Young performers rise to the top in La Jolla Symphony & Chorus competition

The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) held its 57th annual Young Artists Competition Jan. 28 on the UC San Diego campus. Ten winners, ages 14-29, were awarded prizes of $200-$1,500 in vocal and instrumental categories. First-place winners also received a paid performance opportunity with LJS&C in a future season.

The competition was open to contestants from San Diego County and Baja California. All 10 artists repeated their winning performances at a Young Artists Winners Recital on Sunday, Feb. 26, at a private home in La Jolla.

This year’s first-place winner in the Instrumental category was 15-year-old pianist Anne Liu, a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy. First-place in the Vocal category went to soprano Tasha Koontz, 29, a graduate of Northwestern University, who resides in San Diego and sings with the San Diego Opera chorus. Other winners include:

Instrumental Division

• Kana Shiotsu, 18, violin, Torrey Pines High School (second place)

• Nathan Rim, 17, viola, Torrey Pines High School (third place)

• Nathan Sariowan, 14, violin, Francis Parker (most promising)

• Jonathan Sussman, 19, flute, USC Thornton School of Music (honorable mention)

Vocal Division

• Hillary Jean Young, 24, soprano, UCSD grad student (second place)

• Amanda Olea, 23, soprano, SDSU undergrad (third place)

• Stephanie Ishihara, 28, mezzo-soprano, SDSU undergrad (most promising)

• Sarabeth Belon, 22, mezzo-soprano, graduate of UCLA, residing in San Diego (honorable mention).

LJS&C is a non-profit musical performing group dedicated to inspiring San Diego with the joy of music. Its 90-person orchestra and 100-person chorus perform groundbreaking orchestral and choral music along with traditional favorites from the classical repertoire. For concert schedules and tickets, call (858) 534-4637 or visit