Young Artist Achievement Awards Winners

The 2019 Young Artist Achievement Awards competition was held at the Blair School of Music.  Twenty-two strings and Forty-one piano students participated in the competition. 


Judges were:


Brian St. John (WKU)


Nancy Riley (Belmont), Arunesh Nadgir (MTSU)


A Superior rating at the March 16, 2019 local Tennessee Teacher’s National Association audition and a passing grade on the Theory exam were the eligibility requirements for entrants.  

The following winners were chosen, each receiving a Category Winner plaque:

Strings, grades K-2:    

Alexa Huang, student of Shu-Zhen Yang

Strings, grades 3-4:

Evelyn Zadell, student of  Christia Chambers

Strings, grades 5-6:

Megan Loh, student of Dana Meyer

Strings, grades 7-8:    

Brian Xu, student of Shu-Zhen Yang

Strings, grades 9-10:  

Sheeline Yu, student of Connie Heard

Strings, grades 11-12:

Katy Rose Bennett, student of Dana Meyer


Piano, grades K-2:     

Ryan Zhao, student of Li Li

Piano, grades 3-4:      

Sophia Li, student of Li Li

Piano, grades 5-6:      

Daniel Guo, student of Heather Conner

Piano, grades 7-8:      

Sophie Li, student of Heather Conner

Piano, grades 9-10:    

Carissa Shuxteau, student of Valerie Middleton

Piano, grades 11-12:  

Jinsun Kim, student of Roland Schneller

Grand prize winners were chosen at the Winner’s concerts which were adjudicated by the day's judges. 


Grades K-6:

Ryan Zhao, student of Li Li - received an additional prize of $150

Grades 7-12:

Sophie Li, student of Heather Conner -  received an additional prize of $300

Those who made this event possible:

Kristian Klefstad - chairman

Valerie Middleton – faculty liaison with Blair School of Music

Coordinators of the Performance Auditions, Dana Meyer, Sarah Barham, and Daniel Landes.

The NAMTA Board for supporting this event, all the participating teachers.

Sarah Barham, Christia Chambers, Dana Meyer, Debra Nelson, and Amanda Welch for helping throughout the day as monitors

Jama Reagan, Melissa Rose, and Heather Conner for allowing us to use their studios.

Blair technicians who provided a DVD of the Winners’ Concerts

2019 YAAA K-6th Grade

Category Winners:

Alexa Huang, Evelyn Zadell, Megan Loh,

Ryan Zhao, Sophia Li and Daniel Guo

Grand Prize Winner:

Ryan Zhao

2019 YAAA 7th-12th Grade

Category Winners:

Brian Xu, Sheeline Yu, Katy Rose Bennett,

Sophie Li, Carissa Shuxteau and Jinsun Kim

Grand Prize Winner:

Sophie Li

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