Get in the Valentine’s Day mood with sweet music from violinist Sean Ellis, 17, and pianist Jessica Zhang, 17
February 8, 2020
Sean Ellis, a 17-year-old junior at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona, is the Associate Principal Second Violin for the Phoenix Youth Symphony and co-Concertmaster for the award-winning Desert Vista Chamber Orchestra. Sean has been a member of the Phoenix Youth Symphony for 6 years, the first 2 years with the Symphonette and the last 4 years with the Symphony. He studies with Dumitru Lazarescu, Associate Principal Second Violin of the Phoenix Symphony. Sean started violin at the age of 6 after demonstrating a fascination with the instrument by imitating violin playing with his toys.
Sean is passionate about the violin, and loves all styles of classical music, from Baroque to Modern. He has a special fondness for chamber music. Sean was selected as one of 18 violinists to attend the 2019 Charles Castleman Quartet Program, where he studied with Charles Castleman, Laura Bossert, and Allyson Dawkins, and held a master class with Kyoko Hashimoto. Sean also studied with Shmuel Ashkenasi and David Ehrlich at the 2018 Red Rocks Music Festival’s Winter Chamber Music Institute.
Sean’s recent accomplishments include placing 2nd in the 2019 Arizona Musicfest Competition Division II and placing 3rd in the 2019 Phoenix Youth Symphony Young Musicians Competition for Upper Strings. He won the Concerto/Aria Competition at the 2017 Lamont Summer Academy and was the featured soloist with the Academy Symphonic Orchestra.
As an aficionado of chamber music, Sean enjoys creating small ensembles with his fellow students to play a variety of classical pieces. He is a member of the Desert Vista High School Music club, for which he is the Director of Outreach, and volunteers his time teaching underprivileged youth the violin at Harmony Project Phoenix. When not performing music or listening to music on YouTube, Sean loves playing video games, watching soccer, and relaxing with his friends and family.
Sean’s Recital Program
With Hyewon Rina Kim, collaborative piano
J. S. Bach: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
Aram Khachaturian: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 46
I. Allegro con fermezza
Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata No. 5 in G major, Op. 27
II. Danse Rustique
Jessica Zhang, 17, is a senior at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Arizona. She has been studying piano with Hong Zhu since the age of five. Jessica is excited to be back for her third appearance as a MusicaNova Young Artist.
Jessica was recently named a 2020 National YoungArts Finalist in Classical Music, the highest honor given by the National YoungArts Foundation. As a result of receiving this award, she attended National YoungArts Week in Miami, where she participated in master classes with internationally renowned artists, including Valerie Coleman, Gerard Schwarz, and Claire Chase, and performed in New World Center. Jessica was also the First Prize Winner of the 2017 International Institute for Young Musicians International Piano Competition and the Discretionary Prize Winner of the 2018 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. She performed in Carnegie Hall last summer after winning First Place in the 2019 American Protégé International Music Talent Competition. She has received first place in many state and local competitions, including the Arizona State Music Teachers National Association Piano Competition, Steinway Avanti Stars Piano Competition, Arizona Musicfest Piano Competition, Phoenix Youth Symphony Young Musicians Competition, and East Valley Music Teachers Association Piano Competition.
Jessica made her concerto debut with the MusicaNova Orchestra in 2017, performing Mozart’s ‘Jeunehomme.’ In the summers of 2017 and 2018, she attended the International Institute for Young Musicians Summer Music Academy and the Southeastern Piano Festival.
Jessica is passionate about sharing music with the community and directs her school’s Music for Cure Club, where she brings student performances to senior homes and hospitals. She is also actively involved in her school’s Health Occupations Students of America Club, Science Olympiad, and Best Buddies Club. Besides sharing her love of music with others, Jessica enjoys dancing, traveling, and pursuing science research.
Jessica’s Recital Program
J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue No. 9 in E Major, WTC I, BWV 854
Frédéric Chopin: Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58
I. Allegro maestoso
Nikolai Kapustin: Concert Étude No. 7 ‘Intermezzo’
Claude Debussy: Reflets dans l’eau
Lowell Liebermann: Gargoyles, Op. 29
IV. Presto feroce
General Admission $15 – Seniors and Students $10 – Under 18 free with a paid admission
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