Paul Taub Young Artist Competition

The 2021 Competition Application has now closed.
2022 Competition Information will be available in January 2022.
2022 Paul Taub Young Artist Competition 
April 10, 2022
1st Place $1000 | 2nd Place $500 | 3rd Place $250 

2021 Winners

1st Place - Susan Kang

Susan Kang is currently Principal Flute of the Houston Ballet Orchestra. She also held the Acting Principal Flute position of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra during the 2018-2019 season. She has spent summers at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Domaine Forget, Krzyżowa-Music, Orford Academy, and Tanglewood Music Center.


As an avid chamber musician, Susan has collaborated with remarkable artists such as David Bowlin, Alan Chow, Christian Jost, Radovan Vlatković, as well as members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Competition awards include 1st prize from the Donald Peck International Competition as well as the Farwell Trust Award from the Musician’s Club of Women in Chicago. She has also performed in masterclasses for renowned musicians, such as William Bennett, James Galway, Robert Langevin, Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Pahud, and Paula Robison, among many others.


Originally from Southern California, Susan Kang earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and a Master of Master degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Her principal teachers include Leone Buyse, John Thorne and Anne Zentner.

Susan Kang Retouched 1.jpg
2nd Place - Yidi Song

Yidi Song is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music, where she studies with Bonita Boyd. She holds an MM (also from Eastman) and a BM from the China Conservatory in Beijing, where she studied with Zhaorong Chen. She has been a fellow at the Sarasota and Texas Music Festivals. In 2018, Ms. Song made her debut as a soloist performing the Nielsen Concerto with the Flint Symphony Orchestra. Her prize-winning performance of Telemann’s Fantasia No. 9 will be included in an upcoming CD release by Oboe Classics.

An active solo flutist, Ms. Song was awarded 1st place in the Second China Flute Association Young Artist Competition, the German Flute Society of Beijing Festival Competition, the 2017 William C. Byrd International Young Artist Competition for Winds and Brass, the 2019 Flute Society of Washington, the 2020 South Carolina Flute Association and Arizona Flute Society’s Young Artist Competition.

Ms. Song also has a passion for piccolo. She was awarded 1st place in the Second China Flute Association Young Artist Piccolo competition, the Rochester Flute Association Piccolo artist competition, and one of six semifinalists in the 2020 National Flute Association Piccolo Artist competition.

3rd Place - Allison DeFrancesco

Allison DeFrancesco is currently a graduate student at the Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas, studying with Leone Buyse. She holds a master’s degree in flute from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. Her teachers include Marianne Gedigian, Jonathan Keeble, Hideko Amano, and Shanna Gutierrez.

Allison is the recent winner of the Florida Flute Association’s 2021 Nancy Clew Eller Young Artist Competition and the Houston Flute Club’s 2020 Byron Hester Competition. She has taken prizes in the Young Artist Competitions of the Austin Flute Society, Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia, and Flute Society of Kentucky. 

She has performed numerous times with the San Antonio Symphony and the Shreveport Symphony and has toured twice internationally with the Orchestra of the Americas. She has also spent summers at the Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, National Orchestral Institute, and the Eastern Music Festival. 

2021 Adjudicators

Valerie Coleman

Valerie Coleman is a Grammy®-nominated flutist, composer, and musical entrepreneur. Founder of the performer-composer trio Umama Womama and the acclaimed Imani Winds, Coleman was recently named to the faculty of the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. Her multi-faceted career has included performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Boston Symphony Orchestra Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center, to name a few.

Coleman’s passion for chamber music performance is what guided her to become a top advocate, mentor and specialist of the field, with an extensive performance history of premieres and collaborations at festivals and chamber music societies across the United States, with esteemed artists such as Dover Quartet,  Ani and Ida Kavafian, Yo-Yo Ma, David Shifrin, Gil Kalish, members of the LA Chamber Orchestra, and jazz legends Paquito D’Rivera, Stefon Harris, and Jason Moran, among many others. She has given countless flute and chamber music masterclasses at institutions in 49 states and over 5 continents, including The Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Yale University, University of Colorado-Boulder, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Carnegie Mellon, New England Conservatory, Oberlin College, and Beijing Conservatory.

Her work as a composer has garnered multiple awards and critical acclaim, and her work UMOJA was listed by the Chamber Music America as one of the “Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works." Alongside recent commissions from American Composers Orchestra, Carnegie Hall and The National Flute Association, she has enjoyed commissions and premieres from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, The Library of Congress, The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and The Universities of Chicago, South Carolina, Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth, Hawaii Manoa and Ohio State. 

