Newsroom

April 19, 2016



MEDIA CONTACTS:

Vanessa Astros
Senior Director, Communications

(713) 337-8560
vanessa.astros@houstonsymphony.org

Kristen Bennett
PR Coordinator
(713) 337-8557
kristen.bennett@houstonsymphony.org

ILLUSTRIOUS IMA HOGG COMPETITION GARNERS SELECT POOL OF EMERGING INSTRUMENTALISTS FOR GRAND PRIZE

Ten semifinalists face off at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall June 2
Top four musicians advance to final round of prestigious competition June 4
Winner receives $25,000 prize and performs at Jones Hall with Houston Symphony 

HOUSTON (April 19, 2016) – Semifinalists for the 41st annual Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition were announced Tuesday by the Houston Symphony and the Houston Symphony League. Contestants will battle for the top prize and the opportunity to perform on the stage of Jones Hall with the Houston Symphony in an orchestra-run multi-instrument competition. This year’s semifinalists represent some of the nation’s most cosmopolitan cities – including Houston – and bear exceptional accomplishments.

The Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition – a partnership between the Houston Symphony League and the Houston Symphony – is one of the foremost instrumental competitions in the world and was named to honor the memory of Miss Ima Hogg, a co-founder of the Houston Symphony. This prestigious competition is designed to identify outstanding young instrumentalists and support their pursuit of careers in music-making. Often raising their profile in the orchestra world, the competition helps them win significant accolades and receive principal posts with major orchestras.

Chaired by Jo Dee Wright, an active member of the Houston Symphony League and the Underwriting Committee, this year’s competition is undoubtedly one of the most competitive in its history. It has attracted an unprecedented caliber of contestants due to changes in eligibility requirements; intended course of study to pursue a musical career; and an expanded Education and Community Engagement residency for the first prize winner that can now be completed within a year. Another change that audiences will notice are the number of judges, up from three to five, who will determine the four finalists performing with the Houston Symphony.

The 10 outstanding semifinalists selected from a pool of nearly 70 candidates ranging from a wide variety of instruments and nationalities are: Sam Boutris (25), Samuel Chan (22), Ron Cohen Mann (24), Luke Hsu (25), Jae Young Kim (21), Christine J. Lee (24), Brian Lin (24), August Ramos (21), Charles Seo (20) and Stephanie Zyzak (22). These musicians have appeared in various national and international competitions and festivals including the Lennox International Young Artist Competition, the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the Tchaikovsky International Competition and the Dresden Music Festival. Additionally, many have given solo and chamber performances at famed venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The competitors’ education is not to be underestimated either; semifinalists Chan, Kim, and Lin are currently pursuing degrees at The Julliard School, while Boutris and Cohen Mann are pursuing degrees at the Yale School of Music. Hsu and Zyzak are enrolled at the New England Conservatory; Seo attends The Colburn School and Ramos is pursuing a degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

On Thursday, June 2, the semifinalists will perform up to two concertos – chosen by them in advance – with a piano accompanist for the judges in hopes of advancing to the finals. During the midday break, moderator Glenn Taylor, founder of SKYBOUND and specialist in career advancement, will lead a panel discussion regarding the importance of entrepreneurial musicianship to create robust music careers in the 21st century. Panelists include Megan Conley, Houston Symphony harpist and 2012 Ima Hogg Competition winner; Matthew Detrick, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Apollo Chamber Players; Rachel Roberts, Director of Entrepreneurial Musicianship of the New England Conservatory; and Jade Simmons, concert pianist and arts entrepreneur. Admission to the semifinals at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall is free.

On Saturday, June 4 – after a competitive selection process – four finalists will perform one of their chosen concertos with the Houston Symphony in front of a live audience at Stude Concert Hall. The finals concert will be conducted by Daniel Hege, who serves as the music director of the Wichita Symphony and the principal guest conductor of the Tulsa Symphony. The finals will be broadcast live on Houston Public Media News 88.7.

Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition Prizes

The winner of the First Prize, The Grace Woodson Memorial Award, will receive a cash prize of $25,000, made possible thanks to the generosity of Symphony patrons John and Tracy Dennis in honor of his grandmother. The winner will also have the coveted opportunity to perform with the Houston Symphony this summer at the evening concert of Day of Music at Jones Hall Saturday, July 9. He or she will also complete an Education and Community Engagement residency with the Houston Symphony, contributing to the city’s community to develop education and community engagement abilities that are valued in a modern professional musician’s skillset.

