2023 Youth Concerto Competition Winners

Congratulations to the three winners of the 2023 Youth Concerto Competition!

  • Claire Lee – Pablo de Sarasate, Ziguenerweisen
  • Jacob Lee – Édouard Lalo, Cello Concerto (1st movement)
  • Neal Kotamarty-Eisfeldt -Henri Vieuxtemps, Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor

Since launching the youth concerto competition in 2016, the MSO has showcased multiple winning soloists, providing an opportunity for musicians in middle and high school to perform with us at our annual concert. We look forward to performing with these talented soloists at our concert on Sunday, June 11th, 2023!

Pictured from Left to Right: Claire Lee, Jacob Lee, Neal Kotamarty-Eisfeldt

About Claire Lee
Age 17, a high school junior, is a passionate violinist studying under Fudeko Cohler. She attends the top youth music programs in the New England area, such as the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and The Rivers School Conservatory’s Honors ChamberMusicLab. She is also an active music volunteer who shares her love of music to the community.
Claire has won awards at several music competitions, including the MTNA State Performance Competition, the American Fine Arts Festival International Competition, the KAMSA Competition, the Bay State Strings Contest, and the Dr. Carol Vasconcellos Youth Concerto Competition. She was also a finalist at the Sejong Cultural Society Music Competition and the United States Marine Band Concerto Competition.

Claire spent her summers at the Meadowmount School of Music, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Argus Quartet Summer String Intensive, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra Summer Camp, and The Rivers School Conservatory Summer Music Program. This summer, she will attend the
Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.

In her spare time, she likes to run; she has participated in the Bay State Half Marathon.

About Jacob Lee
A 10th grade student at Poolesville High School, has been playing the cello for 10 years, acquiring many awards and titles, including the Feder Competition, the American Music Talent Competition, the Young Musician Inspiring Change (YMIC) Metropolitan Classical Music Festival, and the US Army Young Artist Competition.

Jacob is the principal cellist in his high school’s orchestra, the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra (MCYO)’s Chamber Ensemble and the Young Artists orchestras. A frequent winner of auditions to the Maryland All-State and All-County Orchestras, he has been invited to perform for the Tacy Foundation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

About Neal Kotamarty-Eisfeldt
At 14, is a Merit Scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy, a training center for advanced pre-college musicians, and studies violin with Almita Vamos and Injoo Choi. Starting violin at the age of 3.5 yrs, Neal made his solo debut at the age of ten at Carnegie Hall, winning first place at the Crescendo International Music Competition
(multiple years). He also made his solo orchestral debut at the age of 11 with the Midwest Conservatory of Music (postponed due to Covid). In the same year, he won the overall Grand Prize in all categories up to 25 years old in the Enkor international festival, with a jury of 500+ members from 70+ countries.

Neal has taken master classes with renowned musicians such as Ani Kavafian, Ray Chen, Augustine Hadelich, and Vadim Gluzman (May 31st) and has also received coaching from laureates such as Rachel Barton Pine, James Ehnes, Julia Fischer, and Philip Setzer. He is also a fellow of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative for gifted musicians from underrepresented communities. In addition, he recently
received a lifetime fellowship into NPR’s From the Top youth family. His solo performance and interview were broadcast on “From the Top” in February of 2023.

In the summer of 2022, Neal made his entry into the world of composition in collaboration with the Chicago Civic Orchestra and Chicago from Scratch and composed his first solo piece named “Ukrainian Dream and Cradle” in dedication to the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people.

He has won top honors in several national and international competitions including the Kishwaukee Concerto Competition, Society of American Musicians, Sejong, DePaul Concerto Festival, Walgreens National Concerto Competition, the International Young Artist Concerto competition, and the Midwest Conservatory of music. He was awarded the First Prize and the Exceptional Young talent special award at both the Bonn and Salzburg Grand Prize International Virtuoso competitions. Most recently he was awarded both Rising Star and Top Performing Artist in the Sound Espressivo International competition with 140+ participants performing for an international panel of judges from major conservatories and orchestras around the world. In addition to performing solo, Neal enjoys playing chamber music with the Rosa and Scaleno quartets in the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy. He is an avid orchestral musician as well- currently in the Academy’s orchestra and formerly in the Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra.

In his free time, he enjoys listening to his favorite violinists Itzhak Perlman, and Jascha Heifetz, playing duets with his father, as well as cooking and spending time with his sister.