15-year-old Olivia Li from Cary, NC studies the piano with Florence Ko and has over the years garnered myriad awards and scholarships. She placed first in various competitions including the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs (NCFMC) Young Artist Auditions, 6 years consecutively from divisions Senior I until Concerto IV, as well as the Princess category of the NCFMC Royalty Competition, the SYMF Southwestern Youth Music Festival Competition, the USA IMAE Music & Art Exchange International Piano Competition where she had a masterclass with the renowned Gary Graffman, RTPA Scholarship Competition, CAPTA Bullard Competition, and 2nd prize of the prestigious NC symphony concerto competition and 3rd Annual Hayes School of Music Piano Competition. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys sharing her music with others and frequently hosts performances at local retirement centers, and hospitals. She has also been invited to perform at various events, such as 5 consecutive meetings for the 2023 Cary Environmental Symposium at the Cary Arts Center, where many esteemed speakers and mayor are invited as well.
Chris (Yuanduo) Li, who is 17 years old and currently in the 11th grade, attends Green Level High School in Apex, North Carolina. He was born in China in 2006 and began his musical journey when he was just six years old. He started taking piano lessons in June 2021 after moving to the United States, and he’s been guided by Florence Ko. Since then, Chris has achieved some impressive accomplishments: he came in second place in the 2022 Young Artist Auditions (YAA) competition at the Prince level. He also got first place in the Senior level of the 2022 Raleigh Piano Teacher Association (RPTA) scholarship competition, the Bullard piano competition (High School level), and the Raleigh Music Club Scholarship Auditions. It’s worth noting that he got second position in the Senior division of the 2022 Music Teacher National Association (MTNA) competition, and he won in the Senior division of the International American Protege competition. Additionally, he had the chance to be part of the East Carolina University piano festival and their master classes. In 2023, he achieved second place in the North Carolina Royalty Competition at the King level. He also won the National Federation of Music Clubs competition at the King level and the Hinda Honigman piano scholarship in Statesville, NC, performed in Environmental Symposium at Cary Arts Center. Apart from his dedication to playing the piano, Chris enjoys taking part in basketball and tennis, which brings him joy.
Jared Alan Yoakem is a pianist from Grand Rapids, MI. As a recitalist, he has performed at the Brendle Recital Hall, Wake Forest University, NC; Covington Arts Center, Radford University, VA; Katzen Arts Center, American University, DC; and Porter Arts Center, Brevard College, NC. As a collaborative artist, he has performed with ACDA, NATS, the National Orpheus Competition, and a variety of choral projects including two national PBS broadcasts at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He has been awarded with the Dean’s Advisory Council Award for outstanding achievement in music from Belmont University in 2019. Yoakem has participated in the Collaborative Piano Institute at Louisiana State University, the Leon Fleisher Academy of Washington D.C., and the Vivace Music Foundation of Wilmington, NC. He has participated in masterclasses by Stanislav Ioudenitch, Marina Lomazov, Julian Martin, Anne-Marie McDermott and Robert McDonald. Yoakem holds degrees from Belmont University & East Carolina University, under the instruction of Elena Bennett and Kwan Yi. He currently serves as a piano faculty member at the Cary School of Music and as a teaching assistant to Kwan Yi.