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Student contest winners headline orchestra's concerto showcase


Last updated 12/21/2022 at 12:52pm

Photo courtesy of Mukilteo Community Orchestra

Minjae Kim

The Mukilteo Community Orchestra, in partnership with the Snohomish County Music Teachers Association, presents the annual "Concerto Competition Winners Showcase" on Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Rosehill Community Center.

The concert will feature five students, all winners of the 2022 SCMTA Concerto Competition. The orchestra will be accompanying these students for an afternoon of music by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Ravel, and Rachmaninoff.

The concert is free and will be at 2 p.m. Mukilteo Community Orchestra conductor Shaun Day will host a free pre-concert audience conversation about the performance pieces at 1:15 p.m.

"This is the seventh year that the Mukilteo Community Orchestra has partnered with the SCMTA and our orchestra members are delighted to be accompanying them once again this year," Day said. "Collaborating with these young artists and the SCMTA shows us how strong music education is in the state of Washington. We are excited to share the stage with them and to help bring their musical talents to the community."

The young artist performers are students of SCMTA members Allan Park (former resident of Mukilteo), Dr. Yelana Balabanova (a current Mukilteo resident), Tien-Yin Chen, and Randall Jackson. SCMTA is a non-profit organization that strives to uphold musical excellence in the community. With a goal to further musical culture in every way, the organization offers performance and education opportunities for students, teachers, and the enjoyment of the local community. The association is one of the largest music chapters in Washington State and is an affiliate of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

The program will begin with Jer-Shyan Chang performing Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, 1st movement. Minjae Kim will then perform Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major, 1st movement and Evan Mao will perform Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto no. 2 in C minor Op. 18, 1st movement. Following intermission, Jimmy Huang will perform Haydn: Keyboard Concerto in G major, Hob.XVIII:4, 1st movement. Ruohan Huang will conclude the program with the Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No.1 in G Minor, Op.25, 2nd and 3rd movements.

Jer-Shyan Chang is a 10th-grade student at Lakeside School and has been studying piano with Tien-Yin Chen since 2014. She has participated in and won awards in many competitions, including Seattle International's Bach and Classical Viennese Festivals, Seattle Young Artists Music Festival, NW Chopin Festivals, PAFE, SCMTA Sonatina/Sonata and Scholarship Competitions, and most recently the SCMTA Concerto Competition.

An avid ensemble player, having experience in classical piano and violin has motivated her to try jazz bank piano as well as being in a variety of different orchestras as a violin player, including SYSO and Lakeside School's orchestra. She has also been a finalist for SYSO's annual concerto competition two years in a row. In her free time, Jer-Shyan enjoys playing songs by ear and making arrangements with her sister, who also plays both violin and piano.

Minjae Kim is 16 years old and a 10th grader at North Creek High School. This is Minjae's second time winning the SCMTA Concerto Competition. He is equally skilled at playing the violin and is a member of SYSO. He has played the piano from a very young age and accrued significant awards and accolades in recent years.

As a piano soloist, Minjae was a gold medalist at Chopin NW Competition, gold medalist at Russian Chamber Music Competition, distinguished gold medalist at Virtuoso Competition, first prize winner at Grande International Piano Competition, gold medalist at Canadian International Music Competition, silver medalist at the Pacific International Piano Competition, silver medalist at the Bellevue Symphony Concerto Competition and finalist for Seattle Symphony Young Artists Competition, state finalist for WMEA's Solo and Ensemble.

As a piano duo with his older brother Hyunjae, both brothers have won national and international recognition by winning in virtually every duet piano competition. As a result, they have performed at Benaroya Hall, Mercer Island Burbank Park and Chamber concert venues. Besides music, Minjae loves computer programming and tennis.

Evan Mao has been playing piano for 12 years, first in Canada and is now with Randall Jackson. He has won gold, silver and bronze medals in various competitions over the last year. He also plays at the Marymoor Senior Care home to entertain residents, plays the trombone in the high level of ensemble in Redmond High School, serves as the principal keyboard player for the high school's Sound of Music musical, and plays in the LWSD Honors Band. His hobbies include skiing, swimming, gaming, running and playing badminton. He's hoping to continue doing music while majoring in computer science at a university.

Jimmy Huang is a fifth-grade student at Lakeside Middle School. He has been studying piano with Dr. Yelena Balabanova at the International Conservatory Studio since 2015. In 2022, Jimmy won gold medals in the Sonafest, Chopin NW Festival, and Charleston International Baroque Festival while also participating in a Fundraising Concert for United Help Ukraine that raised $20,000. He also participated in the Seattle Piano Institute at the University of Washington and was selected for the Seattle Chamber Music Society Academy of Chamber Music.

Recently Jimmy won gold medal in the Pacific Northwest Concerto Competition and in the SCMTA Concerto Competition. In 2021, Jimmy won four gold medals in the Bach Prelude and Fugue, Concerto, Chopin, and Mozart categories and the Grand Prix in Junior Performance Class in the Northern Lights International Piano Festival in Sweden (Virtual). Jimmy won gold medals in the Chopin Northwest festival, Simon-Fiset competition, the Best of Festival Award in the Time Era Festival and best first timer at Simon-Fiset. He was selected to perform at the Washington State Music Teachers Conference representing the Seattle Chapter. Highlights of Jimmy's previous awards include the platinum award at the WPTA Singapore International Competition, runner-up at the Rising Start competition with Cascade Symphony and winner of the Steinway Regional competition, resulting in being one of five National finalists. Currently Jimmy serves as secretary of the International Beethoven Society of Young Musicians. In his free time, Jimmy likes to compose, play tennis, ski, and travel.

Ruohan Huang is 14 years old, a ninth-grader at Eastlake High School, and has been a student of Yelena Balabanova at the International Conservatory Studio since 2019. Ruohan has earned numerous awards and honors, among them, several gold medals and a Grand Prix in the 2021 Northern Lights International Festival in Sweden, gold medals in the 2021 SCMTA Sonafest and 2020 EMTA Time Era Festival, and a gold medal in 2019 for the Pacific Northwest Piano Competition. Ruohan won the 2019/2020 Cascade Symphony Orchestra Rising Star Concerto Competition, received a gold medal in the 2019 Bellevue Symphony Concerto Competition and performed as soloist with both symphonies.

Photo courtesy of Mukilteo Community Orchestra

Ruohan Huang

Ruohan was awarded the Helen Crowe Snelling Scholarship for three consecutive years. Most recently, she won first place in the 2022 Anna Rollins Scholarship Competition and SCMTA Concerto Competition. Highlight of the 2022 season is Ruohan's winning the Seattle Symphony Young Artists Auditions. She performed Mozart Concerto K.453 with the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall. Ruohan also performed in fundraising concerts "Against Racial Injustice" and "Young Musicians for Ukrainian Children" which raised $20,000 to aid war victims.

"The Snohomish County Music Teachers Association is so grateful for the continuous community efforts of the Mukilteo Community Orchestra," said Kathryn Kibble, current SCMTA President. "We have seen time and time again how they encourage excellence in our students' personal discipline, artistic quality and give the gift of a dream realized. Mukilteo Orchestra provides an unforgettable experience for our Pacific Northwest kids that will last a lifetime."

More information about the concert can be found at


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