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The 2007 Semi-finalists
Kinga Augustyn
Ray Chen
Jinjoo Cho
Nikki Chooi
Noah Geller
Can Gao
Celeste Golden
Liana Gourdjia
Stefan Hempel
Bella Hristova      
Ji Won Kim
Amy Lee

Eugene Nakamura 
Stass Pronin
Daniela Shtereva  

Elena Urioste
Yuuki Wong


Sulki Yu
1. Yoonshin Song - Korea
2. Hye-Jin Kim - Korea

Kinga Augustyn - Poland

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Currently enrolled in the Master of Music program at the Juilliard School, where she is working with Cho Liang Lin and Naoko Tanaka, Kinga Augustyn has already released her debut CD of the Paganini 24 Caprices for Violin Solo. She has appeared as a recitalist and as a soloist with orchestras in Poland and America.

Kinga has won international awards, including second prize in the Kosciuszko Foundation Wieniawski Violin competition,the special prize for virtuosity at Germany’s Kloster Schoental International Competition, the special audience award at the Johannes Brahms International Competition in Austria, and first prize in the J. S. Bach String Competition in Zielona Gora in Poland.  She has also won Artist International Presentations and will give her debut Weill Hall recital next year.

Participating in master classes and summer festivals, Kinga has worked with Roland Baldini, Klaus Hertel, Krzyszof Jakowicz, Jadwiga Kaliszewska, Miroslaw Lawrynowicz, Kryzsztof Rolfgang Marschner, Robert McDuffie, Christian Tetzlaff, and has collaborated with renowned artists such as Andrzej Kulka, Marek Pijarowski, and Stanislaw Rybarczyk. Her previous teachers include the legendary Dorothy DeLay, as well as piotre Milewski, Petru Munteanu and Kurt Sassmannshaus to whom she served as a teaching assistant.

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Ray Chen - Australia
Born in 1989, Ray Chen began violin studies at the age of 4, and within 5 years he successfully completed all 10 levels set by the Suzuki Music Education in Queensland, Australia. Aged 8, he was invited to play solo with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the year 2002, aged 13, he won first prize in the Australian Youth Concerto Competition, and in the following year was awarded the Australian Music Examinations Board’s Sydney May Memorial Scholarship for being the youngest and most talented musician. Ray won third prize in the Junior Section of the 2004 International Yehudi Menuhin Competition and First prize in the 2005 Australia National Kendall Violin Competition.

Ray has given many public performances throughout Australia and has taken many master classes with notable artists including Midori, Cho-Liang Lin, Maxim Vengerov, Antje Weithaas, and Rudolf Koelman.

In the summer of 2006, Ray attended Encore School for Strings, studying under David Cerone. He currently studies violin with Aaron Rosand at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

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Jinjoo Cho - Korea
Jinjoo Cho, violin, is the First Grand Prize winner of the 2006 Montreal International Musical Competition and the gold medalist of the 2005 Stulberg International String Competition. She has appeared as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Symphony, the Aspen Concert Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with Robert McDuffie, Michael Stern, Peter Oundjian, James Gaffigan, Muhai Tang, Anton Nel and Steven Smith. Ms. Cho has appeared on a national radio broadcast of From the Top, in a program later designated best of the year.

Jinjoo, a dedicated orchestral and chamber musician, was a member of the Wo-Men String Quartet. The group coached with Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, Arnold Steinhardt and the Cavani, Pacifica and Takacs String Quartets.

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Jinjoo began violin at age five and attended the Yewon Art School. She has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2001 and been a member of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 2002, both as a student of Paul Kantor. She is currently a student of Paul Kantor, Joseph Silverstein, and Pamela Frank.

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Nikki Chooi - Canada
Nikki Chooi, born in 1989 in Victoria, Canada, started playing the violin when he was 4; his previous teachers include Burkard Godhoff, Trudi Conrad, Esther Tsang and Sydney Humphreys. He is currently studying with William Van der Sloot at the Academy of Gifted Youth at Mount Royal College in Calgary.

