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About Us

Anthony Choi

Anthony Choi, age 15, began his musical studies at age 5 after being accepted to the highly selective elementary school at the Special Music School. At the Kaufman Center, he gave regular performances at Merkin Hall and the Ann Goodman Recital Hall under the instruction of Yari Bond. He was nurtured as a young chamber musician by joining a cello trio and ensemble, both led by Yari Bond. He, along with other gifted musicians, gave concerts regularly at the Advent Lutheran Church. At the young age of 9, he joined Face the Music, a leading contemporary youth ensemble which only plays music by living composers. He was given the chance to perform in venues such as the Lincoln Center Atrium, WQXR radio station, Roulette, and even on the streets of Manhattan. In Face the Music, he was able to watch rehearsals and work with the Kronos Quartet. Since his graduation from SMS, he has been studying with Minhye Clara Kim and was accepted to the Juilliard Pre-College School, where he fell in love with orchestral and chamber music. He was given the opportunity to perform solo in Paul Recital Hall, Morse Hall, Wilson Theater, and Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Anthony has been appointed principal cellist of the Juilliard String Ensemble multiple times. He has won the 2016 Rondo Vanguard Young Artist 1st prize and placed in the 16th, 17th, and 19th YWCA Queens Music Competition allowing him to perform in Weill Hall at Carnegie and Merkin Hall.  Recently he has attended the 13th PyeongChang Music Festival and School allowing him to study with great cellists such as Hans Jorgen Jensen, Edward Aaron, and Sangmin Park. Anthony now performs at the Korean Methodist Church and Institute weekly and will enter his third year at the Juilliard Pre-college. Anthony has been a member of the Heartstrings Cello Ensemble since the fall of 2016.

Esther Yu
 

Esther Yu is a 17 year-old cellist, who is in her 6th year at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division. She has been studying with Minhye Clara Kim since the age of nine. At the age of 14, Esther won third prize at the Johansen International Competition at Washington D.C, in March 2015. As an orchestral musician, Esther has served as principal cellist of the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra. She was also selected for National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America and performed in various venues in Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia. In addition, she was invited to the 2017 All-National Honor Ensembles, and served as the All-Eastern Orchestra Assistant Principal Cellist and New York All-State Symphony Orchestra Principal Cellist. National Public Radio’s “From The Top” featured and broadcasted Esther two times.  First, in January 2016, She performed as a soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. This past May, the trio Esther founded was broadcasted on the NPR’s “From the Top”. She was a semifinalist at the 8th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in 2014 at Moscow, Russia and was invited to compete at the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Montreux-Vevey, Switzerland in 2012. As a winner of the 37th Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2015, she performed as a soloist with the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra. She won grand prizes at the National Young Virtuosi Recital Competition and the International Virtuoso Competition. She also won numerous first prizes including, the Union City Philharmonic Orchestra Competition (New Jersey Senate Award), New York International Music Competition (John Liu New York Comptroller Award), New York Music Competition and Golden Key Music Festival. Esther has served as a principal cellist of the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony.  She has had the privilege of studying with Jian Wang, Hans Jensen, Myung-Wha Chung, Philippe Muller, Ole Akahoshi, and Edward Arron. She has performed at many prestigious venues including the Eastman Theatre, Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Peter J. Sharp Theater, Paul Recital Hall, Morse Hall, Merkin Hall, Meadowmount School, Great Mountains Music Festival, and Dvorak American Heritage Association. Esther has been playing monthly at the Drug Rehabilitation Center at the Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital in NYC.  Esther is a member of the the Sonata da Chiesa ensemble, which makes efforts to fundraise for Haiti through concerts. Esther has been a member of the Heartstrings Cello Ensemble since September 2015.

Kevin Won
 

Kevin Won, a cellist and junior at The Dalton School, studies with Minhye Clara Kim at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division. He received first prize awards from the American Music Teacher's League Scholarship Award Audition and American Protege Competition, and won the James Rotundo Palisades Park Mayor Award in the National Artists Competition. Kevin is also a prize winner at New York Artists International Competition, New York Music Competition by YWCA, International Virtuoso Competition, and International Grande Music Competition. Kevin has performed at venues such as Steinway Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium in Lincoln Center, Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center, Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, the Yale Club, Greenfield Hall, Miller Recital Hall, and Neidorff-Karpati Hall. Kevin has studied with Dane Johansen and Soo Youn Lee, and has participated in master classes with Steven Doane, Mihail Jojatu, and Hyun Ji Kwon. During his summers, he has attended Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, Massachusetts, and the Great Mountains Music Festival and School in Pyeongchang, Korea. As the director of "Salut de la Musique", a community service program based in New York City, Kevin organizes programs, gathers players, and performs every month at Mount Sinai- Roosevelt Hospital. In 2017, he became a student ambassador for the "Peace Angels Project,” which promotes peace worldwide through conceptual art projects. At Dalton, Kevin is the leader of the Dalton Music Outreach Initiative, which partners with "Concerts in Motion,” and is a member of The Dalton Debate team and Dalton Science Research Program. In his free time, Kevin enjoys reading and photography, and exploring New York. Kevin has been a member of the Heartstrings Cello Ensemble since September 2015.

