Student Highlight – Abraham Wins Big In 2022 Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition!

Student Highlight – Abraham Wins Big In 2022 Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition!

The 2021-22 school year has seen many SOUNDS Academy students showcasing our core values of Creativity, Resilience, Perseverance, Teamwork, and Leadership. Today we want to highlight the amazing efforts of Abraham who earned 2nd place in the 2022 Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition!

Abraham is both a cellist and a pianist. Gaining a love of music through the piano at a young age with his mother, he started studying the cello through SOUNDS Academy when he was just 11 years old. As of today, he has been mastering the cello with instructor Jamie Kellogg since 2019 and piano with instructor Aejin Ham since 2020.

As a soloist, Abraham has earned the 2nd prize at The OPUS National Competition(Arizona Strings), 3rd prize at The Mozart Competition in Korea, Global Dream Music Competition in Korea, and earned Honorable Mention at the Arizona Cello Society Competition both Junior and Senior Division. Overall, he has performed in 7 music festivals and concerts this year so far, but the 2022 Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition was a particular success.

The Young Musicians Competition is a special event put on by Arizona Musicfest to recognize the outstanding talents of young musicians as well as provide a space where young competitors can perform for, and receive evaluations from, respected judges.

We had the opportunity to contact Abraham and learn more about his experience with the Arizona Musicfest Competition as well as his success.

Everything began when SOUNDS Academy CEO Kirk Johnson saw Abraham’s dedication to his studies.

“Mr. Kirk told me about MusicFest and how he wanted me to audition for the competition.” Abraham explained, “I prepared with lots of practicing and learning how to perform and play through my teacher, Mrs. Kellogg. I practiced two to four hours a day working on little things and big things that need to be worked on.”

That practice would be needed as the competition required that the music chosen should be standard literature chosen from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, or Contemporary periods. Simplified versions are not allowed and the chosen piece should be memorized.

Reflecting on the competition, Abraham took pride in how his hours of practice paid off. “The most significant part of the audition and audition process was definitely the performance portion of the competition. Most things went my way and I played each part exactly how I wanted to. It was one of the first competitions where I felt proud of my entire performance.”

He went on to show his appreciation for the hard work it took and the importance of having an encouraging community. When asked if he had any advice for others interested in competitions, he put an emphasis on staying calm and relying on the effort put forward in daily practice, “I would tell them that things like this are usually nerve wracking for everyone. The number one thing to know is to take breaths and relax before the audition. There are still times when I struggle with this too, but practice makes perfect.“

While excited about his 2nd place ranking, Abraham’s family showed special pride in how he conducted himself once the event was over with his mother stating, “Abraham won prize money ($200) for the first time at the AZ Music Fest competition. He decided to donate the entirety of his winnings instead of keeping it for himself.”

She went on to thank SOUNDS Academy and his teachers for all their help, “We know this opportunity and his success in the competition would be impossible without all the support from SOUNDS Academy. I hope Abraham’s story will be a good challenge for other SOUNDS Academy students and drive them to succeed too.”

When asked what he was looking forward to next, he said that his upcoming performances were at the top of his mind.

“I am looking forward to performing with the Phoenix Youth Symphony and the Ballet Arizona . We will be performing The Sleeping Beauty Ballet by Tchaikovsky. I am also looking for the MusicFest concert where I will play a concert with the other winners of the competition. Finally, I’m excited to be performing in the SOUNDS Academy Benefit Concert mid May.”

If you’d like to hear Abraham and many other SOUNDS Academy students perform, be sure to purchase a ticket to the SOUNDS Academy Benefit Concert this Saturday, May 21st, 2022 by using the link below:

The Benefit Concert


Abraham will then be performing again this Sunday May 22nd, 2022 thanks to his Music Fest 2nd Place victory at the Spring Young Musicians Concert. To want him perform there, please use this link below:

Spring Young Musicians Concert

Mark is the Development Manager for SOUNDS Academy and is enthusiastic to bring music education to children across Phoenix.