Keila Wakao ’24, a senior at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, received First Prize at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) annual Concerto Competition on Thursday, October 12. The 17-year-old Wakao was chosen as the winner out of 22 applicants, nine musicians having advanced to the final round. Wakao performed Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor at the Competition. As the first prize winner, she will give a public performance of the work’s second movement with the BSO on October 28 at 12:00 PM at Symphony Hall in Boston and will receive a $1,000 cash prize (the Cornelius A. & Muriel P. Wood Award).
Concerto Competition participants from Walnut Hill School for the Arts swept the top placements at the event. In addition to Wakao’s first prize, second prize went to Jiyu Oh ’25 (violin) and third prize was tied between Yuxuan Daniel Ma ’25 (french horn) and Andrew Sijie Li ’25 (piano).
Last year’s BSO Concerto Competition was also won by a Walnut Hill student, bassoonist Ye Sol (Joanna) Yi ’24.
“I am so grateful to have won the Boston Symphony Concerto Competition, as it has always been a lifelong dream to perform with the BSO in Symphony Hall,” comments Wakao, who studies privately with Donald Weilerstein and Soovin Kim at the New England Conservatory of Music. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my teachers, family, and friends for their unwavering support. Most importantly, I would like to acknowledge the incredible dedication and hard work of all the competitors who participated.”
“The Boston Symphony is delighted to congratulate Keila Wakao on winning first prize in our Concerto Competition,” says Catherine French, a BSO violinist and Robert Bradford Newman chair, and one of the Concerto Competition judges. “There were many wonderful young artists who participated in this year’s Competition, and it was thrilling to hear them all. Keila’s radiant performance of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 will be a highlight of our annual Youth Concert week, which begins Wednesday, October 25th. Thank you so much to Ms. Wakao and all the other accomplished young musicians who participated in our competition and played so beautifully.”
- student news