Young Artist Awards 2019

The 2019 KING FM/SCMS Young Artist Awards Grand Prize Winners have been announced! Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to the amazing finalists and participants this year. Tune in to NW Focus LIVE on June 14 at 8pm to hear Carson Ling-Efird and Janet Phang perform LIVE from Resonance at SOMA Towers in Bellevue. Learn more about the Grand Prize Winners below:

Lower Age Division: Carson Ling-Efird, cello

Fourteen-year-old Seattle native Carson Ling-Efird began playing cello at age four and currently studies with Seattle Symphony cellist Nathan Chan and collaborative pianist Dr. Li-Tan Hsu.  She is an 8th grader at McClure Middle School.

Carson made her solo debut with the Seattle Symphony in 2018 at the age of 12 after being selected as a 2017-2018 Seattle Symphony Young Artist.  She has been a medalist and finalist in local, regional and national competitions.  She especially enjoys playing music with her friends.  She has been in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra program since fourth grade and is currently in SYSO’s Youth Symphony.  She is also in a string quartet with three violinist friends from the Coleman Violin Studio.

In addition to cello, Carson studies piano and composition. She began studying piano at age six while spending a year with her family in Kunming, China. She has continued her piano studies with Helena Azevedo in Seattle and currently fits in piano whenever she can. Carson started composition almost two years ago with Sharon Van Valin and loves writing her own music because she can develop musical ideas with different instruments. She was a participant in the 2019 Seattle Symphony Merriman Young Composers Workshop. The 12-week workshop concluded with Seattle Symphony musicians playing new compositions by the participants. Seattle Symphony musicians debuted Carson’s new composition, String Quartet No. 1 in e minor, 1st movement.

In her spare time, Carson enjoys breakdancing, Chinese martial arts, and walks in the park with her family.  She’s also on a mission to share classical music with young people. To that end, she has created a professional Instagram account with the help of her social media-savvy cello teacher.

Carson plays on a German cello, c. 1930, generously loaned to her by the Carlsen Cello Foundation.

Upper Age Division: Janet Phang

Janet Phang is a 17-year old pianist. She has studied with Dr. Peter Mack at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle since 2012. She has won the 1st places at numerous competitions and music festivals including the 2015 Washington State MTNA competition, the 2016 NW Division MTNA, 2016 National MTNA, 2018 Music Festival Northwest Young Artist, and 2019 CDA National Young Artist. Janet’s footprint in musical events has been expanded from regional to national participating in many events hosted by renowned organizations such as Chopin US/NW Council, Russian Chamber Music Association, Seattle Music Teachers Association, Seattle International Piano Competition, Bluthner International Piano Competition, and so forth. Her achievement has led her to various opportunities of performance through media, colleges and orchestras. Janet has been invited to perform solo pieces at King’s Classic Music FM -Seattle, KPBX Public Radio, KHQ-Spokane TV and more. Janet was invited to play Ravel piano concerto in G with Eastern Washington University orchestra in 2014 followed by the Saint Saens concerto No.2 with Spokane Symphony Orchestra and Rachmaninoff concerto No.2 with Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra in 2018.

She is musically and socially open-minded and versatile. She enjoys playing music with other musicians in various forms, such as in jazz sessions, chamber groups, ensembles, school music, community services and so forth. Other than music, she likes to play video games and sleeping in whenever she can.


The KING FM Young Artist Awards, presented in partnership with Seattle Chamber Music Society and now in its eighth season, strives to give talented young musicians a bigger stage. This competition is one element of our promise to the community of more support for arts education, community partnerships with the arts, and more live broadcasts. The competition is open to solo musicians (instrumental or vocal) ages 6-20 in two age divisions – 1) ages 6-15 and 2) ages 16-20.

Through a combination of world-class judges and listener votes, finalists in each age division are chosen and perform live on the air before a winner in each of the two age divisions is crowned.

There is a separate category for chamber ensembles (groups of 2-5 instrumentalists) ages 13-23. Musicians may enter both the solo and ensemble categories.

Finalists in each category will perform on NW Focus LIVE. Grand-prize winners will perform on NW Focus LIVE at Resonance at SOMA Towers in front of a live audience. Grand-prize winners will also win a $500 cash prize provided by BECU (note – winners of the ensemble category win a total of $500, to be split between the members).

The submission period for the 2019 KING FM/SCMS Young Artist Awards has closed. Thank you to everyone who participated! Full rules and guidelines available here.


2019 Judging Panel

James Ehnes – violinist, Artistic Director, Seattle Chamber Music Society

Amber Archibald – violist, Adjunct Professor of Viola at SPU, Co-founder and Instructor of Sešek String Studio

Lisa Bergman – pianist, KING FM host, Classical Music Program Advisor of the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts

Anna Edwards – conductor, SYSO’s Interim Music Advisor and YSO Conductor

Danny Helseth – euphonium, Assistant Professor of Music at SPU, Director of Bands at SPU

Jun Iwasaki – Nashville Symphony concertmaster and SCMS Festival Musician

Lorna McGhee – principal flute of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and SCMS Festival Musician

Jeewon Park – pianist, concert soloist, chamber musician, SCMS Festival Musician