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Anthony LaBarca, a truly dynamic 16-year- old cellist, began his studies at the age of 3½. Since the age of 5, he has been studying under Ivy Chatanow at Virtuoso Suzuki Academy. AJ has been a regular participant in the All-County Orchestra, Long Island String Festival, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and the New York Young Musician’s Ensemble and has served as principal cellist on multiple occasions. In 2017, Anthony was selected for the NYSSMA All-State String Orchestra.

AJ has been invited to perform as a soloist in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, The Landmark Theater and Colden Auditorium. Internationally, he performed as a soloist and in ensemble in Paris, France, in partnership with the UNESCO Artists for Peace (2016). He has won several competitions for cello, including the Concert Festival (2015), MYO Concerto competition (2015), Russian Festival (2015) and Harmony for Peace Jr. Ambassador competition (1st place, strings, 2017). AJ is also an award-winning pianist winning the Music of America Great Composer International Competition (2017). An avid chamber musician, he has performed at Alice Tully Hall (as winner of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 2015), in Paris (awarded Best Ensemble, 2016) and, most recently, the LISFA Chamber music festival (2017).

AJ regularly uses music for community service and peace projects including Pianos for Patients, Journey: the Cross and Crucifixion, Our lady of Mercy Folk Group and Harmony for Peace. He is a member of the Syosset High School Pit Orchestra and the Marching Band. He has had master classes for cello with Igor Volochine and Maureen Hynes.

When he is not playing the cello or piano, AJ plays the alto sax and has appeared with the Paul Effman Jazz Band as well as the All-County Jazz Festival for the last four years. He was named a Tilles Scholar in 2015 and was invited to perform with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey (BONJ) in Grace Church (2016) and is the BONJ scholarship recipient (2017).

Each year the ISO sponsors a "Young Performers Competition" in which music students across Long Island vie for the opportunity for a scholarship award and to perform a full classical concerto as a soloist with the orchestra. 

This competition provides young musicians with much needed experience that prepares them for the challenges of a future career in music.  Since this program began, the ISO has granted more than 25 performance opportunities to our First and Second Prize winners.

The competition typically opens in September and applications will be accepted for a specified window to November/December.  Finalists are selected and auditions are conducted in January of the following year, with a winner selected shortly thereafter.  The performance opportunity for the winner will generally occur in May at the ISO's annual spring concert.

Watch here for further information about the next competition's call for entries in September 2018.

AJ will be the featured

Guest Soloist

in concert with the

Island Symphony Orchestra


Sunday, May 20, 2018 - 2PM

at Walt Whitman High School

Please click on the "Concerts" tab for more details

Meet the Winner of our 2018 Young Performers Competition

Anthony ("AJ") LaBarca