2017-18 Competition Winners
American violinist and proud Michigan native Colin McGregor began his studies of music at age 2. He won the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts’ concerto competition at age 8, performing the Bach Double Concerto with orchestra, and he was the youngest violinist in the 2008 Detroit Civic Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, later placing as a finalist in that year’s respective concerto competition. In his youth, Colin performed in masterclasses for esteemed musicians including Sally Thomas, David Kim, John Kendall, Richard Amoroso, and Kimberly Fisher. Colin was accepted into The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Program in 2009 at age 11, studying violin performance with Catherine Cho and Ann Setzer for 7 years until his high school graduation. He attended the Aspen Music Festival and School in the summers of 2011 and 2012, working under the tutelage of Naoko Tanaka and Espen Lilleslåtten. In the second of those summers, Colin was featured in an episode of the NPR radio program Performance Today with Fred Child. McGregor was also a founding member of the World Youth Alliance Chamber Orchestra, a New York City-based organization dedicated to making social change through music. He attended the Bowdoin International Music Festival from 2013-2015, studying with Sergiu Schwartz, Kurt Muroki, and Ayano Ninomiya. Colin’s musical background also yielded an interest in songwriting. He has regularly worked with vocalists in collaborative projects for several years, and he maintains a website and SoundCloud account with a partial record of his best written work. When not playing music, Colin is a sophomore neuroscience major, working at the Center for Music and Medicine under principal investigator Alex Pantelyat at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. Colin is also an avid license plate collector, and he curates the online museum showcase of license plates issued in Jackson County, Colorado.
You can learn more about Colin on his website at colinmcgregor.net
Morgan Wu is a freshman majoring in Public Health and International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a part of the Johns Hopkins Volleyball team. Morgan was born and raised in the Bay Area, and began studying the violin at the age of three, beginning with Diane Egli and continuing with Danielle Tarley. She has been an active part in the California Youth Symphony for the past 11 years, serving as the concertmaster of the senior orchestra for two years and performing in three international tours to New Zealand, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy. Additionally, she soloed with the orchestra after winning the annual Senior Solo Concerto Competition, playing Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantella. Morgan currently studies with Melina Gajger of The Peabody Conservatory.
2017-18 Runners-Up: Gabriela Nisly, flute & Isabel Won, cello
2015-16 Competition Winners
Stephanie Cai is a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Raised in Portland, Oregon and New York City, Stephanie began playing piano at the age of four. In 2010, she was accepted to The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, where she studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Helen Huang. Stephanie was the first place winner of the 15th Annual Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition in 2009, and the 7th Annual Jewish Community Orchestra Young Artist Talent Competition in 2007. Additionally, Stephanie was one of the few U.S. competitors selected to compete in the Virginia Waring and Gina Baucher Junior International Piano Competitions in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Stephanie has performed in Carnegie Hall as part of the American Fine Arts Festival’s 5th Anniversary Concert, and at Juilliard, she frequently performed as a soloist and chamber musician. During the summers of 2007 to 2011, Stephanie attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, studying under Wu Han and Yoheved Kaplinsky. She has also participated in many master classes, among them: John O’Conor, Misha Dichter and Michael Roll. Stephanie currently studies with Marian Hahn at the Peabody Conservatory.
Jordan Elum is a Johns Hopkins University junior majoring in Neuroscience. Born in South Carolina, Jordan began playing the violin at age eleven in a Berkeley County public school. He soon began to study privately and joined the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2007. He was concertmaster of the South Carolina All-State Orchestra consecutively in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In 2010, he attended the Furman University Orchestra program where he won the Concerto Competition and served as concertmaster of the symphony orchestra. He was a soloist with the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra as a winner of the 2011 Youth Orchestra of the Lowcountry Concerto Competition. In 2011 and 2012, he attended the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute in Washington D.C., where he studied solo, chamber, and orchestral works with NSO musicians. In 2013, Jordan returned to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival to perform Navarra by Pablo de Sarasate. Jordan received scholarships from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League between 2008 and 2012 to study violin with Megan Molina, former Associate Concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Lee-Chin Siow, College of Charleston Professor of Violin. He currently studies with Melina Gajger of the Peabody Institute and is a member of the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra.