His most recent success includes winning the award for "Best Canadian" at the Quadrennial Montreal International Musical Competition in May 2006. He was also the youngest semi-finalist at the first China International Violin Competition 2005. In 2006, he won 3rd place at the Concertino Prague Chamber music competitions collaborating with pianist Avan Yu.

Other major accomplishment include: winner of CBC Pacific Spotlight 2005 award, winner of the 2005 Roberto & Mary Wood scholarship, studying with maestro Pinchas Zukerman at the National Young Artist Programme on full scholarship, and first prize winner of the Montreal Symphony Standard Life strings competition.
Nikki has appeared as soloist with the Montreal, Victoria, Calgary and Winnipeg Symphonies. 

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Noah Geller - America
Noah Geller has won numerous competitions including the top prizes in the 2006 Corpus Christi International String Competition, the Skokie Valley Symphony Symphony Young Artists’ Competition and Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neile-Silva Young Artists’ Competition in Madison, Wisconsin. Previously, Noah won competitions at the Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara) and the Chicago Youth Symphony.

An avid participant in summer music festivals, Noah has attended the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, the Taos School of Music in New Mexico, and the Tanglewood Music Centre. As an orchestral musician, he has served in concertmaster and principal positions for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Chicago Youth Symphony, and the Tanglewood Music Centre Orchestra.

A previous student of Hyo Kang, Noah is currently in his first year as a Master of Music degree candidate at the Juilliard School where he studies with Donald Weilerstein and Cho-Liang Lin.

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Gao Can - China
Gao Can was born in Chongqing in 1981 and started learning the violin at the age of four. He attended the Primary and Secondary Departments of the Central Conservatory of Music studying violin and composition and later attained his Bachelors Degree. He has studied with Professors Yang Defeng, Huang Xiaoshao, Yaoji Lin, Luo Xinmin, Dr Hao Wei-Yaj, and has attended master classes by Poulet Gerard, Pauk Gyorgy, Layfield Malcolm, John Jong-Wolfgang, Pinchas Zukerman and Masner.

Gao was awarded the “outstanding award” at the International Wieniawski Youth Violin Competition in 1997 and the First Prize in Youth Division of the China 8th National Violin Competition. He has concertised all over China as a recitalist and a soloist with orchestra and has performed for embassies, Consul-generals, and foreign ambassadors.

Gao Can’s violin playing can be heard in the French movie The Little Chinese Seamstress which won the Best Music Award in the Canadian Film Festival.

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Celeste Golden - America
Celeste Golden, Bronze Medalist in the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, began her musical studies at the age of three in Dallas with Arkady Fomin. At 15 she was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music where she was a student of Jamie Laredo and Ida Kavafian. Presently she studies with Paul Kantor and David Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Celeste made her orchestral debut at age 11, and has since performed with orchestras around the world including the Latvian Chamber Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, The Amadeus Chamber Players in Hannover, Germany, The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia in Brussels, Belgium, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and others.

In addition to her most recent prize in Indianapolis, Celeste has won first place in the solo competition, concerto competition, and Grant Prize of the Kingsville International Young Performers Competition, and third prize at the Irving Klein Competition. She has also won third prize in the Ima Hogg International Music Competition in Houston, Texas, and was a semi-finalist of the Queen Elisabeth Competition.

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Liana Gourdjia - Russia
Liana is the first Prize Winner of the 2006 International Violin Competition Sion-Valais held in Switzerland under the presidency of Maestro Shlomo Mintz. She was also first Prize Winner of the Society of American Musicians, the Hudson Valley Strings and the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competitions. She took second Prize at the Corpus Christi International String Competition and was awarded the Special Prize for the Best Chamber Music Performance at the California Young Artist Competition. She was a finalist in the Tchaikovsky Young Artist (Japan) and took fifth place at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition 2005.

