The Hartford Symphony Orchestra announces the winners of the 42nd Young Artists Competition 

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra announces the winners of the
42nd Young Artists Competition 

Annual student competition pivoted to virtual competition in spring 

HARTFORD, CT (June 16, 2020) – The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce the winners of the 42nd Young Artists Competition! The first, second, and third places winners are (respectively): Matthew Hill of West Hartford (violin), Tyler Tan of Cheshire (violin) and Maggie Slap of West Hartford (cello).

“I was extremely impressed by all the phenomenal musicians who competed in this year’s HSO Young Artists Competition,” said HSO Education and Community Engagement Manager, Timothy Brown. “Their years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance were evident in each performance. I am beyond grateful to our sponsors, judges, and especially to the families for their support of our virtual competition and these talented young musicians.”

This season’s Young Artist Competition was launched in November. To be eligible, students must be Connecticut residents in grades 9-12 during the 2019-2020 academic year and cannot be a previous first place winner of the HSO’s Young Artists Competition.

The live semi-final and final rounds were originally scheduled to take place in May at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and The Bushnell. Maintaining the Young Artists Competition in the face of Covid-19 required innovation and improvisation. The HSO did not want to deprive the young musicians of the opportunity to be recognized for their extraordinary discipline and hard work, especially now, when so many other opportunities were taken from them.


By the early spring, the competition field was narrowed to 11 semi-finalists. In isolation, many students were continuing to practice their art, continuing their studies through virtual music lessons and daily discipline.  To give them the opportunity to showcase their hard work, the HSO offered each the choice of using their original submission or submitting a new recording of the required works, which would be the basis of the final round of competition. Of the 11 semi-finalists, nine chose to submit a new recording.

The submissions were presented to our panel of judges, made up of HSO musicians: Lenny Sigal (Concertmaster), Jia Cao (Assistant Principal cellist) and Barbara Hopkins (Assistant Principal flute). All 11 of our young artists received important feedback and comments from each of the judges. Congratulations to all!

About the Winners

Matthew Hill (First Place) is a senior at Conard High school in West Hartford. He has been Concertmaster of I Giovani Solisti, the Connecticut All State Orchestra, and has attended the All National Honors Orchestra. A multiple prizewinner at the Musical Club of Hartford, Matthew has also won the Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and Hamden Symphony Orchestra Young Instrumentalist Competition. He has been a member of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and recently graduated from Juilliard Pre-College where he was a student of Sheryl Staples. He will be attending the University of Michigan in September to pursue a double major in Violin Performance and Composition.

Tyler Tan (Second Place) is a rising junior at Cheshire High School and currently studies violin under Mr. I-Hao Lee at the Juilliard Pre-College Program. He has been playing the violin since the age of 5. Every summer since 2018, Tyler has been selected to represent Connecticut in the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. He is also a scholarship recipient for UCONN’s Jorgensen Outreach for Youth Program and a performer for the Back to Bach Project. In his free time, Tyler enjoys playing soccer and golf, as well as learning about science.

Maggie Slap (Third Place), age 15, lives in West Hartford and is a sophomore at Conard High School. She has been playing the cello for 11 years and studies with Jeffrey Krieger. Her previous awards include winning the 2018 Young Musicians Concerto Competition with the Hamden Symphony Orchestra, winning the 2019 Honors Chamber Music Competition with her quartet (The Sixteen Strings), and receiving first place in the 2020 Hartford Musical Club High School Competition. Maggie is a member of the Connecticut Youth Symphony, the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and I Giovani Solisti.  

The 2019-2020 Young Artists Competition is sponsored in part by the Jean Sterling McRae Fund. 

Additional support comes from the following donors: David Cass & Karen Saunders, Ruth Ann C. Davis, Hollis G. Dorman, Rona B. Gollob, The Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust, Arnold & Beverly Greenberg, Wendy M. Haller, Laura R. Harris, Jeffrey & Nancy Hoffman, Donald & Helen Hughlett, Lois & Charles Koteen, Claire & Jan Kennedy, Irene Loretto, Lois Muraro & Carl J. Elsishans, Frank & Mary Petras, Michael & Genevieve Pfaff, Dara Ribicoff, Eliane Sandler and Lawrence Zemel, Joseph Spada, and Diane & Gary Whitney.

HSO programs are funded part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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The Bushnell: 166 Capitol Ave. Hartford, CT 06106