Cellist Wins Young Artist Competition

POTSDAM - Hannah Jieun Sohn, 15, of Colonie, NY placed first in the James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Instrumental Competition, sponsored by the Orchestra of Northern New York, the North Country's professional symphony orchestra.

Ms. Sohn earned $500 in prize money and the opportunity to perform with ONNY at its upcoming March concert, The Planets, to be held 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 18 and 3:00 pm, Sunday, March 19 at SUNY Potsdam's Snell Theater.

Ms. Sohn has been actively playing the cello since the age of 6.  Now a sophomore at Shenendehowa High School, she studies under the tutelage of cellist, Yehuda Hanani after 6 years with Dr. David Bebe of the College of Saint Rose. She also has received coaching by Yumi Kendall and Gloria dePasquale of the Philadelphia Orchestra and participated in master classes conducted by Johannes Moser and Paul Dwyer. 

Since 2010, Ms. Sohn has been principal cellist of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, performing in numerous concert halls, including the world renowned Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. With a great passion and enthusiasm in music, she hopes to pursue a career as a professional musician.

Nicholas Cantello, 18, of Syracuse placed second for his performance on the French horn. He is the accompanist, substitute and organist for several churches in the Syracuse area. As a student of Paul Brown, he won the seat of principal horn at the Orchestral Studies program at the 2015 New York State Summer School of the Arts. He has been principal horn of the Syracuse Youth Orchestra since 2014.

Also an avid composer, Cantello has had works performed at the Society for New Music, Rising Stars Concert, and was a finalist in the Ithaca Choral Composition Competition in 2015.

Silas Smith, 17, of Malone, NY won third prize on the harp, which he has been studying for nine years through the National String Project at the Crane School of Music, under the direction of Jessica Suchy-Pilalis. He has performed with the Crane Youth Music Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Harp Ensemble. He was also selected to be a featured soloist in the CYM Honors Recital.

A recipient of the Scott LaVine CYM Scholarship and the American Harp Society Kids for Camp Scholarship, Smith has also participated in numerous NYSSMA solo festivals and has been principal harpist in this region's Area All-State Orchestra. He has also performed at SUNY Plattsburgh's Choral Fest 2016.

The James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Instrumental Compeition was established in 2007 for talented high school students in Northern New York. The competition is one of a few of its kind in the United States that offers both a cash prize and the opportunity to solo with a professional symphony orchestra.

The mission of the competition is to inspire the young musicians to reach their highest level of artistry. Pieces performed come from a select repertoire and must be performed from memory. This year, participants came from Plattsburgh, Malone, St. Regis Falls, Syracuse and Albany and competed on piano, flute, cello, french horn, and harp.

For more information about next year's competition or about the Orchestra of Northern New York, visit www.onny.org or call 315-267-3251.