/ Concerto Competition Winners

Congratulations to our talented competition winners!


Ethan Chaves, violin, Barber Violin Concerto - Co-winner

Dacha and Sava Thurber, violin, Navarra by Pablo de Sarasate - Co-winners


Jessie Liu, piano, piano concerto in A, 1st Mvt by Greig - winner

Megan Huang, flute, Flute Concerto in G, 1st mvt. By Mozart - honorable mention


Ethan Chaves is a 9th grade student from Charlton, Massachusetts. He studies violin at Juilliard’s Pre-College division with Joel Smirnoff and Naoko Tanaka, as well as composition with Eric Ewazen. On November 17, Ethan will be featured on From the Top, NPR’s radio program featuring young musicians, and will be awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. Since his first year of playing violin, Ethan has been a member of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. He has been a concertmaster of the senior orchestra for the past three years, is a member of their honors chamber music program, was awarded the George Keches Award in 2018, and toured to Bachfest in Leipzig, Germany. Ethan has participated and placed in many competitions, most recently he was a finalist in ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, MTNA’s Junior Composer Awards and won first prize at the American Protégé Concerto Competition.

Jessie Liu is a sophomore at Westborough High School. She has been playing the piano since the age of 5 and has studied with Faina Kofman since the age of 10. She won prizes in Music Worcester’s Young Artist’s Competition in 2015 and 2017. She is a 2018-2019 recipient of a prestigious scholarship from the Chopin Foundation of the United States. Her most memorable performance was at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Cambridge.  In addition to playing piano, Jessie is a competitive figure skater and has been an active member of US Figure Skating for over 10 years. She is a four-time competitor in the New England Regional Figure Skating Championships and participates in her high school’s figure skating team. Besides piano and skating, Jessie is passionate about science and medicine. In her free time, she enjoys baking on special occasions and traveling with her family.


Danilo (Dacha) Thurber was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 2002.  He is a junior at Phillips Exeter Academy. Dacha currently serves as concertmaster of Phillips Exeter Academy’s Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the pit orchestra in the newly opened Goel Center for Performing Arts.  He also enjoys performing in one of the Academy’s chamber ensembles. Beginning in 2012, Dacha has performed with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO).  In 2015, Dacha was a co-winner of BYSO’s Repertory Orchestra concerto competition and in 2017, Dacha won the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra’s concerto competition in New Hampshire. Last November, Dacha and his brother, Sava, travelled to Gressier, Haiti to start a music program at a local school and orphanage using musical instruments that they bought and donated.  They are excited to return to Haiti later this month, with more instruments.

Sava Thurber was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 2004.  He is a freshman at Phillips Exeter Academy. In 2014, Sava and his brother, Dacha, were invited performers at Harvard University to honor the founder of the Bach Aria group, William Sheide.  During the 16-17 season, Sava performed with MyPSO (Musical Youth of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra) in New Hampshire, playing first violin.  Sava also enjoyed playing the bass clarinet and clarinet in the Cooperative Middle School Band and CMS Jazz Band in Stratham, New Hampshire.  He currently plays violin for Phillips Exeter Academy’s Symphony Orchestra and for the pit orchestra in the Goel Center for Performing Arts. Sava and Dacha have been proud to donate proceeds from their public performances to the Phoenix Society for burn survivors.  Together, they have raised more than $3,000. Dacha and Sava have also brought musical joy to hospital patients and nursing home residents throughout New England.