2014 - 2015 Youth Soloist Competition Winners

First Place Winner
Stephanie Pizza - Flute

Flutist Stephanie Pizza is a junior at Ridgewood High School. Stephanie studies flute in the honors program at Mannes College Preparatory Division with Judith Mendenhall where she performs with the Philharmonic Orchestra on both piccolo and flute. Stephanie has won various awards and honors including: Gold Winner in the International Virtuoso Competition (2014), winner of the New York Flute Club Young Musician’s Contest (2013, 2010), and first prize winner in the Alexander and Buono International Flute Competition (2011). As a first prize winner Stephanie performed in recital at CarnegieHall’s Weill Recital Hall. Stephanie was a national finalist in the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Musician’s Competition (2012). She also was the grand prize winner of the Wagner College Young Musician's Competition (2011). Stephanie has been awarded a seat in Bergen County and New Jersey Region I Honors Bands every year since seventh grade. This year Stephanie was selected to perform in the New Jersey All State Symphonic Band on both piccolo and flute.

Upon entering high school Stephanie was awarded a position in the Connor Donohue Fellowship where she enjoys participating in many musical activities. Stephanie is a member of the Ridgewood High School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Jeffrey Haas and flute ensemble coached by Alison Crossley. Stephanie was the flutist in her high school productions of Aida, Footloose, The Wiz, and Shrek,conducted by Mr. Gary Fink. Stephanie is also a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Stephanie would like to thank her all of her teachers for their instruction and guidance, and her family and friends for their never ending support.

Stephanie Pizza
Second Place Winner
Daniel Kim - Saxophone

Daniel Kim is a senior at Ridgewood High School. He has been a student of Mark Friedman for the past three years and previously studied with Charles Pillow, the current Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music, for three years.

Daniel has been a member of his school's wind ensemble, saxophone ensemble, saxophone quartet, percussion ensemble, brass ensemble, big band, Maroon and White recital, and served as drum major for the marching band. Daniel has played the soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophone at one point in these groups and has even picked up the trumpet. Daniel has also been a member and has held principal chairs on alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, or soprano saxophone in the All-State Wind Ensemble, All-State Symphonic Band, All-State Jazz Ensemble, Region Wind Ensemble, Region Symphonic Band, Region Jazz Ensemble, and the All-County Band. Additionally, Daniel has been selected to perform as part of a saxophone duo with Shoko Nagami on the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Young Musicians Concert at Alice Tully Hall. During his high school career, Daniel has been able to work with musicians Wayne Bergeron, Dave Stryker, Tom Malone, Don Braden, Michael Phillip Mossman, Tim Hagans, Pete McGuinness, and Mark Levy.

Daniel would like to thank Mr. Pillow, Mr. Brown, Mr. Curcio, Mr. Luckenbill, Mr. Haas, Mr. Fink, Mr. Friedman, all of his other teachers, his peers, his parents and family for all their support and mentorship on his musical journey. Daniel Kim will be attending Northwestern University where he will pursue a triple major, dual-degree in Computer Science, Music Performance and Music Education.

Daniel Kim
Third Place Winner
Sarah Michelle Yae - Flute

Sarah Michelle Yae, a sophomore at NVOT Regional High School where she is a member of the Wind Symphony and the Tri-M Honors Music Society, began her flute studies at age 10. Sarah has won numerous competitions at all levels including Second Place in the International Youth Accomplishment Studies Music Competition (2010), the Grand Prize in the Koreana Chamber Orchestra Music Competition (2012), Gold Medalist in the International Virtuoso Competition (2014), the Blue Ribbon in New York Flute Club Competition (2015), and recently, Third Place in the Ridgewood Soloist Competition (2015). In 2013, Sarah attended the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Summer Camp where she served as the Principal Flute and performed in Greenfield Hall and Borden Hall. She has also played in the National Opera Center America and Merkin Hall as a soloist. Sarah was selected as a member of the 2014 New Jersey Region I Band and the 2015 Bergen County Band. She currently is an active volunteer of the New Jersey Symphony Ensemble, which performs at community events, including monthly concerts at Norwood Rehabilitation Center. Sarah currently studies with Sungwoo Steven Kim.

Sarah Michelle Yae