Winners of the 2021 Concerto Competition

Concerto Competition winners Karen Ji and Allison Siekmann

Each spring, CWRU undergraduate music majors compete in recital format for an opportunity to perform as a featured soloist with either the Case/University Circle Symphony Orchestra or the CWRU Symphonic Winds during the following academic year. The Department of Music is proud to offer this competition for our student musicians to gain performance experience and as an opportunity to recognize their incredible talents!

Despite the rather unusual circumstances we faced moving to remote delivery during COVID-19 protocol, all of our applicants displayed professionalism and musicianship. The 2021 Concerto Competition was held remotely with video submissions evaluated by a panel of faculty members, including Mr. Eric Charnofsky, Mr. David Ellis, Dr. Kathleen Horvath, and Dr. Ryan Scherber. A special thank you goes out to our staff accompanists, Alicja Basinska and Anne Wilson. 

Karen Ji, piano 
Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, by J.S. Bach
(Sean Schulze)
Karen Ji headshot

Karen Ji is a fourth-year music and computer science major at Case Western Reserve University studying piano with Sean Schulze (CIM). She has played the piano for 14 years and earned multiple first and overall prizes in solo and concerto competitions during her previous studies at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA. As an overall winner, she performed four times as a featured soloist, three with the Plymouth Philharmonic under the baton of maestro Steven Karidoyanes and the fourth at South Shore Conservatory’s Evenings Under the Stars concert series which featured Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin under maestro Nicholas Palmer. Karen was also a second prize winner of the 2012 and 2016 Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition. She most recently won the Joan Terr Ronis Memorial Recital Prize in 2019 by demonstrating exceptional musicianship in her spring jury audition. Karen is currently on the Dean’s Honors List and is the treasurer for the Music Undergraduate Student Involvement Committee. 

Allison Siekmann, violin 
Violin Concerto No. 3, by Camille Saint-Saëns
(Stephen Sims)
Photo of Allison Siekmann

Allison Siekmann is a fourth-year music education major at Case Western Reserve University studying violin with Stephen Sims (CIM). As a performer, Allison currently serves as concertmaster of the Case/University Circle Symphony Orchestra, plays in CWRU’s String & Piano Chamber Music program, and won the Joan Terr Ronis Memorial Recital Prize in 2020 by demonstrating exceptional musicianship in her spring jury audition. She previously played in the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra Philharmonic. Beyond performing, Allison has been awarded the Winifred Collins Scholarship for music education by Tuesday Musical, received her Unit 1 Suzuki Certification, teaches private violin and cello lessons, and is an active member of OCMEA and Mu Phi Epsilon.

Thank you to all of our performers:

Dana D'Orlando, oboe
Oboe Concerto in One Movement, by Eugene Goossens
(Cynthia Watson)

Lifan Deng, voice
Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, text by Paul Morand and music by Joseph Maurice Ravel
(Denise Milner-Howell)

Hollen Fishel, piano 
Concerto No. 5 in F minor, by J.S. Bach
(Sean Schulze)

Will Friedland, horn 
Concerto fo Horn, by Othmar Schoeck
(Meghan Guegold)

Sophie Kushman, violin 
Otoño Porteño and Invierno Porteño, from Astor Piazzolla's "Las cuatro Estaciones Porteñas"
(Stephen Sims)

Liyuan Peng, flute 
Flute Concerto in D Major, by Carl Reinecke
(Heidi Ruby-Kushious)

Andrew Smeader, violin 
Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, by Astor Piazzolla
III. Primavera porteña - Spring
IV. Verano porteño - Summer
(Stephen Sims)

Harue Suzuki, flute 
Flute Concerto, by Jacques Ibert
(Heidi Ruby-Kushious)

Venice Villescas, flute 
Tango Etude No. 5, by Astor Piazzolla, Image for Flute, by Eugène Bozza, Ballade Op. 288, by Carl Reinecke
(Heidi Ruby-Kushious)

Daniel Warner, clarinet 
Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, by Aaron Copland
(Daniel Gilbert)

Past winners:

  • 2020 | Samuel Chaffee (piano), Alexander Lenhar (trumpet), Nicholas Strawn and Rachel Beller (percussion)
  • 2019 | Brian Liu (piano), Jon O’Brien (saxophone), Tim Orlando (violin), Nick Pogharian (trombone)
  • 2018 | Julie Kim (violin), Bianca Pierson (saxophone), Devin Reddy (horn)
  • 2017 | Kieran Aulak (marimba), Tyler McMaken (piano), Jason Linn (trombone), Zoe Ruolin Yang (violin), Timothy Nicholas (violin)
  • 2016 | David Hsiao (violin), Christina Liu (violin), Rebecca Pfieffer (trumpet), Vincenzo Volpe (flute), Ann Wang (piano)
  • 2015 | Ailin Yu (piano), Meigen Yu (piano), Robin Jo (violin)