2015 Concerto Competition Winners

Mira M. Yamamoto – First Place

Photograph of Mira M. Yamamoto

As a winner of the American Fine Arts Festival Concerto Competition, Ms. Yamamoto performed in recital at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York City, and was a featured soloist on the National Public Radio series “Stars of Tomorrow” recorded live at the Heifetz International Music Institute in Staunton, Virginia. Solo experiences have included solos with the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Festival Orchestra, Eastside Symphony Orchestra, and Cascade Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Yamamoto is a two-time winner of the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition, a two-time winner of the Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside, an age division winner of the Philadelphia International Music Festival Concerto Competition, a winner of the Eastside Symphony Concerto Competition, and has won top prizes in many prestigious competitions including the Music Teachers National Association State String Competition, the Coeur d’Alene International Concerto Competition, the Simon-Fiset SMTA Competition, the Bushell Concerto Competition, and the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival.

This summer, Ms. Yamamoto will return to the Aspen Music Festival and School to study with Naoko Tanaka of The Juilliard School. Previous summers have taken her to the Heifetz International Music Institute where she studied with Grigory Kalinovsky and Mark Kaplan of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Manhattan in the Mountains also with Professor Kalinovsky, the Marrowstone Summer Music Festival where she served as associate concertmaster under Dale Clevenger, emeritus Principle Horn of the Chicago Symphony, and the Philadelphia International Music Festival where she studied with Noah Geller, Concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony.

During the 2013-2014 school year, Ms. Yamamoto attended the Seattle Conservatory of Music where she received training in music theory, ear training, eurhythmics, conducting, music history, creative expression, performance classes, regular outreach concerts, and chamber music. Her studies were funded in full by a Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship.

Ms. Yamamoto has performed in masterclasses for Brian Lewis, William Preucil, Vadim Gluzman, Augustin Hadelich, Paul Kantor, Curtis Macomber, Ingrid Matthews, and Karl-Ove Mannberg, among others.

In 2013 Ms. Yamamoto was selected to serve as Concertmaster of the Thalia Symphony Orchestra in Seattle, and is currently serving her second season under the baton of Maestro Michael Miropolsky.

Ms. Yamamoto studies violin with Simon James, Second Assistant Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony, and piano collaborator Hiro David of the Coleman Violin Studio. Mira is a 12th grader at The Keystone School and in her spare time, she enjoys drawing, photography, art, and looking at vegan food blogs.

Evan F. Hjort – Second Place

Photograph of Evan F. Hjort

Evan Falls Hjort currently studies with Simon James of the Seattle Symphony. He has performed as a soloist with Philharmonia Northwest, The Sammamish Symphony, and The Ottawa Chamber Symphony. Evan was also pleased to solo during a Seattle Symphony performance and made his radio debut on Seattle's 98.1 Classic King FM. Evan is a 2012 and 2014 winner of the Seattle Young Artist Music Festival, as well as the winner of the SYAMF honors medal in 2014. He is also a three-time first place winner of the Simon-Fiset String Competition. In recent years, Evan was a finalist in the Coeur d'Alene Symphony concerto competition and received the Director's Award during the Conservatory Music in the Mountains concerto competition in Durango, Colorado. An avid chamber musician, Evan has soloed as part of Elgar's Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and Orchestra and is a six-time winner of the David Tonkonogui Award for Excellence in Chamber Music. In the spring of 2014, Evan's string quartet won the Haydn Prize at the St. Paul String Quartet Competition and advanced to semifinals at the Fischoff competition. In December of 2014, Evan represented Washington state in the New York String Orchestra Seminar at Carnegie Hall. Evan is an alumni of the Meadowmount School of Music and the Brian Lewis Young Artists Program. When not playing the violin, Evan enjoys composing music, playing the piano, acting, and traveling.

Adrian F. Steele – Third Place

Photograph of Adrian F. Steele

Adrian Steele, age 15, is a violin student of Ron Patterson, having begun lessons at age 3 ½ with Tracy Helming and Mihoko Hirata. A freshman at Garfield High School in Seattle, he is a member Garfield’s Symphonic Orchestra and also pursues music academics at the Seattle Conservatory of Music. Adrian has received awards at numerous festivals and competitions, most recently winning the 2015 Coeur d’Alene National Young Artists’ High School competition and the 2014 Seattle Young Artists’ Music Festival Concerto Competition. As a soloist, he has performed has with several orchestras, including the Eastside Symphony, Philharmonia Northwest and the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra (with whom he will solo once again in March 2015 playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto, 1st movement). Adrian has spent summers at the Bowdoin Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine, and the Music in the Mountains Conservatory in Durango, Colorado, and has also participated in master classes with Ida Kavafian, Cyrus Forough, Grigory Kalinovsky and Paul Kantor.