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Wharton Music Center Presents New Jersey Youth Symphony Concerto Competition Winners in Library Concert Series


GILLETTE, NJ - Wharton Music Center continues its Library Concert Series with performances by winners of the 2013 New Jersey Youth Symphony Concerto Competition on Sunday, April 27 at 2:00 p.m. at Long Hill Public Library located at 917 Valley Road in Gillette. Katie Liu, violin, Zachary Hatcher, harp, and Yuji Sugimoto, violin, will captivate audiences with an afternoon of classical masterworks, performed by the talented young artists with musical brilliance and stunning artistry. The concert, free and open to the public, is sponsored in part by the Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation.

Grand Prize Winner Katie Liu of Mount Olive is a sophomore at Mount Olive High School and began playing the violin and piano at age five. She is a first prize winner in numerous competitions including the American String Teachers Association of New Jersey Solo Strings Competition, New Jersey Music Teachers Association Young Musician Competition, Summit Symphony Young Artists Concerto Competition, Bravura Young Artist Concerto Competition, and the New Jersey Youth Symphony Concerto Competition. She enjoys playing chamber music with her string quartet and serves as concertmistress of the All-North Jersey High School Symphonic Orchestra. Katie studies with Ms. Duoming Ba of the New York Philharmonic. Aside from playing the violin, Katie participates in her school debate club, math league, track team, and science league, and she enjoys working on calculus in her spare time. A straight-A student, Katie continues to find creative ways to balance her many interests and schoolwork along with practicing the violin. She aims to understand music better through collaboration with her peers, and for this reason she takes pride in being a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Katie strives to be a good musician not only as a soloist, but also within an ensemble, learning to listen and communicate with others.

Second Place Winner Zachary Hatcher of Maplewood is principal harpist of The Juilliard Pre-College Division Orchestra and has performed as a soloist and principal harpist with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the Northeast and Europe, including with the New Jersey Youth Symphony and New York Youth Symphony. He has received numerous honors and awards including The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey Young Artists Competition, The Pearl and Julius Young Music Competition, and The Juilliard Pre-College Division Concerto Competition. Zachary has been hailed as “comprehensively masterful,” “completely natural,” “surprisingly accurate and original,” and as having “stunning tone and color.” He studies with June Han in The Juilliard Pre-College Division and will attend the Paris Conservatory to study with Isabelle Moretti this fall.

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Third Place Winner Yuji Sugimoto of New Providence is a junior at Union County Magnet High School in Scotch Plains. A member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony for 8 years, Yuji has served as principal second violinist in the orchestra and studies with Deborah Buck of the Lark Quartet. Yuji began his violin studies at the age of four and made his solo orchestral debut in 2009 with the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra as a winner of the Young Artists Baroque Concerto Competition. He has won several competitions including the Goldblatt Scholarship Competition, Prima Artist International Competition, and The National Young Artists Chamber Music Competition, resulting in performances at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. This year marks his third consecutive year as a prize winner in the New Jersey Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, and in 2013, he won the Grand Prize as well as the Heifetz Award and the Audience Choice Award in the inaugural Wharton Music Center Young Artists Competition. He has the distinction of participating in both New Jersey Regional and All-State Orchestras since middle school.

Wharton Music Center, located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights, provides music, theatre, and dance instruction, educational programs, and performances for children, teens, and adults. In addition to instruction in all instruments and voice, WMC offers classes in musical theatre, dance, drama, vocal music, music theory, audio recording, early childhood music, and music for children with special needs. Offering a range of musical genres including classical, rock, jazz, and blues, WMC is one of New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving students in Union, Morris, Essex, Somerset, and other surrounding counties.

WMC offers orchestral and ensemble music education for grades 3 through 12 through New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) located at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. NJYS, one of the foremost youth orchestras in the state, has eleven orchestras and ensembles for which auditions are held annually. NJYS’s premiere orchestra, Youth Symphony, has performed in internationally renowned concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.

The mission of Wharton Music Center, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is to advance excellence and education in the performing arts. For more information, visit or

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