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For 65 years, YPSCA has held a Young People's Concerto Competition for advanced student musicians in grades 7-12. The winner of the top prize is invited to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra in a set of Young People’s Concerts. Cash prizes, donated by individuals and music-related businesses, are awarded to all Finalists.

Each contestant prepares a portion of a major work, such as a concerto movement, to perform from memory. Performances are judged by professional musicians specializing in strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and keyboard. For the Finals, held on the Orchestra Hall stage, YPSCA welcomes members of the public to attend and to witness the riveting performances of these extraordinary young musicians.

2023 Concerto Competition

Dates and details for YPSCA’s 66th Annual Concerto Competition, to be held in the spring of 2023, will be announced in the summer of 2022. 

Esme Arias-Kim, 2022 competition winner

Esme Arias-Kim takes top honors at YPSCA’s 65th Annual Concerto Competition

Thirty-nine students competed in the virtual Preliminary Round of YPSCA’s Concerto Competition by submitting performance videos which were adjudicated remotely by a panel of eight judges.  Thirteen of those students advanced to the Final Round on Sunday, February 27, 2022 at Orchestra Hall. Violinist Esme Arias-Kim, age 16, won the Competition with a stunning performance of the first movement of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Concerto in D major, Op. 35.  Her top prize award includes a performance with the Minnesota Orchestra at a future Young People’s Concert and a cash prize of $2,000 from the Edwin & Edith Norberg Fund. Esme, who lives in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, studies violin with Almita Vamos and attends William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois. 

In addition to the top honor won by Esme Arias-Kim, each Finalist received at least one award:

  • Izaiah Cheeran, 16, oboe, won the Edwin Norberg Award
  • Aurora Wang, 16, piano, won the Edith Norberg Award
  • Aurora Wang, 16, piano, won the Paul Winberg Award in Memory of Leah Harding
  • Grace Weitzel, 16, violin, won the Norberg Award
  • Ella Saputra, 17, violin, won the Schmitt Music Award
  • Esme Arias-Kim, 16, violin, won the Claire Givens Violins Award
  • Orion Kim, 16, piano, won the Margie Ankeny Award
  • Tasha Piyabongkarn, 16, piano, won the Bonnie and Donn McLellan Award
  • William Gannon, 16, piano, won the Mariellen Jacobson Award
  • Anna Loegering, 17, harp, won the Karen Lundmark Holmes Award
  • Kalina Lee, 17, oboe, won the YPSCA Prize Honoring David Colwell
  • Clara Wrolstad, 16, piano, won the Judith and David Ranheim Award
  • Ruth Conry, 17, violin, won the YPSCA Prize Honoring Elinor Ogden
  • Kana Ahira, 16, violin, won the Katie Berg Award
  • Izaiah Cheeran, 16, oboe, won the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum Award

Please join us in congratulating all of the Finalists, and in thanking the generous donors of this year’s awards, which collectively totaled $11,500.  We also thank our judges for the Final Round: Pamela Arnstein, Jim Bartsch, Hanna Landrum and Paul Shaw; and for the Preliminary Round: Noel Engebretson, Ivan Konev, Rena Kraut, Brian Krinke, Ho-Yin Kwok, Gary Levinson, Conor O’Brien, and Pamela Shaffer Reinhard.

2022 Competition Finals

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