The Final Forte

Young Artist

The Final Forte

Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte, FREE Live Concert and Competition
Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 7:00 p.m. in Overture Hall

Congratulations to our 2024 winner of The Final Forte, Katarina Kenney! All four competitors gave outstanding performances. The final results are:

First Place: Katarina Kenney
Second Place: Jane Story
Honorable Mentions: André Peck and Elliot Lesperance

Broadcast live from Overture Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, the concert featured the magnificent Madison Symphony Orchestra led by Music Director John DeMain. The four finalists were chosen from eight competitors at the 2024 Bolz Young Artist Competition Semi-Finals for the opportunity to compete in The Final Forte.

Encore Broadcasts

Watch the full program online!

Meet our 2024 Final Forte Finalists

Katarina Kenney, cello

Elgar, Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, 4th mvmt

Katarina Kenney is a freshman at Madison Country Day School. She studies cello with Cornelia Watkins and is a scholarship fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy. As a member of the Pondrom Quartet, Katarina won the silver medal and BIPOC performance prize in the 2023 Saint Paul String Quartet Competition.

Elliot Lesperance, marimba

Abe, Prism Rhapsody

Elliot Lesperance is a junior at Oregon High School. He began studying percussion at the age of 11 and is currently a student of Dr. Todd Hammes. Elliot is a member of both the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and WYSO Percussion Ensemble, and performed in the 2023 Wisconsin School Music Association Honors Band.

André Peck, piano

Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, 1st mvmt

André Peck is a freshman at Logan High School in La Crosse. He has been studying piano since the age of four and is currently a student of Dr. Joseph Zins. André earned first prize in the 2024 La Crosse Rising Stars Concerto Competition and was a finalist at the 2023 Nashville International Chopin Piano Competition.

Jane Story, violin

Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, 1st mvmt

Jane Story is a junior from Stevens Point. She began violin studies at the age of four and is currently a student of Dr. Anna Cromwell. In 2023, Jane received first prize in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Stars of Tomorrow Competition and the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Concerto Competition.

Watch Soloist Interviews

Meet the Judges

Mark Dupere is Associate Professor of Music at Lawrence University, where he is the Director of Orchestral Studies. He currently conducts the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, as well as Philharmonie Austin. As cellist, Mark performed throughout Europe with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Haagsche Hofmuzieck, Anima Eterna Brugge and was an apprentice with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in London. Mark was a “Emerging Artist” at the Victoria Bach Festival, performed in the Leipzig Bach Competition, and most recently named a national finalist in the American Prize in Conducting. Mark holds degrees in Cello from the University of Texas at Austin, Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, The Netherlands and a Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at Michigan State University.

Anthony Padilla, professor of piano, chamber music, and collaborative piano at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, is an acclaimed American pianist of Filipino-Chinese descent. Since his 1983 debut with the Seattle Symphony, he has become a popular guest artist throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. A protege of Jorge Bolet, Padilla holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music. Recognized with awards such as the Beethoven Fellowship and top prizes in renowned piano competitions, Padilla is also a founding member of the Arcos Piano Trio. An advocate for diversity in classical music, Padilla’s recordings feature works by underrepresented composers. A respected educator and presenter, his lectures and seminars on various musical topics have garnered widespread interest. Padilla’s upcoming release showcases piano transcriptions for extended range keyboard.

Ilana Setapen, acclaimed violinist, debuted with an orchestra at 15, showcasing a distinctive voice lauded by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for its “sparkling sound” and commanding control. Currently the First Associate Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Setapen has also performed solo with orchestras such as the Festival City Symphony and Amarillo Symphony. Previously, she served as Assistant Concertmaster for the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra in Chicago and is a sought-after guest concertmaster with the Chicago Philharmonic. Setapen teaches at Center Stage Strings, University of Michigan, and collaborates with Present Music. Her performances have spanned the globe, including China, France, and Italy. Hailing from Amarillo, Texas, Setapen studied under Robert Lipsett at USC and Colburn Conservatory, and earned her Master of Music from Juilliard under Donald Weilerstein and Ronald Copes. A dedicated educator, she maintains a thriving private studio.

About The Final Forte

Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte is a free concert that is broadcast live on PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio. 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 broadcasts reached more than 60,000 viewers and listeners in the Madison market alone and the 2009 broadcasts reached an estimated 200,000 statewide.

The Bolz Young Artist Competition is a highly-regarded statewide competition in which Wisconsin’s young musicians compete for scholarships and the opportunity to perform as soloists with the MSO. The competition is open to Wisconsin residents in grades 9-12. Previous winners may not compete in consecutive years on the same instrument. Contracted musicians of the MSO are ineligible.

The four finalists compete in The Final Forte, which will be broadcast on PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio. Each winner receives a $2,000 scholarship and the Marian Bolz Prize for Distinguished Musical Achievement or the Steenbock Youth Music Award. The first place winner will perform at the Spring Young People’s Concert for an audience of their peers on Thursday, March 7, at 10:00 a.m. Two Honorable Mention scholarships of $1,000 will also be awarded.

Performing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra is really a remarkable experience. Working with so many great musicians and Maestro John DeMain inspired me to bring my own playing to a new level. It brought my understanding of my own musicianship and my piece to a different place. It is rare for anyone to work with such a skilled orchestra and conductor, let alone musicians of my age. To be given the entire experience of performing with an orchestra, from speaking with the conductor to the rehearsals and to the concerts, is an experience and opportunity of a lifetime. It has taught me so much as a musician and a person.

– Past Finalist

This was a deeply meaningful event for me because it was my first solo appearance with an orchestra. It truly felt like a dream.

– Past Finalist

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

View photos from The Final Forte, previous performances.

Click images for captions.

Thank you to our partners

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

Wisconsin Public Radio

Major funding for Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte is provided by:
W. Jerome Frautschi
Diane Ballweg
Barbara & Norm Berven

Additional funding provided by:
James Dahlberg & Elsebet Lund
Julie & Larry Midtbo
Elizabeth Olson
Kato Perlman
Cyrena & Lee Pondrom
Sentry Insurance Foundation
Trust Point
Darcy Kind and Marc Vitale
Dr. A. Beyer-Mears
Joan Johnston
Focus Fund for the Arts
Friends of PBS Wisconsin