We are proud to announce the winners of the BlueWater/NEOMTA Young Artist Competition:
Ashley Zendarski (violin)
Asya Akkus (piano)
Liliana Garlisi (piano)
Catharine Baek (piano)
The concert with the BlueWater Chamber Orchestra will take place on Saturday, May 30th at 7:30pm in Gamble Auditorium at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Berea, OH. Admission is FREE!
Ashley Zendarski is an 18 year old violinist born and raised in Northeast Ohio. She
began playing the violin at the age of 9 under the direction of Damon Conn and Thomas
Resnik. Ashley was the concertmaster of her middle school and took part in the Akron
Youth Symphony, and by age 16 made it into one of the finest youth orchestras in North
America, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO), led by Brett Mitchell.
Ashley has a love for the elderly, and dedicates much of her time voluntarily playing at
nursing homes, in addition to numerous outreach performances, many of which to
inform children of classical music. She is mentored by Andréa Belding at the Aurora
School of Music, where she has also been involved in several chamber groups. Ashley
also currently studies with cellist Nick Diodore in a string trio, and Cleveland Orchestra
cellist Martha Baldwin in an oboe quartet. Ashley has been chosen to represent
the finest young musicians in the nation in the National Youth Orchestra of the United
States of America (NYO-USA). This summer, she will join COYO on tour to China. Upon
returning, she will study in New York with NYO-USA and perform at Carnegie
Hall before leaving for another tour of China.
Ashley will attend Cleveland State University in the fall on full scholarship to study under
the direction of Peter Otto, associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Asya Akkus is 12 years old and currently studies with Ella Karasik from the Music
Settlement. She has been playing piano for seven years.
Asya is in sixth grade and goes to Laurel School. She loves reading, mathematics,
writing, playing the piano, and traveling during the summer. Asya made her debut with
the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra in the summer of 2012, performing Robert
Vandall’s Concertino in C Major. In addition, she has won the Grand Prize for levels 1-4
during the Cincinnati World Piano Competition held in 2013.
Liliana Garlisi studies piano with Dr. Sean Schulze and theory with Ms. Adeline Huss at
the Cleveland Institute of Music. A recent high school graduate, Liliana participated in
CIM’s 2014 Preparatory Commencement Ceremony where she received the 2014
Outstanding Theory Award. Liliana made her debut as a concerto soloist with the
Lakeland Civic Orchestra in March 2014 as a result of winning the Lakeland Civic
Orchestra Young Artists Concerto Competition. She won 1st prize at the NEOMTA
district Buckeye Piano Competition in April 2014 and received Honorable Mention in the
state final held in June. Liliana regularly participates in summer music festivals,
including the CIM Summer Sonata program, the Kent State University Summer Piano
Institute, the Amati Music Festival in Hunter, New York, and the Young Artists World
Piano Festival in St. Paul, Minnesota. She performed for the Cleveland Composers
Guild in October 2014. She has enjoyed giving volunteer performances at retirement
centers and other venues.
As a harpist, Liliana was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra
(COYO) for its 2009-2010 season. She has also played for weddings and special
events. Liliana has also studied violin and flute. She is an award-winning figure skater
and volunteer assistant skating coach at the Gilmour Academy Ice Arena. Liliana is
currently a distance learning student of Charis Bible College.
Catharine Baek, age 15, is currently a piano student of Dr. Grace Huang and a
percussion student of Brian Sweigart at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She began
piano studies at the age of 6 with Feroza Labonne at The Fine Arts Association in
Willoughby. Recently, she was selected to perform as one of the featured soloists with
the CIM orchestra in the Preparatory Concerto Showcase. Last year, she was chosen
as an alternate finalist in the Young Artist Concerto competition at Lakeland CC and also
received honorable mention in the junior division of the OMTA Buckeye Auditions. She
has had the distinction of performing in masterclasses for such highly regarded artistteachers
as Sean Schulze, Gerardo Teissonniere, Donna Lee, Jerry Wong, Robert
Satterlee, Joela Jones, Julian Martin, and Anton Nel.
Catharine is an alumnus of various summer festivals including CIM’s Summer Sonata
program, Kent State’s Piano Institute, and Interlochen’s Percussion Institute. She is
also active as a collaborative musician, serving as first chair percussionist with the
Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony II, Symphonic Winds, playing snare drum for the
marching band, and accompanying choir and musical theatre productions at Willoughby
South High School, where she is currently a freshman.