NEC Prep Student Wins Boston Symphony Orchestra's 2023 Concerto Competition

Keila Wakao

Violinist Keila Wakao, a student at NEC Preparatory School, has won first prize at the Boston Symphony Orchestra's 2023 Concerto Competition

Wakao studies violin with Donald Weilerstein and Soovin Kim at NEC Prep. She also attends the Walnut Hill School for the Arts.

The prodigious 17-year-old competed against eight other finalists on Thursday, October 12. For her win, she receives a cash prize of $1,000 and the opportunity to perform with the BSO in concert.  

"I am so grateful to have won the Boston Symphony Concerto Competition, as it has always been a lifelong dream to perform with the BSO in Symphony Hall,' said Wakao. "I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my teachers, family, and friends for their unwavering support. Most importantly, I would like to acknowledge the incredible dedication and hard work of all the competitors who participated.'

Wakao has performed solos and recitals throughout the United States, Japan, Germany, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Giving her first solo orchestra performance at age 9, she has since performed with orchestras nationwide. She is the first-prize winner of the 2021 Menuhin International Violin Competition and the 2021 Stulburg International String Competition and the recipient of the 2023 Aoyama Music Foundation Award for Upcoming Artists and the 2023 Salon De Virtuosi Career Grant.

Wakao will perform her winning rendition of the second movement of Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor with the BSO on October 28 at Boston's Symphony Hall. Purchase tickets here.