Two orchestras' performances will feature competition winners

Thursday, April 9, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — This month, two local orchestras' concerts feature the winners of their recent concerto competitions. The Ninth Street Philharmonic Orchestra, or 9spo, hosted its competition Feb. 14; the Missouri Youth Orchestra held one at the beginning of March.

Sunyoung Ju of Lawrence, Kan., the winner of the 9spo Concerto Competition, received $500 and the opportunity to perform with the orchestraon April 4. Cellist Phillip Pierick of Urbana, Ill., took second and won $200. The competition was open to Missouri, Kansas and Illinois residents between the ages of 18 and 32.

If you go

What: Missouri Youth Orchestra performance

Where: Rock Bridge High School, 4303 S. Providence Road

When: 7 p.m. April 19

For more information: Go to

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Alex Innecco, the orchestra's director, said Ju, who competed last, was the clear winner.

“When she played, the piano almost caught fire,” Innecco said. “It was fantastic and there was no question that she was the winner.”

Ju's first-place prize marks her third concerto competition win.

Innecco and Ayako Tsuruta, president of the Mid-Missouri Area Music Teachers Association, organized the competition.

“I have always thought a concerto competition was necessary in Columbia because the only one that exists in the mid-Missouri area that I know is in Jefferson City,” Tsuruta said.

Siblings Mark and Stephanie Won of Columbia, who played the cello and piano, respectively, were the winners of the Missouri Youth Orchestra Pre-Collegiate Concerto Competition and will perform April 19 with the orchestra. The orchestra has hosted competitions in the past, but they were only for the orchestra's members. This year’s competition was statewide.

“I am always impressed by the talent level I see with my youth orchestra work,” said Carrie Turner, the youth orchestra's director. “The kids always amaze me.”

The instruments contestants played included the bassoon, flute, piano and string instruments.

Both orchestras plan to continue their competitions.

“I sincerely hope to make it a regular event,” Tsuruta said.

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