Theodore Liao, a Bronxville High School junior and accomplished musician, won third place in the Symphony of Westchester’s fifth annual Young Artist Concerto Competition. He has earned a spot in the showcase program, where he will perform the first movement of Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major. The concert will be held on Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. in Iona College’s Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium.
“Being selected as a winner means everything because it gives me the opportunity to perform in concert with the Symphony of Westchester, which is a rare opportunity for many young artists,” said Liao, who plays the cello. “Playing with a professional orchestra is always a great honor, and I’m extremely lucky and excited to have this chance.”
Liao was chosen as one of the winners after auditioning for the conductor of the orchestra, Barry Charles Hoffman, and a group of musicians from the orchestra. The requirement for the competition was performing a concerto from the Baroque or Classical era.
“I chose to play the first movement of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major because it was a good fit and also one of my favorites,” Liao said. “As always, I made sure to do plenty of slow practice, working through the piece carefully, and also thought about the style in which it should be played, given that this was a classical period music competition.”
Bronxville High School orchestra director Dr. Denise Lutter praised Liao for his strong musical technique.
“Theo has the ability to create a convincing interpretation and understands the expressive intent of a wide range of musical styles,” Lutter said. “He composes music, has his own band in which he sings and plays guitar, and plays classical music on cello.”
Theo, who was born in New York City and raised in London, started his classical cello studies at the age of six. He grew up performing and competing annually in festivals, earning awards in multiple cello and concerto competitions. Most recently, he was a winner in the International Grande Music Competition 2017 where he performed the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 at Merkin Hall at the Kaufmann Music Center in New York City.