Teen violinists win first La Sierra music scholarship competition

Tiffany Huang

June 26, 2012

By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Teen violinists Tiffany Huang and Victoria Belliard each practice as much as 10 hours a week and have already racked up music competition wins with their talent.

On May 18 they added a couple more awards to the list with first and second place scholarships during La Sierra University’s inaugural Performing Young Artist Festival and Competition. The funds will help pay the students’ tuition at La Sierra this fall when they enroll as music majors.

The Performing Young Artist Competition, held at Hole Memorial Auditorium offered upwards of $16,000 in scholarships and cash prizes. The event’s first and second place scholarship prizes of $10,000 and $5,000 respectively are among the university’s largest awards and are intended to defray La Sierra tuition costs.

The competition involved students from regional high schools and academies performing 15-minute auditions. In the end, a judging panel of music department faculty awarded Huang, a student at University High School in Irvine first place along with a $500 cash prize, and Belliard second place and a $350 prize. Belliard is a student at Dikaois Christian Academy in San Bernardino and a member of the Claremont Young Musicians Orchestra.

Huang, who studies violin with La Sierra’s Director of String Studies Jason Uyeyama, performed the Max Bruch “Violin Concerto” and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Violin Concerto in A.” Belliard performed the second movement of Henryk Wieniawski’s “Violin concerto No.2; Romance,” and the first movement of Samuel Barber’s “Violin Concerto.”

Huang learned of the competition through Uyeyama and Belliard through an orchestra friend’s father. Both students look forward to studying music at La Sierra.

“I feel like of all the colleges and universities I applied to, La Sierra provides the best environment for me to not only continue pursuing my numerous passions, but to also grow into a person with great values and perspectives,” said Huang. She plans to study medicine in the future while maintaining her musical interests.

Victoria Belliard

Says Belliard, “I believe that La Sierra’s mission and goals are a good fit with my own. I really appreciate how they emphasize truth, God and service. All three are very important to me. LSU also has an excellent academic and music program.”

Belliard, a Seventh-day Adventist and Loma Linda native, also performs with her family’s ministry trio, Soli Deo Gloria and studies violin with international violinist and Pomona College faculty member Todor Pelev. Recently she performed on a tour with the New England Youth Ensemble.

Last month Belliard taught violin in Ecuador and led a music workshop. Mission and outreach through music toward influencing social change are part of her future goals. She wants to initiate a community music program in the Inland Empire similar to “El Sistema” and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles directed by Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Says Belliard, “I want to make classical music accessible to inner-city kids, the disabled and underprivileged, people who might not have the chance to be exposed to classical music otherwise.”

La Sierra’s enrollment services and music departments are funding the scholarship program. La Sierra University as a Seventh-day Adventist institution attracts many students from regional Adventist academies. The scholarship program is the brainchild of music department Chair Elvin Rodriguez and academy music teachers who also serve as adjunct instructors at La Sierra. The competition is also offered to public school students and is intended to serve as a vehicle for attracting talented local youth.

Most students who are serious musicians have already competed many times before graduating from high school, and for such individuals “the notion of competing for a prize is not a novelty, but rather an expectation,” Rodriguez said. “Offering something like this is appealing to the students because it’s another opportunity to refine and test their hard work.” Parents are also excited when their child has the opportunity to earn college scholarship, he continued. “It validates the investment they have made.”


PR Contact: Larry Becker

Executive Director of University Relations

La Sierra University

Riverside, California

951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  July 02, 2012