About The Arizona Musicfest Scholarship

Since 2011, Arizona Musicfest has awarded over $170,000 to Arizona students pursuing college degrees in music through the Arizona Musicfest Scholarship Program.

Arizona Musicfest Scholars are students and alumni of the following distinguished institutions: The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory of Music, Yale University, The Cleveland Institute of Music, San Fransisco Conservatory, USC’s Thornton School of Music, Colburn Conservatory, Biola University, Arizona State University, The Eastman School of Music, Vanderbilt University, and Curtis Institute of Music, and other fine institutions.

Each year, Musicfest awards an initial scholarships to graduating high school seniors, as well as renewing scholarships to past winners currently enrolled and excelling in their collegiate academic and music studies.  Scholarship recipients are eligible to receive four years of Musicfest funding to aid in their pursuit of an undergraduate music degree.

As a non-profit performing arts organization, Arizona Musicfest is unique among its industry colleagues in providing this type of on-going financial support to college-level musicians.

To adjudicate the scholarship process, both for new applicants and renewing candidates, Arizona Musicfest annually assembles a distinguished review panel of professional musicians and educators to review each candidate’s application, performance videos, academic record, musical accomplishments, professional references, and written essays.

Through our patrons’ generous support of the Arizona Musicfest Scholarship Fund, Arizona Musicfest provides some of the Valley’s most accomplished and deserving Young Musicians with not only valuable financial aid, but also with a community of enthusiastic fans who stand behind these aspiring young musicians and help them to realize their dreams.

Application Information

Deadlines:

Applicants are required to submit the following Intent to Apply Form prior to April 15, 2024.

Intent to Apply Form

NOTE: If you are interested in renewing your scholarship for the next academic year, please scroll down to the bottom of this page for more information.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: May 1, 2024

 

Application Requirements

  • Performance Videos must be online links (e.g. YouTube, Dropbox, or Google Drive)
  • Letters of Recommendation must be emailed directly from the recommender to scholarship@azmusicfest.org
Lists to compile before you complete the Application:
  • Schools applied to, and those to which you’ve been accepted.
  • Scholarships, Awards and Honors already earned, including amounts, if available.
  • The school you plan on attending – if you are undecided at the time of application, please let us know when you have made your decision by emailing scholarship@azmusicfest.org so we can update your application.

NOTE: The following three lists may be submitted as individual files OR typed directly into the online application:

  • Arizona Musicfest-Related Activities
  • Music-Related Experience (non-Musicfest)
    • Past and present musical experiences, including in-school, paid and/or volunteer activities. Indicate, if applicable, ensemble names, recital date(s), repertoire performed, etc.
  • Non-Music Experience/Volunteer Experience/Extracurricular Activities
    • Past and present volunteer experiences, paid employment, and extracurricular activities in high school or in your community. Include dates of service or participation, organization, business, or school name(s), and a description of your duties or activities for each.
Personal Statement:
  • Your Goals for the Future (500 words): Describe your education, career and personal goals for the future.
 Important Information
  • Applicants must be Arizona residents and planning to matriculate within one year of the May 1, 2024 scholarship deadline.
  • Applicants must have previously participated in at least one Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Program. Acceptable programs include:
    • Strings/Harp/Guitar, Winds/Brass/Percussion, Voice, Piano, or Chamber Music Competitions
    • Young Musicians Concerts at the MIM Music Theater
    • Access to Artistry Hearings, Q&As, Masterclasses, or other events
    • Festival Orchestra Outreach
  • Applicants must be pursuing a college-level, undergraduate degree in music (classical) or music education with the intent of pursuing a career in music.
  • The scholarship will be awarded once the recipient has been accepted by and enrolled in their indicated college-level program.
  • Scholarship funds ($2,500 annually) will be sent directly to the conservatory/college/university in the recipient’s name, in support of tuition expenses. If you do not require tuition support, this scholarship may, in certain instances, be used to offset other academic-related expenses (eg. books, technology).
  • Scholarships will be awarded for your first academic year and may be renewed for up to three (3) additional years provided you are in good standing at your school and are successfully continuing with music studies.
  • The Scholarship Review Committee has absolute discretion in all decisions.
  • Scholarship recipients will be notified and announced on the Arizona Musicfest website by June 1st, 2024.

Application Form

 Renewing Your Scholarship

If you are a previous Scholarship winner, you may be eligible to renew your scholarship for the upcoming academic year. Click the button below to fill out a Renewal Application. Please note the deadline to apply is May 1.

Application Form

2023 Arizona Musicfest First-Year Scholarship Recipients

We are excited to continue supporting five renewing students for the 2023/24 school year, and are pleased to introduce our first-year recipients: Jonathan Okseniuk & Tony Kim! Jonathan, from Mesa, is excited to begin his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in the Fall. Tony, from Tempe, will attend Vanderbilt University beginning in Fall 2023. Click the images below to learn more about these outstanding musicians!

