2024 WYSO Concerto Competition Winners & Honorable Mentions
The WYSO Concerto Competitions for Youth and Philharmonia Orchestras are an annual spring tradition. This year, 40 hard-working and talented WYSO musicians in the Youth and Philharmonia orchestras competed in January, and the competition results are in!
Students that participated meticulously prepared approved concertos and performed before judges. Out of the pool of competitors, the judges announced a Winner and three Honorable Mentions for each orchestra competition. In addition, Elliot Lesperance 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, Jane Story (Youth Orchestra Competition) and Lorenz Fradkin-Annen (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 18 and 19.
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
JANE STORY, VIOLIN
Jane Story, 17, from Stevens Point, began violin studies at the age of four. She currently studies with Dr. Anna Cromwell.
Since her solo orchestral debut with the Madison Symphony Orchestra at the age of 12, Jane has also performed as a soloist with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, Civic Symphony of Green Bay, Birch Creek Symphony, and Central Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. Her awards include first prize winner of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Audrey G. Baird Stars of Tomorrow Competition in 2023 and finalist of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Bolz Young Artist Competition: The Final Forte in both 2024 and 2022, among others. Jane is a 2023 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, and appeared on NPR’s From the Top.
Jane is currently in her second season with WYSO, where she also performs in the Pondrom Piano Quartet. Last season, as a member of the WYSO Pondrom String Quartet, Jane received the Silver Medal and the BIPOC prize at the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition (2023) and an honorable mention at the Chicago National Chamber Music Competition (2023), and appeared on WPR’s The Midday.
PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA COMPETITION WINNER
LORENZ FRADKIN-ANNEN, VIOLIN
Lorenz Fradkin-Annen, 12, is an eighth grade student at Oregon Middle School in Oregon, WI. Renz had her solo debut in November 2023 with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, giving five performances after winning their Fall Youth Concerto competition.
This past summer she was a finalist in the Interlochen Intermediates concerto competition. She has also earned two WSMA Exemplary Performance awards, and won awards in the Nie Young Artist Scholarship Competition (violin) and the Rhapsody Arts Center Sonatina Festival (piano). She plays bassoon and violin in Philharmonia and has also served as concertmaster.
In addition to WYSO she studies piano with Vincent Fuh, bassoon with Carol Rosing, and performs in MadFiddle, a Madison violin ensemble led by Shauncey Ali. Renz would like to thank her current violin teacher Eugene Purdue and her former teacher Maureen McCarty. When not practicing music she can be found writing music and computer code and tinkering with computers.
YOUTH ORCHESTRA HONORABLE MENTION
ELLIOT LESPERANCE, MARIMBA
Elliot Lesperance is a junior at Oregon high school. He began to study percussion at 11, although he had some piano training before then. His percussion teacher is Dr. Todd Hammes, who he has studied with for one and a half years.
Elliot Lesperance has played in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble for 6 months. He would like to thank his accompanist, Vince Fuh, for being one of the best of all time.
MAX TURNER, VIOLA
Max Turner, age 15, has been playing the viola for 9 years. He is currenly a junior at West High School. He has been a member of WYSO for 6 years and has been WYSO’s Youth Orchestra for 2 years. Over the past few summers Max has attended the Illinois Chamber Music Festival, the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute, and most recently, Meadowmount School of Music where he studied with Molly Carr and Jutta Puchhammer. Max currently studies with Laura Mericle.
Youth Orchestra HONORABLE MENTION
ASHA SUNDARAM, FLUTE
Asha Sundaram is delighted to be performing in her second Philharmonia and Youth Honors Recital. She is a junior at Sun Prairie West High School and plays in Wind Ensemble. She also enjoys playing with WYSO Youth Orchestra and WYSO Lalita Woodwind Quintet.
This summer she attended the Symphony Session at Birch Creek Music Performance Center where she won the Clampitt Concerto Competition. Asha performed at the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago 2022.
Thank you to Victoria Rockman, her flute teacher, for the unwavering support and guidance. Thanks also to her accompanists Amy Hartsough and Vincent Fuh.
PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA HONORABLE MENTION
MUFAN LI, VIOLIN
Mufan Li is currently an 8th grade student at Hamilton Middle School, and she plays the violin in the Philharmonia Orchestra. Mufan started playing the violin at five years old with Cynthia Bittar, and now currently studies with Kangwon Kim. She has also played the piano for 5 years with Irmgard Bittar and Lina Lee.
This is Mufan’s 5th year at WYSO, and she would like to thank all her music teachers and the WYSO staff for providing a platform where students can enjoy music and play for others. This is also her 3rd year playing in the Hamilton Middle School Orchestra.
Additionally, Mufan participates in her school’s Science Olympiad and Mathcounts teams. In her free time, she enjoys baking, skiing, reading, and hanging out with her friends.
PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA HONORABLE MENTION
bryant yu, piano
Bryant Yu is an eighth grader at Eagle School. He began piano lessons at age of five and violin lessons at age of eight. His current piano teacher is Ms. Shuching Chuang and current violin teacher is Ms. Cynthia Bittar.
Bryant received Honorable Mention in the 2023 MSO Fall Youth Concerto Competition; Honorable Mention in the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association(WMTA) State Badger Competition (2021-2023); 1st Place of his age group in 2020 Sonatina Festival and trophy winner in 2019, 2021-2023.
Bryant also enjoys learning math and computer science. He won 1st place in the 2023 MathCounts Chapter Competition and is Top 10 of Wisconsin State MathCounts Competition; he received AMC 8 Honor Roll of Distinction (top 1%) and AMC 10 Distinction (top 5%). He passed the USA Computing Olympiad Bronze in 2023.
Besides those, Bryant also likes 3-D design, web design, and enjoys collecting various tropical
plants. Bryant would like to continue learning music in the future, allowing it to inspire creativity
in other areas.
PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA HONORABLE MENTION
REBECCA ZHANG, PIANO
Rebecca Zhang is a 7th grader at Kromrey Middle School. She has studied violin for five years, and her violin teacher is Liz Norton. Without her help, she would not have had the chance to become a member of WYSO. She has also been studying piano since she was seven years old, and her piano teacher is Lana Robotewskyj in Sun Prairie. Rebecca was a winner of her age group in the Sonatina Festival in 2021 and 2022, and the winner of the Honors Recital of Madison Area Music Educators (MAME) in 2022, 2023 and 2024. She was selected to perform at the masterclass with Dr. Diana Shapiro, Janice Carissa, and Dr. Kaju Lee.
Rebecca has been with WYSO for three years and plays violin in the Philharmonia Orchestra. She enjoys playing music with friends. In the past years, she has attended WYSO chamber summer camp and played piano in the chamber group.
In addition to music, Rebecca plays tennis and enjoys crafting and baking.