Jurors 2023

Kirsten Yon

Dr. Kirsten Yon is Associate Professor of Violin and Head of the String Division at the University of Houston Moores School of Music.  Her active solo career includes recital engagements and masterclasses throughout the United States (including Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall), Brazil, Czech Republic, England, South Korea, Honduras, Mexico, Germany, France, Iceland, and Norway.  Previously on the faculty of Texas Tech University, Yon additionally taught for many years at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the International Music Academy Pilsen (Czech Republic), the Nathan Schwartzman String Festival (Uberlândia, Brazil), and the Cambridge International String Academy (England). She toured Brazil with the Botticelli String Quartet and pianist Cristina Capparelli Gerling, traveling to Curitiba, Florianopolis, and performing several concerti with the Orquestra de Câmara Theatro São Pedro in Porto Alegre (Brazil). The winner of multiple competitions, Yon received outstanding accolades for her performances as a concert soloist, chamber musician, and for her concerto appearances.

A versatile orchestral musician, Professor Yon held concertmaster chairs with the Bayou City Chamber Orchestra, the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Caprock Pro Musica Sinfonietta, Ballet Lubbock, and the Cypress Symphony, as well as performing with diverse ensembles that include the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), Aperio, the baroque ensemble Ars Lyrica, and the contemporary Musiqa ensemble. Currently she serves as concertmaster of the Shreveport Symphony (Louisiana) under the baton of Michael Butterman. As a lauded chamber musician, Yon founded the Champlain Piano Trio, the Archiano Ensemble, the Karlin Trio, and the Botticelli String Quartet. Additional chamber performances with Rohan Da Silva, Kyung Sun Lee, Norman Fischer, and Lucie Robert.

Dedicated to musical outreach at both the community and international levels, Yon is founder and Artistic Director of Encuentro de Cuerdas, a long-term pedagogical outreach program in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  Since the beginning of her professional teaching career, students from both her college and pre-college studios have won numerous solo competitions and awards.  In her early years at Texas Tech University, she was honored with a Texas Tech University Alumni Association New Faculty Award for her work at the School of Music and was elected to the Texas Tech Teaching Academy, a distinct honor within the university. The Violin Faculty Affiliate for the Community Arts Academy at UH, Dr. Yon has also served as the president of the South Plains Suzuki Strings Foundation and is a passionate advocate for string music education. 

A frequent masterclass clinician across the world, Dr. Yon spent recent summers teaching and performing at the Texas Music Festival, ARIA International Summer Academy (Massachusetts), Cedar Valley Chamber Music (Iowa), the Naolinco International Music Festival (Mexico), and the Liberec International Violin Academy (Czech Republic). A graduate of the University of Michigan, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Rice University, her major teachers included Kathleen Winkler, David Updegraff, William Preucil, and Raphael Fliegel.  Her debut recording on Centaur Records with cellist Jeffrey Lastrapes was released in 2015. Apart from teaching and playing the violin, she loves cooking, reading, and spending time with her two rescue puppies Bella and Jasper!

John Haspel Gilbert

Violinist John Haspel Gilbert is Professor of Violin at the Texas Tech University School of Music in Lubbock, TX. He is the recipient of the 2015 TexASTA Phyllis Young Outstanding Studio Teacher Award, and the TTU President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Praised by legendary performers such as the late Josef Gingold (“I have great admiration for this superb violinist”), Glenn Dicterow (“Obviously we are dealing with a very high level of artistry”), Camilla Wicks, Arnold Steinhardt and the late Joseph Fuchs, he is an active soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator, regularly performing throughout the United States, having appeared from coast to coast in prestigious venues from Weill Recital Hall in New York City, to Abravanel Hall in Santa Barbara (CA). Recent international engagements have included performances in Brazil, France, Iceland, Italy, and the United Kingdom. A sought after clinician and adjudicator, he has been heard in concert in every major city in Texas. His former students perform in major orchestras, hold university positions, and are public school educators, throughout the US, Brazil, and Russia.

Gilbert served as concertmaster of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra for 13 seasons. With the LSO he appeared as soloist in the concerti of Beethoven, Brahms, Corigliano, and Sibelius. He previously held this position with the Baton Rouge Symphony and Knoxville Symphony and has been a member of the faculty at the SMU Meadows School of Music, University of Memphis, and Hope College. Gilbert was the teaching assistant to Sally O’Reilly at both the University of Minnesota and Louisiana State University. A former member of the artist faculty member of the Green Mountain (Vermont) Chamber Music Festival, his other summer festival appearances have been at the Madeline Island (WI) Chamber Festival, Schlern (Italy) International Festival, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, BRAVO! Summer String Institute, Eastern Music Festival, Heidelberg Castle Festival, Killington Music Festival, and the Spoleto Festival.

