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Concert Artists Guild Announces 2024 Louis and Susan Meisel Competition Winners

Violinist Nathan Amaral, cellist Leland Ko, saxophonist Valentin Kovalev, and the Poiesis Quartet won this year's competition


Founded in 1951 and based in New York City, the Concert Artists Guild (CAG) has supported the careers of over 500 emerging musicians. Open to musicians under 35, depending on the instrument/vocal category, its annual competition offers a platform for national and international career development.

This year's CAG's Louis and Susan Meisel Competition has recently come to a close. Violinist Nathan Amaral, cellist Leland Ko, saxophonist Valentin Kovalev, and the Poiesis Quartet were chosen as the winner. Valentin was also selected as the 2024 Audience Prize winner.

All winners will receive management from CAG in North America, a New York debut performance opportunity, and participation in CAG's Citizen Musician Bootcamp.

Additionally, Grand Winners will receive international management (Americas and Europe) jointly with CAG and with London’s Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT), as well as a performance at the prestigious Wigmore Hall.

Chaired by Kathleen Gerety, the competition’s 2024 jury comprised John Glover, Tim Mar, and Ed Yim.


Born in Rio de Janeiro, violinist Nathan Amaral studies at the New England Conservatory with faculty member Donald Weilerstein. The first prize in the 2024 27th Sphinx Competition Senior Division, Amaral was also awarded 1st and special prizes in numerous national and international competitions — including the Paul Roczek Award at Mozarteum University Salzburg, Wiener Klassik Preis in Vienna, CIMA International Competition, Waslau Borkowski Violin Competition, the Eleazar de Carvalho Competition (the most significant prize for young musicians in Brazil) and the Ruggiero Ricci Violin Competition. Amaral recently released his debut album and has collaborated with world-renowned musicians, including violinist Hilary Hahn, Tabea Zimmermann, and Yura Lee. He has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre, Berlin Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Dortmund, and Großer Saal Mozarteum.

Cellist Leland Philip Ko has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in venues such as Merkin Concert Hall and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York, Jordan Hall and Sanders Theatre in Boston, as well as internationally in Sweden, Israel, and Spain, including Auditorio Manuel de Falla in Granada. His accolades include second prize at the inaugural 2020 Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition, appearing as a finalist in the 2020 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and first prize at the 2021 Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition. He has participated in Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and the Perlman Music Program in addition to serving as an Artist in Residence of the New York Piano Society (NYPS). Leland was a long-time student of Ronald Lowry and Paul Katz before attending Princeton University, where he graduated with a B.A. in German Literature. He received his M.M. from The Juilliard School where he studied with Minhye Clara Kim, Natasha Brofsky, and Tim Eddy in 2022, and began as an A.D. candidate at New England Conservatory in the Fall of 2022.

Saxophonist Valentin Kovalev is the recent winner of the Naumburg Foundation 2022 Saxophone Competition. He is the winner of several international competitions including the Manhattan International Music Competition, MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition, Classic Winds Competition, AndorraSaxFest, Anches Simples de Toulouse, EkaterinburgSaxFest, and the GoldenSax. A recipient of the 2023 Career Advancement Award from the Musical Fund Society, one of Valentin’s most significant achievements has been cultivating an engaged community of over 55,000 subscribers across his social media platforms. Valentin is a Henri Selmer, Paris artist, and a winner of the 2021 Astral National Competition.

The Poiesis Quartet is the 2023 Grand Prize winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Founded during Oberlin Conservatory’s Advanced Quartet Seminar program in Fall 2022, they also received Fischoff’s Senior Strings Gold Medal and the Lift Every Voice prizes. In January 2023, the Quartet completed an international tour in Uruguay with artistic residencies in Punta del Diablo and Punta del Este’s premiere concert series, “Conciertos del Este”. Performances included the world premiere of Alejandro Melo’s composition “Elegy” which was dedicated to the Quartet. They also received the Gold Medal and BIPOC Prize at the 2023 St. Paul String Quartet Competition’s senior division and Bronze Medal at the 2023 Glass City Chamber Music Competition. The Poiesis Quartet is primarily coached by Sibbi Bernhardsson of the Pacifica Quartet and is mentored by the Verona Quartet and Kirsten Docter of the Cavani Quartet.

Comprised of violinists Sarah Ma and Max Ball, cellist Drew Dansby, and violist Jasper de Boor, members of the Poiesis Quartet have attended programs such as Kneisel Hall, the Perlman Music Program, Verbier Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and Madeline Island Chamber Music’s Fellowship program.

upcoming events

may 2024

06may01junQueen Elisabeth Violin Competition12:00 am - (june 1) 11:59 pm Flagey ASBL-VZW, Pl. Sainte-Croix, 1050 Bruxelles, BelgiumEvent Type :competitions Event Tagscompetition,Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition,violinFOLLOW

27mayAll Day31New York Classic Violin Competition(All Day) Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Ave, New York, NY 10027Event Type :competitions Event TagsClassic Violin Olympus International Competition,violin competitionFOLLOW

june 2024

06junAll Day13Khachaturian International Violin Competition(All Day) Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, 46 Mesrop Mashtots Ave, Yerevan, ArmeniaEvent Type :competitions Event TagsKhachaturian International Competition,violin competitionFOLLOW

08junAll Day16Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition(All Day) Romolo Valli Municipal Theatre, Piazza Martiri del 7 Luglio, 1, 42121 Reggio Emilia RE, Italy Event Type :competitions Event TagsPremio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition,string quartet competitionFOLLOW

17junAll Day22Primrose International Viola Competition(All Day) Colburn School, 200 S Grand AveEvent Type :competitions Event TagsPrimrose International Viola Competition,Primrose Viola CompetitionFOLLOW


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