Winners Concert – Sunday, November 12, 2023 at 4:30pm ET
Gilder Lehrman Hall, The Morgan Library & Museum
New York, NY (November 11, 2023) — Young Concert Artists (YCA) announces the winners of the 2023 Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, joining an illustrious roster of musicians as YCA Jacobs Fellows.
Chosen by an esteemed jury following 12 finalist performances at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center, the 2023 YCA Jacobs Fellows are:
James Baik, cello
Oliver Neubauer, violin
Benett Tsai, cello
Michael Yeung, percussion
Ziggy & Miles, guitar duo
President of YCA Daniel Kellogg says, “The annual Susan Wadsworth International Auditions are the heart and soul of YCA, marking the moment when we first meet our young artists and begin our work together. We had a remarkably strong group of finalists this year and heard some exceptional performances. We are thrilled to welcome these magnificent artists to our roster as the inaugural YCA Jacobs Fellows, and we look forward to introducing them to the YCA community tomorrow at the Winners Concert.”
Hailing from around the world and selected from more than 150 applicants, these six young musicians participated in a rigorous audition process and were assessed by an esteemed jury for their artistic excellence, technical mastery, stage presence, and performance potential. In a finals concert streamed live this morning at 10:00am ET, the musicians performed for a jury of distinguished musicians and industry professionals, including Daniel Kellogg, composer & jury chair*; Susan Wadsworth, YCA founder; David Starobin, producer/guitar; Anne-Marie McDermott, piano*; Michael Parloff, flute; Soovin Kim, violin; Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor/violin; Tai Murray, violin; Clive Greensmith, cello; Lise de la Salle, piano*; Hanako Yamaguchi, independent producer and arts consultant; and Deborah Borda, Executive Advisor to the President and Board of Directors, New York Philharmonic.
The YCA Jacobs Fellowship is a three-year program that takes artists to new levels of confidence and creative growth, offering a holistic combination of digital tools, training, mentorship, community engagement, project development, and performance opportunities. The program teaches artists how to develop their own unique musical and artistic voice, encouraging them to expand their personal boundaries so they can continue to move the artform forward into the future.
Artists are added to a stellar roster with the promise of debuts in both New York City and Washington, DC, followed by at least three years of career management. Winners of the annual YCA Susan Wadsworth International Auditions and bi-annual Composer-in-Residence Search receive performance opportunities, promotional marketing services, travel arrangements, educational residency experience, and extensive professional development. YCA invests in their careers so they may spend a lifetime bringing the gift of music to audiences around the world. Throughout their tenure, emerging artists benefit from YCA’s connections with the industry’s managers, concert presenters, conductors of major orchestras, and financial supporters, as well as its long-standing reputation for discovering and furthering the careers of extraordinary young artists.
Young Concert Artists also extends warmest thanks to the jury members who served on the preliminary round of auditions: Robert Belinic, guitar; Michael Brown, piano; Colin Carr, cello; Karen Dreyfus, viola; Alan Feinberg, piano; Lois Hicks-Wozniak, saxophone; Matt Howard, percussion; Paul Huang, violin; Ida Kavafian, violin; Daniel Lippel, guitar; Karen Lindquist, harp; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Daniel Panner, viola; Ory Shihor, piano; Alex Sopp, flute; Naoko Takada, marimba; and Golda Tatz, piano.
2023 Susan Wadsworth International Auditions
Winners Concert: Sunday, November 12 at 4:30pm ET
Gilder Lehrman Hall, The Morgan Library & Museum | NYC
Streamed live on The Violin Channel, and the YCA YouTube and Facebook channels
Presented in partnership with the Morgan Library & Museum.
Generously sponsored by Ellen Marcus.
ABOUT THE 2023 YCA JACOBS FELLOWS
About James Baik, cello
Cellist James Baik has been described as “an undeniable authority,” and possess “a real warmth emerging in lyricism… and displays mixture of sonic mastery and interiority,” by Belgian newspaper Le Soir, after his astounding performance at the 2021 Queen Elisabeth competition. Recently, James was a finalist at the 2019 Stulberg International String Competition and would go on to receive the first prize at the prestigious Irving M. Klein International Competition. He made his debut solo appearance in 2015 with the Houston Civic Symphony Orchestra and the Clear Lake Symphony in Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1. In 2018, James won the DePaul Concerto Competition, reached the finals at the Johansen International Competition in Washington D.C and Baik rounded the year by being named a YoungArts finalist, participated at YoungArts Week in Miami and awarded the grand prize at the Walgreens National Competition, resulting in a performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto with conductor Dr. Allen Dennis at Northwestern University.
Highlights from recent and upcoming performances include the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Colburn Orchestra, under the baton of Sir Andrew Davies at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major with the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie with conductor Vahan Mardirossian, a performance of Brahms’ Double Concerto alongside violinist Gabrielle Després and the Peninsula Symphony under the baton of Mitchell Sardou Klein, and chamber music performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Music in the Vineyards Festival in Napa Valley, and Nevada Chamber Music Festival, where he is an invited guest artist. In 2021, James, alongside his colleagues’ violinist Ray Ushikubo and pianist HyeJin Kim, performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Pasadena Symphony under the baton of David Lockington, where he also performed a new work for two celli with the conductor as composer and cellist.
