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Concerto Competition Final Round

Photo by Master Sgt. Brian Rust

2024 Concerto Competition Finals

14 Feb 2024 | Staff Sgt. Tucker Broadbooks United States Marine Band

Seven exceptional high school musicians from across America will convene at John Philip Sousa Band Hall at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, to compete in the final round of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band’s annual Concerto Competition. The winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship courtesy of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and perform their solo with the Marine Band on April 28. Second and third place winners will receive $1,000 and $500 scholarships, respectively.

Learn more about the Concerto Competition for High School Musicians

Finalists for this year’s competition were chosen from a competitive pool of nearly 100 applications.

The chosen students will perform prepared concertos before a panel of judges consisting of Marine Band Director Lt. Col. Ryan J. Nowlin, Assistant Director Capt. Darren Y. Lin and guest adjudicator Maestro James Ross of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

This free performance is open to the public and will be livestreamed. Watch Here

The performances will take place at the Marine Barracks Annex at 1053 7th Street, SE, Washington, DC. Free parking is available in the gated lot under the I-695 overpass. Please allow extra time for ID checks at the gate.



Meet this year’s finalists:

Bianca Ciubancan is a senior at Northside College Prep in Chicago, and has played violin for 15 years. In 2022, Blanca was a top prizewinner at the Cooper International Violin Competition, where she was awarded the Special Prize for Best Bach. In 2019, she was a top prizewinner at the Kloster Schoental International Violin Competition and won first prize in the International Grumiaux Violin Competition. Blanca has won numerous other awards including second prize at the Musicians Club of Women Competition and has appeared as a soloist internationally. She performed at Carnegie Hall as a winner of the American Protege International Competition and was featured multiple times on NPR’s “From the Top.” Bianca made her solo orchestral debut at age eight with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra and has taken top prizes at many competitions including the DePaul University Concerto Competition, Walgreens National Concerto Competition, YoungArts National Competition and more. Currently, she is concertmaster of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s top level, Symphony Orchestra. In the Marine Band Concerto Competition, Bianca will perform Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28, by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Sage Harrison is a senior at Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta, and has played harp for seven years. In 2023, Sage auditioned and was accepted to participate in the Georgia All-State Orchestra. She is a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program and has been the principal harpist of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra for four years. Sage has participated in many prestigious summer festivals including Interlochen Arts Camp, the American Harp Academy and Sewanee Summer Music Festival. Sage will perform Introduction and Allegro by Maurice Ravel.

Fiona Huang is a sophomore at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., and has played cello for eight years. In 2024, she was a YoungArts Foundation National Arts Competition winner and appeared on NPR’s “From the Top.” Fiona has won first prize in competitions including Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA) State, Burlingame Music Club, and the DVC/HNU Young Artist Competition. She has participated in summer festivals including Chamber Music Northwest Young Artist Institute, Music@Menlo, and Heifetz Institute. Fiona studies with Jonathan Koh at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College and has soloed with the Palo Alto Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Holy Names University Orchestra and the Temple Hill Symphony Orchestra. Fiona will perform the first movement of Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129.

Caden Lin is a sophomore at Venice Senior High School in Los Angeles, and has played piano for 10 years. In 2024, he received first prize in the Colburn Academy Concerto competition. In 2023, Caden was invited to the Hilton Head Junior International Piano Competition in South Carolina and the Aarhus International Piano Competition in Denmark. In 2022, he performed with the Academy Virtuosi Orchestra at the Colburn Fundraising Gala in Zipper Hall.  He was a finalist in NPR’s “From the Top” in 2020 and 2021 for his solo piano and piano duo performances. Caden has received several scholarships, including the Jean-Yves Thibaudet scholarship from Colburn Music Academy, the 2020 Steinway Virtual Piano Competition, and the 2018 Aloha International Piano Competition in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has performed at the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, and Orvis Auditorium at the University of Hawaii. Caden will perform the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op.37.

Sophia Nam is a junior at the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, N.J. She has played the viola for four years and previously studied the violin for seven. In 2024, Sophia will perform with the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall as a part of the Seattle Symphony Young Artist Auditions Program. In 2023, Sophia was the New Jersey Youth Concerto Competition Winner and made her viola solo debut with the Delaware County Symphony. Also in 2023, she won first prize and the Scott Sullivan Prize for best performance of a piece written post-1950 at the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition. Sophia spent her last two summers at the Perlman Music Program in Shelter Island, N.Y., and attended the 2022 winter residency in Sarasota, Fla. Sophia is currently studying at the Juilliard Pre-College with Ms. Sophie Arbuckle. Sophia will perform the first movement, Andante comodo, from William Walton’s Viola Concerto.

Jan Nedvetsky is a homeschooled high school junior from Wilmette, Ill., and has played the cello for 11 years. Jan is a 2023-2024 scholarship recipient at the Academy of Music in Lichtenstein where he participates in masterclasses with Jens Peter Maintz and takes part in the intensive music weeks and activities. In 2024, Jan was a winner of the YoungArts Foundation National Arts Competition. In 2023, he was winner of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. Previously, Jan has participated in the Musica Mundi International Chamber Music Summer Festival, the Meadowmount School of Music and soloed with the Oistrakh and Civic Symphonies. Jan is Merit Scholarship Fellow at the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago where he studies cello performance with Hans Jorgen Jensen. He previously studied with Gilda Barston, Vladimir Perline and Horacio Contreras. Jan will perform Joseph Haydn’s Moderato from Cello Concerto No. 1 in C.

Sophia Shao is a sophomore at the Kaufman Music Center Special Music School in New York, and has been studying piano for 11 years. In 2023, Sophia performed Florence Price’s Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Symphony and was a winner of the 2023 SMS High School Concerto Competition, performing with the Park Avenue Symphony. In 2022, Sophia won first prize in the 2022 Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition and the 2022 KMC Concerto Competition. Sophia has also earned the Absolute Prize and Young Talent Award in the 2021 International Franz Liszt Center Piano Competition, and Grand Prize Winner of the 2019 New York Music Competition. She has also won first prize in 2019 and 2017 at the Cremona International Music Competition, performing with the festival orchestra at the Violin Museum in Cremona, Italy. In 2018, she was a winner of the Steinway & Sons New York Piano Competition. Sophia has studied with Natela Mchedlishvili since enrolling at the Special Music School in kindergarten. Sophia will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat, Op. 10.