Caroline Sonett-Assor, YMC Coordinator

Young Musicians Contest 2024 Winners

The 2024 Young Musicians Contest (YMC) was held on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at the School for Strings. First held in 2008, the contest is intended to foster the development of pre-collegiate flutists by exposing them to a healthy competitive environment and constructive comments from the area's professional flutists. This year's 50 contestants comprised a mix of new and returning players.

Congratulations to the six winners who are scheduled to perform at the Flute Fair YMC concert on March 24, 2024. Many thanks to YMC coordinator Caroline Sonett-Assor and judges Sarah Shin, Ashley Cho, Melanie Williams, Stephanie Pizza, Nicole Schroeder Raimato, and Stephanie Kertesz.

Our 2024 Winners

Age 8 and under: Owen Power

Owen Power is a third grader at Special Music School (NYC), where he studies with Diane Taublieb. He has played for the pedagogy class of Judith Mendenhall at Mannes College and in masterclass for Brandon Patrick George, and also works with Susan Rotholz during the summer. He has studied the flute for two years. Owen loves playing soccer for Shepaug F.C. and supports Manchester City.



Ages 9-11: Lucy Kessler

Lucy Kessler is in the third grade at the Potomac School in Northern Virginia. She has studied flute for four years with Kathleen Jacobi, and this year she started to learn cello as well. Lucy also loves reading, writing, board games, swimming, and skiing. In 2023, Lucy won the NYFC Young Musicians Contest (8 and younger category) and the Marlin-Engel Solo Competition (Junior Instrumental Division). She looks forward to attending Interlochen Center for the Arts for the first time this summer.


Ages 12-14: Ella (Doom) Cho and Mac Wong (bamboo flute)

Ella (Dooeum) Cho, a native South Korean, started on her flute journey at age eight. She has won the Rising Star Competition and the City Philharmonic Orchestra Third Seoul Gwanak Competition in 2021. She achieved third place in the 2022 Sorial Competition. In 2022, Ella relocated to Boston, continuing her flute studies with Jinyoung Susanna Paik. In 2023, she won first place in the Miclot International Music Competition. She is a sixth grade student at Wellesley Middle School. Ella's artistic passions extend beyond music, as she takes delight in both drawing and playing the piano.

Mac Wong, an eighth grade student at P.S.184 Shuang Wen School, has a keen interest in music and sports. His musical journey began in 2021 when he embraced the bamboo flute, later volunteering to perform at the AAFECare Center for Seniors. He won first place at the New York Global Music Competition, earning him the opportunity to play bamboo flute at Carnegie Hall. Mac began studying the western flute with Susan Deaver in June2022, and in 2023 he was accepted by the Precollege program at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received the Maureen MacDougall Precollege Scholarship.

Ages 15-18: Ellie Choi and Oriana Huang

Ellie Choi, age 15, is a ninth grade student at Fort Lee High School in NJ. Ellie started the flute when she was in the seventh grade and was accepted into Juilliard's Pre-College Division in the ninth grade. She received the first chair for both Regional and Bergen County Bands. Ellie was a finalist in the 2024 Juilliard Pre-College Concerto Competition and currently studies flute with Bart Feller.


Oriana Huang, age 15, is a sophomore at Dwight-Englewood School, NJ. In 2018, Oriana started studying flute with Wendy Stern. She has studied with Zara Lawler at Manhattan School of Music Precollege since 2020. Oriana has won many accolades, including 3rd place in the 2022 National Flute Association’s Junior Soloist Competition, 1st place in the 2022 American Protégé International competition, Gold Prize in the 2023 World Classical Music Awards, and Grand Prize in the 2024 Concert Artists International Competition. She was the winner of the MSM Precollege 2022-23 Concerto Competition and also a winner of the 2024 National YoungArts competition.