We are proud to present this year's winners of the Concerto Challenge and Composition Challenge from the Richmond Music Festival. Set to perform with the Richmond Orchestra on February 25, 2017 at Fraserview MB Church, we're getting to know our 2017 Rising Stars.
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Austin Ng - Piano
Nine year-old Austin Ng has been playing the piano since the age of five. He has had the privilege of being a student of Dr. Libby Yu for the past two years and during this time, has developed his potential and love of music.
Austin has received numerous awards and recognition in local music festivals since 2013. More recently, he was awarded First Place in several classes at the British Columbia Conservatory of Music (BCCM) Festival in 2015. As a result, he was also awarded the BCCM Scholarship for the Highest Average Mark in the Grade 8 category.
Austin was given further recognition when he won several awards at the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival in 2016. He was awarded the Charles Gilbert Jordan Memorial Scholarship for the highest mark in Intermediate Piano (Romantic), the Tom Lee Scholarship for the Most Outstanding Performance in Intermediate Piano, the Nancy Paisley Benn Scholarship, the VKMFS Intermediate Piano Romantic Composers Scholarship and the VKMFS Intermediate Piano Classical Composers Scholarship. Austin was subsequently chosen to represent the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival at the 2016 Performing Arts Provincial Festival held in Fort St. John, B.C. where he was awarded First Place in the Junior A Piano category.
From performances in festivals and recitals to bringing music and joy to the residents at senior care homes, 2016 has been a year of whirlwind experiences for Austin. He considers it a great honour to start this New Year as a Richmond Music Festival Concerto Challenge Winner and to make his orchestral debut with the Richmond Orchestra at Rising Stars 2017.
Julie Wu - Piano
Among the many local and international competitions and festivals in which Julie has already participated, some of her many awards and prizes include a gold medal at the International Young Gifted Musicians Festival "Passion of Music 2013" and Competition in New York City followed by a performance at Carnegie Hall at the award winners Gala Concert. Julie was also the recipient of first place at the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition 2014 in New York City, which was followed by a performance at Carnegie Hall. Julie was also a finalist at the Canadian Music Competition in 2013. This past November, Julie was a Gold Medalist Winner at the Chinese Golden Bell Music Competition National Finals.
In May 2016, Julie performed the first movement of the Chopin Concerto with conductor Paula Dewitt and the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra.
For Last year's Canadian Music Competition, Julie Wu was awarded second place in the National final, in the 14 years and under category. She participated in the Richmond Music Festival in November 2016, and received high marks and was subsequently invited to perform at the Gala Awards where she was awarded several scholarships. In RMF, Julie was also selected in the concerto challenge group to perform the Chopin Concerto in F minor in February at the Rising Stars concert with the Richmond Orchestra.
Ryan Zhu - Piano
Thirteen year old Ryan Zhu has been studying piano since the age of four. He has won many awards and scholarships in music festivals and has performed at many prestigious venues.
His most recent accomplishments include Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Canadian Music Competition (Age 11-14 Category) which resulted in a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Gala Concert with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Ryan won the Vancouver Academy of Music Provincial Concerto Competition in both 2014 and 2016 and performed with the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra at the Orpheum Theatre in October of those years.
In 2014, he was also the Grand Prize Winner in the Burnaby Clef Concerto Competition — the youngest in the competition’s history — for musicians aged up to 23 from all orchestral musical disciplines. Ryan won First Prize in the Crescendo International Competition (Age 10 Senior Category) in 2013 and performed in Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Ryan has consistently received the highest marks in British Columbia for his Royal Conservatory of Music Piano Exams. He was the RCM Gold Medalist for Grade 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 Piano from 2011-2015.
Ryan is currently studying with Kenneth Broadway and Ralph Markham. He enjoys reading, writing, public speaking, swimming and badminton in his spare time.
Corina Deng - Violin
Corina (BeiBei) Deng was born in December, 2007. She began her violin lessons at the age of three at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She studied with Lawrie Hill and Andrew Dawes. Currently, she studies violin with Nicholas Wright. Corina made her orchestral debut at age of 8 with the VAM Symphony Orchestra in the Orpheum Theatre after winning the 2016 VAM Provincial Concerto Competition.
In March of 2016, Corina won the VAM Edith Lando Gifted Youth Competition and was awarded the Edward & Eugenie Yeung Scholarship. In 2015, Corina won the First Prize in her age group at the Canadian Music Competition. In the Richmond Music Festival, Corina was awarded the Most Promising String Player both in 2015 and 2016 and was the overall winner in the Mozart Celebration Class in 2016. In addition to that, she has been awarded several top prizes in many other competitions including the Coquitlam Music Festival and the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival. Corina nurses an aspiration to be a musician to share her musical gifts all around the world.
Corina also studies piano with Lorraine Ambrose at the VAM. In her spare time, she enjoys playing duos with her older sister Athena Deng. She also enjoys reading, dancing and traveling with her family. Corina is currently a Grade 4 student at Aspenwood Elementary School in Port Moody.
Matthieu Foresi - Composer
Matthieu Foresi was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 2005. Showing an interest in music from a very young age, Matthieu started piano lessons with his grandmother, Tanya Shevtsova, at the age of three. He has been composing seriously since the age of 9 and is currently taking composition and theory lessons with Ryan Trew.
Some of his achievements include: Richmond Music Festival scholarship for the most promising composer in 2015 & 2016, First place in CFMTA Student Composer Competition BC in 2016, 2nd place in CFMTA national finals in 2016, Best Composition Award in the Kiwanis Fraser Valley Festival in 2016.
Last September Matthieu was accepted in the Victoria Symphony program called the vsNew, an innovative program in which young, local composers write new works for a small ensemble. He has the opportunity to write a quartet for Victoria Symphony musicians under the guidance of Jared Millar, composer in residence. This composition will be performed in May 2017 at the Royal Theatre in Victoria.
As a pianist Matthieu has participated and won many local competitions. At the recent Richmond Music Festival’s Gala Concert he was awarded a second prize. As a winner of the Concerto Challenge class competition at the Richmond Music Festival 2015, Matthieu performed Beethoven’s 1st piano Concerto with the Richmond Orchestra in February 2016.
Bruno Cavalca - Composer
Bruno Cavalca started showing interest in learning the violin at three years of age. He began taking lessons at age seven with Tatyana Kravsun, at the Richmond Music School. After three years, Bruno started taking lessons with Alana Lopez. Who introduced Bruno to the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra, with which he played in for five years. During that time, be began to show interest in the way music came to be, how it worked, and eventually fell in love with not only playing it, but writing it too. After years of composing for fun, (and while studying Violin with James Malmberg) Bruno decided he did not have the energy to become a violinist, and so seriously turned to composition, and has begun constructing a career in composition. His music has been described as: "Intense", with "Beautiful orchestration" and "Adventurous Drama."
Bruno's Piece "In Storms" was premiered in February 2016 with the Richmond Symphony.
Bruno is currently studying with violin with Nancy DiNovo, and hopes to begin studying music at VCC in September, and to later pursue a degree in composition at UBC.