Joy Zhang ’21 performs Georges Hüe’s Fantaisie for Flute and Piano, accompanied by Andrew Zhou, in the final of the Cornell Concerto Competition Dec. 15.

Joy Zhang ’21 wins Cornell Concerto Competition

Joy Zhang ’21 has won the 17th Cornell Concerto Competition, held Dec. 15 in Barnes Hall. She performed Georges Hüe’s Fantaisie for Flute and Piano, accompanied by Andrew Zhou. The competition is presented by the Department of Music.

Zhang will perform as a featured soloist on the Hüe concerto, Feb. 29, 2020, at 3 p.m. in Bailey Hall with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra (CSO) conducted by Katherine Kilburn. She is currently the CSO’s principal flautist and performed with the orchestra on tour last winter in Taiwan.

A human biology, health and society major in the College of Human Ecology, Zhang studies flute with Elizabeth Shuhan, visiting lecturer in the Department of Music.

“The Hüe fantasie is an intricate piece because it was written as a competition piece for the Paris Conservatoire, the finest flute school at the time [1913],” Zhang said. “The piece is definitely a challenge but my teacher felt that I was ready and encouraged me to take it on … and at the end of the semester she suggested I enter the concerto competition to show what I had learned.”

Zhang is a pre-med student interested in women’s health.

“I’m part of a student organization called PERIOD@Cornell, which collects donations of menstrual health products for the Women’s Opportunity Center and a local community center,” she said. “I am also doing research on polycystic ovary syndrome.”

Zhang also has been principal flautist in the Boston College Symphony Orchestra. She is a winner of the Hochstein School of Music Merit Scholarship Competition and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, performing with the latter as a featured soloist.

The other Cornell Concerto Competition finalists were Julie Choe ’20, with the first movement of Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor; and Sarah Sun ’23, with the first movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 in C Minor.

Choe is a human development major in the College of Human Ecology, and studies violin with assistant professor of music Ariana Kim. She serves as concertmaster in the Cornell Symphony Orchestra. She has won multiple competitions and has been a featured soloist with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra. She toured Europe with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, playing concerts in the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia.

Choe is a former member of the National Youth Orchestra and since 2013 has been first violinist with the Montgomery Fellowship Quartet.

Sun is an applied economics and management major in the Dyson School, and a piano student of professor of music Xak Bjerken. She has performed as a soloist with the Utah Symphony, Henan Provincial Symphony Orchestra, Hubei Provincial Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony Orchestra, American Fork Symphony, Southwest Symphony and the Orchestra of Southern Utah.

Her honors include second place in the Great Composers Global Competition Series and American Protege International Concerto Competition; third in the Distinguished Young Women of America competition; and national awards for her academic, public speaking and performing abilities.

All three finalists have performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Piano accompanists at the 2019 competition in Barnes Hall were Andrew Zhou, doctoral student in the field of critical keyboard studies, and Andy Sheng ’20, winner of the 2017 competition.

The judges were Phiroze Mehta, Christin Schillinger and Alexander Shuhan from the Ithaca College School of Music faculty.

Media Contact

Abby Butler