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Hershey Symphony Young Artist Competition Winner Announced

The Hershey Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce that pianist Daniel Huang, an 11th-grader at Veritas Academy in Leola, is the winner of this year’s Young Artist Competition.

The Young Artist Competition was established by the symphony to celebrate young artists with superior musical ability in South Central Pennsylvania. The competition is open to all students enrolled in grades 7 through 11 who reside or go to school in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, or York County. Entrants compete by preparing a concerto for solo instrument (including operatic voice) written with orchestral accompaniment. 

The judges this year included Hershey Symphony music director and conductor Greg Woodbridge; Dr. Jennifer Blyth, professor of music at Dickinson College; and Dr. Johannes Dietrich, Newton and Adelaide Burgner Endowed Professor of Instrumental Music at Lebanon Valley College. This year’s competition was organized by Hershey Symphony Musicians Mike Rusli and Susan Hoffman.

Huang chose to perform the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1. He will receive the $1,000 William & Ruth Cagnoli Award and will perform his concerto at the September 2024 Hershey Symphony concert.

“I was impressed with Daniel’s command of the piece,” said Maestro Woodbridge. “He captured the power and the elegance without ever being out of control. He plays with a rhythmic precision and a beautiful, singing tone. I am very excited that we can perform this piece for our audience! I know this will be a favorite among our season offerings.”

The winner has been studying piano for 12 years and plans to study violin performance in college. “It has been a great honor to be selected as the winner of the Young Artist Competition. I am very excited for this opportunity to be able to play with such an incredible orchestra and in front of an audience of so many music lovers,” said Huang. 

Other finalists included Abram Finkelstein of Dallastown Area High School, Keegan Zicko of Annville-Cleona High School, Noah Brosey of Veritas Academy, and Bill Wang of Manheim Township High School.

The award was named for William and Ruth Cagnoli, who founded Cagnoli Music, offering instrument sales, repairs and more to musicians of all ages in Central Pennsylvania. The Cagnolis also owned and operated Marty’s Music in Lebanon for many years. A professional woodwind player in the region, William Cagnoli was also one of the early founders of The Hershey Symphony Orchestra and conducted the musicians on several occasions. Mr. Cagnoli also spent nearly 20 years at the Lebanon Veterans Hospital as a Registered Musical Therapist. Allan Cagnoli, their son, is honored to provide the one-thousand dollar award for the Hershey Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition winner, in memory of his parents, who deeply loved music, education, and their community.

Audition information for next year’s Young Artist Competition will be made available in the fall.

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