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The Kennedy Center

Winners of the VSA International Young Soloists Competition

2000 Award Recipients

Panasonic Young Soloists Award

Alex Han

Picture of Alex Han Alex Han is a 12-year old alto saxophonist and 2000 Panasonic Young Soloists Award winner from Tenafly, N.J. He studied the recorder at age 7, since he was too small to hold a saxophone. At age 8, he began taking private saxophone lessons. Alex recently "sat in" as a guest performer with revered pianist, Charles Blenzig and His Trio at "The Blue Note" jazz club in NYC. He also sat in with the legendary vibraphonist, Ray Alexander and his quartet at "Trumpets" jazz club in Montclair, NJ. Alex has also sat in with virtuoso pianist, Rio Clemente and his Trio including veteran drummer, Russ Moy and renowned bassist, Bill Crow, at "Shanghai Jazz", a jazz club in Madison, NJ. Alex recorded his first jazz demo CD when he was 11 years old. In February, Alex was featured as guest artist for Grammy Award Winning saxophonist, Paquito D'Rivera, at a Lincoln Center jazz concert.

Beth Gray

Picture of Beth Gray Beth Gray, a 19 year-old vocalist who has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, is a VSA arts 2000 Panasonic Young Soloists Award recipient from Arkansas. Beth is currently a sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and is majoring in choral music education. An active member of the Ouachita Singers, the Baptist Student Union, and the EEE Women's Social Club, she hope to one day become a professional musician or an elementary music teacher. On January 22, 2000, Beth was crowned Miss West Central Arkansas 2000 and finished in the top ten in the Miss Arkansas America 2000 pageant this spring where she won best newcomer and newcomer total points categories.

Rosemary Kennedy International Young Soloists Award

Tse-Chen Hsu

Picture of Alex Han Tse-Chen Hsu is a 13 year old pianist from Taiwan R.O.C. and a 2000 Rosemary Kennedy International Young Soloists Award winner. Blind from birth he has achieved some remarkable things. Tse-Chen tells us the story:

"I was born on December 3, 1986. I was born blind, however, my mother and father frantically sought medical help during my first three months of life in the hope that my blindness could be corrected. They met a doctor who advised them that my blindness was incurable, and that they should save the families money in order to provide me with the appropriate education.

Since I was a small child, I have been sensitive to sound (I usually reacted to sound with happiness and enthusiasm). When I was three year's old, my uncle bought me an electric piano. Incredibly, I was able to play tunes on the piano that my grandfather often sang to me. This was the beginning of my life with music. I started taking piano lessons at the age of eight.

I was formerly enrolled in a school for the blind, however, because of my remarkable musical talent, I was transferred to a traditional elementary school with a renowned music department. I am currently a seventh grade student.

My parents are very proud of my achievements. I know very well that my life is going to be different and not very easy, be my dream is to become a professional performer so that I can give back to my parent all the care and support they gave to me. My love for music and the support of my parents helps me to overcome hardship and encourages me to live life to its fullest!"

Yana Sedyakina

Picture of Yana Sedyakina Yana Sedyakina, is an 18 year-old violin player from St. Petersburg, Russia and a 2000 Rosemary Kennedy International Young Soloists Award winner. She was one of the youngest gifted students to win four musical E.A. Mravinsky contests on the city level, where she was awarded with diplomas of the first and second degrees. In 1996, she gave her first solo performance on the international level in a joint Russian-American concert in Los Angeles, California. She participated in the TV program "Striped Hit". In 1997, she graduated from music school and entered the Rimsky-Korsakov Music College. One of her winning performances was in Bulgaria at the International Youth Music Festival "The Coast of Hope". Yana hopes to enter the State St. Petersburg Conservatoire this year.