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WINNERS of the 2023 Rotary Calgary Concerto Competition

View their performance by clicking on the MUSIC NOTES below their picture


Eleven-year-old Jacob Cai was born in Calgary. Growing up in a family with a rich musical heritage, Jacob was exposed to music at a young age. His father, a record producer, and his grandmother, a Chinese Opera singer, instilled a passion for music within him that only grew stronger over time.
His creative and curious mind has led him to explore widely varied interests such as Origami, Robots, and Street Dance. And Jacob loves reptiles! He has a bearded dragon, a chameleon and a box turtle.

Studying under piano teacher Marilyn Engle, Jacob successfully participated in several piano competitions. In 2020, he won the 1st and Overall Prize in the Steinway Piano Competition. He was also selected to perform at the Coimbra World Piano Meeting. The following year, Jacob won the 1st Prize in the Age 9 Category at the Canadian Music Competition 2021. Jacob's talent has also been recognized internationally: he won the 1st Prize and Young Artist Award at WPTA Singapore 2021 as well as the 1st Prize and Grand Prix in the Crown of Stars (Category C 10-12 years old) at the Music and Stars Awards. In the same year, he also won the 3rd Prize in Group III (10-11 years old) at the International New Star Piano Competition.

Aside from further developing his piano skills, Jacob is also making EDM music, and is taking vocal training and dance lessons.

Jacob Cai.jpeg


Video courtesy of the Calgary Folk Club


Laec Lorentzen.jpg

Laec Lorentzen is a high school senior currently studying with John Kadz and Johanne Perron, and is in the Advanced Performance Program for Cello at Mount Royal University Conservatory, under the mentorship of Beth Root Sandvoss. Laec is a past Gold winner at the Alberta Music Festival Association's Provincial Competition for both Solo Cello and Chamber Music and the recipient of many awards and scholarships.


He started playing the cello at age six, studying with Nancy Russell, and spent his formative years in the Amici String Program, where he developed an avid and lifelong passion for chamber music. This past summer, his string quartet was one of three Canadian youth quartets chosen to participate in the Szekely/Rolston Young Musicians Program at the Banff Centre during the 2022 Banff International String Quartet Competition.


Laec is passionate about sharing music within his community and using music to raise awareness for various community organizations and as such, has volunteered many hours for causes that he cares about. He has participated in programs such as Domaine Forget International Music Festival, Académie Orford Musique, and the International Cello Institute, and has had the opportunity to work with many amazing cellists such as Colin Carr, Melissa Kraut, Blaise Desjardins, Gary Hoffman and Philippe Muller. In his free time, Laec plays electric guitar, reads, writes, and hangs out with Kai, the best cat in the world. Laec plans to attend Yale University this fall, pursuing a double major in music and science. 

COMPETITION: Dvorak Cello Concerto

Robert mulchrone

Calgary-born violinist Robert Mulchrone began his musical training initially on piano at age four, adding violin two years later under the guidance of John Lowry, associate concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic, and later Canadian violinist Joan Barrett. In 2014 Robert moved to Vienna,  Austria, to continue his musical journey with the Vienna Boys’ Choir (VBC) where he was appointed principal and soloist. In addition to touring over 30 countries, he has performed solos with the Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. During his time with the ensemble, he continued his studies on violin with Alban Berg Ensemble violinist, Regis Bringolf.  After graduating from the choir, Robert moved to Somerset, England to study with UK violinist Clive Hughes and attend the Millfield Senior school. In 2020 amidst global uncertainty, Robert returned to Calgary to focus on violin and resume studies with Joan Barrett.

Robert credits his love of the violin to his family’s deep connection to classical music and ongoing support. His father, a former violinist in the Calgary Philharmonic, and his mother, an appreciator of the arts, encouraged development of his talent from an early stage. Robert enjoys playing orchestral music; since his return to Calgary he has served as concertmaster of the Calgary Youth Orchestra (CYO), and was selected for the 2022 National Youth Orchestra of Canada which included a tour of Eastern Canada. He can be heard on the recently released

Borealis album by NYO Canada, and as a soloist on two CD’s by the VBC: Strauss for Ever and

Simply Classical. Robert is currently enrolled in the Advanced Performance Program (APP) at the Mount Royal Conservatory, where he is a recipient of the Joan C. Snyder Academy Scholarship and the David & Elaine Watt Bursary. He was also selected to be a participant in Calgary Pro Musica’s 2022-23 Dick Matthews Young Artist Development Program.  Additionally, Robert works as music librarian for the CYO as well as teaching a studio. In the fall of 2023, he will be attending the McDuffie Centre for Strings in Macon, GA, where he will pursue a degree in violin performance under the guidance of violinist Amy Moretti.

COMPETITION: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

Video courtesy of the Calgary Folk Club

Sofia Fakeley

Sofia Fakeley (b. 2006) is a Canadian cellist who has been playing for over thirteen years. She currently studies with renowned cellists John Kadz and Johanne Perron in Calgary. The most prominent music education she’s received has come from the music academy at Mount Royal University, where she performs for guest artists regularly, works with an excellent accompanist, and collaborates with gifted students in chamber groups. 


Sofia has been performing from the age of five, whether it be in solo performances or in ensembles with her sisters, who are also extremely musically inclined. She has competed at the Red Deer and Lacombe festivals nearly every year since 2013 and has made it to Provincials a plethora of times, taking first place at the age of 12. Additionally, she has appeared at the Canadian Music Competition four times since 2017, performing at the national finals once. She was amongst the winners of the Young Artists Concerto Competition, soloing with the Burman University Chamber Orchestra in April of 2023. She is thrilled to be one of the four winners of C3, and is very excited to perform with the Calgary Civic Symphony. In addition to these formal performances, she has spent many hours volunteering and performing at churches, hospitals, and senior centres across Alberta. She also was part of a youth orchestra for six years and played at many fundraising events to raise money for a boys' school in Kenya. 


Besides cello, Sofia has played piano for thirteen years and completed her Level 8 RCM exam in 2020. She also is currently studying Level 9 Harmony and plans on doing the examination in June. She has studied voice for several years in the past. Sofia has been doing CrossFit for two years and trains 4-5 days per week. She also enjoys running the occasional 5 or 10-km race when she can be persuaded to do so. In her spare time, she can be found in the nearest forest, exploring and climbing trees. 

COMPETITION: Popper, Cello Hungarian Rhapsody

Video courtesy of the Calgary Folk Club

Runners Up of the 2023 Competition

1. Oscar Hanqi Zhang, Mozart Piano Concerto in Dmin

2. Tessa Nysetvold, Dovrak Cello Concerto

3. Josephine Wen, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

4. Sacha Jorba Wu, Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5

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