2015 - 2016 Youth Soloist Competition Winners

First Place Winner
Timothy Ruszala - Bassoon

Timothy Ruszala is an avid bassoonist from Fairfield, NJ who settled on bassoon in the 8th grade, after first meddling with both the clarinet and french horn. Since then, he has auditioned for many regional concert bands and orchestras, successfully winning the first bassoon seat in the North Jersey Area, Region, All-state, and NAFME all-national honor ensembles each time he auditioned. This year, he will also be performing with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America for their fourth annual tour, which after playing in carnegie hall, will travel to Montpellier, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Prague to give additional concerts under the baton of Valery Gergiev. This is his first time playing a concerto with full accompaniment, and he couldn’t be more excited!

Timothy Ruszula
Second Place Winner
Daniel Wang - Flute

Daniel is a junior at Parsippany High School, where he plays in the wind ensemble, and has studied the flute for three years. In his time as a flutist, he has been a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony and attended the Mannes Precollege Division, where he studied with Judith Mendenhall.

Additionally, he was selected to perform with the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble and All-State Orchestra, where he served as principal flutist. Afterward, Daniel had the honor of joining NAFME's All-National Symphony Orchestra in Nashville, Tennessee to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

Among other stages, Daniel has appeared at Carnegie Hall as the winner of multiple competitions. He has played in masterclasses for pedagogues from top conservatories around the country and is highly active in the music community. Despite his age, Daniel is a freelancer always eager for a gig! Although currently self-taught, he would like to send great thanks to his former teachers Chia-Hsiu Wang and Professor Mendenhall for their diligence and inspiration. When away from his flute, Daniel enjoys playing tennis and learning about home recording. His favorite flutist is the one and only Marina Piccinini!

Daniel Wang
Third Place Winner
Carolyn Douthat - Trumpet

Carolyn Douthat is a student at Wayne Valley High School, and began playing trumpet when she was 9. She has been awarded top seats in the NJMEA and NJAJE Honors Bands every year since Seventh Grade, when she began auditioning for them.

This school year, the 15-year old Sophomore was principal player in the NJ All- State Wind Ensemble. She also played first chair in the Region 1 and North Jersey Area Band Wind Ensembles. She is also currently playing second trumpet with the NJ Association of Jazz Educators Region 1 Senior Honors Band. Carolyn attributes a great deal of her success to her private trumpet teacher, Matt Testa, who has been coaching and inspiring her for years. She would also like to thank her friends and family for their support, as well as her band director, Gabe Batiz, for supporting her aspirations and volunteering in order for her to audition in many places.

Carolyn is also a member of her high school Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensembles I and II, and the newly formed Brass Quintet. She is also interested in arranging music, which she has done for the quintet, and has played pit orchestra at the Barn Theatre and the Old Library Theatre. She plans to continue playing trumpet as a performance major in college, and aspires to make a living playing trumpet.

Carolyn Douthat