Competition Winner 2022

Arthur D. Montzka Young Artists
Concerto Competition:
2022 Winner

Esme Arias-Kim

Esme Arias-Kim, 16, is a Merit Scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy, a training center for advanced pre-college students, and she studies violin with Almita Vamos. She started her violin studies with Betty Haag-Kuhnke at the age of two and a half. She is also a fellow of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative.

Esme made her solo orchestral debut at the age of ten with the Oistrakh Symphony. Other solo appearances include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Fairbanks Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, and Accademia d’Archi Arrigoni Orchestra, as well as solo recitals at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 92Y New York and Musikferien am Starnberger See, Germany.

Esme is a first-place winner in many competitions, including Enkor International, New York International Artist Association, Sejong, Confucius, DePaul Concerto Festival, Sinfonia da Camera, Lisker Young Artists Scholarship, and the Fox Valley Orchestra Competition. Esme has received masterclasses from Midori Goto, Julia Fischer, Ian Swensen, Vadim Gluzman, Kirill Troussov, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Paul Huang, Grigory Kalinovsky, Mihaela Martin, Ilya Kaler, Philip Setzer as well as the Borromeo Quartet.

Chamber music accolades include advancing to the semi-finals of the Fischoff Competition and receiving 1st Prize Amateur Division Chamber for the Chicago International Music Competition. Most recently, with her quartet through the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI), she had a masterclass with Maestro Riccardo Muti.

In 2020, Esme received the Grand Prize in the Junior Division of the Sphinx Competition and performed a recital on Chicago’s classical radio station WFMT’s “Introductions.” She also soloed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago at Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, after participating as one of four finalists and receiving first alternate in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Crain-Maling Foundation CSO Young Artists Competition. Later that year Esme was featured on NPR’s “From the Top” and was awarded Overall Open Division Grand Winner of the 2020 Walgreens National Concerto Competition. Most recently she was the winner in the Illinois String Senior Division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Competition.

Outside of music, Esme enjoys writing, drawing, and cooking.

Arthur D. Montzka Young Artists
Concerto Competition:
2022 Runner-up

Kimiko Darcy

Sixteen-year-old Kimiko Darcy attends the Latin School of Chicago. Her awards include: 1st place in the 2015 Emilio Del Rosario Concerto Competition, Elementary Division; winner of the 2015 DePaul University Concerto Competition; winner of the 2016 Texas State Young Artist Competition; 1st place in the 2017 and 2018 Society of American Musicians Competition; 1st place in the 2018 Baltimore International Piano Competition, Junior Division; 1st place in the 2018 Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Open Junior Division, and Overall Junior Division winner; in 2021, 1st place, Piano D, in the United States International Music Competition; in 2021, 2nd place in the VI Krystian Tkaczweski International Piano Competition; and 1st place in the 2021 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Illinois State Competition, Senior Division.

Kimiko is a 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 scholarship recipient of the Chopin Foundation. In 2021, Kimiko and her sister, Eriko, performed “Play for Justice!,” a YouTube livestream concert to raise funds for social justice causes.

Arthur D. Montzka Young Artists
Concerto Competition:
2022 Honorable Mention

Abigail Park

Abigail Park, 18, is a scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy, a training center for advanced pre-college musicians. She is currently studying with Almita Vamos and Injoo Choi. Abigail began her violin studies when she was four years old at the Betty Haag Music Academy. She studied
with Betty Haag for four years while participating in their many concerts including their Orchestra Hall concerts.

Abigail has been awarded top prizes in a number of competitions, including 1st place in the elementary division at the Sejong Music Competition (2014), 1st place in the primary division at the Society of American Musicians (SAM) competition (2015), 1st place in the junior division at SAM (2017), 1st place at the American Music Institute (AMI) Violin Competition (2018), 1st place in the intermediate division at SAM (2019), 1st place in the senior division at Confucius Music
Competition in Chicago, violin winner of the 2020 Lisker Music Foundation Young Artists Scholarship Competition, and honorable mention in the 2021 Walgreens National Concerto Competition.

Abigail is an accomplished chamber player as well. In February of 2020, her piano trio, the Insieme Trio, won the overall and open string division at the Midwest National Chamber Music Competition. Her trio was also a semifinalist in the 47th Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. In the beginning of 2021, her string quartet, the Omaggio Quartet, was awarded the bronze medal in the National Saint Paul String Quartet competition and 2nd place in the Professional Young Artist II Category from the Chicago International Music Competition, and it advanced to be a semifinalist in the 48th Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

In the summer of 2018, Abigail was invited to participate in the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she worked extensively with Brian Lewis and Simon James and performed with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2019, she attended Center Stage Strings in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to work with Simon James. Abigail’s previous teachers also include Dr. Hye Sun Lee and Injoo Choi at the Music Institute of Chicago (MIC). Her other passions include video-editing and doing makeup. Abigail is currently a senior at Glenbrook North High School.