to the  Island Symphony Orchestra

Donald Schweikert is an 18-year-old bassoonist from West Sayville. He started taking private lessons in the 5th grade and has continued taking lessons from Stony Brook doctoral students ever since. In the 7th grade, he joined the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and now perform under the baton of Phil Preddice in their Principal Orchestra. In school, Donald takes part in every ensemble that his schedule allows, in order to round out my experiences and abilities from jazz to choral music to orchestra. Donald will be attending Ithaca College in the fall.

Any questions?  Contact us directly at competition@islandsymphony.org

Meet our other talented Winners and Finalists!

Our two Honorable Mentions are Lawrence Chai (viola) and Donald Schweikert (bassoon)

George Wolfe-McGuire (cello) is our Second Prize winner and recipient of our Paul Rudoff Scholarship Award.

George Wolfe-McGuire is a 14-year-old cellist from Amityville. George has played cello since the age of 6, and is in his second year of the Juilliard Pre-College Division. George has given numerous public performances in the tri-state area, and has attended summer camps for several years, including Junior Greenwood, Meadowmount, and, this past summer, the Sphinx Performance Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

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/February of the following year, with a winner selected shortly thereafter.  The performance opportunity for the winner will generally occur in May or June at the ISO's annual spring community concert.

Watch here for further information about the next competition's call for entries in September 2019.

Lawrence Chai is a 14-year-old violist from Mount Sinai. He is a student of Toby Appel and Joohyun Kate Kim in the Pre-College Division at The Juilliard School, which he was accepted to in 2016. He won 2nd place in the 2018 American Viola Society Festival Competition, Junior Division, and was a finalist in the 2018 Juilliard Pre-College Open Concerto Competition. He was co-principal violist of National Youth Orchestra 2 during the 2018 season and the Juilliard Pre-College String Ensemble from 2016 to 2018.

Sarah Ma


Sarah is our First Prize recipient, and Winner of the

Dr. Charles F. Gouse  Scholarship Award.

Sarah is a 15-year-old violinist from Garden City. She is currently a student of Masao Kawasaki at the Juilliard School's Pre-College Division as a recipient of the Beggs-Dethier Scholarship. As a top prize winner in several national and international competitions, Sarah has frequently performed as a soloist with orchestras such as Ensemble 212, NY Chamber Players, Bergen Philharmonic, Union City Philharmonic, Bravura Philharmonic, Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, and the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Symphony, among others. In 2017, Sarah was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Blount-Slawson National and the Cooper International competitions. She was also a laureate and prize winner in the 2016 Il Piccolo Violino Magico competition in Italy.

Sarah has worked with several teachers and renowned musicians in masterclasses and lessons, including Ani Kavafian, Robert Lipsett, Li Lin, Ray Chen, Sarah Chang, Donald Weilerstein, David and Linda Cerone, Aaron Rosand, and Stefan Jackiw, among others. A previous full-scholarship student of Elizabeth Faidley at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College, Sarah won both divisions of the school's competition, as well as honorable mention in the chamber competition. In addition to performing, Sarah enjoys giving back to the community through music as a member of Back to Bach's Long Island branch, a guest artist in concerts for the Tiwanaku Project in Bolivia, and volunteering for Music & Memory. Sarah's past summers have been spent at the Indiana University JSOM Summer String Academy studying with Mimi Zweig, the Aspen Music Festival with Robert Lipsett, Summit Music Festival with Aaron Rosand, and the Heifetz Institute of Music. In her free time, Sarah enjoys running, hiking, swimming, and is a painter at the Helen Zhang Art Studio.

Our continued thanks to Mr. Peter Horvath for generously underwriting the scholarships awarded to our competition winners.

Meet our 2019 Winner!


with the ISO!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Walt Whitman High School

Winner of our 2019 Young Performers Competition

Sarah Ma



The ISO Young Performers Competition is open to all instrumentalists, 18 years old or younger, currently residing in Nassau or Suffolk Counties and studying with a private teacher.

To apply, the following application materials must be submitted to us electronically.  CLICK ON THE SUBMISSION LINK ABOVE TO BEGIN THE APPLICATION PROCESS:

1. A completed ONLINE application form (available once you click the link to submit your application above).  You will be asked for your name, age, address, email address, phone number, the title of the work you would like to perform in concert with us, any alternative works you might be ready to play, should your first choice not be appropriate to our needs, and a short biography of your musical training and background.

2. An audio recording of you, performing an entire movement from the work you wish to play,
with accompaniment.  This submission (in mp3 file format) must be attached to your online application.

All works must be for soloist and orchestra.
Works for solo instrument alone or soloist and piano are not acceptable.
EXCERPTS or SINGLE MOVEMENTS from multi-movement works ARE NOT acceptable.

Video submissions are not acceptable.

  (Please contact us if you encounter technical difficulties in submitting your audio file online.)

3. A confidential letter of recommendation from your current private music teacher (Hard copy only--this letter should be sent within 2 weeks of submitting your online application materials).
Mail To:

Island Symphony Orchestra
Young Performers’ Competition
P.O. Box 2185
Brentwood, NY 11717

Deadline: December 1, 2018

All winners are expected to play a complete work at a concert scheduled for Sunday, June 2, 2019.

Finalists will be selected by a committee of orchestra members and contacted in late 2018/early 2019.

Live auditions will be scheduled in January 2019, and the winners announced by February 2019.

Cash scholarship awards will be presented at the June public concert performance only.

All submissions become the property of the ISO and will not be returned.

Previous First Prize winners are ineligible to reapply.



Please contact us at competition@IslandSymphony.org

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