Our November 14 Symphony Orchestra concert at Orchestra Hall features a packed line-up of amazing music, including THREE concerto performances! While 2000 alum Mary Elizabeth Bowden will perform the centerpiece of the evening as she presents the Midwest premiere of Vivian Fung’s Concerto for Trumpet, two talented CYSO soloists will also take the stage at the event. Clarinetist Louis Auxenfans and violinist Bianca Ciubancan are long-time members fo CYSO and both winners of Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition. Get your tickets for the performance then read on to learn about these talented young musicians!
Winner of the 2021 Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition
Clarinetist and pianist Louis Auxenfans, 16, is a junior at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. After seeing his younger brother’s CYSO recital in 2016, Louis was immediately drawn to the organization and decided to audition with his father’s old, middle school clarinet. He has since been a member of CYSO for six seasons and is currently principal clarinetist of the flagship Symphony Orchestra and CORE (Classical Orchestra Repertory Ensemble).
In 2018, Louis was the youngest prize winner of the Crain-Maling CSO Young Artist Competition, winning its scholarship prize to attend the Tanglewood summer institute. At age 13, he performed twice as a soloist at Carnegie Weill Hall, taking first place in the 2018 American Protégé Concerto Competitions woodwinds and first prize in the piano category. In addition, he was the winner of the Walgreens National Concerto Competition (Junior Woodwind division).
In 2021, Louis won the CYSO Symphony Orchestra concerto competition as well as the Northwest Symphony Orchestra’s Paul Vermel Young Artist Competition, which makes him the first woodwind winner to solo with the orchestra. His solo appearance with the Northwest Symphony is scheduled for February 2022.
Besides solo and orchestral engagements, Louis is also an avid chamber musician. His coaches include Larry Neuman, Qing Hou, Frank Almond, and Hsing-huei Huang. During the pandemic, he had the pleasure of playing violin & piano duets and clarinet & violin duets with his brother Henry on a featured WFMT’s Introductions show (Feb. 13, 2021). Louis was selected as a finalist by NPR’s “From The Top” and is scheduled to appear in a future episode. He has performed in masterclasses for Anthony McGill and Stephen Williamson.
In addition, Louis is an ardent pianist who has won several gold cups in the CAMTA Sonata & Sonata Festivals. He performed six times at the Junior Piano Festival Honors Recitals and was the state winner for the Illinois Federation of Music Club Concerto Competition for his performance of Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto. He studies piano with Laura Fenster of Hyde Park.
Louis began studying the clarinet six years ago, working with Ozzie Gonzales and Steve Gooden, and is currently a student of Ms. Kai-Yun Lu. When not practicing or performing, Louis loves working as a reporter for the U-High Midway, watching soccer, learning about economics, picking stocks for investment, and spending time with family and friends.
Louis would like to express his heartfelt appreciation for the CYSO community (patrons, staff, peers, parents, conductors) for their incredible support and encouragement over the years.
Winner of the 2020 Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition
At 16, Bianca Ciubancan is emerging as an accomplished violinist for her generation. Bianca made her solo orchestral debut at age 8 with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra. She has taken top prizes at competitions including DePaul University Open Division Concerto Competition, Illinois Music Association, Grandquist Competition, Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Chinese Fine Arts Society Competition, MTNA, and many more. She was a top prizewinner at the Kloster Schontal International Violin Competition, and in 2019, she won first prize in the International Grumiaux Violin Competition. Bianca appeared as a soloist internationally, including in Carnegie Hall as a winner of the American Protege International Competition.
As an avid learner, Bianca has been involved in many prestigious music festivals. In 2017, she attended the Rencontre Musicale Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she studied with Maxim Vengerov. In 2018, she participated in Music@Menlo and the Mozarteum Summer Academy, where she studied with Paul Rozcek. The past two summers, Bianca has attended the Heifetz International Institute. In 2017, she was chosen to sit first stand in the CSO Chicago Youth in Music Festival, where she collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and CSO Principal Second, Baird Dodge.
Bianca has participated in masterclasses and lessons with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Almita Vamos, Mauricio Fuks, Ilya Kaler, Blair Milton, Gerardo Ribeiro, Philip Setzer, Liviu Prunaru, and many more. Bianca was featured multiple times on NPR’s “From the Top” in Beverly Hills, as well as virtual events. She is part of the Community Music Program at DePaul University where she participates in group classes and recitals, and she has been a part of CYSO for 8 years. Bianca is currently a tenth-grader at Northside College Prep. In her free time, she enjoys reading, creative writing, doing math, solving rubik’s cubes, playing tennis, spending time with her family, and visiting Romania.