P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase Hosted by Emi Ferguson

Jasmine Singh

Earlier last month, flutist, vocalist, and composer Emi Ferguson, a 2011 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow hosted the “Young Artists Showcase” on New York Public Radio’s WQXR station (105.9FM) to celebrate Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows in classical music. Since its conception in 1997, the Fellowship has a long history of supporting students studying classical music including prominent composers Lera Auerbach (1998 Fellow), Lei Liang (2002 Fellow), and Paola Prestini (1999 Fellow). Musicians like Elizabeth Roe (2005 Fellow), Christine Lamprea (2012 Fellow), and Sophie Shao (2000 Fellow) are also a part of that legacy.

The first episode of the PD Soros Young Artist Showcase features Hilda Huang (2019 Fellow) and Julie Zhu (2015 Fellow) with a reprise performance from Sean Chen (2010 Fellow). To listen to episode 1, click here. The second episode features Yvette Keong (2020 Fellow), Dave Adewumi (2017 Fellow), and Audrey Chen (2022 Fellow). To listen to episode 2, click here.

When asked about the motivation behind hosting the showcase, Emi enthusiastically said, “They are incredible musicians. Every musical Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow approaches their craft with their full sense of self which includes their immigrant stories and families who supported them in their musical pursuits. I can’t imagine a better radio episode.”

Emi was born in Japan and raised in London and Boston. She received a master’s degree in music from The Julliard School in historical performance and baroque flute. Her performances alternate between the silver flute, historical flutes, and auxiliary flutes, and she’s been featured alongside artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Simon, and James Taylor. She was recently awarded the 2023 Avery Fisher Career Grant of $25,000 for being a promising artist in the genre of classical music.

“I hope that listeners hear just how amazing and nuanced these performances are,” Emi explained. “Each artist is exploring music that is so unique to them, and I really hope they see the many ways in which musicians create and collaborate with each other and how a musicians’ immigrant story impacts their musical choices and celebrations.”

Emi featured the following Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows in the WQXR episodes:

Hilda Huang is the child of Taiwanese parents who found her love for the piano at the age of three. In 2014, Hilda was the first American and person of Asian descent to win the Leipzig International Bach Competition and appeared in the Bach and Friends documentary. Hilda studied piano performance at the Yale School of Music and is in the process of recording her first album, Hilda Huang plays Bach.

Julie Zhu is the child of immigrants from China. Her parents were part of the first class of students to graduate from China after the Cultural Revolution. Although Julie’s first passion was mathematics, she always had an interest in the arts. Julie found ways to balance her interests as she double majored in mathematics and art as an undergraduate at Yale University, where her fascination for the carillon began. Julie studied at the Royal Carillon School in Belgium and is a professional carillonneur for St. Thomas Church in Manhattan. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in music composition at Stanford University.

Sean Chen is the child of immigrant parents from Taiwan. He is a pianist who has played for audiences around the world in solo and chamber recitals, concerto performances, and masterclasses. He has collaborated with a vast array of orchestras and conductors all over the United States and has served on juries of notable piano competitions including the Thailand International Piano Competition, the West Virginia International Piano Competition, and the Cleveland International Piano Competition for Young Artists. Sean’s CD releases include La Valse, a solo recording on the Steinway label, hailed for “penetrating artistic intellect” (Audiophile Audition); a live recording from the Cliburn Competition released by Harmonia mundi, praised for his “ravishing tone and cogently contoured lines” (Gramophone); an album of Michael Williams’s solo piano works on the Parma label; and a recent album of Flute, Oboe, and Piano repertoire titled KaleidosCoping with colleagues Michael Gordon and Celeste Johnson. Mr. Chen has also contributed to the catalog of Steinway’s new Spirio system.

