Winners will perform as soloists with the Academy Festival Orchestra in 2019

Santa Barbara, CA — The Music Academy of the West announces the winners of its highly competitive, annual Concerto Competition: Solo Piano fellow Sylvia Jiang, Harp fellow Caroline Hales, and Cello fellow Garri Hovsepyan. The winners have been selected to perform their competition concerti selections in their entirety with the Academy Festival Orchestra as part of the 2019 Summer School and Festival.

A total of 14 Music Academy fellows took part in the 2018 Concerto Competition finals in the Piano, Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, and Harp divisions on Saturday, June 28 at 12 pm, 4:30 pm, and 7:30 pm at Hahn Hall.

The winners were determined by a distinguished jury, including both Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Associate Concertmaster Bing Wang and Associate Director of Artistic Planning Phillippa Cole, and pianist Andrew von Oeyen.


About the Winners

Solo Piano fellow Sylvia Jiang, 22, from Auckland, New Zealand, is an undergraduate student at The Juilliard School, studying with Robert McDonald. Ms. Jiang has given recitals in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Korea, Canada, and the United States. Ms. Jiang has won prizes at the Wallace National, Lev Vlassenko, Kerikeri, Pusaka, and Hastings international competitions.

Returning harp fellow Caroline Hales (’16), 25, born in La Crescenta, California, is pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she studies with JoAnn Turovsky. Ms. Hales is a graduate assistant at USC and serves as principal harpist in the American Youth Symphony, Debut Chamber Orchestra, and USC Symphony.

Cello fellow Garri Hovsepyan, 20, born in Yerevan, Armenia, is an undergraduate at Eastman School of Music, where he studies with Steven Doane. Mr. Hovsepyan made his debut as a soloist with the Sonora Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of eleven and has frequently appeared with them as a soloist since then. Mr. Hovsepyan has worked with the Ying and Muir String Quartets.


About the Music Academy of the West

The Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted, young, classically trained musicians. At its ocean-side campus in Santa Barbara, the Academy provides these musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists. Admission to the Academy is strictly merit based, and fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). The Academy’s distinguished teaching artists’ roster has included famed soprano Lotte Lehmann, composers Darius Milhaud and Arnold Schoenberg, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, pianist Jeremy Denk, and Honorary Voice Program Director Marilyn Horne. Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. In 2014 the Music Academy entered into a four-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic, resulting in unprecedented training and performance opportunities for Academy fellows, and Summer Festival residencies for Philharmonic musicians.

The Academy has now launched a new partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra, highlighted by the following:

  • Musicians from the LSO will participate in each Summer Festival.

  • The London Symphony Orchestra will perform in Santa Barbara in 2019 and 2021.

  • Academy fellows will travel to London to perform in concerts with the LSO.

  • Academy competition winners will perform recitals in London.

  • Michael Tilson Thomas will serve as the Signature Festival Conductor of the partnership.

  • Sir Simon Rattle will oversee the fellows’ experience in London.

The Music Academy of the West cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences, presenting more than 200 public events annually. These include performances by faculty, guest artists, and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera. The 2018 Summer School and Festival took place June 18-August 11 at the Academy’s Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara. For more information, visit


Released: Aug 16, 2018



Kate Oberjat

Director of Marketing & Communications

Music Academy of the West



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