The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition

In November each year, the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra conducts its Young Soloist Competition. The Competition is generously hosted by the Dana Hall School of Music, whose Music Building at 103 Grove Street in Wellesley provides a friendly atmosphere and well appointed rooms for musicians and their accompanists to warm up and to perform for the judges. The audition room has two pianos.

The 2019 competition will be held on a Saturday in November; the final date will be set before Labor Day 2019. The application will be similar to this year’s; for information, here is a link to the 2018 application. There is no application fee. Each participant selects a concerto movement suitable to be performed with the WSO at our March 2019 Family Concert at MassBay Community College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Auditions should be about 10 minutes long, and each participant is responsible for making arrangements with an accompanist. In addition to performing with the orchestra, the winner receives a $500 award.

NOTE: Applications for the WSO Young Soloist Competition are posted here on or before Labor Day each year. If you have any questions about the competition at any time, please contact EITHER Dianne Mahany by email at or by telephone at 978-443-5212, OR Carol Davidson at or by telephone at 508-650-3646. *It is important to apply early*; for the past several years, all slots have been filled almost 2 weeks before the published application deadline, and a waiting list has been put in place.

We have a wonderful group of participants each year, including about 30 young musicians up to the age of 18 (the youngest in recent memory was 8 years old.) We welcome all orchestral instrumentalists and pianists to our competition. (It is always very difficult for the four judges - including Max Hobart, our Music Director, to make a selection. We have occasionally chosen a young musician for a Special Achievement Award, as we did in 2018!)

2018 Young Soloist Competition Winner - Hannah Ryu

image of Hannah Ryu, 2018 Young Soloist Competition Winner

Hannah Ryu, the winner of the 2018 WSO Young Soloist Competition, is 17 years old. Hannah is a pianist and composer as well as a violinist. She was born in Boston, and began playing the violin at age 4 and the piano at age 5. She is studying violin, piano, and composition at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where she is a student in the Certificate Program for all three. She received the Level 4 Certificate (highest level) from NEC with honors in 2016. Hannah has won many awards both as a soloist and as a chamber musician.

As a violinist, Hannah has won many awards, including the 2016 Lexington High School (LHS) Concerto Competition, First Prize in the 2015 MMTA Bay State String Competition, and First Prize in the 2010 Ellen Huff Powers Young Artist Competition. She won Second Prize in the 2018 Brockton Symphony Youth Concerto Competition, and Second Prize and Silver Medal in the 2014 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition with her trio, The Brioso Trio. Hannah is an alumna of NPR’s From The Top show and an Arts Leader of FTT’s Center for Development of Arts Leaders. Hannah has performed at many community concerts including FTT’s special event at West Palm Beach, Florida to raise funds for young classical musicians, patients, and others in the community who need support. Hannah is the President and Concertmistress of the LHS Chamber Orchestra. She is also the founder and President of the Stress Relief Through Musical Language Club at LHS. She has studied violin with Kazuko Matsusaka, Fudeko Takahashi, and Julianne Lee, and is currently studying with Lynn Chang.

As a pianist, Hannah has won many prizes, including First Prize in the 2017 Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition (Leonard D. Woods Award), and First Prize in the 2016 and 2013 Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition (Division 2 and 4). She is a Finalist of the 2017 Boston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and received the 2018 Soloist of New England Award.

Hannah started composing at age 8 and learned composition and music theory from Rodney Lister and Larry Bell at NEC. An award-winning composer, she has composed piano trios, piano sonatas, waltzes, a four-hand piano piece, string quartets, quintets, sextets, a choral piece, and orchestra pieces. Her pieces have been performed at many concerts and events. Her award-winning string quintet piece, “The Barefoot Tango,” has been performed both locally and at venues such as the Plaza Mayor in Valladolid, Spain.

Besides music, Hannah enjoys swimming, golf, and Taekwondo martial arts (Black Belt holder). She lives with her family and pet fish in Lexington, MA where she attends Lexington High School.

2018 Special Achievement Award Winner - Oan Woo Park

image of Oan Woo Park, 2018 Special Achievement Award Winner

Born in New York City, 11-year-old Oan Woo Park began his cello studies at age 3 with Ellen Silver at the Silver Music School in Manhattan. At 4, he was selected for admission to New York’s Special Music School, where he began his studies with Yari Bond, who is his teacher today.

For the past 3 years, Oan has performed with the Trio Giocoso at the New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division, coached by Laura Blustein. Oan played with his trio on NPR’s “From the Top” at age 10, and has appeared in several music videos, including a recording with Canadian Brass, and most recently a holiday production with WGBH.

Oan was the second place winner in his age group for the New York Music Competition in 2017. He has performed at numerous venues including Merkin Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York; Jordan Hall; and in the Concerts Con Brio series, as well as CCNYCKids performance series in Manhattan. His performance with the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, as recipient of the 2018 Special Achievement Award, will be his orchestral debut.

In his free time, Oan likes to play video games and relax with his hamster, Peanut.

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