Hendersonville Symphony Announces Young Artist Competition Winner

Christopher Tavernier

The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra (HSO) is pleased to announce pianist Christopher Tavernier as the winner of its 2017 Young Artist Competition.

Christopher, 16, of Hendersonville is a sophomore at Hendersonville High School. The son of Robert and Kimberly Tavernier, Christopher studies privately with Dr. Douglas Weeks and Dr. John Cobb. His winning performance piece was Piano Concerto No. 3 – Movement No. 1 Andante and Allegro by Sergei Prokofiev.

Now in its 22nd year, the annual Young Artist Competition “affords highly accomplished young musicians in Western North Carolina the opportunity to pursue excellence in competition,” said Philip A. (Pat) Tukey, HSO executive director. “This field of 11 exceptional young musicians all played their hearts out, providing an exciting competition and each should be immensely proud of their performances. Their talent and accomplishment is a glowing testament to their parents, teachers and their own hard work.”

The Young Artist Competition was held Feb. 19 at Freeburg Pianos, and the competition and awards were generously sponsored by LaBorde Eye Group, both of Hendersonville.

Studying piano since he was six years old, Christopher’s repertoire includes concertos by Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff.  His broad solo repertoire includes many works by his favorite composer, Franz Liszt

Christopher most recently won the 2016 Asheville Symphony’s Concerto Competition, in addition to being a semifinalist from the select 15 entrants in the 2016 Midwest International Piano Competition. As its youngest entrant ever, Christopher placed second in the national Elizabeth Harper Vaughn Concerto Competition in Kingsport, Tenn., in 2014.

Christopher is also a dedicated chamber music player.  Since 2014, he has performed with the Rutherford Chamber Consort, a professional chamber music ensemble headquartered in Western North Carolina.

“I am so honored to win the Hendersonville Symphony Young Artist Competition. This opportunity was really important to me because Hendersonville is my hometown,” said Christopher reflecting on his achievement.

Myles McKnight, 16, a resident of Fletcher and a junior at North Henderson High School was awarded second place in the HSO competition. The son of Judy and Michael McKnight, Myles played Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor – First Movement. He is a student of Jason Posnock.

Daphne Bickley, 15, of Lake Lure placed third. A senior at Rutherford Early College High School, Daphne is the daughter of Philip and Veda Bickley. A student of Jan Daugherty, Daphne performed Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Movement 1 Andante Comodo by Sir William Walton.

As part of winning first place in the Young Artist Competition, Christopher will be a featured soloist with the HSO at their April 29 concert, “Nationalist Fervor.” He will play his winning performance piece. In addition, all three winners will perform at the annual HSO Youth Showcase recital, planned for Sunday, April 2, at 6 p.m. at Carolina Village.

The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1971, exists to enrich the Hendersonville and Henderson County communities with live symphonic performances and music education opportunities for youth and adults.

For more information, visit hendersonvillesyphony.org, or call the HSO office at 828-697-5884.

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the news editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for more than six years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.