April 23, 2021
Two successfully audition in Young Artists competition
Two Upper St. Clair High School students were recently selected as featured artists in the 2021 Pittsburgh Concert Society Young Artists auditions. Pianists Leona Chen, grade nine, and Jason Lu, grade 10, will be featured in an upcoming concert on the organization’s YouTube channel.
Auditions were conducted via video submission on March 29, 2021. The auditions were adjudicated by Thomas Novak, vice president and provost for the New England Conservatory.
The Young Artists Auditions, judged by nationally known adjudicators, are held annually in March. Instrumentalists must be under the age of 19, vocalists under 22 by June 30 of the audition year, and must live within a 75-mile radius of Pittsburgh.
Young Artists winners are presented in concerts, in March and April. Typically, concerts are held in concert halls; however, due to the pandemic, this year’s concert will be shared online. Each winner of the Young Artists Auditions receives a $500 award from the Benjamin and Anna Perlow Scholarships Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, designated for the furtherance of his/her music studies.
In addition to the Young Artists Auditions, Jason and Leona earned recognition in the recent Lois Streator & Lois Smith Memorial Competition of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association. Jason placed third and Leona earned honorable mention. The Streator-Smith Competition began in 1992 to recognize talent in students in grades 7 through 12. Participants each presented a 12-minute program composed of two pieces from different periods, and the winners will receive a cash prize.
Leona recently won first place in the music category of the annual Discover FAA High School Competition hosted by the College of Fine & Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She performed Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat major “Heroic.” In 2019, as a seventh grader, Leona placed first overall in the Pennsylvania Federation of Music Clubs Festivals Piano Competition.
In December 2020, Jason was awarded the Award of Excellence in the Young Artists Program, sponsored by the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania (SSWPA). Jason, who performed two classic selections, was selected from among 54 pianists.