On Saturday, March 19, 2022, Symphony North of Houston held its 26th annual Young Artist Finalist Audition. There were four very talented and prepared young artist who performed before a panelist of three judges. This was one of the closest competitions we have ever witnessed since its inception in 1997.
The top two winners will perform with Symphony North at the Late Spring Concert on Sunday, May 15, 2022, at 4:00 PM at Salem Lutheran Church.
First Place Winner
Bryant Li placed first with his performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43.
Bryant Li, age 17, is in the 11th grade at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas. He started learning piano at age 6 with John and Nancy Weems. His musical accomplishments are vast.
Juanita Miller Concerto Competition Grand Prize and Piano Division Winner (2022); MTNA Junior Piano National 2nd Place Winner (2020), National Finalist (2019-2020), South Central Division Winner (2019-2020), Texas Winner (2019-2020); South Texas Piano Competition Best of Beethoven Award (2020); TMTA 8th Grade Piano Performance Winner (2019); Steinway Junior Piano Houston Winner (2018) and 2nd Place (2019); New Orleans Piano Institute Concerto Competition Winner (2018); Clear Lake Youth Concerto Competition Winner (2016, 2018), Baylor Piano Competition Winner (2018), Blinn College Young Pianists Grand Prize Winner (2016, 2017, 2020), Texas State University Young Pianist 1st Place (2016-2018).
In addition, he was selected as 1 of 37 pianists to participate in the Second Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival (2019) and 1 of 53 musicians to participate in Morningside Music Bridge (2021). Bryant has been a Houston Young Artist for 6 years (2015-2020), presenting numerous charity concerts at Miller Outdoor Theatre and other venues. Furthermore, he is a three-time Music Doing Good scholarship recipient (2016-2018) and one of two Artistic Ambassadors chosen by MDG in 2019. Bryant also performed on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” recording #321 in March 2016 at age 11 as the only and youngest pianist. Recently, Bryant was selected as one of fifteen 2022 Texas Young Masters.
Bryant made his orchestral debut at age 12 with the Clear Lake Symphony and has played with the New Orleans Civic Symphony and Symphony North of Houston.
With regards to community, Bryant is the founder of Music of Harmony, a nonprofit youth-led organization intent at bringing joy and passion into people’s lives through artistic performances at senior centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and more. Since its inception, Music of Harmony has held over 400 volunteer concerts, has expanded to 5 chapters with over 900 students, and has raised over $24,000. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bryant and his team curated and presented 195 virtual concerts.
Outside of music, Bryant is also an outstanding student, being ranked in the top 5 in his junior class of 842 kids. He serves as the vice president of the SLHS Neuroscience Club and is the captain of his school’s Academic Decathlon team.
2nd Place Winner
Hannah Han placed second by her performance of Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso Op. 28.
Hannah Han is a 14-year-old student at Westchester Academy for International Studies. She began studying the violin at the Peabody Preparatory School when she was 3 years old and is currently under the guidance of Mrs. Rodica Gonzalez of the Houston Symphony. She has performed in multiple recitals (both chamber and solo) at Rice University and participated in the AFA Summer Music Festival from 2017 – 2018 in the first violin section of the Symphonia and Camerata Orchestras. In the summer of 2021, Hannah participated in the Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF), and the HeifetzPEG Program. At PIMF she was taught by various members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and received a masterclass from Juliette Kang – the first associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She also studied under Elizabeth Faidley during the HeifetzPEG program.
Since 2018, Hannah has been a first violinist in the Virtuosi of Houston Youth Orchestra (VoH) and was made concertmaster for the 2021 – 2022 season. Additionally, in December of 2018, she performed as a member of the Virtuosi of Houston in Washington D.C. for former Senator Orrin Hatch’s retirement at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. In 2019 she placed fifth in the annual Virtuosi of Houston Immanuel and Helen B. Olshan Concerto Competition and in both 2020 and 2022, she placed first. In 2021 she debuted with the VoH and University of Houston Orchestras at Brown Theatre in the Wortham Center, performing the 1st Movement of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor; and returned with them in the Cullen Theatre playing the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Symphony North of Houston’s Young Artist Competition is funded in part through a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.