March 24, 2010

NEC Musicians Win Boston Pops Concerto Competition, Awarded Composition Premieres, Honored in Instrumental Competitions

Ahrim Kim: Ahrim KimAhrim Kim  New England Conservatory students have won both the high school and college level concerto competitions sponsored by the Boston Pops Orchestra.  Cellist Ahrim Kim '08 '10 M.M., a student of Natasha Brofsky, was named the winner in the college level and will play the Korngold Cello Concerto with the Pops at Symphony Hall, May 20.  She is the recipient of the Gregor Piatigorsky Scholarship. Violinist Robin Scott was named runner-up.

On the high school level, cellist Aaron Wolff, son of Hugh Wolff, NEC's Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras, was co-winner.  Aaron, besides being a cellist, is an actor who played the role of Danny Gopnik in the Coen Brothers' film A Serious Man. The other winner was cellist Jonah Ellsworth. Both Wolff and Ellsworth are students of Brofsky in the Preparatory School. Aaron will perform with the Pops on a date to be announced. Jonah will perform on a BSO Family Concert this fall.

Also on the Pops schedule are NEC's graduate Orchestral Conducting students, each of whom will step in to conduct a piece on one of Keith Lockhart's programs. Joshua Weilerstein '07 Prep, '09, '11 M.M. will conduct on "Tufts Night," May 20. Aram Demirjian '04 Prep, '11 M.M. will conduct on "Armenian Night," June 19. Both students are veterans of NEC's Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.

Daniel TemkinDaniel Temkin

Composer Daniel Temkin '11 M.M., a student of Michael Gandolfi, will have two works, chosen by competition, premiered by major orchestras this spring. Regenerations—A Set of Variations for Orchestra will be given its first performance by the Nashville Symphony April 8 as part of the Earshot/Nashville Symphony New Music Readings series.  He is one of four composers whose work was selected from hundreds of scores submitted to the American Composers Orchestra competition.  

On April 15, his piece, Rolling River, will be given its professional premiere by the Buffalo Philharmonic as part of the orchestra's Composer's Forum.  This honor also came about through a competition in which Temkin's work was selected from a national pool of applications. 

George LiGeorge Li Prep pianist George Li , recipient of the Seth Kimmelman Endowed Preparatory School Scholarship, wowed the crowd March 10 at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition when he gave a guest recital as a preview of the First Hilton Head International Young Artist Piano Competition, which will take place in 2011. George, 14, who studies with Wha Kyung Byun through the NEC at Walnut Hill program and coaches chamber music with Laura Blustein in the Prep, received a tumultuous ovation. He was also featured on the front page of the Island Packet newspaper. 

Violinist Yura Lee, who received her Artist Diploma from NEC in 2005, was the co-winner of the Fifth Unisa International String Competition in Johannesburg, South Africa.  She and cellist Georgi Anichenko were each awarded R200,000 (approximately $27,000) and a concert tour of south Africa in the Vodacom-sponsored competition. Lee also won the special prize of R10,000 (approx. $1400) for best performance of a Mozart or Beethoven sonata in the second round. Lee, 24, was awarded an Avery Fisher Career grant in 2007 and in 2006 won first prize in the Leopold Mozart Competition and second prize in the Premio Paganini Competition.

Violinist Robin Scott '09, '11 G.D. was a finalist in the 2010 WAMSO Competition and won the $1000 Elaine Lagerstrom Memorial Violin Award and a recital performance sponsored by the Schubert Club of St. Paul. The competition is sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer Association. Scott is a student of Donald Weilerstein.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory