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2017 finalists (l-r): Julian Rhee, violin; Naomi Sutherland, harp; Michael Wu, piano; Yaoyao Chen, violin.

Wed., Mar. 29, 2017, 6:45 p.m.
Overture Hall in Overture Center for the Arts

Reservations open on Wed., Mar. 1, 2017.

2017 Finalists

Michael Wu, piano | Sun Prairie
Age: 14
School: Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (Grade 9)
Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 22, Mvt. I (Saint-Saëns)
Yaoyao Chen, violin | Menasha
Age: 18
School: Xavier High School (Grade 12)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, Mvt. I (Sibelius)
Julian Rhee, violin | Brookfield
Age: 16
School: Brookfield East High School (Grade 11)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, Mvt. I (Tchaikovsky)
Naomi Sutherland, harp | Viroqua
Age: 17
School: Interlochen Arts Academy (Grade 12)
Danse sacr ée et danse profane (Debussy)
The Final Forte finalists are selected from a group of young Wisconsin artists who competed in the Bolz Young Artist Competition’s two preliminary rounds. The event gives these four artists the chance to perform a movement from a concerto with the MSO.

The Final Forte is a free concert broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) and rebroadcast on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT). This competition has captured an enormous following and numerous honors, including an Emmy nomination, First Place in the “Special Interest” category from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association in 2007, and fifth most-watched program in the February 2007 Nielsen ratings. The 2008 WPT and WPR broadcasts reached more than 60,000 viewers and listeners in the Madison market alone and the 2009 broadcasts reached an estimated 200,000 statewide.
“…though I have competed nationally and internationally, nothing has surpassed the excitement and experience with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. I was called “an inspiration” and “a hero” by some of the kids I met from the audience, which were words that have inspired me to work even harder to continue to inspire and motivate other kids my age to strive for their goals as well.” – Julian Rhee, 2015 First Place Winner
“It is an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to feel the commitment and energy of these young performers and to reflect on the central role the arts play in our lives. I look forward to these events with great joy.” – John DeMain, MSO Music Director
2016 Finalists:
First Place: Robert Rockman, marimba
Second Place: Tabby Rhee, violin
Honorable Mention: Liam Mayo, piano
Honorable Mention: Audrianna Wu, piano
2015 Finalists
First Place: Julian Rhee, violin
Second Place: Vivian Wilhelms, piano
Honorable Mention: Maya Pierick, harp
Honorable Mention: Isabella Wu, piano
Please contact Director of Development Casey Oelkers at (608) 257-3734 or coelkers@madisonsymphony.org.
The Bolz Young Artist
Competition is made possible
by a generous endowment from
The Eugenie Mayer
Bolz Family Foundation
Wisconsin Young Artists Compete:
The Final Forte concert and
broadcasts are the result of a
historic partnership among
Major funding
provided by
Diane Ballweg
Julie and
Larry Midtbo
Fred and
Mary Mohs
Stephen Morton
Joe and
Mary Ellyn Sensenbrenner
A. Paul Jones
Charitable Trust
Additional funding
provided by
James Dahlberg
and Elsebet Lund
W. Jerome Frautschi
Ann and Roger
Elaine and
Nicholas Mischler
Kato Perlman
Sentry Insurance Company
Paul Guthrie, in memory of
Ella Guthrie
Judith and Nick Topitzes
Special thanks to Farley's House of Pianos for
providing the pianos for our
Young Artist Competition auditions