Gilbert’s principal studies were under the tutelage of Sally O’Reilly and Charles Castleman. He holds degrees from the University of Minnesota, the Yale University School of Music, and the Eastman School of Music, and has held fellowships at the Aspen Music School in both chamber music and orchestral performance. His chamber music studies were with current or former members of the Julliard, Tokyo, Cleveland, Fine Arts and Yale string quartets, and the Eastman and Rafael trios.

Mr. Gilbert may be heard on the CentaurNaxos and Innova labels. His most recent recording, of the Sonatas of Samuel Barber and Richard Strauss, will be released on the Fleur de Son label in 2016. His recording of the Kurt Weill Concerto and the Alban Berg Kammerkonzert with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra was released on the Sono Luminus labelin September of 2012 (Sono Luminus 92161).


“…pure-toned John Gilbert’s interweaving with his colleagues in the Weill is especially impressive…”

GRAMOPHONE January, 2013

“The masterpiece here…is the Berg, which sounds as impassioned, conflicted and intricately layered as ever. Nothing appears to cause anxiety for the Baton Rouge musicians, who dispatch the score’s rhythmic and expressive challenges with handsome aplomb. Violinist John Gilbert and pianist Dmitri Shteinberg are vibrant soloists and the winds perform with cohesive and precise assurance under conductor Timothy Muffitt.”

Patricia Shih

Described by her legendary mentor Josef Gingold as “one of the greatest talents that I have ever taught. Her great technique, inborn musicianship, sense of style and virtuosity are unequalled”. Patricia has also been privileged to study with Rostislav Dubinsky, Sandor Vegh, Denes Zsigmondy and Lise Elson.
Patricia’s virtuosity and artistry has made her one of the most versatile musicians available to leading classical music groups. She has performed as soloist in some of the world’s great venues including the Carnegie Hall in New York, Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, Wigmore Hall in London, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Liszt Akademy Hall in Budapest, and the Roy Thompson in Toronto amongst many others, and has received rave reviews for her magnificent performances often comparing her to some of the great violinists of the past.
Patricia’s significant international concert career under the mentorship of Rostislav Dubinsky (Borodin Quartet) and on his introduction to his personal manager Mariedi Anders Artists Management, has toured internationally both as recitalist and as soloist with many leading orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, the Halle Orchestra, the Orchestra Bretagne, the Toronto Symphony, the Mexico National Symphony, the Singapore Symphony and the Polish National Radio Orchestra.

At an early age, Patricia won the Grand Prize at both the CIBC
National Music Competition in Canada and the Seattle Young Artists Competition in the USA. Patricia also received the highest honour amongst all instrumentalists for three consecutive years in the 4,000 person entrant Canadian Music Competition, a feat that was never achieved by anyone since.
By the age of 14, Patricia became a pupil of the legendary Josef Gingold at Indiana University. In less than a year, she made a highly acclaimed debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall playing the Wieniawski Concerto No.1, a concert arranged especially for her by Prof. Gingold.

As the youngest finalist at the age of 15, Patricia received a Special Prize at the International Wieniawski Competition in Poland and was a laureate at the International Kreisler Competition in Vienna. She was also awarded the International Sommerakademie Mozarteum prize in Salzburg, Austria and in her native Canada, was honoured with the prestigious Sylva Gelber Foundation Award for the most outstanding Canadian musician under age 30.

As the much applauded first violinist of the Borealis String Quartet, Shih and the quartet has toured worldwide at major venues, and also in Europe and Asia where they have been sponsored by Chimei Culture Foundation in Taiwan. Their performance for the Prime Minister of Canada was viewed by over 75,000 people while performing at Parliament Hill in Ottawa and consequently, performed special concerts for the Chief Justice of Canada, Beverly MacLachlin and for His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. Patricia was recently honoured as a “Distinguished Fellow of BC” for the applauded presentations and lectures given as a Visiting Scholar at Green College@ UBC. The Borealis is endorsed by Pirastro Strings and are ambassadors for the famed string company.

On the Biography Channel, “Patricia Shih, a half hour documentary” was aired across North America.

Patricia plays on a 1740 Paolo Antonio Testore made in Milan and is Associate Professor of Violin at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

While she is not practicing the violin, Patricia can be found practicing her cooking skills, biking and hiking in the nature trails wherever she travels.

Scroll to Top