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Introducing our new winners of   
2023 Jr. Peace & Music Ambassador Competition

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2023 Jr. Peace & Music Ambassador

Robert and Cynthia Johnson Foundation Prize

First Prize, Strings, 11-14 Age Category

Kirsten Jonathan

Kirsten is 14 years old and currently attends Germantown Friends School. She began playing the violin at the age of 4. She currently studies with Lee Snyder at Settlement Music School. Kirsten has played in multiple orchestras, including the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra (PYO), Youth Chamber Orchestra (YCO) at the Center for Gifted Young Musicians (CGYM) at Temple Music Prep, All City Middle School Orchestra as the concertmaster, and her school orchestra at GFS. She is also a past member of the PMAY Artists’ Initiative and a current member of the Primavera Fund. Kirsten was awarded the Gabriel Braverman scholarship for the Advanced Study Program from Settlement Music School. Kirsten hopes that through her violin playing, she’ll be able to spread love, kindness, and peace. She hopes to bring people from various backgrounds together and promote harmony. 

Clara Chen

First Prize, Piano, 11-14 Age Category

Clara Chen, age 14, is a 9th grader at The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA. She currently studies piano with Amy Yang of The Curtis Institute of Music, and previously with the late Joy Kiszely at The Main Line Conservatory. Clara was the 2nd place winner in the Junior piano division of the 2022 Tri-County Concerts’ Annual Youth Festival Competition and has been a Gold Star winner of the 2021 Elite International Music Competition, as well as a top prize winner of the 2020 and 2022 PhMTA Auditioned recital and made her Carnegie Weill Hall debut as part of the Dr. Andor & Joy Kiszely Carnegie Hall recital in May 2022. She was also the 2nd place winner as a member of The Braval Trio, in the Junior Ensemble division of the 2023 Tri-County Concerts’ Annual Youth Festival Competition. In her first year attending The Baldwin School, Clara was a recipient of an award for Outstanding Contributions to the Life of the Middle School. During the summer of 2021, in collaboration with Allegro Music Consultant, she video recorded and produced a solo recital program as part of her “EnviroMusic” project, bringing music to retirement communities virtually, during the pandemic, to raise awareness for Climate Change. Clara is currently a student at Temple Music Prep, Center for Gifted Young Musicians, and attended Lyra Young Artist Performance Program in the summer of 2023. In addition to being a competitive swimmer, Clara frequently attends concerts by The Philadelphia Orchestra where her father is a member and has been a festival staple at The Kingston Chamber Music Festival in RI, where her mother is the artistic director.

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James Gates

First Prize, Piano, 15-18 Age Category

James Gates, born with an innate passion for music, cultivated his talents in the heart of Iowa, where he secured multiple victories in statewide competitions at a tender age. Presently, he distinguishes himself as both a dedicated student at The Haverford School and an accomplished pole vaulter, claiming the prestigious title of the 2023 PAISAA Boys Pole Vault Champion. Recognized for his exceptional musical sensitivity and spellbinding performances, James boasts an impressive social media following of over 55,000 ardent supporters. His unwavering commitment to his craft has garnered him several commendations, notably a coveted master class led by former Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Kensho Watanabe. Eager to continue enriching the lives of others through the transcendental power of music, James looks forward to leaving an enduring legacy of inspiration and artistic excellence.


Aavi Sircar

Runner Up, Piano, 11-14 Age Category

Aavi is 11 years old and a sixth grader at Great Valley Middle School in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Aavi began piano lessons at age 8. Since then, Aavi has played at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Academy of Music Ballroom in Kimmel Cultural Center in Philadelphia, Ware Recital Hall in West Chester University, Armerding Recital Hall in Wheaton College, Sala dei Notari in Perugia, Italy and and has been invited to perform at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, Poland. Aavi has performed in masterclasses by renowned pianists such as John Perry, Steven Spooner, Sasha Starcevich, Arthur Greene, Gábor Farkas, Grace Chung, Carol Chuang, Igor Resnianski, Elsie Richards, Jeewon Park, Young Ah-Tak, Charl Louw, Silvanio Reis, Terry Klinefelter, Candace Chien, and Marvin Blickenstaff.

Aavi has won prizes for his solo piano performances at Chicago International Music Competition and Festival, Chopin Avenue International Piano Competition, Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, Charleston International Music Competition, OPUS Music Competition (at both state and national levels), West Chester University Pre-Collegiate Piano Competition, Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition, Clara Schumann International Piano Competition, International Mozart Competition Vienna, Euterpe Music Awards and London Classical Music Competition.

He’s won concerto competition awards at Triumph Music Festival, Keystone Concerto Competition and Sempre Musick Concerto Competition. During Summer 2023, Aavi attended the Chicago International Music Competition and Festival on a scholarship and made his orchestral debut at Music Fest Perugia in Italy with the Europa Musica Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Marius Stravinsky.

Aavi takes piano lessons from Mr. James Anemone at Anemone Piano Studio in West Chester, Pennsylvania and has been a scholarship recipient at the studio since Fall 2021. Outside of piano, Aavi enjoys science, math and coding computer games in C#, Lua, and Java Script. He has been training in martial arts since he was 5 years old and will be appearing for his Second-Degree Black Belt test in Taekwondo in June 2024.

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Daniel Adibi

Runner Up, Piano, 15-18 Age Category

Daniel is a 15 year old sophomore student at the Episcopal Academy. He has been playing the piano since he was 6 years old and his favorite composers are Beethoven and Chopin. Daniel’s favorite subjects in school are math and physics; in his free time he loves to play tennis, golf and observe the night sky through his telescope.

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Elliott Galscris Anderson

Runner Up, Strings, 11-14 Age Category

Elliot is an eight-grader at the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School. He studied violin with Viktor Repik for 6 years and is currently a student of Juliette Kang, First Associate Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Elliot has been a member of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute since 2019 and is currently serving as concertmaster of the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra. He joined Temple University’s Center for Gifted Young Musicians in 2022, where he participates in the Youth Chamber Orchestra as well as in chamber groups. Elliot has been a scholarship recipient for violin studies at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia since age 9. In 2023, he was awarded the Settlement Music School’s Advanced Study Ensemble scholarship and is now a member of the Trowbridge String Quartet. Elliot has been attending summer music festivals since he was 7, first the Philadelphia International Music Festival between 2017-2021 and the last two summers the Heifetz International Music Institute.

Elliot participated in violin master classes with Dara Morales, Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Fabiola Kim, Assistant Professor of violin at University of Michigan and Instructor at the Colburn School. He has also studied with Shannon Lee and Seula Lee, during their teaching fellowship at the Curtis Institute of Music and Bela Horvath and Wanchi Huang during the Heifetz Institute summer sessions. Elliot got introduced to conducting by Maestra Erwin at the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute and studied piano under the mentorship of Dolly Krasnopolsky. Besides music, Elliot enjoys math, hiking, kayaking and building LEGO Technic models.

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Micah Hyeunjoo Chung

Specail Jury Prize

Strings, 15-18 Age Category

Micah Hyeunjoo Chung is a multi-instrumentalist focusing on traditional Asian instruments. A member of Bachido and a student under Kyle Abbott, Micah composes and transcribes shamisen songs and has won various awards in musical performance.

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