 

Jonathan Okseniuk

Jonathan Okseniuk

Curtis Institute of Music, 2023-2027

This fall, violinist Jonathan Okseniuk will be attending the Curtis Institute of Music, studying under Midori. Jonathan has been performing as a soloist since the age of four. At the age of five he made his orchestral debut with the Suprima Chamber Orchestra. Other solo appearances include performances with Arizona Musicfest Festival Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony, West Valley Symphony, Chandler Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg String Quartet, and an engagement at the Mesa Arts Center.   As a competitor, Jonathan has placed first in many national and local competitions. Most recently, he placed first in the Senior Division of the 2023 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition. Last year he was named first place laureate in the Junior Division of the 2022 Sphinx Competition, national winner in the 2022 Music Teachers National Association Senior String Competition, first in the Phoenix Youth Symphony Young Musicians Concerto Competition Senior Division and the Arizona Musicfest String Competition Division II. In 2021, Jonathan placed first in the Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians String, Harp, and Guitar Division II Competition, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and the Chandler Symphony Orchestra Youth Competition. In 2020, he was named the national winner of the 2020 Music Teachers National Association Junior String Competition and won the 2020 Phoenix Youth Symphony’s Young Musicians Competition in the Upper String Category Junior Division. The year prior, he placed first in the Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians String, Harp, and Guitar Division I Competition. Over the past fourteen years, since the age of three, Jonathan has studied under Jing Zeng, violinist of the Phoenix Symphony. He has also worked with distinguished teachers such as Jan Sloman, Midori, Miriam Fried, Peter Oundjian and William van der Sloot and with esteemed chamber groups like the Dover Quartet and members of the Manhattan Chamber Players.  For over six years, Jonathan has played with various youth orchestras including the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Youth Symphony of the Southwest, and the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster, assistant concertmaster and principal second violin. Jonathan has participated in summer programs such as Morningside Music Bridge and the Heifetz International Music Institute. This summer he will be attending the Chamber Music Northwest Young Artist Institute as well as returning to Morningside Music Bridge for his third year. To share his gift of music, Jonathan donates his talent by performing at community events, local schools and giving master classes. His goal is to inspire the next generation of musicians and promote the joy in playing classical music. Jonathan also participates in the music ministry at his church.

Tony Kim

Tony Kim

Vanderbilt University, 2023-2027

Tony Kim has been studying the piano with Dr. Yali Luo since the age of 10 and the cello with Jan Simiz, assistant principal of the Phoenix Symphony, at age 11. He has won first prizes in the Steinway Avanti Junior Piano Competition, Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition, OPUS Competition, Tone X Galaxie Y Music International Competition, Charleston International Music Competition, and Vivo International Music Competition. He also received first place for both the 2021 and 2022 Arizona MTNA State Competition Senior Piano Division. 

An avid cellist, Tony has also won top prizes at numerous string competitions, including the Arizona Strings Teachers Association Competition, Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition, Phoenix Youth Symphony Young Musicians Competition, Arizona Music Educators Association Solo and Ensemble, Bellegrande International Music Competition, and OPUS Competition. He has played in the AMEA Regionals and All-State Orchestras for all four years of high school and held principal cellist positions in both Regionals and All-State Orchestra and the Phoenix Youth Symphony. 

An active performer, Tony has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Katzin Hall, Parker Concert Hall, and the Musical Instrument Museum. Last summer, he received a scholarship to attend the Brevard Music Center, where he studied piano with Professor Norman Krieger. Other summer programs he has attended include the Heifetz International Music Institute, Philadelphia International Music Festival, Interharmony International Music Festival, and Vivace International Music Festival. Over the years, he has had the opportunity to study with Andrew Mark, David Ying, Yeesun Kim, and Robert Hamilton and play in masterclasses for Zlatomir Fung, Natasha Brofsky, Colin Carr, and Mike Block. This summer, he will be attending the Bowdoin International Music Festival to study with Paul Katz.

Tony has been greatly involved in Harmony Project Phoenix, where he is a cello instructor for students and plays along with their youth orchestra. Starting in the fall, he will be attending Vanderbilt University, where he will study both piano and cello performance at the Blair School of Music with Dr. Amy Dorfman and Dr. Felix Wang.

Meet the Arizona Musicfest College Scholars!

Sharon Hui

Sharon Hui

University of Colorado Boulder, 2021-2025

Sharon Hui currently studies with Dr. Jennifer Hayghe in pursuit of a BM in Piano Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. Sharon is an instructor for their Youth Piano Program, Vice President for the CU Boulder Collegiate Chapter of MTNA, and pursues a Music Technology Certificate with experience in recording, mixing, and mastering recitals at the College of Music. She has earned an Associate Diploma in Piano Performance (ARSM) from the Royal Schools of Music.

