2018-2019 Concerto Competition Award Recipients

Classical Category

Aaron Chan, violin

Aaron Chan holding violin All rights reservedBorn in 1997, as a native of Hong Kong, Chan’s family had no experience in music when they allowed him to start playing the violin at the age of 5. In the year of 2006, Chan enrolled as a student in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA)’s Junior Program, where he studied both violin and viola with Ray Tsoi, with a full scholarship in his viola studies.

Chan studied with Stephen Rose in the Cleveland Institute of Music (2015-2018) and is now continuing his study with Jinjoo Cho in the Schulich School of Music to pursue his Bachelor of Music. He has also coached with the Cavani String Quartet, Peter Salaff, Ivan Chan, Michael Ma, and participated in masterclasses given by Phillip Setzer, Roberto Díaz, Guillaume Sutre, Boris Kushnir, Augustin Hadelich, Mihaela Martin. Chan has spent the summers at Kent Blossom Music Festival, and Asian Youth Orchestra in which he worked with Steven Isserlis and conductor James Judd. In 2017, Chan participated the Kronberg Violin Masterclass with Boris Kushnir, and also spent his summer at the Aspen Music Festival studying with Paul Kantor. In the spring of 2018, Chan performed with CIM Orchestra in the Severance Hall. In 2018, Chan was selected to participate the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.


Emily Rekrut-Pressey, viola

Emily Rekrut-Pressey holding viola All rights reservedEmily Rekrut-Pressey is currently studying viola performance at McGill University with André Roy. At age six she began violin lessons in the Suzuki program in Winnipeg, studying with Laurel Howard. When she was ten, she was inspired by Laurel and Joanne Martin to begin playing the viola, studying with Daniel Scholz for the three years in Winnipeg. Throughout her studies at the University of Toronto she studied with Teng Li, current principal viola of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

In Fall 2018 Emily won the McGill Classical Concerto Competition alongside violinist Aaron Chan. With Quartet Lafontaine, they won the McGill Chamber Music Competition and will partake in a week-long residency at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in May 2019. In the past she has been a finalist in the University of Toronto concerto competition, winner of the Aikins Memorial trophy at the Winnipeg Music Festival as well as a scholarship winner through the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg. She has been principal viola of National Youth Orchestra of Canada, University of Toronto Symphony and Winnipeg Youth Symphony Orchestra. Emily has appeared as a soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra and played a complete solo recital as part of the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival in Winnipeg.

This winter Emily participated in the 50th anniversary of the New York String Orchestra Seminar. During the summer was Emily’s second time playing with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, touring Canada and Europe. In previous summers she played with l’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Montreal and attended the international Morningside Music Bridge Program and Rosamunde Summer Music Academy.


Piano Category

Timothy Ledger, piano

Headshot of Tim Ledger All rights reservedPraised for his engaging presence at the piano, Timothy Ledger maintains an active performing, teaching, and research career.

Highlights from this past year included performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15, with the McGill Symphony Orchestra, as well as Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, Op. 57, as part of the Montréal Musical Chairs festival; both performances were featured on CBC Classical. More recently, Ledger has appeared in competitions locally and abroad, winning the 2019 McGill Concerto Competition. He will therefore appear again with the McGill Symphony Orchestra next season.

While under the tutelage of Brent Schloneger, Ledger made his debut appearance with orchestra at age 16, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453, and the following year, Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto, Op. 102. He also appeared in recitals at Rheinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall as well as various universities, and was a prizewinner at several competitions, including the Music Teachers National Association. Ledger went on to complete his undergraduate studies with Elisabeth and Eugene Pridonoff at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. While studying with Jean-Louis Haguenauer, he received his Master of Music and Performer Diploma from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he was also a lecturer in the music theory department. Currently, Ledger is pursuing his Doctor of Music at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, where he studies with Ilya Poletaev. He serves as a practical piano instructor at the Schulich School of Music.

For more information and upcoming performances, visit http://www.timothymledger.com/.


Strings, Harp, Guitar Category

Braden McConnell, cello

Braden McConnell headshot All rights reservedMcConnell is a graduate student at McGill University, studying cello with Brian Manker. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Braden began playing the cello at the age of four. He studied with Amir Eldan at the Oberlin Conservatory and Susan Moses at the Indiana University String Academy before attending the University of Michigan to study with Richard Aaron. Braden toured Brazil and Argentina with the Indiana University Violin Virtuosi and performed at Carnegie Hall with Gilles Apap. Braden earned first prize at the David Popper International Cello Competition in Várpalota Hungary. He has also won first prizes in the Sigma Alpha Iota Competition and the Cleveland Cello Society Competition. A National Merit Scholar, Braden received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, triple-majoring in Cello, Mathematics, and Economics.