Press Room

Four Outstanding Young Soloists Advance to Final Round of 2018 Ima Hogg Competition

HOUSTON (May 31, 2018) – The Houston Symphony announced today the four finalists for the Houston Symphony’s annual Ima Hogg Competition, one of the world’s greatest multi-instrument competitions founded more than four decades ago to honor the memory of Ima Hogg, a co-founder of the Houston Symphony.

Designed to identify and support outstanding young instrumentalists and their pursuit of musical careers, this prestigious competition has helped catapult the careers of hundreds of musicians over the last four decades, many of whom have become renowned soloists, chamber musicians and have earned prestigious posts in orchestras around the world.

The finalists were selected earlier this afternoon from a pool of ten contestants after each one of them performed a pre-selected concerto in front of a live audience and a judging panel at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall. Among this year’s finalists are Alexander Hersch (cello), Michael Ferri (violin), Ji Su Jung (marimba) and Hyun Jae Lim (violin); all of whom have either completed or are currently pursuing degrees in music from prestigious institutions such as the New England Conservatory, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, the Yale School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music.

These four outstanding soloists will face off on Saturday, June 2, for their chance to win the $25,000 Grace Woodson Memorial Award and earn a solo appearance with the Houston Symphony at the Donor and Subscriber Appreciation Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, at Jones Hall. The Finals Concert will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, at Stude Concert Hall at Rice University.

For more information, visit

2018 Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition Finals Concert
7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Daniel Hege, conductor
Stude Concert Hall
Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music
6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005
Tickets from $25


Michael Ferri, 22, violin
Nationality: Italian
Current residence: Houston, Texas

Alexander Hersh, 24, cello
Nationality: American
Current residence: Chicago, Illinois

Ji Su Jung, 25, marimba
Nationality: Korean
Current residence: New Haven, Connecticut

Hyun Jae Lim, 20, violin
Nationality: Korean
Current residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The Grace Woodson Memorial Award

Solo performance with the Houston Symphony at the Donor and Subscriber Appreciation Concert Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

The Houston Symphony League Award
Given by the Houston Symphony League in recognition of Jerry Priest, founding chair of the competition and in honor of the Houston Symphony League
Solo performance with the Houston Symphony at Miller Outdoor Theatre Saturday, June 30, 2018.

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

The Jean Whitbread Kucera Award
Given by Lilly and Thurmon Andress in loving memory of Lilly’s mother, Jean Whitbread Kucera

The Nancy and Robert Peiser Award for Artistic Encouragement
Given by former Houston Symphony Board President Robert Peiser and his wife Nancy to provide encouragement to one of the finalists – and selected by the musicians of the Houston Symphony

The Herman Shoss Audience Choice Award
Given by Diane and Harry Gendel in loving memory of Diane’s father, Herman Shoss, a former violinist in the Houston Symphony

About the Ima Hogg Competition
Named and purposed after former founder and President of the Houston Symphony, Miss Ima Hogg, this prestigious competition is designed to identify outstanding young instrumentalists between the ages of 16 and 26 to support their pursuit of careers in music. The goal is consistent with the vision of Miss Ima Hogg, whose passions included fostering young talent and supporting the Houston Symphony. It is one of the few instrumental competitions worldwide that includes all standard orchestral instruments.

The Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition is a definitive breeding ground for fine musicians. Past winners have won numerous national and international competitions, received principal posts with some of the world’s major orchestras and even occupied seats within the Houston Symphony – Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Keyboardist Scott Holshouser, and Principal Harpist Megan Conley are three such players, all former prize winners of the competition.

About the Houston Symphony League
The Houston Symphony League and the Houston Symphony League Bay Area are dedicated to supporting the Houston Symphony through volunteer efforts and fundraising. Symphony League members are involved with the Symphony’s education programs through student music competitions and activities at Family Concerts, Student Concerts, Summer Community Concerts and Theater District Open House. Members from the Bay Area League promote music appreciation to elementary students in Clear Creek ISD through enrichment programs in the schools. Both Leagues contribute to the successful operation of the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition by providing volunteers for in-hall support and hospitality.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2018-19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth 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, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label Pentatone. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

For tickets and more information, please visit or call 713-224-7575.

Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,
Mireya Reyna: (713) 337-8557,


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