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March 4, 2017 - 49th Annual Young Artists Competition (YAC)
Piano and Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion

March 4, 2017 in the Whittier College Chapel, 13439 Philadelphia St, Whittier, CA, 90601

Peter Sykes, Pianist, 49th Annual YAC Piano Winner

The new chairman of the Young Artist Competition, as of July 2016, is Russ Litchfield, Director of Music and Organist at First Friends Church in Whittier, and retired secretary for the Music Department at Whittier College.

The 2 categories for the 2017 contest are Piano and Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion. The entry fee is $50 and application may only be made through our website by clicking on the Young Artists Competition Application. The application deadline is February 17, 2017.

The contest was limited to the first 25 eligible applicants. Applicants must be residents of California, or students from out of state attending college or with a private teacher in California, not older than age 26 at the time of the competition, or 30 for vocalists.The application DEADLINE is Friday February 17, 2017.

Contestants are to prepare a full concerto or concert piece and a solo piece of contrasting style. Selections are to be performed from memory unless prior arrangements are made with the Young Artists Competition chairman.

Applicants will provide their own accompanist and original scores of their music will be made available for the judges.

The two top winners will perform as soloists either at the orchestra’s final concert May 7, 2017, or the first concert of the 2017-2018 season in the fall of 2017, one at each separate performance. Each will also receive a $1,000 cash prize.

Musicians placing second in each category will receive $500 cash prizes.

For more information, please call the Symphony Office at (562) 698-8626. You may also email Russ Litchfield at

Winners of the 49th Annual YAC

Peter Sykes, the winner in the pianist category, played Liszt's "Hungarian Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra," S.123. Peter, age 16, is a student of Anders Martinson. He attends the Harvard-Westlake school, where he plays in a Chamber-quintet and is a member of Chamber Singers. He has won First Place in several local competitions. Peter has wide interests in music in addition to piano performance, and "is hoping to share his love for music with the world through a fulfilling, dynamic career." You are in for a treat when you hear him play with the Symphony!

The 2nd place piano award was given to Elise Solberg, who played the Piano Concerto in G by Maurice Ravel. Elise studies with Dr. Stewart Gordon at USC and has performed with several orchestras.

Judges for the day-long event, eminent performers/teachers selected to represent expertise within the various categories, were: Professor David Muller, Dr Robert Sage and Dr Jeanette Wong. Chairing the competition was Russ Litchfield.