WINNERS of the 2022 Rotary Calgary Concerto Competition
View their performance by clicking on the MUSIC NOTES below their picture
Jinghui Bai, 15 years old, amateur flutist, started his study at 9 with Jiajia Li. Before COVID 19 Pandemic he won the RCM Level 5 Flute Gold Medal in Alberta. From 2017 to 2019 he won three Gold Certificates consecutively (Woodwind - 12 years and under) in the Calgary Performing Arts Festival.
Jinghui is currently in Grade ten at Centennial High School. He played hockey for five years. As one of the top young chess players, he won Calgary Junior Chess Champion in 2021.
Alexa Brianna Manzano
Alexa Brianna Manzano is one of those individuals who is lucky enough to have an older sister to inspire and nurture her love for music. From an early age, Alexa heard her sister practice piano daily and attended her frequent performances. Thus, it is not surprising, that she was keen to start to play the piano herself. So, she began formal lessons at the age of five with Allen Reiser.
She quickly proved that she too had a natural affinity for the piano. From the start she was uncommonly dedicated to her studies and progressed rapidly. She had a natural performance flair and enjoyed participating in recitals.
Recognition and awards soon followed. Alexa has received four Gold Provincial Medals from the Royal Conservatory of Music, winning the Gold National Medal for her Grade 9 exam in 2020. She has also received numerous awards and scholarships from the Calgary Performing Arts Festival. Three times, Alexa has represented Calgary in the Alberta Provincial Festival capturing a 2nd place, and then a 1st place in successive years. Many other various awards and scholarships have come her way from The Mount Royal Branch Teachers’ Association, The Calgary Branch of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association and The Calgary Piano Diploma Association. In 2020, she received the Harold Saklofske scholarship and prestige award.
Alexa currently attends school as a Grade 8 student. When not playing the piano, she enjoys basketball, volleyball and reading.
Chanan Ngo, age 14, began piano lessons at 4 with Carrie Kalmakoff and violin lessons at 5 with Theresa Plotnick. At the age of 6, he began playing in orchestras and chamber groups. Currently studying under Fiona Carnie (violin) and Colleen Athparia (piano), he is a member of the Calgary Youth Orchestra’s first violin section and occasionally the pianist. He is also part of a piano quintet at the Amici String Program with his brother Riley. Chanan has had the privilege to play with the Kensington Sinfonia in 2022.
A regular winner of scholarships and awards in violin and piano, Chanan received the medal for having the highest mark (12 and under) at the Calgary Performing Arts Festival for his piano concerto performance in 2017. In 2019, Chanan competed at the Canadian Music Competition (violin) and placed 3rd, he was also the winner of the Mount Royal Conservatory Sinfonia Concerto Competition (violin) and was 1st runner up at the Calgary Concerto Competition in 2021. He completed his ARCT in Piano Performance with First Class Honors that same year. Chanan also competed in this year’s Calgary Concerto Competition with a piano piece: he played Rhapsody in Blue by one of his favorite composers George Gershwin.
The unique qualities of Canadian music, especially from the violin repertoire, resonate with Chanan. He thoroughly enjoys participating in the Contemporary Showcase for the past several years where he won scholarships every time, but the real reward is the opportunity to explore and bring awareness to less well known yet intriguing pieces by Canadian Composers such as Eckhardt-Gramatte, Kulesha, Adaskin, Papineau-Couture and many more.
Chanan utilizes the power of music to bring joy to the community. His quintet recently performed a concert as part of the Winter Solace program in support of health care workers in Alberta. In 2019, his quartet played in a benefit concert to bring awareness on World Suicide Prevention Day. He also performs as soloist in piano, violin and with his chamber group at venues such as senior homes and the Children Hospital.
Outside of music, Chanan enjoys watching movies, gaming with friends, building LEGO and Nanoblocks, practicing Aikido, and playing with his cat Dani. He looks forward to attending grade 10 in Western Canada High School’s French IB program next year.
Runners Up of the 2022 Competition
1st Nicholas Ressl ( Piano, Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Chopin)
2nd Matthew Craig (Cello, Variations on a Rococo Theme, Tchaikovsky)
3rd Charlotte Giraudeau (Piano, Concerto No. 23 in A Major, Mozart)
4th Serafina Oliva (Vioin, Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Bruch)
Riley Ngo, age 17, began studying piano with Carrie Kalmakoff at age 6. He continued under the tutelage of Colleen Athparia, to complete his ARCT in Piano Performance with distinction at age 14. Catherine Ordronneau has also had a major influence on Riley in recent years.
A regular scholarship and award winner at festivals, Riley enjoys playing the piano as a soloist, especially French music, but his true love is playing chamber music with fellow musicians. He played harpsichord with the Mount Royal Conservatory Sinfonia at the Winter Fantasia concert in 2013. As an award-winning piano duo, he and his partner Erich Herchen placed first at the Canadian Music Competition in 2015 and went on to win first place at the North West International Piano Ensemble Competition in 2016. The piano duo won first place again at the Canadian Music Competition in 2019, while Riley’s quartet placed 3rd in the same competition that year. Riley is currently in a quintet with his brother Chanan as part of the Amici String Program: they recently appeared in the Winter Solace program saluting health care workers in Alberta. The highlight of his chamber music experience was playing with violinist Kai Gleusteen last summer. Having a violinist brother to collaborate with gives him the opportunity to explore music outside of the solo piano repertoire. Their most recent collaboration was a contemporary Canadian work by Papineau-Couture, while the Mendelsohn Violin Concerto remains their favorite.
Riley believes in giving back to the community through the gift of music, with some of the most gratifying moments coming from performing at senior homes. A supervisor at the CASSA Musical Arts piano summer camp under the guidance of Linda Kundert, he had the privilege to accompany students young and old, hoping to instill a love of ensemble playing for all. Outside of his life as a pianist, Riley enjoys playing bass clarinet in concert band, actively participates in numerous school clubs, and practices Aikido. He stays busy as a full French IB student at Western Canada High School. Riley is planning to study pre-Medicine at university this fall in hopes of continuing in the medical field.