2023 WYSO Concerto Competition Winners & Honorable Mentions

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The WYSO Concerto Competitions for Youth and Philharmonia Orchestras are an annual spring tradition. This year, a record number of 50 hard-working and talented WYSO musicians in the Youth and Philharmonia orchestras competed in February and the competition results are in!

The students followed a process that required preparation of approved concertos and an audition before judges. Out of the pool of competitors, the judges announced a Winner and four Honorable Mentions for each orchestra competition. In addition, Selina Wen was awarded the Murphy Family Interlochen Scholarship, worth $1,000 towards tuition at the prestigious Interlochen music camp in Michigan.

The two Concerto Competition Winners, Katarina Kenney (for the Youth Orchestra Competition) and Anna Lena Derocher (for the Philharmonia Orchestra Competition), will perform (respectively) as soloists with the Youth and Philharmonia Orchestras in the Spring Concerts at the Hamel Music Center on May 20 and 21.

Meet the Competition Winners and the Honorable Mentions below, and mark the recital and concert dates on your calendars. You will not want to miss these spectacular upcoming events and the chance to support these special WYSO musicians.

Youth Orchestra Competition Winner


Katarina Kenney is an 8th grader at Madison Country Day School. At the age of three, she began the cello with Flora Van Wormer through the Suzuki Method and currently studies with Cornelia Watkins. Katarina is in her fourth season with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras and her sixth season with the Madison Youth Choirs.

As the winner of the 2022 WYSO Philharmonia Competition, Katarina made her solo orchestral debut in a side by side performance with the WYSO Philharmonia Orchestra and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She is the second prize junior division winner of the 2022 Center Stage Strings Young Artist Solo Competition. In the Fall of 2022, she performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra as their Fall Youth Competition winner and recently received honorable mention in the 2023 Chicago National Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Pondrom Quartet.

Katarina has performed in masterclasses for Uri Vardi, Estelle Choi, Horacio Contreras, Yumi Kendall, Amy Barston, Avi Friedlander and Linc Smelser. She has spent her summers at Center Stage Strings, Cincinnati Young Artists Cello Academy and CSI Advanced Chamber Program.

In addition, Katarina enjoys being part of the WYSO Honors String Quartet and the MCDS Science Olympiad Team.



Anna Lena Derocher has been studying piano and violin since she was six years old. She began in the Suzuki tradition and moved on to Darcy Drexler’s String Academy Wisconsin program through UW-Milwaukee. She currently studies in Milwaukee with Pamela Simmons. This is Anna Lena’s first year with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Philharmonia Orchestra.

She was awarded the Pierce Hill Performing Arts Award last spring, and made her solo debut with Pierce Hill. She performed under Monika Sutherland with Yellow Cello Orchestra for two years. She has performed in a masterclass with Mimi Zweig and was accepted into her Summer Strings Academy program this year. She will be composing an original piece for violin with mentor Steven Rydberg for her eighth grade project next year at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School in Viroqua. She enjoys biking and baking when she’s not playing her instruments.

Anna Lena would like to thank Pamela Simmons, Darcy Drexler, Kris Jenkins, Vanessa Mills, Steven Rydberg, Michelle Kaebisch, Karl Lavine, Ralph Rabin, Monika and Wyatt Sutherland, and her family, for their wisdom and support throughout her musical journey.




Charles is a violist from Oregon, WI, and has played viola for eight years. He has been a part of WYSO since 2018, where he started in the Sinfonietta Orchestra, and he is currently a violist in the Youth Orchestra. Charles was the winner of the Birch Creek Concerto Competition in 2022, and where he will be performing Hindemith’s Viola Concerto, “Der Schwanendreher” this coming summer. In addition to music, Charles is interested in baseball, health and fitness, world languages, as well as traveling. He plans to major in Viola Performance this coming Fall. He is extremely thankful for all of WYSO’s conductors and musicians, as well as WYSO’s dedication to meaningful and impactful music