Raised in Houston, Texas, James’ early education included tutelage from Houston Symphony Associate Principal Christopher French and with esteemed pedagogue Hans Jørgen Jensen in Chicago. James is currently a Bachelor of Music candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music where he studies with Clive Greensmith. The instrument being used by Baik is a cello made by J.B Vuillaume and is on generous loan from the Ravinia Institute of Music.
About Ziggy & Miles, guitar duo
“Australian guitarist brothers making history” (The Age), Ziggy and Miles are two of their home country’s finest young musicians forging an international career. Their performances are known for their “deeply considered musicianship, immaculate care and superlative technique” (5MBS). With over 50 awards between them, Ziggy and Miles proved their artistry as soloists and a duo from a young age. A selection of their major accolades includes prizes in the at competitions at the Guitar Foundation of America, Adelaide Guitar Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre, and finalists in the Concert Artists Guild Competition.
Currently based between NYC and Melbourne, Australia, the brothers maintain an active concert schedule across Australia, the US, and New Zealand. In addition to performing works from the standard classical and guitar duo canon, they have a focus on commissioning and premiering underplayed works by current composers. Ziggy and Miles are Artist diploma candidates at The Juilliard School under Multiple Grammy Winner, Sharon Isbin, where they are the first Australians and first guitar duo in the program’s 20-year history to be accepted.
Ziggy and Miles play guitars by Australian luthier Jim Redgate with Savarez strings.
About Michael Yeung, percussion
Michael Yeung is a unique percussion artist equally comfortable as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral performer, and his career has taken him across the United States, Europe, and Asia. His solo recitals include a wide repertoire of music from the Baroque to the 21st century. As a chamber musician, he has appeared with the internationally acclaimed Percussion Collective in the world-premiere of Argentinian composer Alejandro Viñao’s Poems and Prayers, performing alongside many of today’s most important young percussionists. His orchestral experience has included playing timpani with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, in the 33rd Castell de Peralada Festival in Barcelona, Spain.
Michael is completing his studies with world-renowned percussion pedagogue Robert van Sice in the Yale School of Music. He is only the second percussionist ever to be admitted to the school’s prestigious Artist Diploma programme, where each year a singular student is chosen across all instrumental disciplines to pursue the highest-level training for emerging soloists. An ardent believer in passing on knowledge, each summer Michael returns to his native Hong Kong to teach young students and curate multi-media percussion productions.
This summer, Michael also curated a series of concerts sponsored by TEDx in Shenzhen, China, the highlight of which was the Emmy Award-winning composer Garth Neustadter’s percussion sextet Seaborne, an audio-visual celebration of our endangered oceans.
About Oliver Neubauer, violin
Violinist Oliver Neubauer attends the Juilliard School where he is a proud recipient of the Kovner Fellowship and a student of Li Lin and Donald Weilerstein. Prior to his studies at Juilliard, Oliver attended the Perlman Music Program, the Juilliard Pre-College Division, and the Dalton School in NYC. Oliver has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the National Repertory Orchestra, the Sound Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of Westchester, and will make his debut with the Springfield Symphony this season with the Korngold Violin Concerto as first prize winner of the 26th Hellam Competition (2023). Other notable awards include a top prize in the 2023 ArsClassica International Competition, the Prix de l’APCAV at the 2023 Verbier Festival, first prize in the Adelphi Orchestra Competition (college division), and the Gold Award at the 2018 National YoungArts Competition. He has participated in masterclasses with Ana Chumachenco, Mihaela Martin, Augustin Dumay, and others, and has performed with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Carter Brey, Ani Kavafian, Shai Wosner, Jason Vieaux, and the Dover Quartet. Oliver’s festival appearances have included the Four Seasons Winter Workshop, Bravo! Vail, Music@Menlo, Lake Champlain Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Music from Angel Fire, the Kronberg Violin Masterclasses, and the Verbier Festival Academy. Highlights of the 2023-24 season include a concert and recording in Rome for ArsClassica and a performance of the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante along with his father, Paul Neubauer. Oliver plays on a 1780 J.B. Guadagnini violin, generously on loan to him from the Juilliard String Instrument Collection.
About Benett Tsai, cello
The music-making of young Australian cellist Benett Tsai has been described as “electrifying…flawless freshness” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and “charismatic, heartfelt playing full of fluid intensity” (Sydney Arts Guide). A recipient of numerous awards, he has been profiled as one of the thirty “next generation young musicians making their mark” by Limelight Magazine. Most recently, he won the Third Prize and Special Prize for the Best Haydn Concerto at the 2022 Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann. As a soloist, Benett has appeared with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Kammerphilharmonie Metamorphosen Berlin, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Lahti, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy, collaborating with conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Nicholas Milton, Joseph Bastian and Petri Komulainen. He has also been presented at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Berlin Philharmonie, Helsinki Music Centre, City Recital Hall in Sydney, Melbourne Recital Centre, and the Verbier Festival among other places internationally. In 2020, he was featured in the film, The Way Forward, where he performed with Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Born in 2003, Benett commenced cello studies at the age of five with his uncle, Thomas Tsai. He is currently an undergraduate student at the Colburn School in Los Angeles where he studies with Clive Greensmith. Previously, he also learned with Susan Blake and Li-Wei Qin. His other significant influences include Ralph Kirshbaum, Steven Isserlis, Alban Gerhardt, and his pianist father, Joshua Tsai.