Sophomore Pianist Wu Wins ONNY Young Artist Competition

When pianist Alex Wu, a Syracuse-area high school student, placed second last year in The Orchestra of Northern New York’s annual James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Competition, he was happy, but not satisfied. Even the pandemic couldn’t stop him from competing again in 2021 and this time, he achieved his goal of winning top honors in ONNY’s 15th annual competition.

Mr. Wu, 16, is a sophomore at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. He performed the first movement, Allegro, of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 in Eb Major, Op. 73, “Emperor” (1809-1811). Not only does he receive the $500 cash prize, but he also will have the opportunity to solo with ONNY, the North Country’s only year-round professional symphony orchestra at a future date to be announced.

For the past nine years, Wu has studied piano privately with John Spradling, Syracuse. His past accomplishments include winning the Onondaga Civic Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and Golden Key Vienna Music Festival, both in 2019, the CNYAMT Advanced Piano Competition, and the 19th AADGT International Young Musicians Festival. He is the son of Qing Wu and Qinru Qiu, Manlius.

Pianist Victoria Huffman, 15, won Second Place and a $300 cash prize. She, too, studies privately with Mr. Spradling. She performed the first movement of Mozart’s Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K.453 (1784).

Ms. Huffman is a junior at Indian River High School, Philadelphia NY, and is active in her school’s drama club, chorus, and show choir. Last year, she placed second in the CNYAMT Advanced Piano Competition.  She is the daughter of James and Lydia Huffman, Theresa.

Third Place went to violinist Katherine Yu, 16, a junior at Potsdam High School, for which she received $150. She won with a performance of Saint-Saёns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28 (1863).

She studies violin with John Lindsey, Crane School of Music Professor Emeritus and ONNY Concertmaster, and oboe with ONNY Crane Student Apprentice Cailyn Monastero. She is the daughter of Dennis and Jennifer Yu, Potsdam.

The Young Artist Competition was established in 2007 in memory of James Andrews, father of ONNY Founder, Music Director and Conductor Kenneth Andrews. Its mission is to inspire young musicians to reach their highest level of artistry. The event is open to junior high and high school students in Northern and Central New York as well as the Capital District.

Information about the competition, including rules and regulations and the required repertoire that must be performed from memory, may be found at A brochure and application form for the next competition in  February 2022 will be updated shortly.

The Orchestra of Northern New York, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization, is supported, in part, by the New York State Council, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature; and by the Northern New York Community Foundation, whose mission is to improve and enrich the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties.

Donations in support of the Young Artist Competition help defray the costs of this event, and are greatly appreciated. To contribute, visit

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