Sharon’s appearance with the Musica Nova Orchestra in 2021, performing Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, marked her concerto debut as the first-prize winner of the 2019 Arizona Piano Institute Festival Concerto Competition. She recently attended the Brevard Music Center Summer Festival, the Wild Plums Recording Retreat, and the Brancaleoni International Music Festival. She previously studied with Dr. Mandarin G. Cheung-Yueh and has worked with artist-teachers Dian Baker, Cathal Breslin, Andrew Brownell, Sean Chen, Yi-Yang Chen, Stephanie Cheng, Alan Chow, Alvin Chow, Stijn de Cock, Pavlina Dokovska, Svetozar Ivanov, Annie Jeng, Adrienne Kim, Jon Kimura Parker, Donna Lee, Mackenzie Melemed, Robert Moody, Anton Nel, Elizabeth Pridonoff, Eugene Pridonoff, Igor Resnianski, Eckart Selheim, Logan Skelton, Suzanne Torkelson, John Weems, Nancy Weems, and Ian Wisekal.

Alongside her fellow pianists, Sharon has featured works by underrepresented composers through the Hidden Voices project in the American Research Center at CU Boulder. She also particularly enjoys performing as a collaborative and chamber pianist. She looks forward to her junior recital in Fall of 2023.

Leo Kubota

Leo Kubota

Yale University, 2021-2025

Leo Kubota started studying the cello with Professor Thomas Landschoot when he was 10 years old. He is currently studying with Professor Paul Watkins in the five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Music program at Yale University.

Most recently, Leo was a semi-finalist at the Leos Janacek International Cello competition where he was awarded for the best performance of the Kodaly Capriccio. As a soloist, Leo has performed with the Phoenix Symphony, the Montecito International Festival Orchestra, and the FOOSA Philharmonic after winning their respective concerto competitions. He recently was one of seven national finalists in the MTNA National Senior String Competition. He has also won top prizes at National YoungArts Competition, Phoenix Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, and Arizona Cello Society Competition, among others. Leo has twice earned First Prize at the Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competitions, both as a soloist and as a member of The Kubota Duo, a violin and cello duo with his sister Rina.

He has attended several music festivals, including Bowdoin International Music Festival, Vivace-e! Matera, Cincinnati Young Artists, Meadowmount School of Music, and Madeline Island Chamber Music. He has also been given the opportunity to play in masterclasses for Edward Arron, Natasha Brofsky, Lynn Harrell, Hans Jensen, Christine Lamprea, Trio Solisti, and David Ying.

Before starting the cello, Leo played piano for 5 years.  He won several awards, including First Prize and the Emily Butcher Outstanding Performance Award in the Young Artist Piano Competition and an Honorable Mention at the Russian Music International Piano Competition in San Jose, CA. His former teachers include Dr. Alex Zheng, Dr. Yali Luo, and Ms. Manuela Pagano.

Besides music, he finds joy in nature. He enjoys building and maintaining ecosystems full of aquatic plants and breeds dwarf shrimp in them— it has been one of his most rewarding hobbies over the past years.

Gracie Potter

Gracie Potter

The Colburn School, 2020-2024

Prior to starting her freshman year at The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles, Gracie was selected in 2019 to be a member of the National Youth Orchestra and performed in multiple countries on the NYO European Tour. In 2020, she received a New Horizons Fellowship from Aspen Music Festival and School and was a recipient of the Arizona Musicfest Scholarship. That same summer, Gracie attended The MasterWorks Festival, an intensive, four-week festival for advanced and passionate students of the classical performing arts with world-class faculty and gifted students who present brilliant performances in an atmosphere of dynamic Christian faith.

During the summer of 2021 she attended the Aspen Music Festival where she received lessons and classes with James Miller, Peter Sullivan, Per Brevig, and Timothy Higgins. She took part in chamber ensembles, trombone choir, recitals, and orchestra concerts. She also won the Concerto Competition and performed the Frank Martin Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, and Strings with the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra. IN the same year, Gracie placed 3rd overall in Ian Bousfields International Trombone Competition and became a New World sub who continues subbing with them on occasion.

In 2022, she won the Keston MAX Competition at Music Academy, placed first in the International Women’s Brass Conference Trombone Category, placed second in the Final, and won the Phoenix Brass Collective competition. She is currently a Shires Rising Artist where she has received masterclasses from world renowned musicians. This summer she attended the Tanglewood Music Center and this past summer she attended Music Academy where she studied with Mark Lawrence, Nitzan Haroz and Weston Sprott.

While at the Colburn School, Gracie has had the opportunity to perform with the LA Phil, The Phoenix Symphony, and the London Symphony Orchestra. She was a winner in the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle Competition and won the ITA Robert Marsteller Competition. She was also a finalist in the ITA Trombone Quartet Competition, and a quarter finalist for the Michel Becquet International Trombone Competition. Gracie is presently in her senior year at The Colburn School.

Eddie Virtgaym

Eddie Virtgaym

San Francisco Conservatory, 2020-2024

Percussionist Eddie Virtgaym is a performer and advocate of all styles of music. He regularly performs classical music and jazz in small and large ensembles across the Valley. He is a collaborator at heart, always seeking avenues to create music with peers.

