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Education: Student Ensembles, Competitions & Awards

Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition

The North Carolina Symphony's Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition is North Carolina’s premier performance competition for young instrumentalists.

A cornerstone of one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra, the competition fosters the most promising musical talents in North Carolina. Winners have gone on to appear with acclaimed music organizations across the country and enter some of the world’s most prestigious music schools.

Candidates ages 10 to 21 hone their skills for a preliminary audition in Raleigh in front of the Symphony’s distinguished panel of judges. Select finalists in two age groups compete for cash awards and the chance to perform in concert with the finest musicians in the state, the North Carolina Symphony.

The 2017 Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition application is available HERE.

Questions? Contact Sarah Baron, Director of Education, at

The final round of the 2015 Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition, the state's premier performance competition for young instrumentalists, was held in May 2015 at William Peace University. Auditions were adjudicated by North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn and Associate Conductor David Glover. This year's honorees:

SENIOR DIVISION (16-21 years old)
First prize
Kiffen Loomis, 16, Asheville, NC
performing all variations of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Second prize
Jinho Kang
, 16, Chapel Hill, NC
performing the first movement of Greig's Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16

JUNIOR DIVISION (10-15 Years Old)
First Prize
Gabriel Crist, 11, Durham, NC
performing the first movement of Grieg's Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16

Second Prize
Shinae Ra, 15, Fayetteville, NC
performing the first movement
Dvoƙák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104


Kiffen Loomis, age 16, is from Asheville, N.C. He has studied piano with Juilliard professor Choong Mo Kang, John O’Conor, Douglas Weeks, and Suzan Fehr, his current teacher. As a solo and chamber musician, Loomis has performed on branches of NPR in North Carolina and Colorado. He has participated in master-classes with artists Veda Kaplinsky, Stephen Hough, Alon Goldstein, Ilena Vered, and Orion Weiss. Loomis has studied at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Southeastern Piano Festival, and Brevard Music Center. During the summer of 2015, he will participate in the Banff International Music Festival. Loomis was the junior division Grand Prize Winner of the Charlotte Symphony Guild’s 2013 Young Artist Competition. The following year, he won the junior division of the North Carolina Symphony’s Youth Concerto Competition. During the summer of 2014, he was one of 20 pianists selected internationally to compete in the Arthur Frasier International Piano Competition. In 2015, he won the senior division of the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Peter Perret Youth Talent Search, the senior division of the Charlotte Symphony Guild’s Young Artist Competition, the Hendersonville Symphony’s Young Artist Concerto Competition, and the Asheville Symphony’s Young Artist Concerto Competition. Kiffen has performed with the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Hendersonville, and Charlotte Youth Symphony Orchestras, and will perform with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra in 2016. In the statewide competitions hosted by the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs, he has been awarded first-prize eight times.

Gabriel John Loesch Crist, age 11, is from Durham, N.C. His musical studies began at age five with the violin. Shortly afterward, he began studying piano and has studied with Greg McCallum since 2010. He has won top honors in piano competitions sponsored by the Chapel Hill Music Teachers Association and the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. Last spring, he was awarded third place in the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Peter Perret Youth Talent Search for his performance on the piano. He has been a prolific composer from the age of six and currently studies composition and music theory with Stephen Jaffe. Earlier this year, one of his chamber works, Magic Numbers, was premiered at Duke University by the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet. In addition, he has studied cello performance with Leonid Zilper since he was seven years old. Crist has participated in orchestral and chamber music programs, both as a pianist and a cellist, with the Duke University String School and Mallarme Youth Chamber Orchestra. During the course of his musical studies, he has benefited from the instruction of many teachers, including Bonnie Thron, Gal Nyska, Julie Harris, and Candida Yoshikai.

Jinho Kang, age 16, is from Chapel Hill, N.C.  He began playing piano at age 6 and violin at age 12. He has studied piano with Margaret O’Brien for 3.5 years and violin with Robert Rempher for 4.5 years. Kang currently attends East Chapel Hill High school as a sophomore. He has won many awards in piano competitions, such as first place for the Charles F. T. Nakarai Piano Competition in 2013, first place in the UNC School of the Arts Classical Sonata Competition in 2014, and the Eleanor Holter Award (first place) for the ECU Pre-College piano competition in 2014, among many others. For violin, he performed as 2nd chair in the NC Eastern Region Orchestra in 2014 and plays as the 1st violinist of the Epsilon Quartet. Kang will participate in the North Carolina Governor’s School this summer and in the fall will attend UNC School of the Arts as a junior.

Shinae Ra, age 15, is from Fayetteville.  She began her her cello studies at the age of 8, and she has studied with Ken Ding and now studies with Emanuel Gruber who is a cello professor at East Carolina University. She was born to parents who were musicians, so she had many opportunities for musical experiences. She was involved in the academy for gifted young musicians in Germany when she was 4, and in South Korea when she was 9 years old. She performed with the Triangle Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (TYP) in Raleigh, MYCO chamber orchestra in Chapel Hill, Middle School Youth Orchestra (MSYO) in Fayetteville and is now a current member of Fayetteville Chamber Orchestra (FCO). She attended UNCG summer music camp in 2010, Summit Music Festival, with scholarship, which was held in New York in 2013 and 2014, and MYCO summer workshop in 2014 with full scholarship. In 2015, she won first place at a national competition called AACS (American Association of Christian schools) and at Chun University Music Competition. She won first place in Tar River Concerto Competition in 2014, first place at the North Carolina Music Teachers Association (NCMTA) junior string division, and third place in the Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA) Eastern State junior string division in 2013. She earned second place at in the MTNA North Carolina Junior String Division, grand prize at Kiwanis, in Fayetteville, and in the American String Teacher Association (ASTA) North Carolina Junior string division in 2012.

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Generous support for this competition has been provided by the Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition Fund of the North Carolina Symphony.

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