From left to right: Gilbert Tsui, Rachel Brake, Alexa LaBaw, Alison Shively, Jane Paknia, Jeremy Page, Alex Zhang
NEW DATE: WEDNESDAY, FEB. 15, 2017 – 7 PM Pequot Library
- FINALIST BIOS:
Rachel Brake, 16, has studied horn with Sue Spaulding since age 8. As a soloist, she’s grateful to have been selected numerous times to perform in the Hartt School of Music’s Honors Wind recital. Her ensemble experiences include All State, Western Regional and Greater Bridgeport Youth orchestras, CMC’s Amici camp and the Fairfield Wind Quintet. She has attended the Csehy Summer School of Music and was pleased to accept an invitation to participate in their 2017 Chamber Music Fest. Rachel’s other interests include piano studies with Shari Weisz since age 5 and hiking Adirondack Fire Towers with her dad. She attends Christian Heritage School in Trumbull and is interested in pursuing a career in music education.
Alexa LaBaw has been passionate about music from a young age. She started playing the saxophone in fourth grade and transitioned over to the bassoon in eighth grade. Now a senior at Shelton High School and the Educational Center for the Arts, Alexa takes music theory, history, and composition courses. Additionally, Alexa studies bassoon with Sue Cross at Neighborhood Music School. Outside of school, she plays in various orchestral and chamber ensembles throughout Connecticut. Alexa has participated in the CT Allstate Festival since her freshman year and went to the 2014 National Festival, where she performed at the Grand Ole Opry. This year Alexa and a few friends started Songs for Seniors, a community service organization, to play for senior citizens in nursing homes. In her free time, Alexa enjoys scuba diving, traveling, and running.
Jane Paknia, a junior at Weston High School, began piano lessons as a 5-year old, and eventually began trumpet when she was in 5th grade. She has participated in Western Regionals every year since 8th grade, and in 10th grade chose to be in Western Regionals Jazz. She is a part of GBYO’s principal orchestra, GBYO Jazz Ensemble, her school jazz and wind ensemble, as well as a club that she started in Weston called “Share the Music,” which takes musicians around in order to play for different groups of people–last year, they had many performances including Circle of Friends and other public events in their town. Jane also teaches piano and trumpet, something she is very fond of doing.
Jeremy Page is 16 years old and studies both violin and viola with Asya Meshberg. He started playing violin at age 4 and only recently began playing viola at age 14. He is a junior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. He plays viola in quartets and quintets with Asya Meshberg, and also in the GBYO Principal Orchestra. He has participated in the Skidmore Chamber music festival and his quartet has been featured on WTNH news. He has participated as a violist in the Western Regional and All State orchestras and is a member of Tri-M Music Honors Society. He plays violin in the Fairfield Ludlowe Chamber and Symphonic Orchestras.
Alison Shively is 14 years old and is a freshman at Trumbull High School. This is Alison’s 6th year with GBYO. She currently studies violin with Professor Kyung Yu in New Haven. Other than lessons and orchestra, Alison plays in a string quartet coached by Asya Meshberg as well as a choreographed string group in Westport called Vivace where they focus on non-classical repertoire. Alison has won many awards and accolades on the violin including Norwalk Symphony Young Musician’s Festival senior award and finalist at the Danbury and Norwalk Symphony concerto competitions. Alison has also participated in master classes and coachings with renowned musicians such as Ben Beilman, David Lisker, Luosha Fang, Eunice Kim, Sybarite 5, The Horszowski Piano Trio, Time for Three, as well as the Harlem, Amphion, Enso and Borromeo string quartets. The highlight of her year is summer music camp at the idyllic Kinhaven Music School in Vermont where chamber music is the focus. Alison hopes to go into the medical field.
Gilbert Tsui, 17, a senior at Weston High School, has been studying with Steinway artist Yoshie Akimoto. Gilbert recently won the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic Concerto Competition in November 2016. He also won the Hamden Symphony Orchestra Young Musicians Concerto Competition in January 2016 and the 2015 American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition and performed with the orchestras. Gilbert has won numerous solo prizes including the 2016 Renée Fisher Competition, the 2015 CSMTA Hartford Chapter Audrey Thayer Piano Competition, and The Schubert Club French Impressionist, Bach, and Chopin Awards programs. He was the winner in the 2014 American Protégé Piano and Strings Competition and the 2013 Golden Era of Romantic Music Competition and performed at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. Gilbert also won the 2013 Renée Fisher Competition’s best performance of commission work. Gilbert participated in the 2012 and 2013 Foulger International Music Festival where he performed solo and chamber music at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center and at Enlow Hall at Kean University, New Jersey. Gilbert plays the violin and has been a member of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra since 2009. He participated in the CMEA Western Region Music High School Festival and the Fairfield County String Festival Honor Orchestra. He studies violin with Jennifer Trahan.
Alex Zhang, a sophomore at Hopkins School, is 15-years-old and has been studying violin with Mr. Shan Jiang for 7 years. Alex has developed a strong passion for music and enjoys participating in the musical society around him, especially in chamber orchestra as he finds it incredibly enjoyable. As a musician, Alex gained a distinguishable seat in the CT All-States orchestra as a freshmen and has performed at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan, New York, twice now: once as a soloist honorable mention winner of the 2014 American Protégé competition and once as the concert master of the New England Youth Symphony. At Hopkins, Alex plays for the varsity squash and tennis teams and strives to continue playing tennis in college.