At Perry High School, he was a leader in his school’s Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Band, Wind Bands, Marching Band, and Indoor Percussion Ensemble. There, he also volunteered often to perform percussion with the orchestras and choirs at his school. He also played vibraphone and drumset in the Young Sounds of Arizona, the Valley’s premier youth jazz big band and combo. He has participated in percussion ensembles and jazz combos at Scottsdale Community College and Chandler-Gilbert Community College, participated in Regional and All-State Wind Bands, Orchestras, and Jazz Bands, and received Superior ratings in several Solo performance festivals. Additionally, he often performs small-group jazz with peers at restaurants in Phoenix, and even has an 80’s cover band Polybius that regularly performs at StarFighters Arcade.

In 2019, Eddie received the Arizona Percussive Arts Society Summer Camp Scholarship to attend that summer’s Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar. There, he spent two weeks with 15 other young people who care deeply about music and artistry, studying with some of the biggest names in contemporary percussion.

He was also the president of Perry High’s Tri-M Music Honors Society, where he spearheaded the organization of the 2020 CUSD Chamber Recital, which provided high school students from around Chandler solo and ensemble performance opportunities in a friendly and supportive environment.

Eddie is grateful to have studied with valley percussionist Josh Gottry throughout high school, and will be attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the fall to study with Jake Nissly, where he will continue his journey and studies of performance, collaboration, and artistry.

Rina Kubota

Rina Kubota

Yale University, 2019-2023

Rina Kubota, a Neuroscience major at Yale University, is a 22-year-old violinist from Tempe studying with Professor Wendy Sharp. This year, she was one of 6 finalists at Yale’s William Waite Concerto Competition and was chosen to play for a masterclass by Hilary Hahn at Yale in February. Major solo performances include playing the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 with the MusicaNova Orchestra at the MIM and the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3 (1st movement) with the Four Seasons Orchestra after receiving 1st prize at the Mozart & Friends Concerto Competition. Additionally, Rina has performed at the MIM both as a soloist and in the Kubota Duo with her brother, Leo. As a passionate chamber musician, Rina has been in a piano trio since her first year at Yale, and in high school, she was active in the Kubota Duo. The duo performed at the Young Musicians Concert at MIM after winning 1st prize at the Arizona Musicfest competition and was featured on FOX10 News.

Rina started playing the violin when she was 12 years old with Dr. Jonathan Swartz, with whom she studied until graduating high school. Before starting on the violin, Rina played piano for 7 years. She won several awards as a pianist, including First Prize and Gladys Chow Special Award for the Most Outstanding Performance of a Concerto by Mozart at the Young Artist Piano Competition. Rina’s former teachers include Dr. Yali Luo, Mrs. Joy Pan, and Ms. Manuela Pagano. Rina has attended Bowdoin Chamber Music Festival, Maine Chamber Music Seminar and Madeline Island Chamber Music. Rina has played for and studied under acclaimed musicians such as Arianna String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider String Quartet, Daniel Phillips, Dover Quartet, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, Jupiter String Quartet, Merz Trio, Omer Quartet, Pacifica String Quartet, Paul Kantor, and Shanghai String Quartet.

At Yale, Rina is passionate about making learning classical music more accessible—as a Teaching Artist at Music in the Schools Initiative, she teaches students from low-income backgrounds from New Haven public schools. She is also involved in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research–since May 2022, she has been a part of the Girgenti lab at Yale’s Connecticut Mental Health Center, conducting research on the role of GABA and the activation of microglia in PTSD using human postmortem brain tissue. She is the recipient of the Yale College Dean’s Research Fellowship in 2022. In her free time, Rina enjoys going on hikes and stopping to admire every flower, tree, or bird along the way.

Belle Wang

Belle Wang

University of Southern California, 2019-2023

Belle Wang, age 22, has won first place in numerous competitions including the ASTA State Solo Competition, the MTNA State Solo Competition, fhe Arizona Musicfest Musicians Competition, the American Protege International Concerto Competition, the Philadelphia International Music Festival Solo Competition and the International Grande Music Competition.

Shortly after her debut with the Chandler Symphony as winner of the 2016 Chandler Symphony Orchestra Competition, Belle performed in national venues like Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. In 2017 and 2019, she performed with the Phoenix Symphony as the Grand Prize winner and Clotilde Otranto winner of the Youth Musicians Competition. As a former member of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, she has been the concertmaster of Symphonette and Youth Symphony and later, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. In addition to studying with Danwen Jiangm Professor of Violin at Arizona State University, Belle currently studies with Professor Margaret Batjer at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She has performed in the USC Thornton Symphony at venues like Walt Disney Concert Hall since 2019, she has held both the concertmaster and second violin principal chairs.

