KPO announces Youth Concerto Competition winners

The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra recently announced the winners of its annual Madeline Schatz-Harris Youth Concerto Competition that took place on Sept. 9 in Kona.


The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra recently announced the winners of its annual Madeline Schatz-Harris Youth Concerto Competition that took place on Sept. 9 in Kona.

Young string instrument players from around the state were eligible to compete in this year’s competition. During the competition, 10 student musicians from three age categories (12 years and under, 13-15 years and 16-18 years) performed, by memory, one movement of a piece chosen from standard concerto repertoire with piano accompaniment.

This year’s winners are cellist Celina Lim, 11, violinist Alyson Kwong, 14, and cellist Joshua Chang, 18. These three winners will perform their solo works in concert at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea, accompanied by the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan. 28 as part of the orchestra’s winter concert, “Rustic Inspirations.” Winning contestants also receive cash rewards.

“In my nearly 30 years of music making, this year’s group of young musicians was spectacular,” Artistic Director and Conductor Brian Dollinger said. “The level of difficulty that these musicians tackled from memory, as well as incredibly musical, was truly inspirational to me as an educator. It shows what dedication by not only the young musician, but by families and teachers, can produce.”

Lim is a student of Nancy Masaki, of Honolulu. She gave a lively performance of Georg Goltermann’s Concerto No. 4 in G major, opus 65, mvt. 3: Allegro molto. Kwong, a student of Sheryl Sohet, also of Honolulu, was a standout in the largest group of competitors with her rendition of Eduoard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, opus 21, mvt. 1: Allegro non troppo. Chang, who is also a student of Masaki, displayed outstanding technique and a vibrant sound during his performance of Edward Elgar’s Concerto in E minor, opus 85, mvt. 1: Adagio Moderato.

“I am very excited to perform these works in January with our winners. The vast majority of the time, this performance is a first for these musicians and becomes a life-long memory for them. In some cases, it serves as a huge inspiration for them to continue on in life with music,” Dollinger said. “My goal with every young artist performance is to make it as fun, relaxing, and memorable for the musician. If I accomplish this, their performance will come through with such success that the audience and KPO musicians will feel more closely connected to this memorable experience.”


Founding Artistic Director and Conductor Madeline Schatz-Harris, a longtime teacher, started the concerto competition to showcase talent exhibited by local students. Dollinger is also passionate about promoting opportunities for young musicians to learn and display their talents.

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