Last Year Winners

Halle Puckett, age 17, was the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2012 Young Artist Scholarship Competition first place winner and made her orchestral debut performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major, K. 488 with the orchestra in 2014. She recently performed Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 in C minor (I) with Maestro Uri Segal and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of Alicante in Perugia, Italy. At age 12, she performed on National Public Radio’s “From the Top”, and has since performed in piano master classes with Michael Gurt, Knut Erik Jensen, Eduardo Montiero, Tali Morgulis, Timothy Hester, John Weems, Nancy Weems, Igor Resnianski, Cecile Licad and Alexander Schimpf. She traveled throughout France as a participant in The French Piano Music Tour 2013, and performed at Chateau des Faugs, the ancestral home of composer Vincent d’Indy. Halle is from Abilene, Texas and her teachers are Dr. Leslie Spotz and Dr. Mark Puckett.


Josehine Chiu: Born in September 1999 in Canada, Josephine began playing piano at the age of four. She currently lives in Grand Prairie and studies under Marcy and Alex McDonald. As a 10th grader of Dubiski Career High School, she is in the Health Science field and would like to become a medical doctor one day. Her most recent accomplishments include winning 2nd place at the 2016 Collin County Young Artist Competition and Honorable Mention at the 2015 Music Teacher National Association Competition. Her favorite composers are Liszt and Prokofiev, and she especially enjoys contemporary pieces that have a modern and unique style in them.



Jason Lin, 15 years old, began studying piano at age six with Dr. Melody Ouyang of Music Institute of North Texas and now with Dr. Alex McDonald and Marcy McDonald of the McDonald Studio. His piano concerto repertoire include compositions from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Kabalevsky, and Rachmaninoff along with many other solo pieces from all music periods, from Baroque to contemporary. Receiving honorable mention from the Texas State Performance Competition of MTNA during 2012-2013 and 2014- 2015 season. He was the 1st Prize Winner in the junior piano category and the Grand Prize winner for the 2011 Collin County Young Artist Competition. Making his solo debut with the Plano Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in 2010. In 2012, performed six concerts with PSO for 8000 young students in PSO’s outreach program. In 2014, he was selected as the only pianist to enter the final round of the Fort Worth Symphony Young Artist Competition and the final round of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition. In 2016, he was the 1 st place winner in the junior concerto division of the Baylor/Waco Piano Competition and the prestigious Lynn Harrell Concerto where playing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO). He also won 1st place in his concerto division at the Texas Music Teachers Association-Student Affiliate performance contest.


John Cao is currently in the 10th grade Pearland, TX. He has racked up many awards along the way, including 1st in the International Valery Kuleshov Piano Competition, 3rd in the TMTA 9-10th Piano Concerto Competition, 2nd in the Austin Piano Festival, “Honorable Mention” in the MTNA State Piano Competition, and more. Besides piano, John also sings, making the All State Men’s Chorus in 2015, and this year making 1st Chair at Area and the All State Mixed Chorus. John also loves volunteering, as he is part of the Houston Young Artist’s Concert, where he plays for nursing homes. He also leads children’s worship for the Houston Chinese Church and plays for their Children’s Choir and Adult Choir. John loves music and hopes that with it, he can make a positive impact on his community.