20th Annual Schadt Competition Announces Winner

Mar 8th, 2016Press Release from Miller Symphony Hall

ALLENTOWN, PA—WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT 20TH ANNUAL SCHADT STRING COMPETITION—The finals round of the 20th Annual Schadt String Competition for Cello was held on Sunday, March 6, 2016 at Miller Symphony Hall.  Three finalists performed in a free public recital at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown. First place went to Alexander Hersh who currently studies at the New England Conservatory in Boston.  Mr. Hersh performed Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129.


The first place award is $8,000 and a solo performance with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in November 2016. Alexander Hersh will perform Schumann’s Cello Concerto with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra on November 5 & 6, 2016. The second-place prize of $2,500 went to Sujin Lee, who attends the New England Conservatory and the third place of $1,500 went to Noémie Raymond-Friset, also a student at the New England Conservatory.


The distinguished panel of judges included Richard Aaron, Professor of Cello at the Juilliard School and The University of Michigan; Natasha Brofsky, Professor of Cello at the New England Conservatory; David Moulton, Principal Cellist of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra; and Diane Wittry, Allentown Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor.

                Next year, the Schadt String Competition will feature guitar.  For further information and details of this exciting annual musical event, contact Stephanie Kocher at the Allentown Symphony at (610) 432-7961 or visit our website at www.allentownsymphony.org




Alexander Hersh

USA                       AGE: 22

Having just made his Symphony Hall debut with the Boston Pops and his Kennedy Center debut in the Spring of 2015, Alexander Hersh is quickly establishing himself as a rising young talent. A 4th generation string player, he has performed in the US, Canada, and Europe. Hersh has received numerous awards as both a soloist and as a chamber musician, including the Hellam Young Artist Competition, and the Boston Pops/New England Conservatory Competition.

Hersh has participated in music festivals worldwide including: Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, and the Amsterdam Cello Biennale. In the Summer of 2014, he served as principal cellist for the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Lucerne, Switzerland. 

Raised in Chicago, Alexander Hersh began playing the cello at the age of 5. He studied with Steve Balderston and Hans Jensen, and attended the Academy at the Music Institute of Chicago. As a high school student Hersh twice appeared on NPR’s “From the Top,” and performed as soloist with the Chicago Youth Concert Orchestra, and the Oak Park Symphony. In May, Hersh received his B.M. from New England Conservatory with academic honors where he was a student of Laurence Lesser and recipient of the Clara M. Friedlaender Scholarship. He is currently pursuing his M.M. at New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Paul Katz. 

Sujin Lee

USA       AGE: 24
Cellist Sujin Lee is quickly establishing herself as a mature, young artist, concertizing at prestigious venues such as the Louvre Museum, Kennedy Center, Gardner Museum, and Zankel Hall. Prizewinner of the Hudson Valley String Competition (2014), Johansen International Competition (2006), and Klein International Competition (2009), she has participated in and performed at the prestigious Caramoor, Music@Menlo, Verbier Academy, Ravinia Festivals and the Perlman Music Program. She has collaborated with world-renowned artists including Leon Fleisher, Pamela Frank, Miriam Fried, Itzhak Perlman, and Donald Weilerstein. Sujin has a B.A. degree in Psychology from Columbia University and received her music degrees in cello performance from the Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory. In the past year, her engagements have included concerto performances with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Waltham Symphony Orchestra, the “Rising Stars” residency at Caramoor, and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute “Rising Stars” tour. She currently studies with Laurence Lesser and her former teachers include Laura Blustein, Paul Katz, and Timothy Eddy. Ms. Lee is currently on chamber music faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School.

Noémie Raymond-Friset

Canada                 AGE: 24
From solo to chamber music, the young cellist Noémie Raymond-Friset puts a special stamp on all she plays. Currently continuing her musical education (Graduate Diploma) under the tutelage of Yeesun Kim at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Noémie also earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Montreal.

This summer, she played in concert with Joshua Bell at the Aspen Music Festival and School as well as at the St-Regis Deer Valley (Utah). She has recently acted as Ambassador of the New England Conservatory to the Cello Amsterdam Biennale Festival and has participated in the International Lutowslavski Competition.

In addition, her playing was greatly acclaimed in a masterclass given by Yo-Yo Ma, for an audience of more than 1000 people. She was also personally invited to play the solo cello part in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins and Cello with Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the maestro himself playing first violin solo. A fierce competitor, she was a finalist for the 2014 Prix d’Europe, where she was awarded the Guy-Soucie Award for the best interpretation of a Canadian piece. She was recently selected for the upcoming 2015 Beijing International Competition. As a laureate of the 2015 Musical Instrument Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts competition, Noémie currently plays on a 1769 Joannes Guillami cello.

 Judges Bios

Richard Aaron

The Juilliard School & The University of Michigan 

Richard L. Aaron presently serves as professor of cello at the University of Michigan and at The Juilliard School. Previously, he taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory.

Aaron has given master classes in Spain, Germany, France, Korea, Japan, China and Australia, as well as at many of the leading music schools in North America, including Rice University, Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Mannes, the Hartt School and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Since 2003, Aaron has been on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and has taught at many other summer music institutes including the Indiana University String Academy, Calgary Music Bridge, Peter the Great Music Festival (Groningen, Holland), Aria International Summer Academy (Massachusetts), Innsbruck Summer Music Academy (Missouri), Chautauqua Institution (New York), the Idyllwild Summer Program (California), Heifetz International Music Institute (Virginia), Marrowstone Music Festival (Port Townsend, Washington), and Encore (Ohio).

