Steans Music Institute Alumni Earn Top International Awards

Cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan’s recent triumph at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow leads a list of Steans Music Institute alumni who have added significant achievements to their resumes in the past few months. Originally from Armenia, Narek was a 2008 and 2009 fellow in the Program for Piano and Strings and also participated in the Steans alumni tour in 2011, including a performance on Ravinia’s Rising Stars series last March. Coincidentally, violinist Jehye Lee, who was also a Steans fellow in 2008 and 2009 and a tour participant in 2011, took the third prize among violinists.

The Primrose International Viola Competition also saw a strong showing from Steans alumni, with Ayane Kozasa (’10, ’11) taking first prize and Vicki Powell (’08, ’09) coming in third. Also this summer, the International Cello Festival of Canada awarded Se-Doo Park (’10) its first prize, with Karen Ouzounian (’10, ’11) a close second. Karen will appear on the Steans tour in 2013.

From the Program for Singers, baritone Michael Kelly (’09, ’11) won the prestigious Joy in Singing award. Baritone Adrian Kramer (’06, ’10), took first prize in the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards in Toronto, while soprano Ileana Montalbetti (’11) came in second.

Ravinia’s Rising Stars series features several Steans alumni this fall and in the coming spring, with violinist Bella Hristova (’07, ’08) performing on October 15, and the Steans tour returning to Bennett Gordon Hall on April 7. The tour this year includes violinist Tessa Lark (’07, ’08), violist Ayane Kozasa (’10, ’11), cellists Deborah Pae and Nathan Vickery (both ’10, ’11), and pianist Adam Golka (Steans ’07, ’09), along with Miriam Fried, the program director of the Program for Piano and Strings.

Ravinia audiences who caught the September 7 Martin Theatre performance by the Juilliard String Quartet enjoyed one of the world-renowned quartet’s first performances with new first violinist Joseph Lin (’97, ’05).