Christine Lamprea is the child of immigrants from Colombia. Her passion for the cello led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in cello performance at The Julliard School. Christine was mentored by Bonnie Hampton and Itzhak Perlman, and quickly established herself as a talented and accomplished solo and chamber music performer. Christine enjoys using music as a tool of service; she was a Gluck Community Service Fellow at Julliard and played at senior centers and hospitals throughout New York. She’s received a master’s in music at The New England Conservatory of Music.

Yvette Keong is the child of immigrants from Australia. Yvette completed her undergraduate degree in classical voice at the Manhattan School of Music and received the Hugh Ross Commencement Award for being an outstanding singer. She has performed at notable concert halls including Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and David Geffen Hall, and she performed Henrietta M. in Thomson’s The Mother of Us All, co-presented by the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts performance series, and The Juilliard School. Yvette was the recipient of The Rohatyn Great Promise Award at the Eastern Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was named the Australian Music Foundation’s Nora Goodridge Young Artist. She has also won accolades from The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Opera Index Competition, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. 

David Adewumi is the child of immigrants from Nigeria. Dave is an award-winning trumpet player, composer, and educator whose musical origins began at the New England Conservatory. He has been mentored by acclaimed musicians including Ralph Alessi, Frank Carlberg, John McNeil, and the late Laurie Fink. Dave has studied at The Banff Center and alongside Vijay Iyer at Harvard University. Likewise, he’s received a master’s degree in music at The Julliard School focusing on jazz. He has performed around the world including the Panama Jazz Festival, Generations in Jazz Festival (in Australia with James Morrison), and as a featured artist in the Bern Jazz Festival.

Audrey Chen is the child of immigrants from Taiwan. In elementary school, she was a part of a robust elementary school orchestra program which ignited her passion for the cello. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in molecular and cellular biology at Harvard, Audrey took cello lessons at the New England Conservatory as part of Harvard dual degree program with the conservatory. Audrey’s love for chamber music blossomed as she played in and directed various ensembles at Harvard and founded a string quartet at NEC that performed concerts and taught musical workshops in schools around Boston. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in musical arts at the CUNY Graduate Center and is teaching at Hunter College in New York City.

Each performance in the episode is a mirror reflecting the inner world of the performer, and it is through such expressions of music that listeners can get a glimpse into the stories and identities that not only shape and define our Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows, but also represents the themes of the Fellowship as a whole. ∎

You can find the programs of each episode including each piece of music and artist that will be featured below.

Episode 1 Program

J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A major, well-tempered Clavier Book 1, BWV 864
Hilda Huang, piano

J.S. Bach: Partita in D Major, BWV 828: III. Courante, V. Sarabande
Hilda Huang, piano

D’anglebert: Passacaille d’Armide
Hilda Huang, harpsichord

Frescobaldi: Ancidetemi Pur
Hilda Huang, harpsichord

Zhu: Allegro, for Carillon
Julie Zhu, carillon

Zhu: Lumiére, for Carillon and electronics
Julie Zhu, carillon 

Zhu: Pinks
L'Académie Voix Nouvelles

Zhu: Other of Two
Robert Fleitz, piano 

Bach: Gigue, from French Suite no.5 in G major
Sean Chen, piano 

Froberger: Tombeau de Blancrocher
Hilda Huang, harpsichord

Episode 2 Program

Bach: Cello Suite No.2 in D minor, BWV 1008
Christine Lamprea, cello

R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59, “The Presentation of the Rose”
Yvette Keong, soprano; Eric Sedgwick, piano

Earl Kim: Three Poems in French, I. En Sourdine and II. Colloque Sentimental
Yvette Keong, soprano; Eric Sedgwick, piano

Matthew Evan Taylor: Life Returns
David Adewumi, trumpet; Ganavya, vocalist

Matthew Evan Taylor: Postcard, No. 12
David Adewumi, trumpet; Matthew Evan Taylor, saxophone

Carl Frühling: Clarinet Trio, Op. 40
Audrey Chen, cello; Amalia Rinehart, piano; Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet

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