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Wednesday, January 4, 2023 (Ann Arbor, MI) — The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (A²SO) is delighted to announce cellist Bhargava R. Kulkarni, 14, as the winner of its 2022-23 Young Artist Competition. Seven finalists competed on December 3, 2022 at Eastern Michigan University, with the winner receiving a $500 cash prize and the opportunity to perform with the Symphony at a concert in 2023.

Applications were open to students in grades 7-12 and who resided in or attended school in the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana during the 2022-2023 school year. As winner, Kulkarni will perform at the A²SO’s Link Up: The Orchestra Moves youth concert on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Violinists Peter Fazekas and Andrew Maxwell were selected as co-runners-up, and both were awarded a $150 prize.

“Every young artist presented a superb performance—it was a thrill to hear so much young talent in one place,” said Tim Michling, the A²SO‘s principal oboist and competition jury panelist. “The competitors presented a wide variety of repertoire, from the classical period onward to modernity, and the overall high level of quality and preparation created a difficult challenge for judging.”

Fellow jury member and A²SO violinist Linda Etter adds: “It was truly a pleasure to hear such well-prepared and poised young performers, all showing years of dedication to learning and practicing.  [The competition jury] heard major repertoire from each of them, played at a high level.  The future of classical music is bright with students of this caliber.”

A student at Okemos High School in Okemos, Michigan, Bhargava Kulkarni began learning cello at age four in a local Suzuki program before continuing his studies with Horacio Contreras and Richard Aaron. For the past five years, he has studied with Amir Eldan of the University of Michigan. His repertoire includes concertos by Haydn, Elgar, Davidov, Kabalevsky, Saint-Saens and others, plus shorter concert works and chamber music pieces. 

Currently studying with Sibbi Bernhardson at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, violinist Andrew Maxwell, 17, has participated at The Cleveland Institute of Music’s Pre-College Chamber Music program and was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Andrew studies violin/piano sonata repertoire privately with Carolyn Warner, and is a voice (baritone) student at Aurora School of Music, placing 3rd in Ohio NATS competition in the classical voice category. Besides music, his other interests include chemistry, reading and nature.

Violinist Peter Fazekas, 17, is a senior at Ann Arbor Huron High School, currently studying with Adam Stepniewski, acting principal of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He is the Concertmaster of Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra, Huron High Orchestra, Nutcracker Ballet, principal violinist of the Slatkin Quintet, and placed first at the Michigan Pops Concerto Competition. As a Hungarian violinist, he was invited to perform alongside pianist Zsuzsanna Balla and acclaimed opera singer Sándor Balla for the 2019 Hungarian Congress. He has also toured internationally with his folk band, including concerts in Detroit, Cleveland, Windsor, Toronto, and Niagara. Peter is also a dual sport Varsity Captain for his High School Water Polo and Swim Teams, having earned MWPA All Region and Academic All-State honors. In his free time he enjoys spending time outdoors, especially board sports including skateboarding and snowboarding.


Currently in their 94th concert season, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (A²SO) is one of the Midwest’s premier regional orchestras, creating live, orchestral music for 70,000 listeners each year. They engage with the community through innovative and imaginative concert programming, educational programs, radio broadcasts, recordings, and online streaming. To find out more about the orchestra’s events and initiatives, visit www.a2so.com.