About the Pearl & Julius Young Competition

The Baroque Orchestra is pleased to announce that applications are now available for the 2017 Pearl & Julius Young Music Competition.

First Prize is $1000. The First Prize winner will perform a concerto movement at the BONJ Summer Music Festival in August, 2017. Second prize is $500.  Third prize is $250.  Two $100 honorable mention prizes will be awarded. Judges will include principal musicians from the orchestra and guest artists.

The 2017 competition will be held March 19, 2017 at NOON. Dolan Hall, The College of Saint Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road, Morristown, New Jersey.   Admission to this unforgettable afternoon of great music is FREE!

Click here for 2017 Application

Judges include principal musicians from the orchestra and guest artists.   Past judges have included international artists Lynm Czae, Paul Zeigler, Anne Matlack, Stanley Alexandrowicz, Harry Searing, Ron Leavy as well as prinicpal BONJ musicians Andrew Pecota, Agnes Kwasniewska, and Evan Ardell.

The competition is open to instrumentalists ages 16-22. Finalists chosen from the applicants will perform at Dolan Performance Hall, The College of Saint Elizabeth, on Sunday, March 19, 2017, 12:00-3:00 PM. 

Artists will be able to warm-up starting at 10:00 AM.  Finalists may perform with their own pianist or with a pianist provided by the orchestra. 

Non-keyboard finalists must perform one movement from a concerto from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic or Modern eras.   Pianists must perform a movement from a sonata or an equivalent work.

Fill out the application and mail with a check for the non-refundable application fee of $25 (payable to BONJ).  Include a brief biography or resume, letter of recommendation and a CD, DVD or YouTube Link of you in performance. 

Applications must be received by January 6, 2017. Finalists will be notified by January 27, 2017.   Please mail to: Lisa Young, Chairperson, 24 Edgar Road, West Orange, New Jersey, 07052.

Concert Listing for the Competition

  • 2016-2017 Season



Sunday, March 19, 2017, 12:00 PM


Dolan Hall, The Annunciation Center, The College of Saint Elizabeth



Featured Performers: 

The Baroque Orchestra is pleased to announce  the 2017 Pearl & Julius Young Music Competition for young instrumental artists, ages 16-22. 

First Prize is $1000. The First Prize winner will perform a concerto movement at the BONJ Summer Music Festival in August, 2017. Second prize is $500.  Third prize is $250.  Two $100 honorable mention prizes will be awarded. Judges will include principal musicians from the orchestra and guest artists.

The competition will be held Sunday March 19, 2017 at NOON. Dolan Hall, The College of Saint Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road, Morristown, New Jersey.   Admission to this unforgettable afternoon of great music is FREE!

Judges for the 2017 Competition

Classical Guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz is internationally renowned for his thrilling virtuosity, poetic interpretations, and refined musicality. In addition to his command of the instrument’s standard repertoire, he has premiered and commissioned over 100 works by composers from Europe, Asia, The United States, Cuba, and Latin America.   A scholar and specialist in the field of 19th Century music, he often features unknown compositions by the Romantic guitar composer-virtuosi, playing on period instruments and revitalizing works which have lain dormant (often in manuscript form) for over a century. He collaborates regularly in chamber music performances with some of the world’s leading musicians ― including internationally renowned soprano Dominika Zamara.  Their duo debut CD “Ivan Padovec: Music for Guitar and Soprano” was issued on SHEVA Collection Recordings Italy (http://www.shevacollection.it), summer, 2015.

Stefano Miceli  has established a reputation as one of the foremost Italian pianists and conductors. He has been principal guest artist with Cameristi della Fenice, Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica IItaliana.  He is Music Director of Orchestra Sinfonica Italiana and Milano Metropolitan Orchestra.   He made his New York debut as soloist and conductor at Carnegie Hall in November 2010.   He is the Music Coordinator and Master Teacher at “La Scuola d’Italia” in New York City and founder of the Bergamo Festival Internazionale.  He is a Steinway Artist.

Andrew Pecota has played bassoon with The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey since its very first concert.    He has performed concertos of Vivaldi and Mozart and has served as wind section leader.   He is a founding member of Zephyrs Winds and a leader in chamber music performance in New Jersey.    He is on staff at Montclair State University.