Liana has appeared as soloist with the Lithuanian National Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Ashville Symphony, the Cleveland Institute of Music and Cleveland Chamber Orchestras. She participated at the Encore School for Strings as assistant to David Cerone, the New York Strings Seminar, and the International Music Academy Switzerland with Seiji Ozawa where she worked with Robert Man, Pamela Frank, Nobuko Imai, and Sadao Harada.

Liana was born in Moscow in 1982 into a family of musicians. At the age of seven she was featured on Russian television as a rising talent and made her debut in solo recital at thirteen in the Great Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory. She has played for Pope John Paul II and appeared as a soloist at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Having studied at the famous Moscow Central School and later at the Cleveland Institute of Music with David and Linda Cerone, she now will continue her studies at Indiana University with Jamie Laredo.

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Stefan Hempel - Germany
Stefan Hempel was born in Leipzig in 1980. His first violin instructions were at age four at the music conservatory J.S.Bach Leipzig. He studied at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin with Prof. Michael Vogler and continued his studies as a postgraduate in the class of Prof. Stephan Picard. He attended master classes with Kolja Blacher, Walter Levin, Werner Scholz, and Kolja Lessing.

Stefan is the first prize winner of the Ibolyka-Gyarfas-Foundation (Berlin) and won second prize at the Deutscher Hochschulwettbewerb 2004 Frankfurt am Main, the International Joseph Joachim Competition Weimar 2005 and International Königin Sophie-Charlotte Competition, won the “Boris-Pergamenschikow Prize for Chamber Music” in 2005, and third prize at the International Max Rostal Competition in 2006.

A passionate chamber musician, Stefan has played recitals as the Primarius of the Chagall String Quartet. He has performed with Guy Braunstein, Tanja Tetzlaff, and Hariolf Schlichtig. Stefan is a member of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation “Life music now”, and plays a violin made by Nicolaus Gagliano, Naples 1734.

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Bella Hristova - Bulgaria
Bella Hristova was born to musical parents in Pleven Bulgaria in 1985. Her early studies in Sofia were with Joseph Radionov with master classes with Ruggiero Ricci at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 1999, at age 13, she moved to the United States to study with Stephen Shipps at the Meadowmount School of Music in New York State. She now studies violin with Ida Kavafian and chamber music with Steve Tenenbom at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Having a great interest in chamber music, she has played with artists such as Gary Graffman, Ida Kavafian, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, Paul Watkins and Peter Wiley.

Bella has appeared as soloist with the Ann Arbor, Illinois, Indianapolis, Redding (California), Olympia (Washington), Wyoming and Ashland (Ohio) Symphony Orchestras. She has made several appearances on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion performing live for radio audiences of over four million. In 2006 she was featured in the May issue of O (The Oprah Magazine).

Having won the First Prize, Grand Prize, European Union Prize and Barenreiter Prize at the International Kocian competition, Bella became a Laureate at the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

Bella plays a 1655 Amati, once owned by the famous violinist Louis Krashner, on permanent loan.

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Ji-Won Kim - Korea
Born in Korea in 1985, Ji-Won’s musical training has taken place in Korea, Australia, and Austria. She has attended professional courses in Slovania (Arkadi Winokurov), Tokyo (Sergey Kravchenko), Portugal (Zakhar Bron), Switzerland (Tibor Varga, Viktor Pikayzen), USA (Aaron Rosand), and Salzburg (Michael Frischenschlager).

Internationally Ji-Won has won first prize in the International Johannes Brahms Competition 2005, second prize in the Lisbon-SIC International Music Competition 2004, and second prize in the Slovenia Bled International Competition 2002.  She also has given numerous solo recitals and concerts with orchestras.

Currently she is studying towards her masters degree with Prof. Nelli Shkolnikova at the Melbourne University.

Ji-Won Kim plays a Lorenzo Storioni 1780.

