2019 Finalists

Aliyah Ramatally (Trinidad and Tobago)

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Aliyah Ramatally was the recipient of the 2016 Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival Adjudicator’s Award for “Most Outstanding Junior Performer”, having competed successfully in various classes including voice [solo, duet and trio], piano, composition, classical and calypso choir. Aliyah was also named in the top 10 Merit List for the 2016 CSEC Music Examination.

From an early age, Aliyah demonstrated a keen interest in composition which mushroomed after she attended an International Music Course in the United Kingdom in 2014. Aliyah’s strong love for nature and Caribbean culture serves as an inspiration for her music. She has composed string quartets [two violins, viola and cello]: “Grande Riviere Sunrise”, “Midnight over Mayaro”, “Treading into the Abyss”, “Bees and the Wasp” and most recently, “Jive of the Jumbie” for flute, steelpan, trombone, viola and double bass.

As a member of the Oratory Foundation she has had the benefit of training in drama, poetry-writing and performance. She is an avid environmentalist. She volunteers at the Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, and through many projects was enlisted as an environmental ambassador.

Aliyah is a member of the Marionette’s Chorale. She has had the privilege of performing with them at Carnegie Hall on the invitation of the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) in their June 2019 production of Christopher Tin’s “Calling all Dawns”.  Aliyah is a graduate of Naparima Girls’ High School where she successfully completed the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations in Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics with distinction and has recently enrolled in University in the United Kingdom.

Andrew Udal (Australia)

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Born in South Africa in 2003, I moved with my family to Australia in 2009. I am currently living in Queensland in a place called Bundaberg. Music has always been a part of my life. With both my parents being musicians, I received a violin for my 3rd birthday. I soon realised this wasn’t the instrument for me and took up cello at the age of nearly 8. A few years later I began percussion lesson as well. Singing has also been an integral part of my life and some of my earliest memories are singing with a microphone at home.

I am fortunate to attend a school which has a vibrant music department. This has given me many opportunities to explore my musical gifts. I started playing around with Garage Band when I had an iPad, though it didn’t really interest me that much. In 2018, I was given a program called Notion by Presonus. I used this for my music assignment and started to find a passion in music composition. Since then I have been working on a variety of styles of composition and have accomplished more than I could ever have dreamed of.

I have found my passion in film scoring as I find this genre best suits my musical ideas. I entered my first international scoring competition and composed for a documentary film with some other local composers. I am very excited about the future and hope to study film scoring once I leave school.

Some of my achievements as a composer so far include:

Winning the 2019 ASME Young Composers Competition Senior Vocal/Instrumental Section

Coming 3rd in the 2019 Queensland Score It! Film Scoring Competition

Becoming the composer for “From the depths” along with have three new pieces being performed with films on the 23rd of November 2019.

Getting Highly Commended in the 2019 Arteology Fanfare Competition.

Having a major work performed by a local prestigious string ensemble.

Brianna Georges (Antigua and Barbuda)

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Brianna Georges is a kind, honest, generous, funny and amiable individual who has a deep love for music.

At 16 years old, Brianna Georges, has established herself as an accomplished panist in her Caribbean homeland of Antigua & Barbuda. Her love for music comes as no surprise as her family enjoys a rich history of musicians within the Salvation Army Corps. Brianna has studied music for more than five years, but developed a deep connection with the steel pan at the age of 12 when she began playing single tenor at her Alma Mater, the Antigua Girls’ High School. She takes particular pride in the fact that the AGHS Steel Orchestra won three successive titles during her final years at the school. She has a special love for the single tenor due to its range and adaptability to various genres. She credits her success to her family and music teachers.

Brianna completed her secondary education with 10 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (O’ Level equivalent), including a Grade 1 for Music. She currently attends the Antigua State College where she is pursuing studies in Science and Mathematics. Her goal is to pursue a career in forensic science. She also wishes to become a professional musician where she plans to specialize in steel pan arranging.

Dana Al Tajer (Bahrain)

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Dana Al Tajer (2003) was born in Manama, Bahrain. She began learning how to play the piano at the age of 5: this led to her completing up to Grade 8 in piano with distinction from the ABRSM exam board. She has been taking part in various competitions, most notably the Young Musicians of the Gulf (YMOG) as a soloist.

She first took an interest in writing her own melodies by the age of 10. Now, her compositional style involves fusing Western Classical tradition with musical elements from different parts of the world, incorporating instruments such as the Oud and the Doumbek into her work.

Having grown up in a multicultural environment allowed her to be introduced to a wide range of musical genres, which she wishes to explore in future projects.

At the moment, she is pursuing the DipABRSM diploma in piano performance and is also undertaking A Level Music, having previously achieved a grade 9 (A**) in GCSE Music.

