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The Hartford Symphony Orchestra announces the winners of the 43rd Young Artists Competition  

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra announces the winners of the
43rd Young Artists Competition  

HARTFORD, CT (June 23, 2021) – The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce the winners of the 43rd Young Artists Competition! Emily DeNucci of Somers (flute) and Tyler Tan of Cheshire (violin) were tied for first place. Second place winner was Gerald Kim of Fairfield (violin), and third place winner was Jasmine Xi (piano).  

Judges were HSO Concertmaster Leonid Sigal, HSO flute Jeanne Wilson, and HSO piano substitute Gary Chapman.  

“The sheer amount of talent among this year’s competition is staggering,” said Leonid Sigal. “It is both heartwarming and inspiring to see these fine young artists willing to invest their time and tremendous effort, even at the most challenging time and in the face of possibly the biggest adversity of our lifetime. This gives me hope and confidence in the future of our art form.”   

“I was stunned by the high level of maturity and musicality of the contestants. The two first place winners were so amazing that we were unable to choose just one of them,” said Jeanne Wilson. “As a flutist myself I was quite overwhelmed by Emily DeNucci, who is one of the finest young players I have ever heard. I was equally impressed by Tyler Tan the other first place winner on violin and was thrilled that my fellow judges agreed with my assessment. The fact that all of the contestants have been able to sustain their dedication to music and to their instruments during the horrible situation of the past year and a half is pretty incredible.”

This season’s Young Artist Competition was completely virtual. To be eligible, students had to be Connecticut residents in grades 9-12 during the 2020-2021 academic year, could not be a previous first place winner of the HSO’s Young Artists Competition and must play one of the following instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, saxophone, percussion, harp, piano, violin, viola, cello, bass, or guitar. 

The application/first round consisted of an online application and the submission of two video performances of the applicant’s selected pieces. Finalists were announced in May. Contestants who advanced to the final round had the choice to submit a new recording of their concerto piece or to use their first-round video.  

About the Winners 

Emily DeNucci (First Place) Emily DeNucci lives in Somers, CT and is a rising sophomore at Wilbraham and Monson Academy. She has studied flute with Greig Shearer at the Hartt School Community Division (HCD) for seven years and has been mentored by Sonora Slocum since 2020. Through HCD, she also takes piano lessons, plays in a flute/classical guitar duo, and studies composition and music theory. This was her second year playing in the top orchestra of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. In the past year, Emily was first prize winner for the UMass Young Artist Competition, NJ Flute Society Spring Competition, NJ Flute Society High School Competition, as well as the Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia Youth Artist Competition. She also won first place in the NY Flute Club Young Musicians Contest for her age group in both 2017 and 2019. This summer, Emily is looking forward to attending the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. 

Tyler Tan (First Place) Seventeen-year-old violinist Tyler Tan hails from Cheshire, CT. A National Young Arts Finalist and recipient of the University of Connecticut Joy! Conservatory Scholarship, he has performed at prestigious venues all over the United States, including Alice Tully Hall (New York), Carnegie Hall (New York), and the New World Center (Miami). As a member of the NYO-USA (National Youth Orchestra) in 2020 and 2021 as well as NYO2 in 2018 and 2019, Tyler played in masterclasses for members of the Atlanta, Dallas, Tucson, and National Symphony Orchestras. He has also worked with other violin pedagogues including Miriam Fried and Paul Biss, and has performed under esteemed conductors such as David Robertson, James Ross, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and Michael Repper.  

In addition to performance activities, Tyler has organized various community outreach projects. Through NYO, he performed with students of the Miami Music Project. He is the regional director of the Back to Bach Project and a volunteer musician at the Yale New Haven Hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tyler redirected his efforts to organize recordings of musical postcards with fellow musicians for isolated hospital patients. These performances are now part of Yale New Haven Hospital’s Music for Healing Channel. 

Tyler currently studies with Dr. I-Hao Lee at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division. 

Gerald Kim (Second Place) Gerald Kim is a senior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. He started to the violin at age 7 and is currently studying under Wendy Sharp at the Yale School of Music. He has been a member of Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestra for 8 years and was concertmaster in the 2021 season.  He has participated in and won many competitions, most recently being named a merit winner in classical music of the 2021 National YoungArts Competition and First Place winner of the New York Artist International Competition. He will be attending Carnegie Mellon University this fall to pursue a double major in Math and Computer Science.  

Jasmine Xi (Third Place) Jasmine Xi from Wallingford, Connecticut, is a rising senior at Phillips Exeter Academy, where she studies with Silvana Sokolov-Grubb. She started playing piano at the age of five years old, and has studied with Sima Brodksy at the Hartt School Community Division for seven years.  

Jasmine has won numerous awards, including second place at the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, as well as Best Performance Overall and the Tchaikovsky Award for most grandiose playing at the University of Rhode Island Piano Extravaganza. As well, she has won second place in the Renée B. Fisher Competition, first place in Westfield State University Young Artists Piano Competition, and an honorable mention at the New Hampshire Granite State Competition.  

In addition to piano, Jasmine enjoys playing field hockey and cello. At Exeter, she participates in orchestra, student council, robotics, and a variety of community service clubs.  

The 43rd Young Artists Competition was sponsored by Jeffrey & Nancy Hoffman, Prize Underwriters of the Young Artists Competition, with additional support from: Ruth Ann C. Davis, Hollis G. Dorman, Michelle Duffy and Robert H. Connell, Acorn Alcinda Foundation, Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, in memory of Judy Weisman, Rona B. Gollob, Arnold & Beverly Greenberg, Wendy M. Haller, Laura R. Harris, Helen and Donald Hughlett, Claire and Jan Kennedy, Lois and Charles Koteen, Irene J. Loretto, Lois A. Muraro and Carl J. Elsishans, Katherine M. Papathanasis, Mary and Frank Petras, Dara K. Ribicoff, Joseph Spada, and Diane and 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. 

About the Hartford Symphony Orchestra 

The mission of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is to enrich lives and community through great music. Now in its 77th season, the HSO is Connecticut’s premier musical organization, the second largest orchestra in New England, and widely recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra named Carolyn Kuan as its tenth music director in January 2011; she is the first woman and youngest person to hold this title. The HSO captivates and inspires audiences of all ages by presenting more than 100 concerts annually, including the Masterworks Series, POPS! Series, Sunday Serenades, HSO: Intermix Series, Discovery Concerts, Symphony in Schools, Musical Dialogues, the Talcott Mountain Music Festival, and more.  The HSO aims to deliver uniquely powerful and emotional experiences that lift and transform the spirit, and to give back and help create vibrant communities in the Greater Hartford area.  

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