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Amy Lee - America
Amy Lee was born in Seoul, Korea. She began her violin studies at the age of ten and made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of fifteen. Since then, Ms. Lee has appeared with the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, the Kennett Symphony Orchestra, the Lower Merion Symphony, again with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2000, and, most recently, with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra on their tour in Japan last spring playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Ms. Lee has won the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition, Philadelphia Orchestra's Mann Music Guild Competition, Temple University Concerto Competition, and Kennett Symphony Orchestra Competition.

Ms. Lee is presently a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studies with Ida Kavafian. In addition to the violin, she also plays the viola.

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Eugene Nakamura- Canada

Canadian violinist Eugene Nakamura, 21, is in his fourth year of undergraduate study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK under the tutelage of Wen Zhou Li, having previously studied with Vladimir Landsman in Montreal. Eugene began playing the violin when he was four years old and made his first solo debut with orchestra at the age of nine.

Eugene has succeeded in competitions both nationally and internationally starting at an early age. He won the grand prize at the Canadian Music Competitions at the age of 10, and again the following year. He won first prize at the 62nd OSM Competition in Montreal in 2001 along with the prize for the best interpretation of a Canadian work and the prize voted for by the public.

Eugene is also an active chamber musician. His former piano trio (named Trio Moka) performed two recital programm in Guatemala in the summer of 2001 and was heard on CBC Radio in the “Up and Coming” radio series in the summer of 2002. Later that year, Eugene was awarded the Orford String Quartet Scholarship from the Ontario Arts Council Foundation, an award given to a single Canadian musician each year.

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Stanislav (Stass) Pronin - Russia

Daniela Shtereva- Bulgaria

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Daniela Shtereva is the 1st prizewinner of the Lynn National Violin Competition 2007, and the Washington International String Competition 2006.  Most recently Daniela also won first place at the Society of American Musicians Auditions in Chicago, March 2007.  Last November she appeared at the Kennedy Center playing Wieniawski Concerto No. 2 and in October in Pittsburgh.  Her upcoming engagements include six recitals at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival this coming July; two concerts with the Tchaikowski Concerto and the Lynn Orchestra in February 2008, as well as with the Redlands Symphony in March 2008, and with Joseph Silverstein conducting the Portland Symphony.

Daniela holds a Bachelors Degree from the national Conservatory of Music in Sofia Bulgaria, a Masters in Music from Louisiana State University, and an Artist Diploma from Carnegie Mellon University.  Among her main teachers are Evgenia-Maria Popova, Yosif Radionov, Kevork Mardirossian, and Cyrus Forough, themselves pupils of legendary Leonid Kogan, Yfrah Neamann, and David Oistrakh.

Daniela was also a semi-finalist of the Sibelius Competition in 2005, and the Indianapolis in 2006.  She has five compact discs released for Music Minus One.

Currently, Daniela performs on a Vuillaume violin and a Vigneron bow generously on loan from her teacher – Cyrus Forough.

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Elena Urioste - America
Elena Urioste began her violin studies in Philadelphia and made her debut as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age thirteen as winner of the Albert M. Greenfield Competition. In the six years since then, she has appeared as soloist with major orchestras throughout the United States including the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Pops, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony and Hartford Symphony.

Elena has appeared twice on national broadcasts of the popular public radio program From the Top, as well as on the Spanish language television network, Telemundo. She is featured in the Emmy award winning documentary Breaking the Sound Barrier. In addition to the Philadelphia Orchestra Competition, she has won the national Sphinx Competition (Junior Division), the Kennett Symphony Concerto Competition, and the Temple University Music Prep Concerto Competition.

Elena is a student of Joseph Silverstein and Ida Kavafian at The Curtis Institute of Music. Other notable teachers include David Cerone, Paul Kantor, Sylvia Rosenberg, Choong-Jin Chang, Soovin Kim, and the late Rafael Druian.

Elena plays a Michelangelo Bergonzi, Cremona, circa 1750, on extended loan through the generous efforts of Society for Strings, Inc., Meadowmount School of Music, from the private collection of Dr. Charles E. King.

