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May 09, 2021

AHA Musicians Earn Grand Prizes in Competition

 Violinist Nayoun Kim and cellist Chelsie Lim recently secured Grand Prize wins in competition. Kim earned a first place finish in the Camerata Artists International Competition. Lim played her way to the top spot in the Semi-Annual Philadelphia International Music Festival Virtual Concerto Competition.


Both of these exceptional musicians are residents of Cresskill and members of the Class of 2022 at the Academy of the Holy Angels.


“I was recently awarded the Grand Prize and First Place in Division III of the Semi-Annual Philadelphia International Music Festival Virtual Concerto Competition,” Lim announced. She noted that AHA Instrumental Music Director Mariann Annecchino recommended that she apply for this prestigious event.


“I performed the first movement of the Dvorak ‘Concerto in B minor, Op. 104.’ This is a work I have been studying for a while now, so I felt most confident presenting my interpretation of the piece after thorough preparation,” the cellist added.

“I’m extremely grateful to have opportunities to share my music, even amidst a pandemic without a live audience. Whether my playing is adjudicated or not, it brings me joy knowing that I am able to reach at least one person and inspire them in some way,” Lim said. “COVID has really reinforced the power of music for me: It was difficult to stay motivated with my practicing as I felt a lot of apprehension about the future of classical music, but seeing how persistent this community has been and how many people were still willing to receive our music was so fulfilling. I’m humbled to see that people appreciate my music and that I am continuing to make progress in my career.”


Lim’s accomplishments also include becoming a finalist in the National YoungArts Foundation. This is the highest honor presented by the Foundation.

In 2019, she earned a gold medal with high distinction in the young artist category of the Third Berliner International Music Competition.


Lim has been studying music since she was in the third grade. On Saturdays, she attends the pre-college program at the Juilliard School of Music. She is also part of the Perlman Music Program. At Holy Angels, Lim has played cello for the AHA Orchestra and the Select Strings ensemble. She is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the national mathematics honor society, and serves as president of the Class of 2022. She recently earned a bronze medal for her work on the National Italian Exam: Level 3, and has been named to the AHA Principal’s List for maintaining a grade point average of 95 or above.


Kim earned her Grand Prize for her performance of Wieniawski’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in F# minor, first movement.” She competed in the Junior Group II category, which is for musicians who range in age from 15 to 17.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that this piece’s quality is 70% dependent on the technique of the player,” Kim stated. “Wieniawski has a very classical/traditional Polish rhythm, and melodies coming frequently as the piece goes.”


Kim said preparing for the in-person event was challenging, but provided her with a sense of accomplishment. Although her practice sessions were rigorous, she said it was enjoyable to play a piece that is usually not performed because of its difficulty.


“Collaborating with the whole orchestra is so much fun,” said Kim, who had an ensemble playing behind her featured performance. “I positively prefer playing with a full orchestra.”


Kim studies violin with Li Lin from the Juilliard Pre-college Division and Mrs. Annecchino from Holy Angels, where she plays for the AHA Orchestra and Select Strings ensemble.


Kim won the Juilliard Pre-college Tzigane Competition, performed at the opening ceremony for the Young Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition, and became a finalist in From the Top. She has won competitions in Korea and was a top prize winner in the Fifth Hong Kong International Violin Competition. She has also traveled to Germany to perform at the Louis Spohr International Violin Competition. Last year, Kim realized a childhood dream when she performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major at The Philadelphia International Music Festival’s virtual master class.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds.