Young Artists Competition

The Annual Young Artists Competition-2020

2020 – YAC for STRINGS, will be held Saturday February 1st!

This competition is held at the Callaway Auditorium, on the campus of LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia.  The 2020 event is for strings, and 2021 is for piano.  Please read more about this event below.  Requirements and how to apply for the 2020 competition will be posted soon.

The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra began the Young Artists Competition in 1996 to encourage professional standards of performance among young musicians. Originally formed to serve residents or resident students within a 50 mile radius of LaGrange, the competition now serves talented young musicians from six southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Each year the contestants perform before nationally and internationally recognized judges. The first place winner is invited to perform with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra later in the concert season.

Participants in the Young Artists Competition compete for three awards:

First Place: Dorothy Allen Turner Award – $1,500

This award honors the memory of Dorothy Allen Turner, longtime LaGrange resident, devoted supporter of music in the community, and widow of Dr. Render Turner. Dot’s daughter Isabelle Knight is a former member of the LSO and her granddaughter Callie Knight Hammond is the current assistant concert master of the LSO as well as the conductor of the youth string ensemble. Her son in law, Charles Knight, is a past President of the Symphony board. The Cash award of $1,500 includes the opportunity to perform as guest soloist with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. 1st place winner appears with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra in Callaway Auditorium.

Second Place: Max Kaplan Award – $1,000

The second place award honors the memory of Dr. Max Kaplan. Dr. Kaplan, a university professor, author and lecturer, was a sociologist, violinist and member of the LSO board from 1992 to 1998. A resident of Meriwether County, he was deeply involved in LaGrange’s cultural life. His wide experience with orchestras as concertmaster and conductor, and as co-organizer of the famed Boston Youth Symphony, made him invaluable to the LSO board.

Third Place: NOTE Award – $500

This award was named by the donor, Eunice Connally Carr. The NOTE acronym designates an award which meets a Need, provides an Opportunity for young people, recognizes Talent, and rewards significant Effort on the part of the young performer. Contestant must be under the age of 26 on the date of the competition and must be a resident or resident student of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina or Tennessee.


Here are the official materials for the 2020 LaGrange Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition for Strings.  Click the items to view/download/print full resolution files.

Application deadline for the 2020 competition is December 2, 2019.

Official 2020 YAC Poster

2020 YAC Poster

Click Image to view, download, and print the poster.


2020 YAC Application and Submission Details

2020 YAC application

Click Document Image to view, download, and print the application.

Winners from our 2018 competition



Yannie Tan

Yannie Tan

As first place winner, Ms. Tan will receive $1,500 and perform as the featured soloist with the LaGrange Symphony in a concert during the 2018-2019 season. Ms. Tan, a sixteen-year-old student at the Atlanta International School, has performed twice at Carnegie Hall. She has won several prestigious honors including first place rankings in the AFAF International Concerto Competition and the Emory Young Artist Competition. She also won the Distinction Diploma Award from the Royal School of Music (ABRSM), the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition (SEPF), and the AMC Scholar Award. In this same year, she has placed second in the Federation Stillman Kelley and Marilyn Cadwell Piano Competition and the Enkor International Piano Competition.

At the age of fifteen, Ms. Tan was recognized as a national first place winner for Junior Piano Performance and Best Chopin Performance from the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA). She won first place in the International Piano Festival in Italy and the grand prize in the National Young Virtuosi Competition. She also received top prize for Solo Performance from the Georgia Music Teacher Association (GMTA), an award she has held each year since 2010! Ms. Tan began her musical training at the age of four in Atlanta, Georgia and started competing with her first win in 2009, at the age of eight.



Dina Kasman

Dina Kasman

The Max Kaplan Award for second place was won by Dina Kasman This prize carries a $1,000 cash award. Ms. Kasman is a senior at Vestavia Hills High School in Birmingham, Al. She has participated for multiple years in both the International Summer Music Academy in Kiev, Ukraine, as well as the St. James Concert series in Fairhope, Al. She has won or placed in many piano competitions.




Elisabeth Tsai

Elisabeth Tsai

Winner of the NOTE Award for third place and a $500 cash award was Elisabeth Tsai. Ms. Tsai, a junior at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, has studied piano for 11 years. She has performed with the Montgomery, Hilton Head and Alabama Symphony Orchestras as well as the South Carolina Philharmonic.

Judges of the 2018 Young Artists Competition were Dr. Richard Prior, Music Director and Conductor of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, Eric Jenkins and Erika Tazawwa


Previous winners from our 2017 competition



Richard Cho

The Dorothy Allen Turner Award for first place went to violinist Richard Cho. The sophomore at Alpharetta High School is currently studying under the guidance of Professor Sergiu Schwartz at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. Mr. Cho, who performed Henri Viuextemps’ Violin Concerto No 5, made his solo debut with the Orchestra of Omaha at age 11. He is the winner of the 2013 Ruth Kern Concerto Competition, 2014 Samuel Fordis Young Artists Concerto Competition and has played solo with both the Atlanta Community Orchestra and the Georgia Philharmonic Orchestra.

As first place winner, Mr. Cho will receive $1,500 and perform as the featured soloist with the LaGrange Symphony in a concert during the 2017-2018 season.



Weiru Sheng

The Max Kaplan Award for second place was won by violinist Weiru Sheng from Columbus State University where she is in her first year of the Master’s program at the Schwob School of Music, having completed her Bachelor of Music there last year. She performed Henri Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5 in A minor. MS. Sheng was a 2015 Atlanta music club scholarship competition winner, a 2014 Georgia MTNA Artist string division winner and winner of the Schwob School of Music Concerto competition in 2013. Ms. Sheng, a native of China, has played with the Zhejiang Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Lagrange Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. This prize carries a $1,000 cash award.



Olivia Palazzolo

Winner of the NOTE Award for third place and a $500 cash award is violist Olivia Palazzolo of Eads, Tennessee, who will complete her Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance in 2018 from the University of Memphis. She is the 2016 winner of the Beethoven Club prize award in Memphis, the 2015 of the Nashville Symphony’s Thor Johnson Senior Scholarship winner, the 2014 Grand Prize winner of the Nashville Symphony’s CURB Records Competition as well as the 2014 winner of the Primrose International Viola Competition Tone Prize in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Palazzolo has performed with the Huntsville Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Philharmonic. MS. Palazzolo played Concerto for Viola by Bela Bartok.

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