Elmhurst Symphony names winners of the Stanger Young Artists Competition

Violinist Bea Sjostrom wins, four musicians stand out in annual concerto competition

The Elmhurst Symphony Association recently announced the winners of the 55th annual Dr. Robert Stanger Young Artists Competition, held on Feb. 17, at the Union Church of Hinsdale.

Conducted by the ESA and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Elmhurst, the competition showcased 15 outstanding high school musicians from several Chicago suburbs.

Stanger Audition first-place winner, Bea Sullivan Sjostrom, will perform her winning audition piece as a soloist with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra during its 2024-25 concert season.

The four winners receive certificates and monetary awards as well as the opportunity to play at a Kiwanis Club or Elmhurst Symphony Association function in the future.

Thanks go to the dedicated symphony volunteers who helped make this event possible. The symphony is especially grateful to the Stanger Audition’s primary sponsor, the Elmhurst Kiwanis Club, for its longtime support.

Judges and winners

Special thanks go to this year’s judges Michal Drewnowski, Eli Chen, and Jean Hatmaker, who spent many hours listening to and critiquing these spectacular young performers, choosing four winners:

• First place: Violinist Bea Sjostrom, junior at Oak Park River Forest High School; teacher Kristina Priceman

Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, first movement

• Second place: Violinist Sofia Radovic, home-schooled senior from St. Charles; teacher Desiree Ruhstraat

Sibelius Violin Concerto No. 1 in D minor, first movement

• Third place: Violinist Kai Werlinsky, senior at Lyons Township High School; teacher Drew Lecher

Sibelius Violin Concerto No. 1 in D minor, first movement

• Fourth place: Pianist Joseph Gallwas, sophomore at York Community High School in Elmhurst; teacher Jeff Panko

Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, third movement

More About the Stanger Young Artist Competition

The Elmhurst Symphony Association, through its Stanger Competition, encourages serious study and high standards among young musicians. It is the association’s intention that the competition be both educational and rewarding to each entrant.

This is the 55th annual Dr. Robert Stanger Young Artists Competition held by the Elmhurst Symphony Association. Stanger was president of Elmhurst College from 1957-65, president of the Elmhurst Symphony Society from 1968-72, and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Elmhurst for 15 years.

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