Arthur D. Montzka Young Artists
Violinist Isabella Brown, 17, is a scholarship fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy and studies violin with Almita Vamos. This past summer, Isabella was awarded a top prize in the Cooper International Violin Competition and consequently had the privilege of performing the Dvořák Violin Concerto in Severance Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra. Critics described her performance as “intensely lyrical and scintillating.” Prior to this, she received first place in numerous competitions, including the Alexander and Buono International String Competition, the Asian American International Music Competition, the Rockville Competition for Piano and Strings, the Chinese Fine Arts Society Music Festival in Honor of Confucius Competition, the Sejong Music Competition (both the Junior and Senior divisions), the Open Junior String Division of the MYA Walgreens National Concerto Competition, and the DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers. She was named a 2019 National YoungArts Foundation Winner, won both the 2019 Lakeview Orchestra competition and the 2019 DuPage Symphony Orchestra competition, and was both the state and north central regional winner of the 2019 Stillman Kelley competition. Isabella made her solo debut with orchestra at the age of ten, performing with the Capital Symphonic Youth Orchestra on the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater stage, and has gone on to play with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra, the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra, the New North Shore Symphony Orchestra, the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, the Lakeview Orchestra, the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, the Cleveland Orchestra. Additionally, she has been featured on radio on Chicago’s WFMT and on Cleveland’s WCLV, and she has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Chicago Cultural Center, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, and Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall. Isabella is very thankful to be playing on a Dom Nicolò Marchioni detto “Amati” of Bologna violin circa 1740, generously on loan to her from Kenneth Warren and Son, Ltd.
Arthur D. Montzka Young Artists
2020 Runner Up
Cellist Ella Wimbiscus, 9 years old, is a fourth year Merit Scholarship student at the Music Institute of Chicago. Eager to follow in her older sister’s foot steps, she began learning the cello at 2 ½ years old. In addition to cello lessons with her mother, Ella studies with Hans Jensen, a faculty member of Northwestern University, Beinen School of Music.
Ella made her solo orchestral debut with the Sinfonia da Camera in September 2019 as a winner of their concerto competition. In addition, she has won 1st place in the Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Open Division, Early Music Category in 2018, as well as 1st places in Society of American Musicians Competition in 2019, and Competition in Honor of Confucius, in 2018 and 2019.
In the summer of 2018, Ella participated in the Musica Mundi International Chamber Music Course and Festival in Waterloo, Belgium, where she was featured in many of the performances. She has participated in masterclasses with Alan Rafferty and Nick Curry. Solo performances include such halls as; the Krannert Concert Hall in Champaign, Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia, and Harris Theater in Chicago.
Along with her mother and older sister, who are both cellists, Ella enjoys bringing music to the community, especially to those who are unable to attend a concert.
Aside from music, Ella is a budding ballerina, an avid reader, and enjoys swimming.