, both accomplished classical pianists. Before coming to Appalachian, she also studied with Joyce Bubar of Cary, NC. She is a student of Dr. Rodney Reynerson. In February 2013, she performed Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra as a winner of the 2012 Hayes School of Music Concerto-Aria Competition. Recently, Ms. Reid was named the 2013-14 Presser Scholar at the Hayes School of Music. She is also the recipient of the AppalPie Endowed Scholarship in Music and is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, the College Music... [read more]
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Alexander Travers

Appalachian State University Hayes School of Music - Alexander Travers Studies Violin Performance under Professor Nancy Bargerstock at Appalachian State University's Hayes School of Music. He has performed in the final round of the annual Concerto-­‐Aria Competition twice, been concert-­‐master of the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra, performed chamber music at Meymandi Hall and attended the Dorothy Delay symposium at Julliard School. [read more]
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Yi-Ying Wu

Taiwanese pianist Yi-Ying Wu made his debut with Shin-Ming Orchestra performing Beethoven's Third piano concerto at Jungli Arts Hall, Taiwan in 1999. In recognition of his musicianship and artistic personality, he was awarded the second prize, and presented the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 in Taiwan sponsored by YAMAHA Music Foundation. Wu was winners of numerous competitions in Taiwan, and he also gave concerts and master classes tour in United Arts Festival, sponsored by National United University, Taiwan. As soloist and avid chamber musician, he has performed in North Carolina, Texas, Japan, and Taiwan. Passionate in music performance and community service, Wu gave regular concerts in the universities such as National United... [read more]