La Crosse Symphony Orchestra Guest Artists

March 7, 2020 Guest Artists:

4 Richard Record Rising Stars Concerto Competition Finalists

Jessica Jiang ~ 2020 Rising Star Finalist

Jessica, a fifteen-year-old junior at Madison Memorial High School in Madison, has been playing piano since she was four years old, studying with Bill Lutes since age eleven. Jessica was the Steenbock Youth Music Award winner of the 2018 Madison Symphony Orchestra Bolz Young Artist Competition (the Final Forte), and has again advanced to the 2020 edition of the same event.  She was a winner of the National Steinway & Sons Piano Competition (first place in Division II, 2018, and second place in Division III, 2019), the Wisconsin state winner of the Junior Piano Performance of the 2018-2019 MTNA National Student Competitions, and a third place winner of the 2019 Wisconsin Youth Piano Competition organized by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and PianoArts. 

Ms. Jiang won multiple first prizes in the global online Great Composers Competition series in 2017 and 2018.  She received honorable mentions in WYSO Philharmonia Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2016 and Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2017, the Midwest Young Artists Walgreens National Concerto Competition and the Madison Symphony Orchestra Fall Youth Concerto Competition in 2016.  Jessica’s debut was at the Overture Center in Madison in 2018.  She performed as piano soloist in multiple instances with the Madison Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro John DeMain, in the opening concert of the Green Lake Festival of Music at the Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake, WI, and on “The Midday” aired on the Wisconsin Public Radio. 

Besides playing piano, Jessica has been studying violin since she was ten, and is an accomplished violinist.  She is a member of the Youth Orchestra in the WYSO.  Jessica serves as co-editor-in-chief of her high school paper, and is a captain of the Tennis Varsity Team, winning multiple conference and sectional championships. 

Performing:

Piano Concerto, No. 3, in C Major,Op. 26, Andante. Allegro.

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Nita Qiu ~ 2020 Rising Star Finalist

Nita Qiu, from Woodbury, Minnesota, is seventeen years old and a high school senior at Trinity School at River Ridge in Eagan, Minnesota.  

 Last summer, Nita was named – for the third year in a row – a national winner of the distinguished Career Development Grant from the Chopin Foundation of the United States. 

In January 2018, Ms. Qiu won first place in the Minnesota Orchestra’s Young People’s Symphony Concert Association Concerto Competition.  As a result, she will perform with the Minnesota Orchestra multiple times in their 2019-2020 concert season, including a performance this month.

She also won first place in the Aloha International Piano Competition and Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

 In the fall of 2017, she appeared as Guest Artist on the prestigious NPR’s program, “From the Top” and was a winner of the coveted Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship Award in conjunction with the program. 

 As a 2016-2017 Minnesota Public Radio Varsity Showcase Young Artist, Nita was selected to perform at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul in a live broadcast.

 Nita has studied for twelve years with Dr. Joseph Zins, of Crocus Hills Studios in St. Paul and enrolled in the Studio’s high intensity Performance Studies for the Gifted and Talented Pre-College Student.  Nita has also been a competitive swimmer since the age of six. 

Performing:

Piano Concerto, No. 2, in F minor, Op. 21, Maestoso

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Emily Hauer ~ 2020 Rising Star Finalist

Eighteen year old Emily is a home-schooled senior from Appleton, Wisconsin.  She is a student of Ms. Ilana Setapen, Associate Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Emily has been playing violin since she was two years old, and has performed with several orchestras in Wisconsin, including the orchestras of Milwaukee, Madison, Oshkosh, Chippewa Valley, Green Bay, as well as the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Hauer has appeared on “From the Top” hosted by Christopher O’Riley, played twice on “The Midday” hosted by WPR’s Norman Gilliland, and received the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.

Emily competed as one of 4 finalists in the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Bolz Young Artist Competition (the Final Forte) last month.  She is currently in her fourth year as concertmaster of the Fox Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra and plans to major in violin performance this fall at the college level.

Performing:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, Allegro moderato  

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Katya Moeller ~ 2020 Rising Star Finalist

Fifteen year old Katya, a sophomore at UNN Indiana, is from Coralville, Iowa.  She made her orchestral debut with the Central Iowa Symphony in April 2017 and has been featured twice with the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra.  A seasoned performer and competitor, Katya was named the Grand Prize Winner of the ENCOR International Violin Competition and was one of the ten semi-finalists invited to the final rounds of the 2019 Ysaye International Music Competition in Belgium. 

