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

March 4, 2017 at Whittier College, Whittier, CA

Rachel Ostler, Violinist, 48th Annual YAC Strings 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 is limited to the first 25 eligible applicants. Applicants must be residents of 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 48th Annual YAC!

Joel David Balzun, 48th Annual YAC Voice Category Winner

Two young musicians, a baritone and a violinist, won the Rio Hondo Symphony's 48th annual Young Artists Competition March 5, 2016, in the Chapel at Whittier College.

Rachel Ostler, a violinist who studied at Colburn School of Music with Robert Lipsett, placed first in the strings category. She began playing chamber music at an early age in a family string quartet. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and was first violin of the former Verdade Quartet, a student honors quartet that won grand prize in the Utah Chamber Music Competition. She made her solo debut at the age of 13, performing the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra.

Joel David Balzun, a baritone, won in the voice category.

The 2nd place strings award was given to Leah Hansen, cello. Placing 2nd among the vocalists was Marina Harris, soprano, while Honorable Mention in the vocals category was awarded to Jose Maldonado, bass.

Judges for the day-long event, eminent performers/teachers selected to represent expertise within the various categories, were: RHS Conductor Emeritus Wayne Reinecke, Dr. Robert Sage, and Rio Hondo College Professor Steve Moshier. Chairing the competition were Bob Orpin, Past President, Rio Hondo Symphony Assn, and Enrique & Maria Elena Alvarez.