Alexander Mayer

Alexander Mayer

The Juilliard School, 2018-2022

Oboist Alexander Mayer was born in 2001 and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He began his musical journey at age 3 on violin and picked up the oboe in 2013; he went on to receive numerous honors and awards. Alexander started taking lessons from Nikolaus Flickinger in 7th grade, and later began studying with Martin Schuring. He was a member of the Phoenix Youth Symphony for 5 years and attended Arizona School for the Arts beginning in 2016.

Alex performed and competed with multiple chamber groups and won several solo competitions including the Arizona Musicfest Competitions in 2017 and 2018. After graduating from high school in the summer of 2018, Alexander was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, chosen to perform in Carnegie Hall and tour Asia representing the country.

After graduating from Juilliard where he studied with Nathan Hughes, Alex began working on his Masters, also at Juilliard, and is expected to graduate in 2024. In the Fall of 2023, he gained the position as Acting Second Oboe with the Minnesota Orchestra and in January, will start as Principal Oboe of the Virginia Symphony. Among other opportunities that have come his way, he has been able to sub with the Richmond Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Florida Orchestra and New World Symphony, gaining a lot of experience and has been fortunate to play in numerous festivals.

Alex’s latest festival opportunities have been the New York String Orchestra Seminar in the Winter of 2022 and Tanglewood Music Center, also in 2022. In 2023, Alex played both the Spoleto Festival USA and the Verbier Festival Orchestra

Claire Thai

Claire Thai

Curtis Institute of Music, 2018-2022

Claire Thai is an internationally recognized harpist, most recently having won a prestigious Anne Adams Award, Lyon and Healy Award, 1st place at the Suoni d’Arpa competition in Italy, and 1st Place at the American Harp Society National Competition. She is also an active composer and in 2021 was commissioned to write and perform her own harp concerto with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.  Some of her most notable solo performances have included the Ginastera Harp Concerto with the Phoenix Symphony, the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto (programmed with her own concerto) with the Tucson Symphony, and the Ravel Introduction and Allegro and Debussy Danses Sacrée et Profane with the National Repertory Orchestra.  She is similarly passionate about orchestral performance and has recently performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, was a fellow at the 2022 National Repertory Orchestra, and was a fellow at the 2021 Aspen Music Festival.  Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Claire began the study of the harp at age 5 and the piano at age 4. She has studied with numerous internationally recognized harpists such as Elizabeth Hainen, Nancy Allen, and Carrol McLaughlin.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Harp Performance from the Curtis Institute of Music and is currently continuing her education at Curtis with a master’s degree (anticipated 2024). Aside from music, she enjoys working with computers and playing with her three beloved Shih Tzus.

Robbie Bui

Robbie Bui

New England Conservatory, 2017-2021

Robbie attended the New England Conservatory where he graduated and began working towards his Doctor of Musical Arts at UC San Diego in contemporary cello performance. From the earliest time, his music interests have always been rooted in influences such as his desire for social reform, his family’s cultural history, and his early upbringing into music through cello performance. This has influenced the compositions Robbi has created. Former experiences in groups such as the Phoenix Youth Symphony and Chandler Symphony Orchestra were some of the largest influences in his writing. He had annually received awards and scholarships from the Arizona Musicfest Organization and Phoenix Youth Symphony’s Young Musicians competition, both as a soloist and with his former quartet, p4q. The generous support from these places has sent him places such as Vienna Summer Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Boston Conservatory High School Composition Intensive, Idyllwild Arts Symphony and Chamberfest, and Tetra String Quartet Camp.

His orchestral debut was with the Phoenix Youth Symphony with the premiere of his tone poem, “Birmingham 1963″ in April 2017 at the Orpheum Theatre in his home city of Phoenix, Arizona. Two years later, Bui won the NEC Orchestra Composition Competition and had “The Diminished, The Assembled” premiered with NEC Symphony under Hugh Wolff. His chamber string orchestra piece for four quartets and contrabass was premiered by his Mountain View High School Chamber Orchestra and taken to the American String Teacher Association’s National Orchestra Festival in Albuquerque, NM March 2018. Bui has also valued the experience of hearing performances of his chamber music. His piece “Alizarin Crimson” was performed by the Ensemble PHACE residing in Vienna in Summer 2018. His “String Quartet No. 2,” which won the Arizona Musicfest Composer’s Competition 2017, and the New England Conservatory Honors Ensemble Competition 2018 has been recorded and performed multiple times by Burn City String Quartet, Tempest String Quartet in Jordan Hall, and by his very own former string quartet, p4q at the Musical Instrument Museum. He has been awarded Arizona Musicfest’s Annual Scholarship, National School Orchestra Award in 2017, and the director’s Award in 2015.

Robbie maintains a weekly private teaching studio and currently is also an active freelancer, with local orchestras, weekend weddings, new music shows, and everything in between. Recently, he became the Community Engagement Manager with the La Jolla Symphony, where he will design and implement programs to improve our outreach and community presence.

