Meet the winners of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra's 2017 Concerto Competition.
Matthew Ethier is a sophomore and studying trombone at the New England Conservatory with Mr. Norman Bolter. Since he started playing the trombone at the age of 10, Matt loved the instrument and couldn’t put it down. He always achieved high scores at All State Festivals and Solo and Ensemble Festivals. In addition to playing with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Matt plays with the NEC Philharmonia, NEC Symphony, NEC Symphonic Winds, NEC Trombone Choir, and free-lances throughout the Boston area. This is his first time playing a concerto with an orchestra and he could not be any more excited for this wonderful opportunity made possible by BPYO. Matt would like to thank his teacher, Norman Bolter, family, and friends for all of the love and support through his musical journey.
Celia Daggy is a freshman at Boston University, pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance with Steven Ansell, principal of the Boston Symphony. She is currently one of the assistant principal violists of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and is an active member of From the Top’s Center for Development of Arts Leaders. Over the holidays, Celia performed in two sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra, directed by Jaime Laredo. Last summer, she served as principal viola of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s Young Artists Orchestra, under conductors Paul Haas and Ken-David Masur.
Prior to moving to Boston, Celia studied viola at the Colburn Conservatory’s precollege division in Los Angeles with Andrew Picken, while also serving as principal viola of the Colburn Youth Orchestra. Last season, as a member of the American Youth Symphony and the YMF Debut Orchestra, Celia performed with conductors Gustavo Dudamel, James Conlon, David Newman, Emmanuel Villaume, Yuga Cohler, Yehuda Gilad, and Alexander Treger. In 2015, she was a quarterfinalist in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Fenice String Quartet and that same summer toured China with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America under the baton of Charles Dutoit.
Celia made her orchestral solo debut with the Palisades Symphony in 2014, and has since appeared as a soloist with the Colburn Youth Orchestra, the Santa Monica High School Symphony, and the Crossroads Chamber Orchestra.
An aspiring professional tubist, Frank John brings diversified experiences from all aspects of his life to his performances as an orchestral and chamber musician. He has taken the stage with orchestras across the globe including the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Orchestra, performing, among others, in Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall.
In addition to his orchestral performances, Frank finds joy in sharing his music with others as a soloist. In 2016, he performed as a soloist for the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Rising Stars” fundraiser gala concert, and in both 2013 and 2014, was awarded the “Outstanding Soloist” medal from the UIL Texas State Solo Competition. As a tubist, Frank strives to define himself as a musician, and dreams of showing the world what an instrument like the tuba is capable of in the hands of an artist.
A native of San Antonio, TX, Frank grounds himself firmly with family values, and strives to have a positive impact on the people around him. An advocate of musical education, he has actively taught as both an ensemble and private instructor, and hopes to continually expand upon his musical ambitions as a musician and teacher.
Frank John currently resides in the Boston area, where he studies at the New England Conservatory of music under the tutelage of Mike Roylance.
Canadian violinist Sophia Anna Szokolay made her international debut in 2013, touring as soloist with the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra and giving solo recitals throughout Hungary. Since making her orchestral debut at 14, she has performed three times as soloist with the Toronto Sinfonietta as well as the Etobicoke Philharmonic, the Scarborough Symphony, and Academy Chamber Orchestra at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. An avid chamber musician, Sophia has performed with renowned musicians Martin Beaver, Johannes Moser, Jonathan Crow, Martin Beaver and members from the Dover and Parker Quartets. Sophia plays in the Ivani String Quartet in Boston, with whom she has worked with Paul Katz, Nick Kitchen, Ian Swensen, and John Heiss on Ives’ Quartet No. 2.
Sophia began her violin studies at the age of 3. At 13 she became a pupil of David Zafer, Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto, and served as concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2012-14. Sophia graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Barry Shiffman and Victor Danchenko in 2015 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor Degree at the New England Conservatory, studying with renowned violinist and pedagogue Miriam Fried.
Chinese Cellist Aihao Zheng, originally from Shanghai Conservatory of Music Middle School, China, has been studying and performing at New England Conservatory in Boston since 2013. Aihao is now pursuing his Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at the New England Conservatory under Paul Katz of the Cleveland String Quartet.
At age 14, he traveled to Germany to take part in an art exchange program. On May 9th, he held a recital at Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Rehearsal Hall. He was principal cello in the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Middle School orchestra. In 2012, he received a full scholarship for the Morningside Music Bridge Summer Program. He has had master classes with Mula Na, Luis Claret, Desmond Hoebig, Johanne Perron, Yeesun Kin, John Kadz, Andres Diaz, Gary Hoffman, David Strange, Pieter Wispelway, and Ralph Kirshbaum.
In 2016, Aihao won the first prize of NEC Tecchler-Forster Cello Competition.
Carlos Aguilar (b. 1996) is a soloist, interdisciplinary artist and actively premieres and performs new music. He is especially interested in experimental literature for the flute, integrating classical and contemporary traditions of performance and conceptual, sound and performance art.
As a teen, he swept San Diego’s classical music scene by winning first prize in all open competitions for young talent. Apart from local competitions, he won the Music Teacher’s Association of California’s Solo Competition, was a semifinalist in the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards and was a finalist and recipient of the Deveaux Scholarship for a best performance of the newly commissioned work in the National Flute Association’s High School Soloist Competition.
Carlos has appeared on several live broadcasts of L.A.’s KUSC Sundays Live at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with the Colburn Youth Orchestra; as a soloist with the Colburn Chamber Orchestra; and as a member of the Colburn Honors Woodwind Quintet. In 2014, he was a part of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra. Now, he is a member of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
This upcoming season, he will be featured as soloist with the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. On March 2nd at New England Conservatory’s Pierce Hall, he will perform an interdisciplinary recital focused on the concepts of winter, night and death.
He began his private instruction at the age of fourteen with Dr. Elena Yarritu in San Diego, California. Currently, he studies with Mrs. Paula Robison at the New England Conservatory of Music. For more information, please visit c-aguilar.net.
Born in Miami, FL, in 1997, double bassist and performer Kebra-Seyoun Charles is a young musician driven by passion and heritage. Kebra-Seyoun’s mother was an African drummer and dancer and, at a young age, encouraged him to express himself through art. Growing up in this environment allowed him to internalize the African rhythms that served as the foundation and inspiration for later forms of music. After being introduced to the double bass in sixth grade Kebra-Seyoun was immediately drawn to the instrument and found it to be a natural way to express his musical potential. Although he started as a classical double bassist he enjoys exploring and experimenting with different genres of music like jazz and Latin music. Currently, Kebra-Seyoun attends the New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Todd Seeber and has received recognition from institutions like From the Top, Young Arts and the NAACP.