The 2017 Finalists

Derek Louie, cello, is 18 years old and is in his eighth year at the Juilliard School pre-college where he studies with Minhye Clara Kim. 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. Derek has been a prize winner in several competitions including the 2016 National YoungArts Competition, the 2015 Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition, the Ensemble 212 Young Artist Competition, semi-finalist in the 2015 Stulberg International String Competition and the 2015 Johansen International Competition. Derek soloed with the Ensemble 212 Orchestra at Merkin Hall in May of 2014 as well as the Ensemble du Monde Orchestra in December of 2014. He was a semi-finalist in the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Moscow and grand prize winner of the 2013 International Virtuoso Competition. He has studied with Myung-Wha Chung, Timothy Eddy, David Geber, Frans Helmerson, Ralph Kirshbaum, Lawrence Lesser, Philippe Muller and Jian Wang. He has participated in several festivals including Orford Music Festival, London Master Classes, the Great Mountains International Music Festival in South Korea, the MusicAlp festival in France and the Heifetz International Music Institute. Derek frequently performs with Concerts in Motion, an organization that provides live concerts to the homebound and hospitalized. Derek attends the Professional Children’s School and loves to participate in all sports, especially baseball and basketball.

Joseph-Roy Varela, piano,  has performed in numerous showcases in New York City as early as the age of twelve. He has won performing arts scholarships from local foundations in his hometown and at his university, while receiving first-place prizes in concert festivals and local competitions in the New York-New Jersey area. He has also been invited to perform in solo-piano showcases hosted by the Leschitizsky Association in NYC’s Manhattan School of Music. Joseph has been selected to perform in masterclasses with guest artists such as Jerome Lowenthal, Walter Hautzig, Wu Han, Olegna Fuschi, and Alan Weiss. He hopes to either study piano performance and/or collaborative piano for his graduate studies, while working alongside contemporary composers, teaching, and arranging. Joseph Varela is currently a senior Piano Performance undergraduate at Montclair State University, under the instruction of NY-based Moscow Conservatory graduate Mark Pakman.

Carlos Bedoya, guitar, is a senior pursuing degrees in Music Education and Classical Guitar performance at Rowan University. While studying at Rowan with guitarists Joseph Mayes and Kathleen Mayes, Carlos has also studied with Grammy award winner Jason Vieaux. Some of his music highlights include being a finalist in national competitions such as the 2016 Pearl & Julius Young Music Competition and the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society competition. Carlos has also won the Rowan University concerto competition and was selected as a grand winner of the 2014 NLPA music competition which prize allowed him to perform in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.  Besides being an active church musician, Carlos is an accomplished composer.

Jisu Choi, violin, began her studies at the age of 13 and was awarded various prizes at Dong-A News Music Competition, LISMA Competition and Crescendo Music Competition, receiving an honor to give the winner’s recital at Weill Recital Hall. She also has performed actively as a chamber musician and has participated in Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center Masterclass. Jisu is a scholarship recipient at Manhattan School of Music and a recipient of Mark E. Tracey Memorial Band Scholarship.   Jisu is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Lucie Robert.

Hyo Jin Gwak, piano, was born in Korea and attended Busan Art Middle School, graduating as a piano performance major.  Hyo Jin was homeschooled for her high school years, in order to concentrate on her piano studies.  Currently, Hyo Jin Gwak is a Bachelor of Music candidate in Piano Performance at Manhattan School of Music, under the tutelage of Dr. Joanne Polk.  Some of Hyo Jin’s awards and prizes include First Prize in the Seoul Orchestra Competition, and Special Prize in the National Student Music Competition.  Hyo Jin has performed numerous piano recitals and concertos with orchestra throughout Korea.  Hyo Jin also attended Manhattan in the Mountains Summer Music Festival in Hunter, New York in 2015. 

Yan Li, piano, was born in 1994 in Shenzhen, China, and began studying the piano at the age of 6.  In 2005, Yan Li won second prize in Shenzhen Arts School “ShenYiBei” piano competition, and she entered Shenzhen Arts School to study with the pianist Mei Chou. As well, Ms. Li was awarded Honorable Mention in The International Piano Competition for Young Pianist in Ettlingen in 2008, first prize in Youth of The Third Asia Piano Competition (Shenzhen area), and second prize in The First Macau-Asia Piano Open Competition in 2010.   Ms. Li has also participated in many piano master classes, including those taught by Zhao-yi Dan, Ming-qiang Lee, Yuja Wang, and Ilja Scheps.  In 2016, Ms. Li was accepted to the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City and studied with Emanuel Krasovsky, Jeffrey Swann, and Alexander Kobrin at the festival.  Ms. Li is currently a Bachelor of Music candidate at Manhattan School of Music, studying under the tutelage of Dr. Joanne Polk. 

