The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus announced the winners of its 51
annual Young Artists Competition, held Jan. 29 at UCSD. Thirty contestants, ages 14-28, from San Diego and Baja California competed for eight cash prizes in vocal and instrumental categories.
Horn player Nicolee Kuester, 23, of La Jolla was awarded first place in the instrumental category. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, she studies music at UCSD on a full-tuition graduate fellowship. She is a member of the music ensemble Palimpsest, and joined the LJS&C’s horn section.
First-place vocal prize went to 24-year-old soprano Jessica Aszodi of La Jolla, a graduate student in music at UCSD and transplant from Australia where she has performed as a soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, and Victorian Opera.
First-place winners receive an award of $1,500 each and a chance to perform as soloist with the LJS&C on a future concert season. In total, $6,500 in cash prizes was awarded to the eight winners:
Instrumental Category: Second place Curt Miller, clarinet, 23, of La Jolla; third Ayaka Ozaki, marimba, 23, of San Diego;
Most promising Won-Ji Lee, cello, 16, of Poway. Vocal Category:
Second place Michael Blinco, baritone, 24; Third Elisa Jordan, soprano, 21, both of San Diego; Most promising Kylena Parks, soprano, 19, of Lakeside.