Thomas Desrosiers

Thomas Desrosiers

Vanderbilt University, 2016-2020

Through the financial assistance of the Arizona Musicfest scholarship, Thomas Desrosiers studied clarinet performance and music education at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music under the tutelage of world-class instructors such as Bill Jackson and Dr. Thomas Verrier. While at Vanderbilt, Thomas always had a desire to perform and teach, and found many ways to do so. For instance, via music education practicum at local elementary, middle and high schools, as well as in his own collegiate community with groups like the University Concert Band and Spirit of Gold Marching Band, Thomas had roles leading, learning, teaching, and performing.

After achieving his undergraduate Musical Arts degree, Thomas went on to pursue a masters degree in marketing at the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, where he worked with like-minded entrepreneurial students, and studied under masters of their own crafts, including Design Thinking pioneer Dr. David Owens and market research and analytics legend Dr. Kelly Haws. The remarkable resources at Vanderbilt University helped propel Thomas to an esteemed position as a Cloud Technical Resident at Google immediately after graduation.

Currently, Thomas works as a cybersecurity engineer at Google, where he strives to make an impact in the technical community and provide safety and security to the web and everyone who uses it. Thomas continues to hone his musical skills by being a multi-instrumentalist, playing saxophone and electric bass with friends every now and then.

Ryanne McLaren

Ryanne McLaren

Biola University, 2015-2019

Ryanne McLaren graduated summa cum laude with a B.M. in piano performance and an organ minor from Biola University, where she was also a top student in the TorreyHonors Institute. While at Biola, she received both the President’s and the Van Daele Scholarships for academic merit and was named the 2018 Presser Undergraduate Music Scholar.

Throughout her undergraduate years, Ryanne worked as an accompanist for the Biola Conservatory and First Presbyterian Church of Fullerton. As an organist, she was featured by the Biola Chorale, Symphonic Strings, Symphonic Winds, and Brass Ensembles. During her sophomore year, Ryanne led a series of traditional worship chapels for the student body. She also enjoyed dabbling in composition and was a three-time finalist/winner in the Biola Composition Competition. In 2020, Ryanne completed her M.Litt. in “Theology and the Arts” from the University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland. Studying theology, literature, and music in the United Kingdom was a dream come true, though the covid-19 pandemic cut short her time abroad. Undeterred, Ryanne found full-time work as a church organist and high school assistant choir director as she finished her degree from her hometown, Gilbert, Arizona. In 2021, Ryanne married Billy Molinari and the two moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where Billy serves as the associate pastor at Prairie Bible Church. Ryanne was quickly hired as a collaborative pianist for various ensembles and schools in the area. In March 2023, she performed as a pianist and vocalist with Chorale Midwest at Carnegie Hall. Alongside her work as a collaborative pianist, Ryanne is the director of traditional worship at Bethany Lutheran Church.

In addition to her work in music and ministry, Ryanne is a prolific writer. Her creative and academic writing has been published by journals such as The Kirby Laing Centre’s The Big Picture, St. Andrew’s Transpositions, and The Journal of the T.S. Eliot Society (UK). She regularly publishes original articles and music on her website, RyanneMolinari.com. Ryanne is also an avid scholar and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry from Covenant Theological Seminary.

Anna Han

Anna Han

The Juilliard School, 2014-2018

Anna Han is currently based in Berlin, where she recently finished an Artist Diploma at the Barenboim-Said Akademie under the tutelage of Sir András Schiff and Schaghajegh Nostrati. This season, she has engagements at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, Chicago Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series, the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, National Concert Hall of Taipei, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), Yellow Barn in Vermont, and Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance in Nova Scotia, among others. Her chamber music partners include Steven Isserlis, Kim Kashkashian, Mon-Puo Lee, Randall Goosby, Leland Ko, and the Verona Quartet. This past year, she also won the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Award as a solo pianist, and together with cellist Madelyn Kowalski, received the André Hoffmann Prize from the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad. With support from the 2021 Bita Cattelan Philanthropic Engagement Award from Concours Musical International de Montréal, she is producing a documentary about the effect that Covid had on a handful of classical musicians. With help from the AZ Musicfest Scholarship, she previously completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Robert McDonald, receiving the prestigious Kovner Fellowship, Juilliard Bachauer Scholarship, and William Schuman Prize; before studying with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music in London for a year. She lives to share laughter, experiences, and sometimes, good music with friends all over the world. More information is available at www.annahan.net.

Dana Brink

Dana Brink

Eastman School of Music, 2013-2017

Bassoonist Dana Brink enjoys a varied musical life of freelance performing and teaching in West Virginia, where she is an Adjunct Instructor of Woodwind Pedagogy in the School of Music and Associate Teacher of Bassoon, Chamber Music, and Music Theory in the Community Music Program at West Virginia University. Dana earned a master’s degree in bassoon performance from the Yale School of Music as a student of Frank Morelli and dual bachelor’s degrees in bassoon performance and political science from the Eastman School of Music/University of Rochester, where she studied with George Sakakeeny and John Hunt. She has performed with ensembles throughout Connecticut and West Virginia and is a co-founder of the Bridge Bassoon Duo, specializing in contemporary classical music for two bassoons. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dana started the Bassoon For All project on YouTube to record the many excellent and underperformed works for solo and small ensemble bassoon which previously lacked easily accessible recordings.