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Yuuki Wong - Dominica

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Yuuki Wong was born of mixed Japanese and Chinese parentage, and just three years after starting the violin, was admitted to the Yehudi Menuhin School in England where he studied with Rosemary Furniss and Natasha Boyarsky. At fifteen, he was admitted to the Oberlin Conservatory in USA to begin his Bachelors Degree. Since 2000, Yuuki has been studying at the Konservatorium Wien under Prof. Boris Kuschnir, and has participated in master classes with Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Tibor Varga, Viktor Tretyakov, Zvi Zeitlin, Mauricio Fuks, Pierre Amoyal, Pamela Frank, and Gabor Takacs-Nagy, to mention a few.

Honours bestowed upon Yuuki include a Special Prize and Finals 4th Place at the 2004 Jean Sibelius International Violin Competition, the 3rd Prize at the Abbado International Violin Competition in 2004, and the Grand Prix at the Kingsville International Competition in 2000 where he also swept the first Prize Senior Strings and Best Violinist Prize.

Yuuki’s performing experience includes extensive recital and concerto appearances in the USA, UK, Scandinavia, Europe, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Other highlights include performances for the President of Singapore, and at prestigious venues such as the Armani Teatro in Milan, MusikvereinGroβesaal and Konzerthaus in Vienna, Finlandia Hall in Helsinki and Buckingham Palace in London.

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Sulki Yu - Korea

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Sulki Yu was born in 1985 and began to play the violin at the age of five. She studied at the Conservatoire de Lausanne in Switzerland, Seoul Yewon & Yego School of music, and then the Purcell School. In 2003, Sulki received a full scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Professor David Takeno.

Laureate of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin competition(2006), Sulki has played in USA, in Europe, in Asia, in prestigious venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, UNESCO Centre in Paris, Kumho Art Hall's Prodigy's Concert, and the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie in New York.

Sulki has appeared with a number of Orchestras, including the Seoul Grand Symphony Orchestra (Korea), Orchestre Nationale de Lille (France), Yalta Symphony Orchestra (Ukraine), and Stuttgart Youth Orchestra (England).

She has taken part in Master classes given by Ivry Gitlis, Lewis Kaplan, and Miriam Fried. Sulki recently appeared in a Duo Concert with violinist Dong-Suk Kang in Tn~ihmr1

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1. Yoonshin Song - Korea

Yoonshin Song, a 24-year old violinist, was recently awarded Second Prize in the 25th Lipizer Internaitonal Violin Competition in Italy 2006. At the same time, she was recognised with the Special Prize for the best performance of Paganini Caprice. Her other international awards include the 2001 Henry Marteau International Violin Competition in Germany and Second Prize at the 2003 Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poland.

Born in Seoul, Yoonshin began playing the violin at age 5, and as a young artist, she performed numerous recital programs throughout the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea. Her debut recital was given by winning the Jeunesses Musicales Audition in 1999.

After graduating from the Seoul National University where she studied with in Min Kim and Young Uck Kim, she moved to the US and is currently studying with Donald Weilerstein at The New England Conservatory.

Yoonshin plays on an Amati 1800 courtesy of the Colburn Collection’s complimentary loaning program.

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2. Hye-Jin Kim - Korea

Hye-Jin Kim has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestras. Since her recital debut at the age of 10, Hye-Jin has appeared as a soloist with the Seoul City Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Hannover Chamber Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Winner of numerous awards and honours, she was named First Prize Winner of the Yehudi Menuhin Young Violin International Competition and the Philadelphia Orchestra Competition.
Hye-Jin recently graduated from The Curtis Institute of Music, which she entered in 2000 at the age of 14, and has studied with renowned violinists Jaime Laredo and Ida Kavafian. She is continuing her study with Miriam Fried at the New England Conservatory pursuing a Master of Music.

Hye-Jin plays on a D Montagnana loaned to her by the Kumho Cultural Foundation.

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