The Wellesley Symphony Michael H. Welles Young Soloist Competition

In November each year, the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra conducts its Young Soloist Competition. The Competition is generously hosted by the Dana Hall School of Music, whose Music Building at 103 Grove Street in Wellesley provides a friendly atmosphere and well- appointed rooms for musicians and their accompanists to warm up and to perform for the judges. The audition room has two pianos.

The 2020 competition will be held on a Saturday in November; the final date will be set before Labor Day 2020. Here is a link to the 2019 application. There is no application fee. Each participant selects a concerto movement suitable to be performed with the WSO at our March Family Concert at MassBay Community College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Auditions should be about 10 minutes long, and each participant is responsible for making arrangements with an accompanist. In addition to performing with the orchestra, the winner receives a $500 award.

NOTE: Applications for the WSO Young Soloist Competition are posted here on or before Labor Day each year. If you have any questions about the competition at any time, please contact Carol Davidson at or by telephone at 617-945-9386. *It is important to apply early*; for the past several years, all slots have been filled almost 2 weeks before the published application deadline, and a waiting list has been put in place.

We have a wonderful group of participants each year, including about 30 young musicians up to the age of 18 (the youngest in recent memory was 8 years old.) We welcome all orchestral instrumentalists and pianists to our competition.

2019 Young Soloist Competition Winner - John Matters

image of John Matters, 2019 Young Soloist Competition Winner

As a 16 year old violinist, John Matters demonstrates a great passion for music. Born in Beijing, China, John has lived in California and Maryland, and now lives in Milton, Massachusetts, where he attends Milton Academy. The violin has captivated John ever since age 4. Having previously studied with Mr. Li Fang, John currently studies with Professor Lynn Chang and Dr. Adrian Anantawan.

John has participated in numerous competitions, including winning the Music Fest Competition and performing at Carnegie Hall twice, winning the Young Artists Instrumental and Vocal Competition, winning and playing in the recital of the Rockville Competition for Solo Piano & Solo Strings, and earning the bronze award in the Asia Strings Competition.

In addition, John has played with the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra as concertmaster and also attended California Junior All State in 2017. He then played with the DC Youth Orchestra, where he performed at the Kennedy Center as concertmaster. John also performed Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” with the Washington Ballet in a reduced ensemble and participated in the NEC YPO. He is currently a member of the BPYO. John attended the Meadowmount School of Music during the summer of 2019, where he studied with Professor Gerardo Ribeiro.

Besides his musical studies, John is also eager to use music to serve the community around him. During spring break of 2019, John worked as a volunteer for the Sistema Ravinia program, an intensive and transformational orchestral music education program located in Chicago, where he helped with office work and worked with students on a daily basis. John was also able to connect music to science when he helped as a volunteer at the Multiverse - Shadows of Exoplanets event. Participating in the Music Inclusion Program with the Henderson Inclusion School, John now helps children of special needs to achieve a better musical education. In his free time, John enjoys playing the saxophone, swimming, and studying STEM topics. John was awarded the Wales Prize at Milton Academy in the spring 2019 for consistently demonstrating passion for physics.

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