Jeanelle Thompson

Jeanelle Thompson

Cleveland Institute of Music, 2012-2016

Violinist Jeanelle (Brierly) Thompson, newly appointed Principal Second Violin of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, has dedicated herself to symphonic music for nearly two decades. Her commitment to orchestral performance has taken her to many of the world’s most prestigious stages, including Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Musikverein, Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, Philharmoniede Paris, Severance Hall and Suntory Hall.

Jeanelle’s love for orchestral music began at the age of 9 when she joined the community orchestra in her hometown of Safford, Arizona. Seven years later, she made her solo debut with the Phoenix Symphony. Inspired by her early experiences onstage, Jeanelle went on to earn her undergraduate degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with William Preucil and was awarded the Dr. Jerome Gross Prize in Violin. While in school she was a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra and attended the Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Perlman Music Program and the Verbier Festival.

Jeanelle has since performed as a substitute with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra. She has appeared as guest concertmaster with the Bangor Symphony, the Brevard Music Center orchestras, the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, the Lexington Bach Festival and the Youngstown Symphony. As a music educator, Jeanelle served on the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory Chamber Music faculty from 2018-2022 and maintains a private studio.

Eva Rbnsn

Eva Rbnsn

University of Southern California, 2012-2016

Eva is an artist and 3rd year PhD student in the Performance Studies and Music program at the University of Chicago. As a scholar, Eva’s work is concerned with issues of power in arts spaces, especially for performers, students, and mentees who experience forms of systemic violence. Her dissertation project explores performances of the erotic in genres considered disreputable where trans and gender nonconforming people of color contest the material conditions of sexual and racial oppression. As an artist, Eva performs as a drag priestess under the name APoliticalGirl in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has been published in Ethnomusicology Review and the Journal for Popular Music Studies.

Karen Nguyen

Karen Nguyen

Arizona State University, 2011-2015

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Vietnamese-American pianist Karen Nguyen is recognized for her commitment to the arts as a performing artist and pedagogue. She holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music degree from Arizona State University, where she studied with Brazilian pianist Caio Pagano. Karen has also studied with Portuguese pianist and pedagogue Manuela Pagano, who she credits most of her love for teaching.

Karen’s performances have delighted audiences in Portugal, England, Italy, and across the United States. Together with her husband, violinist Christiano Rodrigues, Karen maintains an active performance schedule. Recently, the Rodrigues-Nguyen Duo has appeared in performances at Washington State University, Nicholls State University, the Pelican’s Chamber Music Series, the Round Top Festival Institute Chamber Music Series, and with the MusicaNova Orchestra Chamber Players. Karen has collaborated in chamber music performances with Caio Pagano, Dennis Parker, Charles Castleman, Richard Sherman, Jonathan Gunn, and Alexander Shuhan. She has also worked with Washington State University’s Concert Choir and University Singers as their pianist. An avid advocate of new music, Karen has performed, premiered, and recorded the music of composers Rodney Rogers and James DeMars. She was also a member of the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, directed by Simone Mancuso.

A passionate pedagogue, Karen taught for several years at the East Valley Yamaha Music School in Chandler, Arizona. She also serves as the Director of Online Engagement, Assistant Director of Community Engagement, and Archivist for the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico. Karen currently resides in Pullman, Washington with her husband and their two cats.

Kaelan James

Kaelan James

Stanford University, 2022-2026

Kaelan James started playing clarinet from age 9, and since moving to Arizona in 2018, he studied with Dr. Stefanie Gardner. As a soloist, Kaelan has been acknowledged as Best in Class two times in the statewide Arizona Music Educators Association Solo & Ensemble Competition. He also placed in other local and international competitions, including the 2022 Arizona Musicfest Competition, the 2021 Bellagrande International Competition, and the 2021 International Clarinet Association Clareidoscope Contest.

Kaelan held principal positions at the Youth Symphony of the Southwest and the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra. He played in Arizona All State Honor Bands and Orchestras all four years of high school.

Kaelan was also active as a chamber musician, performing with a variety of groups including the Scottsdale Community College Wind Septet and Sextet, Glendale Community College Bass Clarinet Choir, and Music Enrichment Foundation Wind Quintet, all while co-founding a reed trio at Arizona School for the Arts.

A National Merit Finalist, Kaelan presently attends Stanford University where he is pursuing a double major in mechanical engineering and clarinet performance under Mark Bradenburg. Recently, he had a chance to play in both of Stanford’s orchestras under Paul Phillips, which he stated was a fantastic experience.

