Each year, we partner with the Bellingham Music Club, inviting the winners of the BMC Student Competitions to participate in the BSO’s High School Concerto Competition. Concerto Competition winners receive a scholarship prize.
Read below to learn more about each of our incredible winners!
Maria Horja is in 9th grade at Sehome High School in Bellingham, Washington. She just turned 15, and she began playing piano with Katie O’Rourke at age 5. Since then, she has been a student of multiple teachers including Rebecca Manalac and her mom, Milica Jelaca Jovanovic. She has been studying with Judith Widrig since 2017.
Maria has been participating in the Seattle Young Artists Festival every year since 2019; she has been awarded a Gold Seal each time the festival happened in person. She was a concerto winner at the Seattle Young Artist Festival in 2023 and was a concerto finals alternate in 2022. She was awarded 1st place at the Outstanding Artists Competition in 2022 as well as WSMTA Chapter Competition the preceding four years. She received recognitions at festivals and competitions including: Gold Medals at the Bach Festival in Seattle and Russian Festival in Bellevue; Gold Medal at Les Cles D’Or (Prague 2021); Laureate of the Sanja Pavlovic Memorial competition; highest number of points in categories V-VIII at the 11th International Music Competition in Belgrade, Serbia; and 3rd place at the Bellingham Music Club Competition 2023. She has played at masterclasses for artists such as George Li, Golda Tatz, Roberto Plano, Christopher Hahn, Robert Shannon, Theresa Bogart, Rachelle McCabe, and David Hyun Kim.
Maria loves bringing joy to people through music and has performed throughout Bellingham, Lynden, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver (WA), Constanta (Romania), Zemun and Belgrade (Serbia), and Hamburg (Germany) as a result of winning the Stage4kids festival in 2020. She also enjoys playing tennis in her free time and is on the varsity team at her high school. Maria speaks three languages fluently and loves playing the violin and guitar besides piano. She is part of the Sehome High School Chamber Orchestra, which will be traveling to the Washington State Solo and Ensemble competition this year! Maria has two younger sisters who also play the piano
Erin Lin, a junior at Sehome High School, has been playing the oboe for 7 years under the instruction of Jennifer Weeks. She started her musical journey by playing the piano and ever since, she has wanted to share her passion for music. Erin Lin plays in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and has placed in various competitions including 2nd Place at the WMEA State Solo & Ensemble, 1st place at the recent Bellingham Music Club competition, and more. This summer, Erin will be travelling to Florida as she was recently accepted into the VIA Academy, a program run under the New World Symphony. Additionally, will be playing with a travelling orchestra in Taiwan. Outside of playing oboe, Erin enjoys rock climbing, tennis, and being an active member of her community.
Cellist Amelia Kelly, 16, began playing cello at age four with her teacher Coral Marchant. Amelia has participated in Marrowstone Music Festival, Point CounterPoint Music Festival, Seattle Youth Symphony, WMEA All State Orchestra and more. Amelia has competed in local and state competitions winning first place at BMC and she was a two-time first place winner at Regional State Solo and Ensemble in both solo and large group. Amelia enjoys sharing her music with others; she has spent lots of time playing at churches, retirement homes, and for her family and friends. In her free time Amelia enjoys spending quality time with her cats and practicing martial arts at her Dojang.