Think of the hours of practice and dedication that go into training toward the dream of becoming a world-calibre musician. Now, imagine the thrill of being invited to perform in recital in front of a warm, supportive audience. This is exactly the nurturing experience we aim to offer talented young artists in our annual Young Musicians Extraordinaire event.
“I felt an incredible energy from the audience as well as the people I was performing with …. I am always striving to find this focus and energy so that I’m able to give a gift to the audience through my music.
Luka Coetzee, 2018 Young Musician Extraordinaire
in an interview with neapolitanconnection.com on the experience of performing in High River
Three, two, one … blastoff!
It is inspiring to witness the accomplishments of former Young Musicians Extraordinaire. We are proud of our track record and pleased to play even a small role in helping to launch such exceptional talent.
The alumni of our Young Musicians Extraordinaire program never fail to amaze. Checking in with them years later, we discover that they are training with famous musicians and outstanding institutes, performing with world-class orchestras, scooping top prizes at international music competitions, and travelling to share their gifts with the world.
Virtuoso Kevin Chen first performed for us at age seven in 2012, returning by popular demand in 2014 and 2018. In 2013, he was named to CBC's Top 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30 list. Inspired by the strength and resilience of the Town of High River following the 2013 flood, Kevin composed an original work, River Rhapsody, about the river for us. In 2021, Kevin became the youngest-ever winner of the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition.
Luka began playing cello as a toddler on a full-size viola with an endpin inserted in it. As a winner of the Calgary Concert Competition, she performed as a soloist with the Calgary Civic Symphony at an April concert. She has also taken first prize in the Canadian Music Competition National Finals, and was awarded a scholarship from the Canimex Group for outstanding performance in her age group for the strings category.
Canadian cellist Mari Coetzee, who appeared with us in 2016, is an exciting, versatile performer who took first place in the Shean Strings Competition and was a grand prize winner in the Canadian Music Competition. Mari undertook her Masters of Music in Juilliard’s five-year accelerated program, and was named to CBC Music’s list of 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30 in 2015.
Cynthia Gan is a two-time Royal Conservatory of Music gold medal winner in voice, as well as an accomplished pianist and creative writer. She earned her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music Diploma in piano performance at age 14, following it with an ARCT Diploma in voice performance.
By the time she appeared with us in 2014, Isabella had already been described as “a violinist who plays with the assurance of professional musicians, with momentum and accuracy" by La Presse. She was proclaimed as the Emerging Artist for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's 2017-18 season, and in 2019, earned a Grand Prize at the Stepping Stone of Canadian Music Competition in Calgary.
Angela Ryu performed for us twice, first in 2016 and again in the spring of 2019. That same year, Angela won the Shean Strings Competition in Edmonton, took first prize at the Canadian Music Competition, and received the grand award at the National Music Festival.
Anna Stube was born in Latvia and currently lives in Calgary, Canada, where she studies violin with William van der Sloot. Anna has won numerous awards from Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music, Calgary Performing Arts Festival, and Canadian Music Competition, including winning the 2018 Grand Prize in the 11 to 14 year category.
As a solo artist, Colleen was featured twice at the Canada’s Rising Stars concert, performed with many orchestras such as Vancouver Symphony, Okanagan Symphony, Kamloops Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic and Calgary Civic Orchestra, and had the honour of performing Chopin piano works on CBC Radio.
Canadian cellist, soloist and chamber musician Tate Zawadiuk performed with us in 2013 as a Young Musician Extraordinaire. For five consecutive seasons, Tate was the principal cellist of the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is currently a student at the Colburn Conservatory of Music. In 2019, Tate and his chamber group the Viano String Quartet took first prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC), and Tate was listed on CBC Music's 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30.
For some of our Young Musicians Extraordinaire, our showcase marks the first time that they find themselves featured in a concert program. With so much local talent in Alberta, promoting the abilities of these young artists is a natural fit for us. Young artists are able to experience the warmth of our warm and friendly audience, while concertgoers frequently say “they saw them when.” Our tradition is to cap off our season by enjoying ice cream from Evelyn’s Memory Lane in High River. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Thanks for welcoming these young musicians.
It’s the enthusiasm and generosity of our community and sponsors which helps us to make this annual event a success. Your support makes a world of difference.