Winston Wu is a first-year PhD student at Johns Hopkins University studying computer science with a focus in computational linguistics. A native of Houston, he received undergraduate degrees in computer science and Latin from the University of Texas at Austin, with a minor in piano. Having studied the piano since the age of six, Winston has won many awards at local competitions, including Honorable Mentions at the International Chopin Youth Competition in 2007 and 2009. As a winner of the Clear Lake Symphony Youth Concerto Competition in 2008, he performed Liszt’s Totentanz with the Clear Lake Symphony, and he was also featured with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra in 2009, performing the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Winston currently studies at the Peabody Conservatory with Chad Bowles.
2015-16 Runners-Up: Reina Arakawa, oboe & Victoria Roberts, flute
2013-14 Competition Winners
Alice Huang is a Johns Hopkins University sophomore majoring in Psychology. Born in California, and raised in Taiwan, Alice began studying the violin at age five under the instruction of Lan Ku Chen. She has also studied under Chien-Tang Wang, C. Nanette Chen, I-Chen Wang, and Hong-I Wu. She was invited to perform as the First Place Winner of the Tainan National Music Competition at the Tainan Cultural Hall in 2009 and the Vienna National Music Competition at Zhong Xing Hall in Taichung in 2011. She has represented her high school to perform at Cultural Conventions in Manila, Philippines in 2010, Jakarta, Indonesia in 2011, and Taipei, Taiwan in 2012. She has recently participated in master classes with I-Hao Lee of The Julliard School and Bin Huang, a winner of The Paganini International Violin Competition in Italy. She currently studies with Melina Gajger of The Peabody Institute and is a member of the Peabody Concert Orchestra, as well as the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra.
Conor Hammonds is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University majoring in International Studies. Born in New York, he began tuba lessons at age 11 and was accepted to The Juilliard School’s pre-college program four years later. He has performed with the Peabody Wind Ensemble, the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra, and the Westchester Youth Symphony at such venues as Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. In the summers of 2011 and 2012, he attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, participating in the Tuba Workshop and the Young Artists Wind Ensemble. As a winner of the Westchester Youth Symphony Senior Concerto Competition, he performed Hindemith’s Sonata for Tuba and Piano in a 2012 recital. He currently studies at The Peabody Conservatory with David Fedderly of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
2011-12 Competition Winners
Malinda McPherson, 20, is a Johns Hopkins University sophomore majoring in Cognitive Science. A Boston native, Ms. McPherson began studying violin at age 8 with Marta Zurad, and at age fourteen became a viola student of Boston Symphony Orchestra violist Patricia McCarty. She currently studies with Victoria Chiang of The Peabody Institute, and is a member of the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. McPherson has received the New England Conservatory Preparatory School Award for Excellence in Chamber Music, and her chamber groups were selected to perform in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 New England Conservatory Chamber Music Galas in Boston’s Jordan Hall. As a member of The Greenmeadow Quartet, she won an honorable mention in the collegiate division of the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition. Ms. McPherson has performed as a guest artist with the Alcyon Chamber Ensemble and the Lexington Pops Chorus. In 2009, she was the First Place winner of the Walden Chamber Players Young Artist Competition. Her concert with the Walden Chamber Players was considered a “Weekend Best Bet” by the Boston Globe. Ms. McPherson has attended numerous summer festivals including the Meadowmount School of Music (2007, 2008, 2009), the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy (2010) and the Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival (2010, 2011).
Ms. McPherson is a member of the Hopkins Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team and is a rock climbing leader with Hopkins Outdoor Pursuits.
Matthew Lochner is a Johns Hopkins University freshman, majoring in Philosophy. Mr. Lochner grew up in Los Angeles, California, and he began studying the piano at the age of 8 with Linda Buck, who taught him to love collaborating through music. Recently, he has performed the Beethoven Third and Fourth Concertos and the Schumann Concerto with orchestra under the baton of Maestra Hannah Oh and members of the Los Angeles Symphonic Camerata. Also an avid chamber pianist, Mr. Lochner developed a love for chamber music while attending the Kinhaven School of Music in Weston, Vermont. This semester he founded the JHU Chamber Music Seminar, bringing chamber groups together to perform for and give feedback to one another in the hopes of fostering an intimate community for chamber musicians on the Homewood campus. He has recently participated in master classes with pianists Robert Edward Thies and Chad Bowles. Currently, Mr. Lochner studies at the Peabody Conservatory with Sheng-Yuan Kuan.
2009-10 Competition Winners
Patrick Hu is a Johns Hopkins University sophomore majoring in International Studies. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, he graduated from the Punahou School. He began playing violin at age 6, studying with Honolulu Symphony violinist James Stanford and concertmaster Ignace Jang. He won the Punahou Symphony Concerto Competition and received an honorable mention in the Honolulu Symphony’s Youth Concerto Competition. He has participated in master classes with, among others, the Takács Quartet, Richard Young of the Vermeer Quartet, Martin Beaver of the Tokyo String Quartet, Pamela Frank, and Sally O’Reilly.