Qing Ng (violin), 18, is a senior at Memorial High School in Madison, Wisconsin. She began playing the violin when she was eight years old and is a student of both Davis King and Almita Vamos. Qing has also been a member of Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) for eight years under Kyle Knox. Qing’s musical accomplishments include earning Second Place in the Chippewa Valley Concerto Competition, as well as receiving Honorable Mention in the WYSO Philharmonia Concerto Competition, Sejong Music Competition, Concord Concerto Competition, Middleton Community Concerto Competition, Lacrosse Rising Stars Competition, Milwaukee Stars of Tomorrow Competition, and the 2021 Bolz Young Artist Competition “Final Forte”, which was broadcast live on PBS Wisconsin and on Wisconsin Public Radio. Recently, Qing has won the McLellon Award at the Minnesota YPSCA Concerto Competition, and was named a recipient of the From the Top Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. She has also been featured on NPR’s From the Top Show 425



Asha Sundaram is a sophomore at Sun Prairie West High School. She is a member of the WYSO Youth Orchestra and WYSO’s Lalita Woodwind Quintet. In August 2022, she traveled with her flute choir to the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago for their ensemble performance. She also attended the 2 week Symphony Session at Birch Creek in July 2022. Asha thanks her accompanist Amy Hartsough and her flute teacher Victoria Rockman for their support and guidance.



Selina Wen is currently a Sophomore at Middleton High School. She began piano and violin with Hong-En Chen in her preschool years at Einstein school. This is her 12th year playing piano and she currently studies with Julie Chang and Lina Lee. It is also her 4th season at WYSO.

Shostakovich Concerto No.2 is Selina’s 2nd concerto piece and she really enjoyed it. This year Selina has been selected as a Highly Commended recipient at WCO and the Honorable mention at the semi-final round of Boltz concerto competition.

She enjoys playing in ensembles and has participated in Farley’s Chamber program playing in a trio and quartet, and the Madison Bach Musicians’ Summer Chamber Workshop for 3 years. Outside of school, Selina swims for the Mad City Aqua Stars club, competing in synchronized swimming.

In addition to Honorable Mention, Selina was awarded the Murphy Family Interlochen Scholarship.



Lorenz Fradkin-Annen started violin when she was four, and after she learned how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star she asked if she could please play the Sibelius violin concerto next.  She has not played it yet but looks forward to it someday.  Lorenz also performs in Mad Fiddle with her sister Lucy and they don’t argue too much (usually). She also enjoys playing the piano, bassoon, and string bass and her favorite school subjects (besides music) are math and science.  She would like to thank her former violin teacher Maureen McCarty and her current teacher Eugene Purdue.




Charlie Chang comes from Taiwan and studied in a special music program in middle school before he came to the US. one year ago. He’s an eighth-grader now and this is his first year in WYSO. He started learning the violin when he was five and has had a great passion for music ever since. He enjoys playing music with friends and immersing himself in string ensembles. He played as the section leader or the concertmaster in string orchestra while he was in elementary school in Taiwan. He has won several prizes at the annual Taiwan Music Competition. In addition to music, he also likes reading, hiking, and playing sports. He really appreciates that WYSO provides a great opportunity for him to refine his skills and enjoy music!



Craig Nielsen has been playing piano for twelve years, and he plays bass in the WYSO Philharmonia Orchestra. He also plays with the Middleton High School Symphony Orchestra, and the Middleton High School 7 O’Clock Jazz Band. Craig is interested in continuing music into college, as he is deeply invested in it and greatly enjoys it. He is also interested in statistics, which he plans to major in, as well as political science, mathematics, and computer science. He hopes to incorporate a few of these interests into a statistics major, and find room to pursue music. Music has had a greatly positive impact on his life and he really hopes he can continue studying it. 




Jian Wang-Muñoz has been playing the clarinet since sixth grade and he rarely puts it down. Throughout middle school he participated in the Madison AllCity Honors Band. At the start of high school he joined WYSO and in 2022 he received the Buchhauser Scholarship award. He also enjoys volunteering with younger musicians at local middle and elementary schools. Jian plays his clarinet wherever there is fresh air and a lot of sunshine; you can find him playing jazz solos and Mexican danzóns for audiences on the streets. Even when studying abroad the opportunity to spread his love of music never escaped him; he has performed on the streets of Seville, Cambridge, London, and Paris. He is now a junior at Vel Phillips Memorial High School and a member of WYSO’s Philharmonia Orchestra.