16-Year-Old Violinist Maya Buchanan Wins 2017 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition

By Michael San Gabino |

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Maya Anjali Buchanan, 16, winner of the 2017 CSO Young Artists Competition for Strings (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

For many musicians, the chance to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a dream gig. The Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition makes this dream come true for one young musician every year.

On Saturday, March 11, four finalists competed in Symphony Hall for the chance to perform with the CSO during a youth concert in the 2017/2018 season. For the first time in competition history, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra of the CSO, accompanied the finalists in a movement from a concerto.

The competition allows instrumentalists to compete in three different categories – piano, woodwinds/brass/percussion, and strings – on a cyclical basis. Instrumentalists in each category compete once every three years.

16-year-old violinist Maya Anjali Buchanan from Evanston, IL was named the winner of the 2017 competition for string players. Buchanan performed the first movement from Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35. Maya studies violin with Almita Vamos and Paul Kantor.

The first alternate winner was Joshua Brown, a 17-year-old violinist from Gurnee, IL, who performed the first movement from Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35. Joshua studies violin with Almita and Roland Vamos. 17-year-old cellist Haddon Kay of Lincolnshire, IL and 16-year-old violinist Thompson Wang of Northbrook, IL were also finalists.

In addition to performing with the CSO, Maya will be featured on WFMT’s Introductions, the weekly Saturday morning program that highlights the Chicago area’s finest pre-college classical musicians.

The Crain-Maling Foundation is the title sponsor of the CSO Young Artists Competition, and it is hosted annually by the Negaunee Music Institute and the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.