Merced Symphony

Merced Symphony Youth Auditions

Dear Music/Voice Teacher,

Be a part of our 61st consecutive year of bringing exceptional classical music to Merced! Enclosed is an application for the MSA Youth Auditions co-sponsored with Merced College. Please encourage your advanced students to audition! Please also share this opportunity with other music teachers and their experienced voice or instrument students.

This year’s competition is Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 pm at Merced College. Merced College is located at 3600 M. St., Merced, CA 95348-2806. Parking fee is $1.

The musical requirements are as follows:

Other requirements are as follows:

Students will report at least 15 minutes ahead of their assigned time to Music Room 1 located in the Music Building behind the Merced College Theater. Practice rooms are available as well as a place for parents to wait during the auditions. Audition schedule will be determined by the number of applicants and the distance each has to travel. Schedule will be announced during the week before the audition.

Several audition winners have played professionally and one has achieved world-wide renown. The Merced Symphony Association and Merced College are proud to have helped them on their way. We look forward to helping your exceptional students grow as well!


Judy Edwina Smith, President
Merced Symphony Board

John Albano, Dean
Fine & Performing Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Merced College

2018 Youth Audition Winner Benjamin Jiang

Photo of Benjamin Jiang

Benjamin Jiang, age 11, is a 6th grader at Elliott Ranch Elementary School in Elk Grove, CA. He began studying piano at the age of five with Mrs. Ning Chen, and currently studies with Dr. Natsuki Fukasawa. His recent accomplishments as a pianist include winning first place in his division at the United States International Music Competition, the International Music Festival, the Japanese Piano Teachers Association of Greater Sacramento’s Piano Competition, California Association of Professional Music Teachers’ Go for the Gold Festival, and winning second place at the United States Open Music Competition. Benjamin is a member of the Sacramento Youth Symphony’s Premier Orchestra.

Benjamin also started cello with Mrs. Beverly Rogers at age 7, and continues with Mrs. Susan Lamb Cook, winning the American String Teachers Association’s Solo Competition in the Sacramento branch, the Classical Masters Music Festival, and the Music Teachers’ Association of California’s Memorial Scholarship Recital.

Benjamin enjoys performing music, along with his friends, for the community, like participating in Mrs. Cook’s annual Winter and Summer Chamber Music Workshops to perform at senior homes and churches. Benjamin loves mathematics and reading in school, in addition to his hobbies of swimming, playing tennis, skiing, and frolicking with his five-year old brother, Richard.

2017 Youth Audition Winner Amaryn Olmeda

Photo of Amaryn Olmeda

Aspiring young violinist Amaryn Olmeda, age 9, began playing the violin at 4 years old. She is a student of renowned violinist and educator, William Barbini. Amaryn made her performance debut at the Colorado Suzuki Strings Institute in Beaver Colorado at the age of 6. Since then, she has won first place for the Auburn Symphony Young Artists Competition (also the Grand Prize Winner), the Music in the Mountains Young Musicians Competition (also the Paul Perry Award for Best Performance), the Classical Music Masters at the Harris Center for the Performing Arts, the Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Pacific Musical Society Competition in San Francisco, the Sacramento Section of the American String Teachers Association Solo Competition, and recently the Merced Symphony Youth Auditions. In addition to her solo endeavors, Amaryn is Principal 2nd Violinist in the Premier Orchestra of the Sacramento Youth Symphony.

Amaryn has been a solo artist with the Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra, the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra, and with the SYS Chamber Music Workshop Orchestra at the Westminster Music at Noon Concert Series. For the 2017-2018 season, Amaryn will be returning as a soloist with the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra. She will also be the featured artist for the “Amazing Talent” 2018 Family Concert of the Auburn Symphony. Amaryn has also been asked to perform as a soloist with the Sacramento Youth Symphony Premier Orchestra at their End of Watch Concert, honoring fallen police officers and firefighters of Sacramento.

Amaryn has been the guest artist for the Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra School Tours program, where she was the featured soloist for performances at schools in the Sacramento area. In the summer of 2017, she was the featured soloist for the SYS Chamber Music Workshop, performing as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra Mentors at various nursing homes. She has performed at the Davis Community Church weekly Luncheons for the Homeless, for the Children for Children Showcase Concert to benefit the Child Advocates of Nevada County, and for the Keaton Raphael Memorial Foundation, an organization benefiting children with cancer. Amaryn also loves collecting American Girl Dolls, attending ballet and art classes, and knitting and sewing. She homeschools on her family’s hobby farm in Loomis, CA where she enjoys caring for animals and family gardening.

Past Youth Auditions Winners

Some of the past winners of the Merced Symphony Youth Auditions are:

Many of these winners have continued to perform as soloists or with groups after performing with the Merced Symphony.

If you are reading this and are a youth audition winner or if you know a winner, please contact the Merced Symphony and let us know. Also, let us know if you continue to perform.