Many of Aaron’s students have won prestigious prizes at competitions around the world, including the Naumburg, Washington International, Johanson in Washington, Isan Yun in Korea, Cassado in Japan and Klein in San Francisco. Aaron himself is a frequent competition judge, having recently served the Beijing International Competition, Isan Yun Competition (Korea), Cassado (Japan), Amsterdam Cello Biennale Competition, Schadt String Competition and The Stulberg Competition.

Former Aaron students have occupied principal positions in major orchestras such as Chicago, Saint Louis, Seattle, Portland, and the Metropolitan Opera to name just a few, as well as playing among award-winning ensembles, such as the Biava, Fry Street, American, Pandereski, Linden, Escher and Aeolus string quartets.

Aaron was a member of the Elysian Piano Trio at Baldwin Wallace College for 14 years; he continues an active chamber music performance schedule.

Natasha Brofsky

The New England Conservatory 

Natasha Brofsky, a member of the New England Conservatory cello faculty since 2004, has enjoyed a career in both the United States and Europe.

As cellist of the Naumburg award–winning Peabody Trio, she has performed on important chamber music series throughout the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, at venues including Wigmore Hall in London, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. 

In addition to her work with the Peabody Trio, Brofsky has performed as guest with numerous ensembles, including the Takács, Prazak, Cassatt, Norwegian, Jupiter, Ying, and Borromeo quartets.

During nearly a decade in Europe, Brofsky held principal positions in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra under Iona Brown. In addition, she was a member of the Serapion Ensemble, performing with them in Germany and Austria, and the string trio Opus 3, which performed throughout Norway for Rikskonsertene, the Norwegian State Concert Agency. She recorded Olav Anton Thommessen’s Concerto for cello and winds for Aurora Records, and was a regular participant at Open Chamber Music in Prussia Cove, England.

A sought-after teacher, Brofsky has given masterclasses at many schools, including San Francisco Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, and Boston University, as well as for El Sistema in Venezuela. She has taught at Barratt-Due’s Institute in Oslo, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Heifetz Institute. Since 2001, she has been on the faculty at the Yellow Barn Festival in Vermont.

Her students enjoy careers as performers and teachers all over the world. Recent student honors include a Grammy nomination, first prize at the Sphinx Competition, a prize at the Cassado cello competition in Japan, and appearances on radio and television on “From the Top.” In 2010 three of her students were chosen to perform with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops as winners of their young artist competitions.

Following her own college studies, Brofsky was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study with William Pleeth in London, where she won the Muriel Taylor Cello Prize.

David Moulton

The Allentown Symphony Orchestra

David Moulton , Cello and viola da gamba, received Bachelors and Masters degrees with distinction in cello performance from the University of Michigan. He has served as Principal Cellist in the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Chamber Symphony, and has performed at the Colorado, Aspen, and Spoleto Italy Music Festivals. Currently, Mr. Moulton is a member of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra, and is Principal Cellist of the Allentown Symphony.  He also performs regularly with the Northeastern Pennsylvania  Philharmonic, as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Mr. Moulton’s  chamber music activities include the Lukens Piano Trio, the period instrument ensemble Bethlehem Baroque,  and the mixed strings and winds group Satori. He is a faculty member at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, and Lafayette College, Easton. 

Diane Wittry

Conductor/Music Director Allentown Symphony Orchestra

Diane Wittry is one of the foremost woman conductors in the US today.  Frequently engaged as a guest conductor, she has led symphonic performances in more than 10 countries and throughout the U.S.  She has worked with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Pierre Boulez, and Daniel Lewis, among others, and has been profiled in the New York Times

The Allentown Symphony Association appointed Diane Wittry as its third Music Director and Conductor in 1995.  Under her artistic leadership in the last 20 years, the Orchestra has risen to increasing standards of excellence, performing exciting music with passion and dedication, and winning the prestigious national “American Prize” for artistic quality in 2014. 

During her tenure with the ASO, she has built a well-earned reputation for her innovative style of multi-media programming that uses other art forms to enhance the concert experience.  Diane has expanded the concert series and developed outreach programs such as the Schadt National String Competition, Young Musicians String Festival, Phantasy Symphony for amateur musicians, Conducting Fellows Program, ASO Annual Youth and Family Concerts, Meet the Artists brown bag talks, and the Allentown Symphony Chorus. 

In addition to her work with the ASO, Diane Wittry has served as the Associate Conductor of the renowned Ojai Music Festival (CA); the Artistic Director of the International Music Program with the Sarajevo Philharmonic, Bosnia;  and Music Director and Conductor of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Norwalk Symphony (CT), and the Ridgewood Symphony (NJ).

Wittry is an award winning author, composer, and teacher. Her two books, Beyond the Baton, and Baton Basics-Communicating Music through Gestures, have become standards in the field.  Hundreds of conductors from all over the world have studied conducting with her, and she regularly gives presentations at the Juilliard School of Music, the Curtis Institute, the Manhattan School of Music, and for the League of American Orchestras and the Conductors Guild National Conferences. Next January, Wittry will be the featured conducting teacher for the CODA National Conference (College Orchestra Director’s Association).  

As a composer, Diane Wittry’s compositions are published by Theodore Presser Company.  Her pieces have been performed and recorded by orchestras in the United States and Europe.  Wittry’s composition “Mist, ” premiered by the Allentown Symphony in 2008, will have its New York premiere in October 2015. 

Awards Diane Wittry has received include the national Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras, the USC Thornton School of Music Outstanding Alumnus Award, the Gold Crown Award (Pasadena, CA), the Women of Excellence Award (Beaumont, TX), and the Arts Ovation Award and the Woman of Distinction Award (Allentown, PA).

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