Daniel Hamin Go, cello, began his cello studies in Canada at the age of 13.  Daniel has worked with prominent musicians such as David Geringas, Hans Jørgen Jensen, and Morten Zeuthen. As an avid chamber musician, Daniel has received guidance under the members of American, Juilliard, and Tokyo string quartets, as well as Sylvia Rosenberg, Torleif Thedéen,  Peter Wiley, and is currently studying chamber music with David Geber. He has also participated in master classes at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  Festival engagements include Summit Music Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, the National Arts Center’s Young Artist Program, and Meadowmount School of Music. Daniel graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy, and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Julia Lichten. He plays a cello generously loaned by the Carlsen Cello Foundation.

Alyssa Kim, violin, started playing the violin at the age of four. In 2013, she was accepted into the Juilliard Pre-College Division for violin under Prof. Naoko Tanaka. Alyssa was a grand-prize winner of the Ensemble 212 Young Artist Concerto Competition and performed as a soloist with the Ensemble 212 Orchestra. In addition, she won first prize in numerous competitions including the NYIAA Young Artist Competition, the International Grande Music Competition, the International Virtuoso Competition, and the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra Young Artist Concerto Competition. Alyssa recently performed as a featured soloist with the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra.   Alyssa served s concertmaster of Manhattan School of Music’s Concert Orchestra, the Juilliard String Ensemble, and the New Jersey Intermediate Region I Orchestra, and principal for the World Youth Alliance Orchestra Ensemble and the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony. She is actively involved with biomedical lab research at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Rachel Yi, violin, began private lessons at the age of 5 and currently studies with Ms. Hye-Jin Kim, professor at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. Rachel has had the opportunities to study privately and take part in master classes with renowned artists including Mihaela Martin, Nicholas Kitchen, Paul Kantor, Daniel Phillips and many others.  Rachel has won numerous competitions, including co-winner of the 2014 College of Charleston Young Artist Competition and MTNA state winner in 2013 and 2014. She also won second place of the 2015  Clemson University Concerto Competition and was a winner of the 2016 Young Artists Orchestra Concerto Competition. She had the opportunity to perform with both orchestras. Rachel is the recipient of several scholarships including the Anthony Quinn Foundation, Fine Arts Foundation and GCYO.  In past summers, Rachel participated in the Heifetz Institute of Music and the East Carolina University Summer Chamber Music Institute.

Qianru Elaine He, violin, currently studies at Mannes School of Music under the instruction of Lewis Kaplan. In 2014, she received a scholarship to study at Meadowmount School of Music and won their annual chamber music competition. In 2015 and 2016, Qianru attended Morningside Music Bridge with full scholarships, and in November 2015, she was named an honorable winner of the National Young Arts Foundation. By winning the Doublestop Foundation’s 2016 Instrument Loan Competition, Qianru was awarded the opportunity to perform on a violin made by Emilio Celani in 1885. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in Weill Recital Hall in December 2016.

Annamaria Vasmatzidis, violin, is a current undergraduate freshman at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where she studies under Mark Kaplan. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, where she studied for six years. She is also a former student of the New York City Ballet’s concertmaster, Kurt Nikkanen. Her previous summer studies include the Greenwood Music Camp for chamber music, the Heifetz International Institute, and the Aspen Music Festival. Awards include the 2015 International Grande Music Competition in which her quintet, where she served as first violin, received first prize in the chamber division. She was also a finalist in the 2016 Pearl & Julius Young Music Competition. 

Yi Zeng, piano, started playing at age 4.  She has been selected in a number of competitions. In 2017, she won the prize of 2nd place Platinum Award in Young Classical Virtuosos for Tomorrow. In 2015, she was a finalist in Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition. In 2013, she won Golden Prize in Third Season Goodway International Youth Piano Competition. In the same year, she won Fifth Prize in Pearl River Kayserburg National Youth Piano Competition. In 2011, she won Golden Prize in Forth Season Qinsheng Cup Youth Piano Competition. She also actively participated in music festival Manhattan in the Mountains in New York. Currently, Yi Zeng is studying with Joanne Polk in Manhattan School of Music, pursuing her Bachelor Degree of Music.

BONJ Accompanist

Hyunjin Cho (BONJ Accompanist) began her piano lessons at the age of five. She continued her studies at Chugye University for the Arts in Seoul where she received her Bachelor’s degree as a full scholarship student.   Her appearances have included solo performances at The Juilliard School and in the New Jersey area supported by the Westerhoff Foundation as well as chamber music performances at the Shepard Hall, the Baisley Powell Elebash Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Bruno Walter Hall at Lincoln Center and NV Hall. She has played in the Echo Music Festival in the summer 2012 and 2013 as an accompanist and coach. She has been on the piano faculty at the Westerhoff school of music and arts since 2003.  Ms. Cho received her Master’s degree and professional studies certificate from Manhattan School of Music as a partial scholarship student with Marc Silverman.



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