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Strings division: Grand Prize and 1st place Steven Lu; 2nd place Ashish Samson; 3rd place Hannah Jeong.

A panel of three judges selected violinist Steve Lu, an 11th grader from Plano, as grand-prize winner for the 2023 Juanita Miller Concerto Competition on January 8 at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Earlier in the daylong competition, Lu won first place in the strings division. Ella Tran, a 12th grader from Arlington, took first place in the piano division. Helen Lan, a 10th grader from San Antonio, won the first place in the winds division with her flute.

The judges for the competition are musicians and educators. This year, the judge in the strings division was Joan Kwuon from the Coburn School of Music Academy; the judge for the winds/brass division was Gabriel Beavers from the Frost School of Music in Miami; and the piano judge was Kathryn Brown from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Student musicians in grades 9 through 12 from throughout the state of Texas are prescreened before they can compete.

The first-, second-, and third-place winners in all three divisions are awarded cash prizes. The grand prize winner is awarded the opportunity to perform with the Marshall Symphony Orchestra.

The late Juanita Miller of Dallas was the founding president of the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras (TASO) and also began the first concerto competition in 1997. She and her husband, the late Henry S. Miller, provided the initial underwriting and subsequent gifts to fund the youth competitions which now bears her name. Patsy Donosky, daughter of Juanita and Henry Miller represented her late mother at this year’s competition.

Now in its 26th year, the Juanita Miller Concerto Competition is hosted by members of TASO, a volunteer organization consisting of delegates representing more than 25 symphony leagues from cities throughout Texas. 

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