Young Artist Competition Winners 2016

The Hendersonville Symphony is pleased to announce the winners of our 2016 Young Artist Competition. The YAC affords highly accomplished young musicians in the Western North Carolina area the opportunity to pursue excellence through competition. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three contestants. The First Prize winner Thomas Gabriel Turner will perform with the Hendersonville Symphony at our April 30, 2016 concert “From Vienna to Cologne,” with pianist Jorge Federico Osorio. All of the prizewinners of the competition will perform at the HSO Youth Showcase, 6:30 pm, Sunday, April 10, at Carolina Village.

Winners of the 2016 Competition are:

First Prize: Thomas Gabriel Turner, Piano

Second Prize: Christopher Tavernier, Piano

Third Prize: Cole Jenkins, Cello

Honorable Mentions: Joah Bickley, violin, and Kayla Guilliams, clarinet

The 2016 Young Artist Competition is sponsored by the Laborde Eye Group and an anonymous donor.


About the prizewinners:


Thomas Gabriel Turner, piano

Thomas Gabriel Turner is a sixteen-year-old junior at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, and a native of Ellenboro,North Carolina. He has studied piano for nine years, studying with Charlie Hopper for seven years and Dr. Cynthia Swicegood as well, for the past three years. Gabe has studied violin with Eben Mann for 6 years. He participates regularly in various musical activities at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy and Wild Roots Fine Arts Center located in Forest City, NC under the direction of Eben Mann. The Foothills Music Club of Tryon, North Carolina awarded Gabe with the Lesley Oakes Scholarship in 2014 and 2015. Gabe also enjoys playing the hammered dulcimer, bagpipe, tin whistle, clavichord, and virginal. He plans to continue studying piano performance, music theory, and composition in the future.

IMG_7294-FLYERChristopher Tavernier, piano

Christopher Tavernier made his orchestral debut with the Tar River Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of thirteen, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on the opening concert of the Or chestra’s Fall 2013 Season at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Christopher began his piano studies at the age of six, and now at fifteen he has won several competitions, including the 2012 Appalachian Classical Music Association’s Young Artist’s Competition in Johnson City, Tennessee, and in 2014 the junior division of the Charlotte Symphony’s Concerto Competition, and the Concerto Competition of the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta Georgia. Additionally, he placed second in the “National Elizabeth Harper Vaughn” Concerto Competition in Kingsport, Tennessee. He was the youngest performer in the history of the competition, which admits contestants up to the age of twenty five. He performed Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

Christopher’s concerto repertoire includes concertos by Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.  He maintains a broad solo repertoire, including many works by his favorite composer, Franz Liszt.  In addition, he has in his repertoire Liszt’s two operatic paraphrases for two pianos.  Christopher’s pianistic lineage and training extends from Liszt through his teacher, Dr. John Cobb, who studied with Claudio Arrau, and whose teacher was a pupil of Franz Liszt. Christopher has played massive fundraising concerts to benefit Mission Foundation’s fight against women’s breast cancer. Christopher is also a dedicated chamber music player.  In 2014 he performed, on both piano and harpsichord, the Bach Triple Concerto, BWV 1044, with the Rutherford Chamber Consort a professional chamber music ensemble headquartered in Western North Carolina.  In 2015 he performed Schubert’s Trout Quintet and a Suite by Milhaud with the group and was performed on Carolina Live NPR radio. This season he will be performing Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25 with the Rutherford Chamber Consort.

 Christopher has been featured on ABC affiliate television station WLOS, and has performed on Carolina Live NPR radio and WCQS, Asheville, NC.  He is the first International Perzina Artist in the company’s 144 year history and has published recordings in DVD and CD formats, and is a member of the Asheville Area Piano Forum.


Cole Jenkins photo Cole Jenkins, cello

Cole Jenkins is a sophomore honors student at Hendersonville High School. He is a member of the Hendersonville Symphony Youth Orchestra and is currently studying with Franklin Keel. Cole recently auditioned and made it into the Western Regionals honors orchestra, held this year at Appalachian State University. Cole is a past winner of the Hendersonville Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition and runner up in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition.

Cole attended Cannon Music Camp at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and held the principle cello position in the symphony orchestra last year. Cole played cello in the honors string quartet and played upright bass for the Jazz Ensemble as well as the Jazz Vocal Ensemble. In addition, he was chosen by the faculty of Cannon Music Camp to receive the Arthur Unsworth Award.

In addition to playing the cello, Cole enjoys singing and playing the mandolin, guitar, and upright bass. Cole is the son of Shane and Kristi Jenkins.