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Photo by Chuck Clark 2nd Place Bowie Wu; 3rd Place Soomin Oh-Flute; 1st Place Joseph Park-Flute.

Texas Association of Symphony Orchestras (TASO) held the 27th Annual Juanita Miller Concerto Competition at the Meadows School of the Arts on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Students in grades 9-12 from throughout the state of Texas competed in three divisions: strings, winds/brass, and piano. The three first place winners received cash awards and the Grand Prize winner will have the opportunity to perform with a Texas orchestra.

Judges selected from 16 piano contestants, 14 string contestants, and 10 the winds-brass division contestants.

The 2024 winners of the Juanita Miller Concert  Competition are:

Grand Prize
Stephen Chang, Southlake - 12th

First Place Winners
1st Place Violin - Stephen Chang, Southlake - 12th
1st Place Piano - Emma Oba, McKinney - 10th
1st Place - Flute - Joseph Park, Allen - 11th

Grand Prize  - Violin- Stephen Chang, Southlake - 12th
2nd Place - Violin - Lucas Yeh, Frisco- 11th
3rd Place – Cello - Jin Han, Flower Mound - 11th

1st Place – Piano - Emma Oba, McKinney - 10th
2nd Place – Piano - Minyang Xu, Allen - 9th
3rd Place Piano - Melody Guo, Dallas - 11th

1st Place - Flute - Joseph Park, Allen - 11th
2nd Place - Flute - Soomin Oh, Austin - 9th
3rd Place - Bassoon - Bowie Wu, Cedar Park - 12th

The competition chairman is Venise Stuart from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League. Darlene Morford from the Plano Symphony Guild serves as the TASO president.

In attendance was Patsy Donosky, daughter of the late Juanita Miller. In 1997, Juanita and Henry S. Miller provided the initial underwriting and subsequent gifts to fund this youth competition, which now bears her name. It was Mr. and Mrs. Miller’s dedication, vision, generosity and devotion to music that led to the establishment of a statewide youth competition for outstanding high school musicians. In hosting this competition, TASO continues to employ a professional approach for selecting the winners by choosing outstanding judges from across the country.  

The distinguished judges are all from out of state.

Piano judge Rachel Heard is from Jackson, Mississippi.  She currently serves as the Director of Millsaps Conservatory of Music. Rachel Heard is active as a performer/teacher across the United States, combining her experience on both the fortepiano and modern piano to present recitals and lectures of the application of period performance practice to interpretation today. She holds performance degrees from The Juilliard School and a doctorate from Rutgers University, where she specialized in the eighteenth-century fortepiano. After studies with the fortepianist Malcolm Bilson, her début recital took place during the 1991.

Emily Ondracek-Peterson, strings judge, is Executive Director of the Diehn School of Music at Old Dominion University. Dr. Emily Ondracek-Peterson is a leader in numerous fields: performance, artistic direction, arts advocacy, administration, education, career research, entrepreneurship, and academia. She holds performance degrees from The Juilliard School and a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. As a violinist, she has received acclaim from leading publications including The New York Times, been soloist with ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and recorded for leading record labels. Praised by The New York Times for her “elegant solowork,” and by Strad magazine for her “dazzling passagework,” Dr. Ondracek is a rising star of violin performance. Dr. Ondracek is a native of Chicago and began playing the violin at the age of 4. When sixteen she gave her solo debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Education plays a large role in her professional activities.

Winds & Brass judge was Mark Kellogg from the Eastman School of Music.  Mark Kellogg has embraced a wide range of musical roles throughout his career as a performer, teacher, conductor and administrator. Whether it’s taken the form of appearing as a concerto soloist, playing in a wide variety of chamber ensembles, performing as an orchestral musician or as a jazz player, teaching students of all ages or overseeing artistic programs or festivals, he has been most fortunate to explore a rich array of musical opportunities. In addition to holding the position of Professor of Trombone at the Eastman School of Music.

The competition is held annually with the next one scheduled on Sunday, January 5, 2025. Students may apply online when the registration opens October 1, 2024. Cost is $75. For more information:


Photos by Chuck Clark