The Final Forte: Where Are They Now?

January 27, 2016 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment


To watch this year’s competition at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 29, visit The Final Forte page, tune in to WPT’s livestream or listen live on WPR. If you miss the live show, you can also catch the competition by watching the broadcast on WPT

Each year, some of the most talented young artists in the state vie for top honors in the final round of the Bolz Young Artist Competition. With all of the buzz around the competition itself, it’s easy to forget that soon afterward, these amazing young musicians go on to do great things! With that in mind, producer John Gerbig set out to catch up with some of the previous contestants and discover what they’re doing today.

ariela bohrodName: Ariela Bohrod
Performance Year: 2011
Instrument: Piano

In 2013, Ariela graduated high school from the Interlochen Arts Academy on a four-year merit scholarship.  She gave solo performances in the 2014-15 season of The Young Musicians Forum in Schenectady, NY, in the 2013 Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Festival, and represented Interlochen Arts Academy at the 2012 Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.  Ariela is a recipient of From the Top’s $10,000 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists Award and has appeared on From the Top on NPR.  She is currently pursuing her undergraduate studies in piano performance at Mannes College the New School for Music on a full-tuition merit scholarship.

Hong-En Chen (002)Name: Hong-En Chen
Performance Year: 2008
Instrument: Piano

Hong-En graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 with a degree in Biochemistry.  As an undergraduate student, she researched therapeutic drugs that target cancer stem cells.  She also explored the synthesis of earth-abundant materials for renewable energy applications.  During her time at UW, Hong-En was the outreach coordinator for Energy Hub, a recipient of the Wisconsin Idea Fellowship, and a founding member of the Taiwan-America Student Conference.  She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at Penn State University.

leah latorracaName: Leah Latorraca
Performance Year: 2008, 2010, 2011
Instrument: Violin

Leah received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and was the recipient of the 2014 Robert McDuffie Scholarship Award.  She has recently performed at the Rome Chamber Music Festival, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and the Banff Centre, in addition to being a member of the 2015 National Repertory Orchestra.  In 2013-2014, Leah was a Global Leader for Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and took part in their Central America and Caribbean Tours.  She is currently working on her Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

greg rissName: Greg Riss
Performance Year: 2010
Instrument: Marimba

Greg attended Lawrence University, graduating in 2014 with a degree in percussion performance.  In 2013, his marimba and saxophone duo won the Neile Silva Young Artists Competition.  Greg’s festival participation has included California Brazil Camp in Cazadero, Zeltsman Marimba Festivals at Lawrence and Rutgers, and nief-norf in Knoxville.  During the summer in 2013 and 2014, he taught in Haiti with the BLUME Haiti program (Building Leaders Using Music Education).  Currently, Greg is pursuing his master’s degree at Rutgers University and is employed as a Percussion Department Assistant and Dance Accompanist.

valerie sandersName: Valerie Clare Sanders
Performance Year: 2011
Instrument: Violin

In 2015, Valerie completed a Bachelor’s degree at the UW-Madison School of Music on a full Music Clinic scholarship.  Throughout her time at UW, she held leadership positions in various orchestral ensembles under the instruction of James Smith.  She was also the recipient of a 2014-2015 Perlman Piano Trio scholarship, generously funded by Kato Perlman.  In 2013, she earned a position in the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  Currently, she is on leave from the MSO in order to attend the Guildhall School of Music in London, England, working toward a master’s degree in Orchestral Artistry, a program which involves side-by-side training with the London Symphony Orchestra.

ben seegerName: Ben Seeger
Performance Year: 2009
Instrument: Violin

Ben graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013, majoring in math and violin performance, and receiving a certificate in computer science.  While in school, he attended summer music festivals at Meadowmount and Madeline Island.  Since 2013, Ben has attended the University of Chicago, where in addition to pursuing his Ph.D. in Mathematics, he continues to play chamber music.

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