Advocacy and mentorship of artists and emerging ensembles is important to Valerie: in 2011, she created the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, a summer mentorship program that has welcomed musicians from over 100 institutions both nationally and abroad. She has also served on the as an adjudicator for National Flute Association’s High School Artist Competition, Concert Artist Guild, APAP’s Young Performing Concert Artists fellowship, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Award, MapFund Award and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She is on the board of advisors for Composers Now, MacDowell Colony, and Sphinx LEAD, and has previously served on the APAP’s Classical Connections Committee, National Flute Association’s New Music Advisory Committee and Board Nomination Committee.

Valerie studied flute with Julius Baker, Judith Mendenhall, Doriot Dwyer, Leone Buyse and Alan Weiss; composition with Martin Amlin and Randy Wolfe. She is published by Theodore Presser, International Opus and has her own company, V Coleman Music.

More information can be found at

Christina Medawar

Seattle native Christina Medawar is founder, artistic director, and flutist for The Sustain Music Project, a chamber music group started in 2018 which connects the community through classical music by creating engaging and immersive musical experiences. Each concert is presented in tandem with a different artistic medium (such as visual arts, food, and dance) and with community-serving nonprofits to explore new connections between music and these arts.

Christina performed in the Houston Grand Opera as acting principal flute from 2017-2018 and as second flute/piccolo from 2010-2017. She has performed with the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Opera, the Houston Ballet, and the contemporary ensemble Musiqa in Houston, TX. She can be heard on Houston Grand Opera’s recordings of the world premieres of two of Ricky Ian Gordon’s operas: “A House Without a Christmas Tree” and “A Coffin in Egypt”.

Christina is an avid supporter of music outreach and education. She was a recipient of the Sviatoslav Richter Fund for Entrepreneurial Music Outreach in 2008 from Rice University and was the coordinator for the Just-for-U Music Program (a series of outreach concerts for elementary-aged children) at Rice University for which she received a 2008 Mayor’s Volunteer Houston award. Christina also has taught flute students at Rice University and Shoreline Community College.

Christina holds her masters degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and her bachelors degree from Manhattan School of Music. Her major teachers include Leone Buyse, Linda Chesis, and Bonnie Blanchard. Outside of music, Christina enjoys running, cooking, spending time with her husband Stephen and her cat Nori, and chasing after her two adorable kids, Josiah and Linnea.

Colleen McElroy

Colleen McElroy holds the Piccolo/Second Flute chair in the Spokane Symphony, and is Second Flute/Piccolo with the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra. A passionate teacher, Colleen enjoys working with enthusiastic students of all ages and levels, and has maintained thriving private studios in Seattle, on Bainbridge Island, and now in Spokane. She is a frequent adjudicator for flute competitions in the greater Seattle area.

Colleen is a member of Emissary Quartet, a flute ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing new works and advocating for the flute quartet as a valuable and dynamic means of artistic expression. EQ gave their New York City debut performance in November 2016 with the premiere of Annika Socolofsky’s quartet, One wish, your honey lips, the music video of which was released with Second Inversion in April 2017.  In 2017, EQ returned to NYC to premiere the three winning works from their inaugural Call for Scores, which were selected from over 190 submissions from around the world. Video recordings of all three new quartets can be found on EQ's YouTube Channel. In May 2018, EQ was invited to be the featured performers at the prestigious 2018 BMI Student Composer Awards Ceremony. EQ performed at the 2016 National Flute Convention in San Diego, CA, and at the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention, and competed as quarter-finalists in the 2016 Fischoff Competition. The ensemble has held education and performance residencies across the US.

In 2015, Colleen was awarded first prize in both the 3rd Annual Seattle Flute Society Young Artist Competition and the Flutissimo! 2015 Solo Artist Competition in Athens, Georgia. Colleen won the University of Washington Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition in 2013, which resulted in a performance of Mike Mower's Flute Concerto with the ensemble. In past summers, Colleen has been invited to perform at the Brevard Music Center Institute in North Carolina and the Bay View Music Festival in northern Michigan.


Colleen holds degrees in Flute Performance from the University of Washington and Boston University. Her teachers include Linda Toote, Donna Shin, Zart Dombourian-Eby, and Iris Ingram.

Past Winners


1st Place: Yi Xiang

2nd Place: Jungah Yoon

3rd Place: Joyce Lee



1st Place: Won Lee

2nd Place: Charles Gibb

3rd Place: Ann Green


1st Place: Min Ha Kim

2nd Place: Ryan Foley

3rd Place: Douglas DeVries


1st Place: Cassie Lear
2nd Place: Vivian Lee

3rd Place: Joyce Lee


1st Place: Jeiran Hasan

2nd Place: Evan Pengra Sult

3rd Place: Benton Gordon


1st Place: Colleen McElroy

2nd Place: Raoul Cho


1st Place:  Yerim Choi
2nd Place:  Min Hee Kim
3rd Place:  Joshua Romatowski

2013 (Inaugural Competition)
1st Place:  Julian Rose
2nd Place:  Jodie Rottle
3rd Place:  Cassie Lear