Davon Mallin Halim (Indonesia)

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Davon was first introduced to music at age 4 when he took up the violin; he began playing the piano a year later, attaining DipABRSM for piano performance in March 2019. He has since developed a deep love for all things classical, stretching from Bach to Jörg Widmann.

Davon has been writing music since primary school, and has produced compositions in a variety of styles for sundry instrumentation. More recently, Davon started teaching himself organ playing two years ago.

Isaiah Hui Zhou Rong (Singapore)

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Isaiah Hui, 14, from Singapore, began his musical journey at the young age of 3. In 2013, Isaiah participated in the Yamaha Piano Competition and the Singapore International Youth Piano Competition, where he won 1st Prize for both competitions, His love for music grew over the years and since 2011, he has been composing his own music pieces. With his composition, he was selected to represent Singapore in 2013, 2014 and 2017 to perform in Yamaha Asia Pacific Junior Original Concert, held in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo respectively. He was also selected to represent Singapore in 2015 to perform in Yamaha International Junior Original Concert which was held in Tokyo. At American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition 2015, he was invited to perform in Carnegie Hall as a winner. He has also been invited to perform in ChildAid 2014, ChildAid 2015, ChildAid Asia 2017 and ImaginAsia 2018 to raise funds for underprivileged children.

Khadijah Simon (Antigua and Barbuda)

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Khadijah Angelle Simon was born on November 17, 2004 in the island of Antigua to parents Steve and Pauline Simon. She has shown a passion for music since she was a baby. By the age of 1, she could hum the songs pre recorded on her sister’s piano keyboard even before  they started playing.

At the age of 3 she was using her living room couch as a drumset beating in timing during TV commercials using wooden spoons for her drum sticks.

Her love for music escalated when she started piano classes at the age of 8 with Louise Roberts, a teacher at Sunnyside Tutorial School. Her teacher saw potential in her and allowed her to play for general assembly each day.

She graduated from  the Sunnyside Tutorial School in 2016 and started her tenure at the Antigua Girls High School(AHGS) . At this school, her talent was nurtured and further developed. She was exposed to singing in the choir, composing and playing steel pan.

Presently, still a student of AGHS, she is the choir’s pianist, and a musician at the Spring Gardens Moravian Church.

Nathanael Koh (New Zealand)

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Nathanael Koh B. Y. is a MENSA member and St John Youth Cadet who has perfect pitch and loves the great scenic New Zealand. As a budding composer, these provided inspiration for him to compose music on a weekly basis. Depending on the seasons, he writes a wide range of music ranging from different cultures, genres and eras.

For consecutive years, (2018 and 2019), he won first prize in the Institute of Registered Music Teachers (Otago) NZ, Junior Composition. He is presently composing original pieces for semi-professional and amateur orchestras.

Determined to study and understand music, he is learning the piano, clarinet, cello and French horn to help hone his composition skills. Since 2017, he performs regularly for the public, and concerts organised by IRMT.

At age 9, Nathanael is one of the youngest to attain the Trinity Diploma in Music Theory (AMusTCL), and ABRSM Grade 8 Music Theory. Recognising his talent in Music, the Ministry of Education (New Zealand) presented him with the Gifted Learner Award in May 2019. Besides music, his many other interests include Mathematics, Chemistry, German, crafting and playing with Lego.

Since CICA, Nathanael has been given the rare privilege of being appointed as the Composer-in-Residence for the Kids’ Philharmonic in Singapore in Nov 2019. https://www.kidsphilharmonic.org/the-team, as well as his piece, Tea Party/Vorfreude, was recently performed by a full orchestra at the Victoria Concert Hall on 22 Dec 2019

Virginia Baird (New Zealand)

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Ever since I laid hands on my first plastic toy piano as a pre-schooler I have been composing. I begged my mother to let me start piano lessons at the age of seven and have adored every minute after. More recently, I’ve had the opportunity to learn the violin and pipe organ and I have enjoyed picking up other instruments including guitar, ukulele and the button accordion my great grandfather brought to New Zealand from Ireland. I love experimenting, combining instruments and if I had an unlimited amount of time I would like to learn ALL the instruments in the world.

I am inspired to write compositions based on my delight in the New Zealand great outdoors, including sport, farm life and going on tramping adventures with my family. My passion for the wonderful world we live in is reflected in every piece I write.

Xiaole Zhan (New Zealand)

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Xiaole Zhan is the winner of the Secondary Division of the 14th Biannual Vancouver Chamber Choir Young Composers Competition, and her piece ‘Aquatic Nocturne’ was debuted by the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Also a keen writer, her poem ‘Sympathetic Resonance’ was recently displayed on Ross Island, Antarctica, as part of the International Antarctic Poetry Exhibition. A lover of music all her life, Xiaole Zhan enjoys playing the piano, cello, and singing.