2016-2017 Young Artist Profiles

Chosen by audition in May 2016, the following young musicians of outstanding talent will perform with the Old York Road Symphony in concert on Saturday, April 8, 2017.  Here is a bit more about each of them.

Isabella picIsabella Egawa, 16, is a sophomore at Harriton High School and has been playing violin for 10 years and currently studies with Mei-Chen Barnes. Isabella was one of the recipients of the 2016 Menges Scholarship of the Ambler Symphony Orchestra, won the 2016 Old York Road Symphony Orchestra Young Artist’s Competition, 1st place in the 2016 Tri-County Youth Festival Senior Solo Division, 2nd place in the 2015 Tri-County Youth Festival Senior Ensemble Division, and 2nd place in the 2016 Philadelphia Sinfonia Concerto Competition.

She has been a member of Philadelphia Sinfonia for four years. Isabella was the assistant concertmaster of the 2016 Verbier Junior Festival Orchestra, under the baton of British conductor Daniel Harding, and second violin principal of the 2016 Verbier Junior Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Russian conductor Dima Slobodeniouk. She was also the assistant concertmaster of the 2015 PMEA District 11 Orchestra and the second violin principal of the 2016 PMEA State Orchestra. She participated in the 2017 All-National Orchestra this fall. 

Isabella performs regularly at local churches and retirement centers, and teaches elementary and middle school students weekly. Isabella also enjoys playing piano, ukulele, and singing. Aside from music, she participates in Science Olympiad and plays tennis.

SashaHeSasha He started playing cello at nine. She is a recipient of Advanced Study Scholarship of Settlement Music School.  She won prizes at the Tri-County Concerts Association Youth Festival (2015 and 2016). She is also the winner of the Rose Tree Pops Youth Concerto Competition 2016.  She is currently studying cello with Udi Bar-David. Her previous cello teachers include Christine Watts and Metta Watts. A sophomore at Radnor High School, she is the principal cellist in the Delaware County Youth Orchestra. In past, she also won prizes at the Young Pianists Competition of New Jersey at age eight and eleven when she studied piano with Lena Solaiman.

Besides playing music, Sasha loves to work with younger children. She has taught two younger cello students and served as an intern at Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s PRYSM program for younger string players. She has volunteered as a junior counselor at Church of the Savior’s summer camps in the past years. She is active at her school, being a member of Radnor High School’s Annenberg Science Symposium team and earning a distinction of Cum Laude from the Philadelphia Classical Society (2016). At home, Sasha likes to cook and bake, and play tennis with her father and younger brother.

Hiroto picHiroto Saito is a senior at Garnet Valley High School and has been studying violin for six years with Kimberly Fisher, principal second violin of Philadelphia Orchestra. He started violin when he was four, and his previous teachers include Luigi Mazzocchi, Concertmaster of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. He has also participated in the master classes with David Kim, Cornelia Heard, and Jennifer Koh.

In 2016, Hiroto was ranked No.1 violinist at three PMEA festivals (District 12, Region VI, and All-State Orchestra), and led the orchestras as concertmaster. Later, he advanced to the NAfME All-National Symphony Orchestra. He was also awarded first place for the Warminster Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. He is a recipient of the Settlement Music School Advanced Study Scholarship, and participates in the Snitzer String Quartet coached by Sidney Curtiss.

Hiroto is a member of Philadelphia Sinfonia, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and his school orchestra. He has been performing at local churches, senior centers, and fund-raising events since 2009. In addition to music, he enjoys debating competitively for his school’s team, and playing tennis.

ZFpic2016Fifteen year old Zachary Fung is a Sophomore student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School. He started learning the piano at age 4 and cello at 9. He has been studying the Cello with Thomas Kraines and Sarah Yoon. Currently, Zachary is a member of Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has also been a member of Youth Chamber Orchestra and 2 chamber groups of Temple Music Prep, Center for Gifted Young Musician, principal cellist of Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra (PYAO), and Piano Trio in Settlement Music School.

In 2013, he won the Yocum Piano Competition, and was also a member of the National Guild of Piano for several years. Zachary was the winner of 2015 Bucks County Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition and performed solo with the Bucks County Symphony Orchestra. He won the First Prize of 2016 Caprio Young Artists Competiton and International Music Competition London Grand Prize Virtuoso. Zachary will be performing with Riverside Symphonia in December.

Zachary has attended Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC, Harpa International Music Festival in Iceland and Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, ME. He was invited to perform in a masterclass for Christian Poltera.

Hans-Derek YuHans-Derek Yu, age 14, is a ninth grade student from Egg Harbor Township, NJ. He began studying piano at the age of 5 and has been a student of Professor Veda Zuponcic of Rowan University since age 7.

Hans-Derek has won first place in numerous competitions, including the International Chopin Piano Competition Junior Category in Hartford, CT (age 9), the West Chester University Annual Pre-Collegiate Competition Children Category (age 9) and Junior Category (age 13), first place in the Greater Princeton Steinway Society Piano Competition (ages 9 and 12), and in 2014 Osaka International Music Competition solo category (age 12). At age 10, Hans-Derek performed with the Northern Lights Music Festival Orchestra as winner of the Concerto Competition. He won the same competition again at age 12.

As the youngest contestant in his age category at age 11, Hans-Derek won the Eastern Division of MTNA and advanced to the National Finals in Chicago. In the same year, he was named a finalist in the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Student Concerto Competition. He was named the finalist again in the Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Student Concerto Competition at age 12.

Aside from piano, Hans-Derek enjoys playing cello and mathematics. In school, he is on the track-and-field team and is the President of the Student Council. In addition, Hans-Derek is the pianist in a local jazz quartet, in which he is also the composer and arranger. His other hobbies include Ultimate Frisbee, ping-pong, and finding new, unique works of music to listen to.