The recipient of the Second Prize, The Houston Symphony League Award – presented by the Houston Symphony League in recognition of Jerry Priest, founding Chair of the Competition and member of the Houston Symphony League – will take home a $10,000 cash prize and will have the opportunity to perform with the Houston Symphony at Miller Outdoor Theatre Saturday, June 25.

Air travel for the semifinalists is generously provided by United Airlines, the official airline of the Houston Symphony. The Lancaster Hotel provides accommodations for the conductor and the panel of judges. The partnership with Rice University allows the Symphony to host the Competition at the Shepherd School of Music year after year. The competitors' accommodations are provided thanks to the hospitality of Houston Symphony volunteer host families. The underwriting support of this prestigious annual event is provided by generous sponsors, including Mr. and Mrs. John P. Dennis III and Mr. John Neighbors.

2016 HOUSTON SYMPHONY IMA HOGG COMPETITION SEMIFINALISTS

Sam Boutris, 25 years old, clarinet
Nationality: American
Current residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Samuel Chan, 22 years old, marimba
Nationality: Chinese
Current residence: New York, New York

Ron Cohen Mann, 24 years old, oboe
Nationality: Canadian
Current residence: New Haven, Connecticut

Luke Hsu, 25 years old, violin
Nationality: American
Current residence: Boston, Massachusetts

Jae Young Kim, 21 years old, piano
Nationality: South Korean
Current residence: New York, New York

Christine J. Lee, 24 years old, cello
Nationality: South Korean
Current residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Brian Lin, 24 years old, piano
Nationality: Chinese
Current residence: New York, New York

August Ramos, 21 years old, bass
Nationality: American
Current residence: Houston, Texas

Charles Seo, 20 years old, cello
Nationality: South Korean
Current residence: Los Angeles, California

Stephanie Zyzak, 22 years old, violin
Nationality: American
Current residence: Boston, Massachusetts

2016 Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition Prizes

FIRST PRIZE
The Grace Woodson Memorial Award
Generously given by the Dennis Family in memory of Grace Woodson
$25,000
Solo performance with the Houston Symphony at the evening concert of Day of Music Saturday, July 9, 2016
Education and Community Engagement Residency with the Houston Symphony

SECOND PRIZE
The Houston Symphony League Award
Given by the Houston Symphony League in recognition of Jerry Priest, founding chair of the competition and member of the Houston Symphony League
$10,000
Solo performance with the Houston Symphony at Miller Outdoor Theatre Saturday, June 25, 2016

THIRD PRIZE
The Selma Neumann Memorial Award
Presented by the Houston Symphony League Bay Area in memory of Selma Neumann, founding president of the Houston Symphony League Bay Area
$5,000

FOURTH PRIZE
The Jean Whitbread Kucera Award
Given by Lilly and Thurmon Andress in loving memory of Lilly's mother, Jean Whitbread Kucera
$2,500

AUDIENCE CHOICE
The Herman Shoss Audience Choice Award
Given by Diane and Harry Gendel in loving memory of her father, Herman Shoss, a former violinist in the Houston Symphony
$1,000

ARTISTIC ENCOURAGEMENT
The Robert and Nancy Peiser Award for Artistic Encouragement
Given by Robert Peiser, the immediate past president of the Houston Symphony Society, and his wife Nancy to provide encouragement to one of the finalists selected by the musicians of the Houston Symphony
$1,000

2016 Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition EVENTS 

Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition Semifinals
Thursday, June 2, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
*The panel discussion “The 21st Century Musician” will take place from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Stude Concert Hall
Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005
Free Admission

Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition Finals
Saturday, June 4, 7 p.m.
Daniel Hege, conductor
Stude Concert Hall
Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005
Tickets: $25 (student rush tickets $15)

ABOUT THE HOUSTON SYMPHONY

During the 2015-16 season, the Houston Symphony will celebrate its second season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $32.8 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians and 4 community-embedded musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 300 performances for 400,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

MEDIA CONTACTS:           

Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,
vanessa.astros@houstonsymphony.org

Lorena Cozzari: (713) 337-8548,
lorena.cozzari@houstonsymphony.org          

Kristen Bennett: (713) 337-8557,
kristen.bennett@houstonsymphony.org

 

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