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The Kennedy Center

Winners of the VSA International Young Soloists Competition

2001 Award Recipients

Panasonic Young Soloists Award

Justin Mackewich

Picture of Justin Mackewich Justin Mackewich from Vancouver, Washington, is an 18 year old Violinst attends the Vancouver School of the Arts and Academics and has been playing since the age of five. He has had the honor of not only meeting his idol, Itzhak Perlman, but he was chosen to study at the Perlman Music Program in East Hampton, New York and performed at Avery Fisher Hall with the Perlman Chamber Orchestra under Perlman's Baton. Justin says he is honored to have won the 2001 Panasonic Young Soloists Award and hopes "it might encourage other teens living with Crohn's disease to achieve their dreams."

Quamon Fowler

Picture of Quamon Fowler Quamon Fowler, a 20 year old Tenor Saxophone player from Fort Worth, Texas, has been studying since the 7th grade. He says that the horn has been the best medicine to relieve his asthma and adjust to his visual impairment. The horn helped his breathing - the sounds he was able to memorize. Quamon considers himself "an energetic, persistent, creative, diligent, self motivated and talented artist who has not allowed his visual impairment to hinder his musical endeavors."

Honorary Finalist

Shannon Devido

Picture of Shannon Devido Shannon Devido, from Holland, Pennsylvania, is an 18 year old Vocalist with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Her disability affects all of her voluntary muscles including her lungs, which are currently at 50% capacity. It is of special significance, therefore, for Shannon to be recognized for her accomplishments in Voice. Shannon has been studying voice for 2 years and is currently a freshman at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania with aspirations of being a professional musician.

Rosemary Kennedy International Young Soloists Award

Thristan Mendoza

Picture of Thristan Mendoza A 2001 Rosemary Kennedy International Young Soloist Award Winner, eleven-year-old Thristan Mendoza is from Quezon City, Philippines. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 1/2. With his inborn perfect pitch, he learned to play the marimba at the age of five and has already done over 120 performances. Recently, Thristan was given the Millennium Dreamer's Award during the Global Children's summit held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He has contributed his talent and his time to public awareness efforts and fundraising for the Autism Society of the Philippines and other organizations for the disabled. In addition to being a very talented Marimba player, Thristan has consistently been in the top percent of his class at O.B. Montessori.

Mikko Herranen

Picture of Mikko Herranen Twenty-Four year old Mikko Herranen, also a 2001 Rosemary Kennedy International Young Soloist Award Winner, is from Finland and has been blind since birth. Mikko began studying piano at the age of three, drums at age thirteen and voice in highschool. At the Pop & Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki, he has been able to study, compose, produce and teach music for his own pleasure and that others. Recently he composed and produced a CD for local youth musical. Mikko would like to continue his studies with the promise of becoming a professional musician in the vein of his Seattle based influences.