Violinist Tiffany Chang won the 2016 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition sponsored by the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. In addition to the $1,000 cash prize, she was invited to solo with the orchestra in concerts on April 1, 2 and 3.
Chang, who lives in Chandler, will perform the first movement of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. She is 17 years old and a junior at Corona del Sol High School. She studies with Jing Zeng.
The competition attracted 27 entrants, ranging in age from 11 to 17. The judges included SASO Music Director Linus Lerner and several musicians in the orchestra. “This year we had a record number of competitors, and we enjoyed listening to many talented young musicians. It was very challenging to choose the winners, and we eventually awarded an additional prize and a special commendation for the youngest entrant,” said Tim Secomb, SASO vice president.
In addition to Chang, prize winners include:
- Second prize and $500 went to Nicole Skaggs, a senior at Canyon del Oro High School who studies violin with Nokuthula Ngwenyama. Skaggs also won second prize in this youth concerto competition last year.
- Third prize and $250 each were awarded to Hannah Lee, piano, and Levi Powe, cello. Lee is 12 years old and a sixth grader at Basis Tucson North. She studies with Ji-Young Kim. Powe is 15 and a homeschooled sophomore who studies with Mary Beth Tyndall.
- Highly Commended was Keenan Winkler, 11, who studies cello with David Eloy and is a homeschooled six grader.
The SASO concerto competition is designed to recognize and support outstanding young high school musicians, encouraging them to polish performance skills and build real-life experience. It is named in honor of longtime arts patron Dorothy Vanek, who is SASO’s season sponsor for the ninth consecutive year.
Chang will perform with SASO on Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. at Valley Presbyterian Church at 2800 S. Camino del Sol in Green Valley; Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the DesertView Performing Arts Center in SaddleBrooke; and on Sunday, April 3 at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte in northwest Tucson. The program also features soprano Christi Amonson in Whitacre’s Goodnight Moon and Larry Leung in He Zhanhao’s Eternal Regret of Lin’An, performed on a traditional Chinese guzheng. The program concludes with Bruckner’s Te Deum with the SASO Chorus and soloists.
The SASO youth concerto competition is open to Arizona high school students who play any orchestral instrument, including piano. Previous first-place winners are violinist Bobae Johnson, cellist Benjamin Nead, pianist Joyce Yang, cellist Sara Page, cellist Nicholas Mariscal and pianist Rebecca Shiao. Four are Tucsonans. Johnson and Yang are from Phoenix.