Jonathan Okseniuk

Jonathan Okseniuk

Curtis Institute of Music, 2023-2027

This fall, violinist Jonathan Okseniuk will be attending the Curtis Institute of Music, studying under Midori. Jonathan has been performing as a soloist since the age of four. At the age of five he made his orchestral debut with the Suprima Chamber Orchestra. Other solo appearances include performances with Arizona Musicfest Festival Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony, West Valley Symphony, Chandler Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg String Quartet, and an engagement at the Mesa Arts Center.   As a competitor, Jonathan has placed first in many national and local competitions. Most recently, he placed first in the Senior Division of the 2023 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition. Last year he was named first place laureate in the Junior Division of the 2022 Sphinx Competition, national winner in the 2022 Music Teachers National Association Senior String Competition, first in the Phoenix Youth Symphony Young Musicians Concerto Competition Senior Division and the Arizona Musicfest String Competition Division II. In 2021, Jonathan placed first in the Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians String, Harp, and Guitar Division II Competition, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and the Chandler Symphony Orchestra Youth Competition. In 2020, he was named the national winner of the 2020 Music Teachers National Association Junior String Competition and won the 2020 Phoenix Youth Symphony’s Young Musicians Competition in the Upper String Category Junior Division. The year prior, he placed first in the Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians String, Harp, and Guitar Division I Competition. Over the past fourteen years, since the age of three, Jonathan has studied under Jing Zeng, violinist of the Phoenix Symphony. He has also worked with distinguished teachers such as Jan Sloman, Midori, Miriam Fried, Peter Oundjian and William van der Sloot and with esteemed chamber groups like the Dover Quartet and members of the Manhattan Chamber Players.  For over six years, Jonathan has played with various youth orchestras including the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Youth Symphony of the Southwest, and the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster, assistant concertmaster and principal second violin. Jonathan has participated in summer programs such as Morningside Music Bridge and the Heifetz International Music Institute. This summer he will be attending the Chamber Music Northwest Young Artist Institute as well as returning to Morningside Music Bridge for his third year. To share his gift of music, Jonathan donates his talent by performing at community events, local schools and giving master classes. His goal is to inspire the next generation of musicians and promote the joy in playing classical music. Jonathan also participates in the music ministry at his church.

Tanner Dodt

Tanner Dodt

University of Southern California, 2022-2026

A native of Flagstaff, Tanner Dodt is studying at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, under the instruction of Kevin Fitz-Gerald. He is also pursuing a double major in math at USC. In high school, Tanner studied with Fei Xu and performed as part of the MusicaNova Orchestra Young Artists Series,  Orchestra of Northern Arizona, and in numerous solo recitals. In the Fall of 2022, Tanner won 2nd place in Division IV of the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. This summer, he participated in the Academie Internationale de Musique music festival and academy in Paris and the Euro Music Festival and Academy in Szczecin, Poland, where he gave numerous solo performances and worked with renowned faculty from around the world. In his time away from playing the piano himself, Tanner enjoys teaching piano lessons to his ten students.

Tony Kim

Tony Kim

Vanderbilt University, 2023-2027

Tony Kim has been studying the piano with Dr. Yali Luo since the age of 10 and the cello with Jan Simiz, assistant principal of the Phoenix Symphony, at age 11. He has won first prizes in the Steinway Avanti Junior Piano Competition, Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition, OPUS Competition, Tone X Galaxie Y Music International Competition, Charleston International Music Competition, and Vivo International Music Competition. He also received first place for both the 2021 and 2022 Arizona MTNA State Competition Senior Piano Division. 

An avid cellist, Tony has also won top prizes at numerous string competitions, including the Arizona Strings Teachers Association Competition, Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition, Phoenix Youth Symphony Young Musicians Competition, Arizona Music Educators Association Solo and Ensemble, Bellegrande International Music Competition, and OPUS Competition. He has played in the AMEA Regionals and All-State Orchestras for all four years of high school and held principal cellist positions in both Regionals and All-State Orchestra and the Phoenix Youth Symphony. 

An active performer, Tony has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Katzin Hall, Parker Concert Hall, and the Musical Instrument Museum. Last summer, he received a scholarship to attend the Brevard Music Center, where he studied piano with Professor Norman Krieger. Other summer programs he has attended include the Heifetz International Music Institute, Philadelphia International Music Festival, Interharmony International Music Festival, and Vivace International Music Festival. Over the years, he has had the opportunity to study with Andrew Mark, David Ying, Yeesun Kim, and Robert Hamilton and play in masterclasses for Zlatomir Fung, Natasha Brofsky, Colin Carr, and Mike Block. This summer, he will be attending the Bowdoin International Music Festival to study with Paul Katz.

Tony has been greatly involved in Harmony Project Phoenix, where he is a cello instructor for students and plays along with their youth orchestra. Starting in the fall, he will be attending Vanderbilt University, where he will study both piano and cello performance at the Blair School of Music with Dr. Amy Dorfman and Dr. Felix Wang.