Noah Lee, Principal Cellist

In 2012, at 12 years of age, Noah Lee caused an international sensation by winning 1st prize at the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Montreux, Switzerland. In 2014, he won the grand prize at the 10th International Cello Competition 'Antonio Janigro' in Porec, Croatia. In both competitions, he is the first and only US cellist to be given this honor. He has been featured as a soloist with the Zagreb Soloists, Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble 212, Lausanne Sinfonietta, and the Russian State Orchestra, and has had a solo engagement with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, in their “PSO Bravo” 5 concert series. Noah has been heard on 2 shows as a soloist on the on the renowned syndicated NPR program “From the Top”, a US National Radio Broadcast.  Additionally, he has performed on From the Top’s events on 9 other occasions, including being featured on From the Top’s first animated music video “Passacaglia Powerhouse Sibling Duo”. He aired on European stations such as Radio Television Suisse and Croatian TV Istra, and he was featured on Dutch Public TV NTR voor speciaal. Noah is a 2016 Davidson Fellow, an award given by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development for demonstration of an extraordinary accomplishment. As 1st prize winner, Noah was named the 2016 Junior Peace and Music Ambassador USA by the Harmony for Peace Foundation. As Junior Ambassador, Noah represents Harmony For Peace Foundation at musical and cultural events throughout the year, promoting international cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. Additionally, The International Academy of Arts and Sciences awarded Noah as the 1st place winner in the 2016 ENKOR International Music Competition. More recently, Noah was chosen as a 2017 YoungArts finalist by the National Foundation Advancement of the Arts Competition. He participated in the 36th Annual YoungArts Week in Miami where he received the highest $10,000 gold award. Additionally, Noah was named a 2018 candidate of US Presidential Scholar in the Arts as well as a nominee at the 2017 International Classical Music Awards in Europe. He was invited to solo with Ensemble Esperanza at the 2017 Next Generation Festival in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. Noah received full scholarship to participate in the “Rencontres Musicales Internationale en Wallonie” in Wavre, Belgium, Aspen Summer Festival, and the Morningside Music Bridge. He was also selected as a 2016, 2017, 2018 fellow at the International Music Academy in the Principality of Liechtenstein where he participates in the intensive music weeks. Noah is the founder and president of the "Back to Bach" Project, an international music and passion outreach initiative to provide inspiration to young school children. The project has expanded to 15 regions in the US and abroad with more than 100 members participating. Currently, he is a scholarship student at the Don Bosco Preparatory School and studies with Richard Aaron at The Juilliard School, Pre-College Division. Noah is the principal cellist and a founding member of the Heartstrings Cello Ensemble.

Sean Yu
 

Sean Yu is a 13 year-old cellist, who is in his 4th year at The Juilliard School Pre-College division. He has been studying with Minhye Clara Kim since the age of nine. In 2017, Sean won 4th prize at the 10th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Astana, Kazakhstan. In 2016, Sean won 1st prize at the Camerata Artists International Competition and performed as a soloist with the Camerata Orchestra at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Sean performed at the Merkin Concert Hall again after winning grand prize at the Manhattan International Music Competition and first prize at the International Grande Music Competition in 2016. He received second prize at the Adelphi Orchestra Competition this past April. Sean was also awarded 1st prize at the 17th New York Music Competition and performed at the Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) in 2014. Sean is a member of the “Back to Bach” project which inspire and encourage young school children to learn musical instruments and to instill a love of music in them. He has been playing monthly at the Drug Rehabilitation Center at the Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital in NYC since 2015.  Sean is a member of the Sonata da Chiesa ensemble, which makes efforts to fundraise for Haiti through concerts. He has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and a member of the Juilliard Pre-College String Ensemble at many prestigious venues including the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Peter J. Sharp Theater, Paul Hall, Morse Hall, Wilson Theater and Merkin Hall. Sean has been a member of the Heartstrings Cello Ensemble since the fall of 2016.