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2020 Concerto Competition Results
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Umika Kuroda, age 10, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She moved to Mandeville when she was two years old, and began playing the violin when she was six. When Umika was eight years old, she joined GNOYO. During that year (2011) she won the GNOYO concerto competition for the Sinfonia division.She moved up to the Philharmonia Orchestra last fall.
Umika is a fifth grader at Tchefuncte Middle School, and goes to regular Japanese school every summer for a month. She speaks both Japanese and English. Her bother,a college student, also played the violin in GNOYO in the Symphony Orchestra.
Sarah Buckley, age 10, has studied the violin under the tutelage of Ms. Janeta Mavrova since 2008. A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Sarah is currently in the 4th Grade at Ursuline Academy, where she has attended since 2006. Sarah has participated in GNOYO since the 2009-2010 season, belonging to the GNOYO Young Artist Academy from 2009 through 2011, and has participated in the GNOYO Summer Festival since 2010. Sarah has also played for the Ursuline Academy Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Kent Jensen, since 2010, and has accompanied them on both of their gold medal performances at the Big Apple Classic Music Festival in New York in 2011 and 2012. In addition to violin, Sarah has studied piano with Ms. Irina Vychko since 2011, is interested in learning other instruments, and aspires someday to attend The Julliard School. Sarah’s other pursuits include soccer,swimming and softball.
Kunrui Peng, a junior at Ben Franklin High School, has been playing oboe with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras for four years. He began piano studies at the age of five and oboe studies at the age of eleven. He currently studies oboe under LPO oboist Jane Gabka and Piano under Tulane professor Joan Jensen. Each summer, he attends the New Orleans Piano Institute, an intensive weeklong solo performance program for intermediate and advanced pianists. He has participated in masterclasses with Igor Resnianski, Constance Caroll, Peter Mack, and Faina Lushtak. In addition to creating music, he also enjoys doing and teaching math, studying physics and chemistry,and playing Ultimate Frisbee.
Sam Shreves, winner of this year’s GNOYO concerto competition, began his classical music career in 2006 when he joined GNOYO as a percussionist. He later moved to the GNOYO bass section,and in 2009, Sam became GNOYO’s principle bassist. In 2010 and 2011,Sam attended the Sewanee Summer Music Festival at the University of the South, and in 2012 he attended the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute in Washington, D.C. as the only musician selected from the State of Louisiana. Sam is also the principle bassist for the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra. Sam will be graduating from Metairie Park Country Day on June 1st, where he will received many honors and awards and served as a mentor to the younger musicians. After once again joining the National Symphony Orchestra for the Month of July, Sam will be attending the Peabody Music Conservatory of The John Hopkins University of Baltimore, Maryland. Sam wishes to thank his many music mentors over the years including Svetlana Lonadier (piano instructor), David Anderson (bass instructor and principle bassist with the LPO) Rachelen Jones Lein (piano instructor), Dr. Jean Montes (GNOYO Maestro), Sid King (bass instructor at Sewanne) and Ira Gold ( bass instructor at the National Symphony Orchestra).
Kaitlyn Baek,is 11 years old and she is in 6th grade at Tchefuncte Middle School. She started playing the cello when she was 6 years old and is currently studying with Mrs. Lauren Miller. Kaitlyn loves tennis, shopping,and trying new things. But mostly, she loves traveling. The next destination she wants to visit is Manhu Picchu. She plans to become a veterinarian in the future.
Grace Collins, is an eighth grade homeschool student. She began playing violin at the age of four. She is in her third year at NOCCA’s Classical Instrumental Preparatory Program and will be attending NOCCA as an academic student for high school in the fall. Grace credits her teachers for instilling in her a love for classical music. She hopes to one day graduate with a degree in music pedagogy and teach little children to play violin.