MEET THE WINNERS
Ben Batalla - 🇺🇸 USA
Ben Batalla offers a distinguished musicianship with a versatile background in jazz, improvisation, classical and sacred music traditions. He is an active performer, composer, recording artist, and teacher in the Austin, TX area. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from Tulane University, as well as further graduate education in sacred music and composition from the Catholic University of America. Ben has won several national and international piano competitions, and he has performed his jazz music in venues throughout New Orleans, Austin, and the DC area. Ben aims to integrate all aspects of his musicianship to create music that will allow listeners to encounter a beauty that is transformative. He believes in the transformative power of beauty and desires to use art as a means of reminding his listeners of their own inherent dignity and worth.
Nahar Eliaz - 🇮🇱 Israel
Israeli, 16 years old, cellist Nahar Eliaz has internationally distinguished herself by winning 1st Prize and "Exceptional Artist" at the 2019 " Vienna Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition" at the 2020 “ Golden Classical Music Awards New York” , at the 2020 “London Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition”. Nahar has won so far the Absolute 1th Prize in more than 20 International competitions staring at the age of 11 years old such as winning the 1st prize at the 2017 “Morningside Music Bridge” Concerto Competition and other international competitions all around the global such as “VI Odin International Music Online Competition”, “Rudolf Barshai International Strings Competition”, “Citta Di Massa” International Competition”,“Grand Metropolitan International Music Competition”, “Wiener Klassiker “Dunabia Talents International Online Music Competition”, “ Swiss International Music Competition”, “Domenico Savino International Music Competition 2021”, 1th absolute prize at the “Anton Rubinstein Cello Competition 2022” ,Platinum medal at the North American Virtuoso International Music Competition 2022, first prize at the Beethoven young musician competition 2022 and others, 1th prize in Amadeus international music awards 2022, 1st prize with Greatest Honor at the Tel Aviv Israeli Conservatory Competition three times in a row.
Her success led to concerts at venues such as the Lincoln Center NY, Carnegie Hall NYC, Jordan Hall Boston, Beethovenhaus in Bonn, Germany, Musikverein Vienna, Barcelona Arts Center est.
As a soloist she is playing with the Jerusalem Symphony, with Symphonette Ra'anana and with orchestras around the world as well as recitals in international Music Festivals in Europe and in the USA. “The Jerusalem Post Newspaper '' quoted in the press after her performances with Lalo Cello Concerto : “She will be the Israel Jacqueline Dupre. She surpasses Dupre in terms of the level of virtuosity at her young age.”
Nahar is a Winner of the America Israel Culture Foundation with a unique highest honor scholarship, a winner of the "Zefunot Culture '' Foundation of Music and the "Ronen Foundation '' of Music awards. a solo cellist at the Verbier Festival Academy 2022.
Itay Hazan - 🇮🇱 Israel
Itay (14) began his Clarinet studies at age 6 with Sagit Mazuz at Hassadna Conservatory in Jerusalem, where he currently studies with Prof. Ilya Schwartz. A 9th grader at the high school of the Academy of Music, Itay was accepted to the Israeli National Wind Orchestra and to the Ministry of Education’s program for gifted musicians.
Itay performed, both as a soloist and in chamber ensembles, in central venues in Israel and abroad, including the Jerusalem Music Center; Shmuel-House Music Hall; Weiss Auditorium; Yellow-Submarine multidisciplinary Music Center; Solitär Hall (Mozarteum, Salzburg); and the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), among others.
Itay won prizes and awards in National and International music competitions, in his age group, including the Unique Outstanding Scholarship for Clarinet players of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation National Scholarship Competition; 1st prize at the Israeli National Wind Competition; 2nd prize at the 16th Long Island International Music Competition; 2nd prize at the 19th Padova International Music Competition; 2nd Prize at the 1st Oberton International Soloist Competition; and 2nd prize at the 18th ”Saverio Mercadante” International Clarinet Competition.
A 2nd prize winner at the 2022 American Virtuoso International Music Competition, Itay was invited to participate in the Winners’ Concert which will take place in June 2023 at the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York.
Julio Reyes - 🇺🇸 USA
Julio was born in Oakland, CA and started the guitar at the age of 5 with his father, a former musical diplomat in Paraguay, South America who studied with a student of Agustin Barrios. He gave his first recital at 12 and at 17 performed the "Concierto de Aranjuez" with Richard Buckley and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. Julio has performed in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean.
At 9 he started his studies on cello and eventually became a member of the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra under the direction of Kent Nagano. After being principle cellist for 2 years, he became Maestro Nagano's Assistant Conductor. His conducting teachers and mentors were Kent Nagano, Calvin Simmons, Richard Buckley, and Denis de Coteau. His proudest performance is conducting Prince Albert of Monaco's private orchestra in the opera, "Fay Yen Fah" at the Monaco Opera House with soloists from the US.
He has enjoyed being an educator for many years conducting youth orchestras in the US, Cuba, and Paraguay since the late 80's, giving lectures on the life and music of Agustin Barrios at conservatories of music, college music departments, and guitar societies here and abroad, teaching guitar, and teaching music at Holy Names High School in Oakland, CA for 3 years.
Currently, he continues teaching guitar privately, gives lectures, recitals, and freelance conducts whenever possible.
Timothy Shi - 🇺🇸 USA
Timothy Shi is a classical violinist and a sophomore at Millburn High School. He began playing violin at four and has since performed as a guest soloist with the New Jersey Symphony, as a soloist at Lincoln Center, and as the concertmaster of the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s Sinfonia and Philharmonia. Currently, he is the concertmaster of the New Jersey Symphony’s Academy Orchestra. He received first and second place in the Henry Lewis Concerto Competition in 2022 and 2020, respectively, and received third place at Camerata Artists International Competition. Shi is currently a member of the NJSO Youth Orchestra, All-State, and All-National orchestras. Outside of violin, he loves to program, talk with friends, and swim, having placed 12th and 20th nationally for the 400 IM and the 1000 Freestyle.
Ke Tang - 🇨🇳 China
Ke Tang, a 20-year-old Chinese pianist, was signed as a young pianist by A.C.Orange when she was 11 years old. At the age of 15, she joined the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra as a young musician. She is currently pursuing a dual degree in piano performance and finance at the Eastman School of Music and the School of Art, Science, and Engineering at the University of Rochester, studying piano with Joseph Rackers.
As a soloist, Ke Tang cooperated with the orchestra for the first time at the age of eleven. She has been invited to perform as a soloist with orchestras over a dozen times, including Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, Sichuan Symphony Orchestra, Sichuan Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra, Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, Tianjin Symphony Orchestra, Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra, etc. The Hong Kong Wen Wei Po newspaper has frequently reported her performances, and she has been dubbed a rising star of the Chinese classical music scene.
Ke Tang has received several national and international competition awards, including 2021 American Music Talent Competition, 2019 Tongyue X Galaxie Y International Piano Open Professional Competition, The 63rd GROTRIAN International Piano Competition, Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition, The 31st Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, ”Chopin MEDALS" Hong Kong international piano competition, The Eighth Chopin International Youth Piano Competition, The 21st United States Open Piano Competition, and others.