Mr. Hu is now principal second violinist of the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra and co-concertmaster of the Hopkins Symphony Chamber Orchestra. He studies with Qing Li, principal second violinist of the Baltimore Symphony. Besides playing the violin, he enjoys playing tennis and spending time with his friends. He thanks his mother and grandparents for traveling across the Pacific Ocean to hear this performance. Special thanks to his grandparents for helping him acquire his violin.
Hyun-Sun Seo, a Johns Hopkins University junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering, grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the US at the age of 11. Ms. Seo began studying the piano at age 6. In the US, she studied with Lora Verkhovsky until age 13, and then with Soonja Kim throughout high school. Ms. Seo won first prizes in numerous competitions, including those hosted by the Washington State Music Teachers Association, Seattle Young Artists Music Festival, Performing Arts Festival of Eastside, Eastside Solo & Ensemble, and Korean Music Association. In Seattle, she was adjudicated by Vladimir Viardo, Paul Roberts, and Leonard Richter. She attended the International School in Bellevue, WA, where she played piano in the Jazz Band. As her senior project, she conducted a semester-long study of Chopin’s Ballades, and performed solo concerts of works by Chopin, Mozart, Prokofiev, Brahms, and Debussy. She is currently studying at the Peabody Conservatory with Corey McVicar.
2008-09 Competition Winners
Philip Wolf, a Johns Hopkins University sophomore majoring in mathematics and economics, grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts, and graduated from Belmont High School. He began playing cello in first grade. His early teachers were Barbara Pashke and, at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Laura Blustein. During 7 years playing in the Boston Youth Symphony, he was one of 10 student musicians chosen to take part in a cultural exchange in Laikipia, Kenya. A documentary film made about this project won an honorable mention at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. During the summer of 2007, he participated in the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. He now plays in the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra and has taught cello to children in the Margaret Brent Elementary School Music Program. He has organized and played in chamber music ensembles in collaboration with Michael Kannen, director of chamber music at the Peabody Conservatory. He studies at Peabody with Daniel Levitov.
Mengyu Lan is a Johns Hopkins University graduate student in the Department of Civil Engineering. Born in Chongqing, China, Mr. Lan began studying piano at age 5 with professors from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, and later studied with such world-renowned professors as Zhaoyi Dan and Daxin Zheng. In 1992, he became the youngest pianist ever to achieve the second-highest national level of piano performance in China. In 2000, he was awarded first prize in a province-wide piano competition and was declared the national winner at Tsinghua University Art Camp. He has given solo recitals at Zhongshan Park Hall, Beijing Jinfan Hall, and Tsinghua University. At Johns Hopkins, he has performed with the Hopkins Symphony Chamber Orchestra. He studies at the Peabody Conservatory with Corey McVicar.
2007-08 Competition Winners
Ji Hea Hwang, an East Asia studies major, was born in Korea, where she began studying piano at the age of 3. Since turning 5, she has won grand prizes in the Hyundai National Music Competition and Cheong-ju City Music Association Competition, and first prize in the Korea Times Competition. At age 9, she performed as a soloist with Cheong-ju Youth Orchestra. In 1998, she moved to the United States and entered the Juilliard Pre-College, where she studied with Frank Levy and was a recipient of the Relson Family Scholarship in piano. She won first prize in the Ithaca College Piano Competition, concerto division, and second prize in the solo division. She has given solo recitals and chamber music concerts at the Paul Recital Hall, Morse Recital Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. In 2005, she performed as a soloist with the Ithaca College Chamber Orchestra. She currently studies piano with Peabody faculty member Corey McVicar.
Katie FitzGibbon, a neuroscience major, has played in the HSO since 2006 and is also a member of the Peabody Wind Ensemble. She has performed with the National Festival Orchestra and National High School Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, and has recorded with the Peabody Wind Ensemble and with the Columbia Union College’s New England Youth Ensemble and Columbia Collegiate Choir. In 2004, she was a finalist in the Landon Competition for Young Woodwind Performers and a semifinalist in the Maryland Distinguished Talent-in-the-Arts Competition. She has studied bassoon with retired National Symphony Orchestra bassoonist Linda Harwell and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra principal bassoonist Phillip Kolker.
Artist photos compliments of David Friedlander.