The Final Forte

Young Artist

The Final Forte

Save the Date for The Final Forte 2023: Wednesday, March 8, 2023

This extraordinary event is an opportunity to experience the beauty of musical expression, the drama of competition and the inspiring tale of dreams come true as four gifted young artists vie for top honors in the final round of the 2022 Bolz Young Artist Competition. Broadcast from Overture Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, the concert features the magnificent Madison Symphony Orchestra led by Associate Conductor Kyle Knox.

The Final Forte 2022

First place: Ellen Zhou, violin, was awarded the Marian Bolz Prize for Distinguished Musical Achievement and a $2,000 scholarship.
Second place: Clark Snavely, violin, was awarded the Steenbock Youth Music Award and a $2,000 scholarship.
Honorable Mentions: Zak Chen, violin and Jane Story, violin each received a $1,000 scholarship.

Congratulations to our 2022 Finalists!

L-R above: Clark Snavely, Ellen Zhou, Zak Chen, Jane Story

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 semi-finalists compete in The Final Forte, which will be broadcast on PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio. Each winner receives a $2000 scholarship and the Marian Bolz Prize for Distinguished Musical Achievement or the Steenbock Youth Music Award. Up to two Honorable Mention scholarships of $1000 may 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

Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte is funded by major support from Diane Ballweg, W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation and Fred & Mary Mohs with additional support from Irving and Dorothy Levy Family Foundation, Inc., James Dahlberg & Elsebet Lund, Julie & Larry Midtbo, Elizabeth Olson, Kato Perlman, Cyrena & Lee Pondrom, Sentry Insurance Foundation, Trust Point, Dr. A. Beyer-Mears, Darcy Kind & Marc Vitale, James Baldwin and Alexis Buchanan, the Focus Fund for the Arts and Friends of PBS Wisconsin.