American Protege International Music Competitions at Carnegie Hall

International Piano and Strings Competition 2020

The American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition is open to school students and adults of all nationalities and countries.

All instruments, including piano, strings, voice and winds are welcome to participate in the Competition.

Participants are required to submit video/audio recording materials for the audition.  Multiple winners will be chosen in each age category.

We invite school students and adults to participate in the Competition. There is no age limit for the adult participants.

The largest number of musicians in American Protégé history applied for this year’s Piano and Strings Competition. They hailed from 18 countries, including: different parts of the U.S., Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.



Multiple winners will be chosen in each of the following age groups:

School Students:  Adults (18 and older):
  Young Musicians, 5 - 10Amateur without professional degree
 Junior, 11 - 14 College Students and Professional Musicians
 Intermediate, 15 - 18 

18 year old school students must enter in the Intermediate Category. 18 year old college students must apply under the College Students/Professionals Category.



Winners performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Winners Concerts will take place in December 2020 and March – June 2021.

Judges’ Distinction Award were granted based on the judges’ recommendations.



Four qualified judges will evaluate audition materials. All judges are independent; their students are not allowed to apply this season. Dr. Sophya Genis is invited as a Chairwoman of the Competition 2019. A graduate of the Moscow Gnessin Academy of Music, Mrs. Genis holds a Doctor of Music Arts Degree. She studied piano with such renowned professors as Alexander Yoheles, Yakov Milstein and Yakov Zak.

International Piano and Strings Competition 2020 Results

Judges Distinction Award (Plaque Trophies) Winners

music competitions

Yan Qi Ong, from Singapore, started learning violin at the age of four in the School of Young Talents (SYT), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She performed in ensembles and participated in local music competitions from seven years old, winning Best Performance Award in the Singapore Raffles International Festival (SRIF) 2015 and 2016, Silver Award in the 6th and 7th Singapore Performers’ Festival and Chamber Music Competition in 2016 and 2018, as well as Gold Award in the Singapore Western Music Championship in 2018. In 2019, Yan Qi won First Placing in Amsterdam, Salzburg and Brussels “Grand Prize Virtuoso” International Music Competition, as well as the “Golden Music Classical Award” International Competition 2019. In November 2019, she performed in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Yan Qi attained Distinction in ABRSM Grade 8 in 2018. She is now working on her ABRSM Diploma certification.

music competitions

Alexandra Zavidova is 12 years old and hails from Moscow, Russia. She has started studying music at the age of 6. Since 2018, Alexandra has been studying with Professor Tatiana Zelikman at the Gnessin School of Music. Alexandra made her concert debut at the International Music Festival “Karelia White Nights”, Russia in 2017. In 2018, Alexandra became the Winner of Golden Key of Vienna International Music Festival audition. She was awarded to perform at the Prayner Conservatory and at the Mozarthaus. Alongside solo repertoire, Alexandra has performed concertos by Bach, Haydn and Mozart with orchestras. In 2019, Alexandra was selected to attend masterclasses in Toscana, Italy. She was also admitted to the Chamber music course&festival at the Musica Mundi School (Waterloo, Belgium), where she studied with Menahem Pressler.

music competitions

Sky Wen is a 10-year-old violinist in the Elizabeth Faidley studio, NYC.  Sky has won numerous competitions and performed solo internationally, including Lalo Symphonie Espagnol with an orchestra after winning First Prize in an international Music Organization New York Concerto competition, and performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Salzburg Cathedral, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, and in Budapest.  She has also performed in masterclasses with Augustin Hadelich, Rachel Barton Pine, Stefan Jackiw, and Carolin Widmann.  Recently Sky was awarded First Prize of the VIVO International Music Competition and First Prize of Elite International Music Competition.  In 2018, she took first place at the East Coast International Competition, as well as a top prize at ENKOR competition with judges from 73 countries.  

International Music competitions at Carnegie Hall

Nesya Fertel, a 10-year-old violinist from Maryland, is bilingual. Music is her first language. Nesya has been a student of Emily Jane Price for 7 years and also studies with Professor Brian Lewis at The University of Texas Butler School of Music. In July 2016, Nesya performed at Stanford University Advanced Suzuki Honors Recital, won 1st Place in the 2017 MSMTA Spring Festival, and at 8 years old, attended HeifetzPEG (Program for Exceptionally Gifted String Players) Summer Institute. Apart from performing in public concerts, masterclasses, and music festivals, she rehearses and performs frequently with her chamber ensemble. When Nesya is not playing violin, she can be found dancing, singing, reading adventure books, or spying on her triplet teenage siblings.

music competitions

Tracy Zhao from Melbourne, Australia. She is 9 years old. She has been learning violin since the age of five. She won 1st place in 2019 Sydney Northern Beaches Eisteddfod (Category 8 and Under). She won Gold Medal in 2019 Adelaide Eisteddfod (Category 12 and Under). She won 1st place for two consecutive years 2018/2019 in the Royal South Street Eisteddfod (Category 11 and Under).  She won 1st place for two consecutive years 2018/2019 in the Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod (Category 10 and Under). She won multiple 1st places in the West Gippsland Performing Art Competition 2019 (Category 10,12,16,18 and Under).

Concerts at Carnegie Hall

Laura Jin is a 7-year- old violin player from Concord, Australia. She began her musical career by learning the piano at five and a half years old, transitioning to violin when she turned six and a half . As a result of her efforts, Laura has already amassed multiple Gold Awards for playing within just her first year of violin. Professor Peter Zhang (Shi Xiang Zhang) has witnessed Laura’s talent directly, as she was able to transition from playing “Violin: The First 100 Days” Beginner Program to perform the works of Accolay in 5 months and Mozart’s concertos within only 10 months. Zhang himself stated that Laura is the fastest student he’s witnessed to master some of the many complex skills in his teaching curriculum and is one of the most successful students he has ever taught.

music competitions

Belinda Zhu is 6 years old. She is a 1st Grade student from North Potomac, Maryland. She has been learning piano with her Piano Teacher San-Qing Lu-Bennaman for 14 Month. She is a focused and hardworking girl. She enjoys performance so much, and especially like to participate in competitions. She enjoys the applause after her great performance and likes to work hard for it. This is her first international piano competition, she feels excited about it and practices hard for it. Because she understands she could like to have a chance to perform in Carnegie Hall and get her piano performance talent to be shown in New York City.

Winners by Age Category


Other applicants received Diploma of Participation


Upcoming Competitions:


Competition of Romantic Music 2024

Deadline: October 10, 2024


Woodwinds and Brass Competition 2024

Deadline: October 25, 2024


Music Talent Competition Fall 2024

Deadline: November 3, 2024


Piano and Strings Competition 2025

Deadline: January 20, 2025


Concerto Competition 2025

Deadline: February 20, 2025