The 11th annual Cornell Concerto Competition was held on Sunday, December 14, in Barnes Hall Auditorium. From a very strong field of four finalists, judges Malcolm Bilson and Matthew Ardizzone chose Paul Huang as the winner. Huang, Chemistry ’18, performed Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, 1st Movement with accompanist Joe Pepper. Professor Bilson commented, “All the participants played at a very high level and it was a difficult decision.” The other three finalists included Hae Soo Cheon, Jae Baek, and Jiacong Xu. Huang will perform the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra on February 28th, 2015 in Bailey Hall.
Winner Paul Huang is a freshman majoring in chemistry and minoring in music. He began playing the violin at age 6, studying first with Bo Huang (no relation) and later with Jonathan Lam. He was a member of the New England Conservatory Preparatory Orchestras for seven years, and is currently in the Cornell Symphony Orchestra. Aside from violin, Paul also played the alto saxophone for five years. He currently studies violin with Amy Christian.
Finalist HaeSoo Cheon is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in Psychology and Asian Studies and minoring in business. She performed Karl Goldmark’s Violin Concerto, mvt 1. HaeSoo began playing violin at age nine and started taking private lessons one year later. She studied with Levon Zarasian in Scottsdale, AZ for five years before coming to Cornell. She studied with Juliana Athayde her freshman year and served as concertmaster of the Cornell Chamber Orchestra. She currently plays in both orchestras and is under the instruction of Dr. Ariana Kim.
Finalist Jae Baek is a sophomore in the College of Engineering majoring in Biological Engineering. She performed Francois Borne’s Fantasie. Jae Baek started flute at the age of 10 and since then, has participated in region and all-state orchestras. She received a blue ribbon in the New York Flute Club Competition and as a student in high school, performed Mozart Concerto in G Major with the school orchestra. She currently studies with Amy Elizabeth Shuhan.
Finalist Jiacong Xu performed Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1. Born in China, Jiacong didn’t touch the piano until he moved to Sydney, Australia. He started considerably late at the end of 8th grade when he was 14, but immediately fell in love with the instrument. A year later, he was admitted into Conservatorium High School, the secondary division of Department of Music of University of Sydney. Jiacong studied piano with Elizabeth Powell until graduation in 2013.
Thank you to all the competitors and Congratulations to Paul Huang!