On Saturday, December 3, 2022, the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) held its annual Concerto Competition. Thirteen 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 YSO Finale Concert, accompanied by the YSO. The Grand Prize winner performs their concerto with the QCSO at the QCSO/QCSYE Side-by-Side Concert in April. Winners are selected by a committee consisting of Quad City Symphony Orchestra musicians. 

The winner of the 2022-2023 Grand Prize is pianist Jack Stremlow. Stremlow is a junior at Davenport Central High School. He has studied piano since the age of 4 and currently studies with Dr. Marian Lee. In the summer of 2022, he studied with Dr. Robert Satterlee at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. There he was selected to perform in the High School Honors Recital and premiered multiple works composed by fellow students. For his summer studies, Jack received the Marjorie Spevak Music Scholarship of the Civic Music Association of Des Moines in his Freshman year, Jack was the first-place winner of the Iowa Music Teachers Association state piano auditions and the Quad Cities Classical Festival Competition. In the fall of 2021, Jack was the second-place winner of the Quad Cities Baroque Festival. In 2022 Jack was the third-place winner of the Des Moines Terrace Hill Piano Competition, received an honorable mention in the Music Teachers National Association state competition, and was a finalist in the Young Artist Competitions of the Muscatine and Ottumwa Symphony Orchestras. His other performances include the Iowa Composers Forum, Quad Cities Piano Ensemble Festival, and the Dorian Keyboard Festival in Decorah, Iowa. In addition to piano, Jack also studies voice and has been selected for the Iowa All-State Chorus for three consecutive years. Jack hopes to study piano performance in a conservatory setting after high school. 

The YSO prize winner is Xin-Yan Chan, violinist. Chan is a sophomore at Pleasant Valley High School. She began her violin studies at age nine with Rex Vance and has spent the last several years studying with Will Samorey and most recently, Sabrina Tabby. As a violinist, Xin-Yan plays with the Quad Cities Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Pleasant Valley High School Orchestra, and has earned spots in SEISTA (2018, 2019, 2020), ISTA (2019, 2020), and the Iowa All-State Orchestra (2021, 2022). As a pianist, she regularly participates in festivals and competitions across the Midwest, including the 2021 Concerto Competition in which she was one of the winners, UNO Piano Day, IMTA Auditions, FMTA’s Baroque and Classical Festivals, and has been selected as an All-State Alternate (2022). As a composer, she has been a national finalist for the Junior Composers Contest for the National Federation of Music Clubs and also a national finalist for the PTA Reflections program. As one of the winners of this year’s QCSYE concerto competition, Xin-Yan is delighted to be able to play with the QCSO. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, reading, and drawing. 

Stremlow will perform the Ravel Piano Concerto in G and Chan will perform Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) at the Side-by-Side Concert on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at 3:00 PM at the Adler Theatre. 

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 Sammons
Director of Education and Community Engagement

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