2021-2022 Concerto Competition Award Recipients

Classical Category

Itamar Prag, pianoItamar Prag headshot

Pianist Itamar Prag was born in 1994, he is the student of Prof. Arie Vardi, Mrs. Hana Shalgi, Prof. Asaf Zohar, Vadim Monastyrsky and Daria Monastyrsky. Graduated from the Thelma Yellin School of Arts, studied for a year at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and finished his service at the IDF as an excelled musician. He is currently studying for a Music Doctorate degree in Piano Performance under Dr. Ilya Poletaev at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.

Prag won international prizes in competitions, including first prize at the Pnina Salzman Piano Competition held in Israel, 2019, and the 18th International Competition for Chamber Music in France. He participated in music festivals and recitals across the U.S., in Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, Spain, and Georgia. He played in master classes under the care of Richard Good, Arie Verdi, John Perry, Murray Perahia, Piotr Paleczney, Eliso Virsaladze, and Gabriel Kwok.

As a soloist, Prag performed with leading Israeli orchestras, including The Israel Symphony Orchestra – Rishon Lezion, The Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Prag won an audition held by Maestro Zubin Mehta and performed with the BMSM Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Yoel Levi.
Prag has received scholarships from The America-Israel Cultural Foundation (2006-2020) and Zefunot Culture, as well as a scholarship for young musicians in memory of Ruthy and Benny Mushkin.

Piano, Harp, and Guitar Category

Gregory Vandikas, pianoGregory Vandikas headshot_

Under the guidance of Dr. Michael Esch, he has completed both his Licentiate and Associate Diploma for Piano Performance, receiving a First Class Honours with Distinction in both. Other major influences include George Vandikas, Sheila Vandikas, and Janice Lin. Gregory has also completed his level 8 cello under cellist, Hannah Jackson. A graduate of the Arts Unionville program at Unionville High School, he performed as a soloist, duo partner, and collaborative pianist as well as playing the saxophone, bassoon, and cello in the school ensembles.

He has attended the Peter de Grote Festival in the Netherlands, as well as the Domaine Forget International Festival and Orford Musique Summer Academy in Quebec. Awarded the Davis Scholarship and the Student Excellence Award, he is currently studying under Prof. Kyoko Hashimoto at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University in Quebec for his Bachelor of Music Degree. Gregory enjoys performing a range of musical styles and is at home both in classical and jazz.

String Category

Samuele Parrini, violinSamuele Parrini headshot

Sam Parrini, born in Greenville, SC, began exploring his passion for music at age 3 when he decided he wanted his mom, Sherry Parrini, to teach him piano. He started violin at the age of 4 with Joanna Mulfinger and later studied with Jennifer John through high school. He currently studies under Professor Axel Strauss at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University.

A recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award with an appearance on NPR’s From the Top, Sam has been a finalist in both the Classical and Romantic Concerto Competitions at McGill, as well as winning 2nd prize in the 2019 McGill Chamber Music Competition as a member of the Theia String Quartet. He has performed as a soloist with the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra, the Clemson University Symphony Orchestra, the Greenville County Youth Orchestra and the Carolina Youth Symphony and has performed for masterclasses held by renowned artists like Paul Kantor, Mihaela Martin, Martin Beaver, and Benjamin Bowman, and has attended numerous festivals, including NYO-USA, NYSOS and the Music Academy of the West.

Woodwind, Brass, Percussion Category

Huizi Wang, percussionHuizi Wang headshot

Born in China from a family of literature teachers, Huizi Wang began studying piano at the age of four. After winning several prizes of competitions for young pianists, she moved to France. At 24 years old,she began studying percussion at the Conservatoire national à rayonnement régional de Nice in the class of Régis Famelart. After completing her diploma of music studies and bachelor’s degree in music interpretation at the University of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis, Huizi went to live in Montréal to complete a master's degree in percussion performance at the University of Montréal under tutelage of Julien Grégoire. In France, she has performed with the Monaco Philharmonic Orchestra, the Canne Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as participating in numerous contemporary music events in the South of France and Strasbourg. Soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician, Huizi, recently resident in Montréal, collaborates with various creators of the milieu in addition to carving out a place in the Québec orchestral milieu. In 2018, she interpreted a series of concerts as soloist: « La Porte » of José Evangelista. Her playing is often described as a mixture of zenith and high virtuosity.

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