Simona Donova is a recent graduate of the Aaron Copland School of Music where she studied with Judith Mendenhall. Simona began her career as a flutist at the age of ten in Varna, Bulgaria where she was born and raised. Her interest and passion in music led her to travel throughout Europe, performing with different ensembles, as well as competing in various competitions. Simona relocated to United States in 2010 to pursue an Undergraduate and Master degree in Flute Performance. She was recipient of multiple prizes which include First Prize Winner at the International Flute Competition in Volos, Greece, Fourth International Festival, Russia; International Flute Competition, Provadia, Bulgaria; University of Central Arkansas’ Concerto Competition; Winner of the Aaron Copland School of Music Concerto Competition amongst many other awards here in the US and abroad. Simona has performed in multiple orchestras as principal flutist as well as different orchestra, chamber groups in both the classical and contemporary worlds. Ms. Simona currently serves as a faculty member of Rhythm School of Music and is an active performer in New York City.
Just completing his eighth year at the Juilliard School pre-college where he studied with Clara Kim, Derek Louie has just commenced his college career at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Joel Krosnick. Derek has given numerous performances including appearances on NPR’s From The Top and The Rising Stars Concert Series at the Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea and the National YoungArts Week Finals at the New World Concert Center in Miami. He has won numerous awards including 2017 Enkor International String Competition; grand prize in the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition; was a semi-finalist for the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program; the 2016 Orford Music Award; 2016 National YoungArts Competition; amongst many others. Derek has participated in several festivals such as the Great Mountains International Music Festival in South Korea and the MusicAlp festival in France and the Heifetz International Music Institute. He has been a member of several chamber groups and has performed in Dvorak American Heritage Association at the Bohemian National Hall in New York City. Derek has performed at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, Alpensia Concert Hall in South Korea and Lincoln Center just to name a few. This past summer Derek attended the Verbier Festival Academy, Switzerland.
A laureate of the 2017 Cooper International Violin Competition, Coco Mi, 16, started playing the violin when she was five. Coco continues her studies with Elizabeth Faidley now in her fourth year at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Program. Coco was the recipient of the Carl Owen Memorial Scholarship, and was associate concertmaster of the MSM Philharmonic Orchestra. Coco was the Concertmaster of the MSM Symphony Orchestra in the 2014-2015 school year and Principal Second of the MSM Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2015-16 school year, where they performed Elgar’s Enigma Variations at Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. In 2015, she was awarded the Kate Bamberger Memorial scholarship at MSM. Coco has won awards from numerous competitions, including Grand Prize in the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra’s First Concerto Competition, Gold prize in the Bravura Philharmonic Concerto Competition, winner of the Sinfonietta Nova Youth Concerto Competition, first prize in the Vivo International Music Competition, among others. Coco has performed in prestigious venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, and Merkin Concert Hall. Coco has attended various summer music festivals including Blue Mountain Chamber Music Festival, the Luzerne Music Center, the Summer String Academy at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the 2016 Heifetz International Music Institute, and the 2017 Aaron Rosand Intensive Program at the Summit Music Festival. Coco is a rising senior at Princeton High School in Princeton, NJ.
Chelsea Xia, a student at Hunter College High School, has been playing the violin for six years, studying with Elizabeth Faidley. Chelsea has appeared as a soloist four times this past year. She has performed Vieuxtemps’ 5th Violin Concerto with the NYIMC Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall the Mendelssohn Concerto with the Riverside Symphony, plus Vivaldi’s “Summer” Concerto with the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra. In May, she won the 2016-2017 MSM Symphony Concerto Competition, performing the Vieuxtemps Concerto with the Manhattan Precollege Symphony Orchestra. Chelsea has won many other competitions which include the American Protege International Competition, the Vivo International Music Competition, the Alexander and Buono International String Competition, and the East Coast International Music Competition, amongst others. She has appeared in masterclasses with Ray Chen, Charlie Siem, Sarah Chang, and Jennifer Koh. This summer, Chelsea attended the Meadowmount School of Music.