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On December 8, 2019, the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) held its annual Concerto Competition. Fifteen confident Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) members auditioned to win one of two Prizes. The YSO Prize winner is awarded the opportunity to play their concerto at the QCSYE Winter Concert in February, accompanied by YSO. The Grand Prize winner will perform their concerto with the QCSO at the QCSO/QCSYE Side-by-Side Concert in April. Winners are selected by a committee consisting of professional community musicians from Northwest Illinois and Eastern Iowa.

Michael HillThe YSO prize winner is percussionist Michael Hill. He has been playing percussion for eight years and string bass for nine. This is his second year in YSO, but he has been involved with the QCSYE for eight years. He lives in Davenport and is a senior at West High School. Hill has been selected for the SEIBA Honor Band, OPUS Honor Choir, SEISTA Honor Orchestra, Iowa All-State Music Festival. Additionally, he has placed sixth in the Percussive Arts Society International High School Marimba Competition and received Division 1 ratings and 2019 Best of Center at IHSMA Festivals. He participates in the WHS Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Orchestra, Show Choir, Chorale, Men’s Choir, musical pit, National Honor Society, and soccer. Outside of his school activities he participates in the St. John Vianney Apostles of Hymn and spends weekends and summers performing, competing, and touring with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps Organization. Michael plans to major in music education.

Linda PhanThe winner of the Grand Prize is violinist Linda Phan. Phan has been studying the violin for 5 years and piano for 4 years. Her violin teachers include Mr. Bui Cong Duy, Mrs. Almita Vamos, Mr. Davis King, and Mr. Wayne Lee. Her piano teachers include Ms. Nguyen Trinh Huong and Ms. Marian Lee. During the two years (September 2017 – April 2019) she studied at the Vietnam National Academy of Music (VNAM), she played as a soloist three times with VNAM Orchestra, the Junior Maus Orchestra, and the Sun Symphony Orchestra. She received the second prize at the Chiang Mai Ginastera International Music Festival in Thailand. She is currently a student at Riverdale Heights Elementary in Bettendorf, IA. She has also been accepted to the Southeastern Iowa String Teacher’s Association (SEISTA) Honor Orchestra. In December 2019, she won the first prize of the QCMTA Baroque piano competition.

Hill will perform Ney Rosauro’s Marimba Concerto No. 1 with the YSO on their Winter Concert, Sunday, February 23 at 5:00 PM in Bartlett Performing Arts Center. Phan will perform Wolfgang A. Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with the QCSO during the annual QCSO/QCSYE Side-by-Side Concert on Sunday, April 19 at 3:00 PM in Centennial Hall.

Tickets for both concerts can be purchased online at www.qcso.org, by phone at 563-322-7276, or in person at the QCSO Box Office: 327 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52801.

About the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles

The Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) program consists of five performance groups (four youth orchestras and a youth choir) for students in grades two through twelve. Under the direction of the outstanding QCSYE conducting staff, members have the opportunity to perform great orchestral and choral repertoire with the most talented young musicians in the area and learn from the mentorship of professional musicians from throughout the region. Ensemble members come from the greater Quad Cities, as well as other communities in southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois.

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Article by
Chelsea Schwarzkopf
QCSYE General Manager
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