THE FINAL FORTE
2017 finalists (l-r): Julian Rhee, violin; Naomi Sutherland, harp; Michael Wu, piano; Yaoyao Chen, violin.
The Final Forte was on Wed., Mar. 29, 2017, at 6:45 p.m.
in Overture Hall, Overture Center for the Arts
First Place: Julian Rhee, violin
Second Place: Michael Wu, piano
Honorable Mention: Yaoyao Chen, violin
Honorable Mention: Naomi Sutherland, harp
The Wisconsin Channel (WPT-2): Saturday, April 1, at 3:30 p.m.
Wisconsin Public Radio: Sunday, April 2, at 12:00 p.m.
Milwaukee Public Television (Channel 36.1): Sunday, April 2, at 1:00 p.m.
Wisconsin Public Television (WPT-1): Sunday, April 2, at 2:00 p.m.
Julian Rhee, violin
School: Brookfield East High School (Grade 11)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, Mvt. I
Watch a video about Julian.
At 16, Julian Rhee
is already making
his mark on the
His first prize
include the 2017 La Crosse
Symphony Orchestra Competition,
2016 Music Teachers National
Association Senior Strings
Competition, 2015 Milwaukee
Symphony Young Artist
Competition, 2015 Madison
Symphony “Final Forte,” 2015
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Concerto Competition, 2015
Milwaukee Youth Symphony
Orchestra Senior Symphony
Competition, and the 2015 Concord
Chamber Orchestra Competition.
Julian was the youngest semifinalist
in the 2016 William C. Byrd
International Competition, two-time
semifinalist in the 2016 and 2013
Stradivarius International Violin
Competition, and a semifinalist in
the 2015 Johansen International and
Cooper International competitions.
Julian has been a featured soloist
with the Pittsburgh, Milwaukee,
and Madison Symphony
Orchestras, among many others.
Julian shares his passion for music
by serving in the local community
as an assisting artist and mentor for
the Wisconsin Intergenerational
Orchestra, providing leadership in
this newly formed organization.
Julian is a junior at Brookfield East
High School and is also the class
president. He studies the violin with
Almita Vamos and Hye-Sun Lee at
the Music Institute of Chicago.
Michael Wu, piano
| Sun Prairie
School: Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (Grade 9)
Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 22, Mvt. I
Watch a video about Michael.
of the 2015
hosted by PianoArts,
Wu began his piano studies at age
three and formal lessons with Lana
Robotewskyj at age five. Since then,
he has been tutored by award-winning
pianists such as William Grant Naboré,
Peter Takács, Alvin Chow, Ethan
(Yi) Dong, and Robert Shannon.
He currently studies with Bill Lutes,
emeritus professor and artist-inresidence
at the UW-Madison Mead
Witter School of Music.
At age 13, Michael appeared on six of
the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s
Youth Concerts, performing the
first movement of Beethoven’s Piano
Concerto No. 1 under the baton of
Maestro Yaniv Dinur. Other notable
achievements include winning his age
group in the 2015 Wisconsin Music
Teachers Association Badger State
Competition, the 2016 Music Teachers
National Association Wisconsin State
Junior Piano Competition, advancing
to the final round of the Overture
Center’s “Rising Stars” talent search,
and winning first prize in the Madison
Symphony Orchestra’s 2014 Fall Youth
In addition to the piano, Michael plays
clarinet and has several years of youth
orchestral and chamber ensemble
experience. His other hobbies include
writing, reading, cooking, discovering
new technologies, and traveling.
Yaoyao Chen, violin
School: Xavier High School (Grade 12)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, Mvt. I
Watch a video about Yaoyao.
18, is a senior
WI. Born in
Zhanjiang, China, she began
studying violin at age six. At age
11, she was accepted to the Central
Conservatory of Music Middle
School in Beijing. She was also
a member of the China Youth
Chamber Orchestra and performed
at the National Centre for the
Performing Arts (Beijing). In 2011,
she was the third place winner of
the “Golden Beijing” National
Junior Violin Competition.
In 2013, Yaoyao came to America to
study violin with Dr. Wen-Lei Gu,
professor at Lawrence University
Conservatory of Music. She was
the advanced strings winner of
the Wisconsin Music Teachers
Association Badger Competition
in 2014 and she has performed
solo with the Civic Symphony
of Green Bay and the Chippewa
Valley Symphony Orchestra, as the
winner of both orchestra’s concerto
competitions. She also placed second
with her quartet in the 2015 Fox
Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra
Ensemble Competition. Currently,
she is concertmaster of the Fox
Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Aside from music, Yaoyao is an
honor roll student and a member
of the Honor Society at school. In
her free time, she enjoys singing,
swimming, and traveling.
Naomi Sutherland, harp
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.
School: Interlochen Arts Academy (Grade 12)
Danse sacrée et profane
Watch a video about Naomi.
17 years old
and a senior at
Academy where she studies with Joan
Holland. Her other teachers include
Elizabeth Borsodi of Madison
and Liz Cifani, harp professor at
In 2015, Naomi was a finalist in the
La Crosse Symphony Orchestra’s
(LSO) Rising Stars Concerto
Competition and was invited by
LSO Maestro Alexander Platt to
perform Handel’s complete Harp
Concerto on their 2015 Chamber
Concert. Naomi was also awarded
an honorable mention in the 2015
Bolz Young Artist Competition,
and “highly commended” in the
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Young Artist Competition. In
2014, Naomi performed with the
Wisconsin State Honors Orchestra
in a concert at the Overture Center
Naomi has attended the Interlochen
Summer Arts Camp, the Young
Artist’s Harp Seminar in Georgia,
and the Connecticut Valley Summer
Naomi lives in the rural town of
Viroqua, WI, in a solar renewable
energy house that she and her three
siblings helped build. In addition
to music, Naomi loves cooking and
experimenting with food, arts and
crafts, and outdoor activities.
The Final Forte is a free concert broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR). 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.
First Place: Robert Rockman, marimba
Second Place: Tabby Rhee, violin
Honorable Mention: Liam Mayo, piano
Honorable Mention: Audrianna Wu, piano
First Place: Julian Rhee, violin
Second Place: Vivian Wilhelms, piano
Honorable Mention: Maya Pierick, harp
Honorable Mention: Isabella Wu, piano
TO SUPPORT THIS PROGRAM
Please contact Director of Development Casey Oelkers at (608) 257-3734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.