2022 Student Award Winners

Each year, CYSO presents awards to students who have distinguished themselves throughout the season and during their time in our ensembles. Chosen by our artistic and administrative staff, here are our 2022 student award winners:


The Mollendorf Award is given to a graduating CYSO senior to support further musical study. It is given through an endowment fund by the late Jean Mollendorf, Founder and Past President of the CYSO Board of Directors. 

Taki Salameh


Taki Salameh is a composer and bassoonist who studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He is interested in promoting equity as well as collaborating with other artists through his work. Outside of his studies, Taki has enjoyed numerous chamber music experiences that have led to being a semifinalist in both the M-Prize and Fischoff International Chamber Music Competitions. He received Merit in the National YoungArts Foundation competition in classical composition and is a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke young Artist Award. This summer he will be an apprentice composer of the National Youth Orchestra. Taki currently studies with Dr. Eric Stomberg and Dennis Michel for bassoon and Dr. Sean Friar for composition. This fall, Taki will attend the Cleveland Institute of Music studying basson under Barrick Stees and composition under Dr. Keith Fitch.


Anika Veda, 17, is a senior at William Fremd High School and a fellow of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative. She currently studies under Jennifer Gunn, and previously under Hideko Amano. This fall, Anika will attend Rice University to study flute performance under Leone Buyse and Marianne Gedigian.

As a soloist, Anika has performed at venues such as Carnegie Weill Recital Hall and Chicago’s Symphony Center. This spring, she will appear on NPR’s From the Top and previously performed on Chicago’s WFMT. She has received awards from competitions including the DePaul Concerto Competition, ENKOR International Music Competition, and the Society of American Musicians Competition.

As camp scholarship awardee at the CSO Young Artist Competition, Anika attended Interlochen Arts Camp in Summer 2019, and Curtis Summerfeste in 2020. In 2021, Anika attended the Orford International Music Festival on scholarship, the Consummate Flutist, and Beyond the Masterclass. Anika has played in the ILMEA District 7 Orchestra, and the Honor Band at the ILMEA All-State Festival. She has also performed in masterclasses for many renowned flutists such as Sir James Galway, Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson, Robert Langevin, Marina Piccinini, and Jim Walker.


The Albert Pick III Award is given to a well-rounded individual to be used to keep music as a creative and joyful part of the recipient’s life. This award is inspired by the memory of Albert Pick III for his love of the students of CYSO and passionate commitment of service to his community.


Adam Kipp has been a member of CYSO’s Steel Orchestra for seven consecutive years. He enjoys this experience tremendously and cherishes the memories of being part of the CYSO Virtual Gala during the pandemic as well as playing to tourists at Navy Pier. In addition to Steel Orchestras, he has also played piano for more than eleven years. He is a student at St. Ignatius College Prep where he is a member of the school’s rowing team. Adam loves to help other and has devoted his time to community service.


The Music Director’s Award is presented to a student who has gone above and beyond in their dedication to music and leadership within their ensemble. This recipient is personally selected by Maestro Allen Tinkham.


Nicholas Boettcher studies double bass with Andy Anderson and music with Sooka Wang. Nicholas serves as co-principal bassist of CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra and is an Associate Member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He also was selected for the National Youth Orchestra.

In 2021, Nicholas won the International Society of Bassists Performance Competition, the Louisiana Bass Fest, and the National Federation of Music Clubs Mary-Alice Cox Award. Other concerto competitions won: DuPage Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artists Auditions, Illinois American String Teachers Associations Competition, NIU’s Sinfonia Orchestra’s Concerto Competition, and CYSO Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition. Nicholas was a finalist in the 2020 Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition, and soloed with the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He was named a National YoungArts Foundation Winner for 2020 and 2021. He was also a featured performer on WFMT’s Introductions.

In eighth grade, Nicholas created The No Repeats Project, a 501(c)(3) organization where young musicians work with incarcerated teens, providing opportunities to learn to lay instruments and experience different musical genres in and out of the center. He earned the 2021 Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice’s Volunteer of the Year. He’s also received the 2020 President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award, and School District 203 Mission Makers Award. In addition to music, Nicholas enjoys a good steak!

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