Ms. Moeller has also been a prize-winner at the Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition, Semper International Music Festival Competition in Italy, MTNA West Central Division Junior Strings Auditions, the Sejong Music Competition and was one of seven finalists of the National MTNA Auditions in Spokane, Washington.  She also performs as a member of the Avita Duo Chamber Ensemble.  The Duo performed 5 concerts in Brazil in September 2019 and in February toured Southeast Asia, performing in Bangkok and Singapore.

Katya is a violin student of Professor Almita Vamos (Chicago), and a Fellowship member of the prestigious Music Institute of Chicago Academy.  She started taking violin lessons at the age of four at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City.  Katya has attended the Aspen Music Festival and the Bowdoin International Music Festival (Brunswick, Maine).  She has participated in master classes with Paul Huang (New York), Paul Kantor (Houston), Naoko Tanaka (New York), Robin Scott (Rochester), and the Cavani Quartet (Cleveland).  Her recent solo engagements include three performances of Glazunov’s Violin Concerto with the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra in October 2019.

Performing:

Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, Allegro moderato 

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December 20 and 21, 2019 Guest Pianist:

Robert Levinger

Robert “Bobby” Levinger

Hailing from La Crosse, Wisconsin, pianist Robert (Bobby) Levinger has gained a reputation for himself at the international music stage. At the age of 23, he has endured a great many musical successes and honors in different corners of the U.S. and Europe. Since his orchestral concerto debut at age 14, he has had solo engagements with orchestras around the U.S., including Madison, Mississippi Valley,  Austin, and Moores Symphony Orchestras.  In the U.S., Robert has succeeded internationally in competitions in San Jose, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Musical journeys in 2019 included competitions in Hastings, England and Barcelona, Spain, the latter of which earned him a recital and masterclass tour in Spain. 

Other honors of Robert’s in the past include being named a national finalist in the 2016 MTNA Steinway and Sons Young Artist Competition, and a semi-finalist in the 2017 San Jose and 2018 New Orleans International Piano Competitions. His four years in Texas also garnered him great success, as he received medals in the Young Texas Artists’, Houston Tuesday Musical, San Antonio Young Artist, and TMTA Collegiate Competitions. Robert’s recordings and performances have been heard and presented on WPR in Wisconsin. He has performed in masterclasses for artists including Anton Nel, Abbey Simon, Lang Lang, Alessio Bax, and Ignat Solzhenitsyn. Robert has been fortunate to share music in venues across the U.S. and Europe. Recent venues include: Overture Hall of Madison, WI; Trianon Theatre of San Jose, CA; Roussel Hall of New Orleans, LA; White Rock Theatre of Hastings, UK; and Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain.

Aside from the vast amount of time music encompasses in his life, Robert enjoys reading classic literature, catching up on his favorite TV shows, and engaging in conversation with friends. He thinks of himself as a born-to-be Green Bay Packers’ fan, a Star Wars nerd, a comedy lover, and an avid word game player among other things. Robert also enjoys teaching piano, as he maintains a private studio in Michigan. 

Born and raised in La Crosse, Robert studied with various teachers in the area, most notably David Reedy. He spent most of his pre-college years with Paul Wirth in Minneapolis, making a weekly five-hour commute for lessons. Robert graduated from La Crosse Central High School, being an active member in the choral program. He then went on to earn his Bachelor of Music degree at the Moores School of Music of the University of Houston, studying with internationally recognized artist Nancy Weems. He currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he studies with renowned pedagogue Logan Skelton at the University of Michigan. There, he pursues two Master of Music degrees, one in Piano Performance and one in Chamber Music. 

Highlights during the latter half of the 2019 year include chamber performances at the prestigious Kneisel Hall Chamber Festival in Maine, chamber and solo performances during the Fall in Michigan, and concerto performances with the LSO in December. Robert is so happy to be back in his hometown playing with his hometown orchestra, finishing 2019 with Sergei Prokofiev’s youthful, colorful, and powerful First Piano Concerto.