2023: Aniah Auriemma

Aniah Auriemma is a Junior at Colonia High School who’s had a lifelong passion for music. Her musical journey began in the 5th grade with the violin, participating in an all-city orchestra in Virginia Beach. Eventually, she discovered her love for viola and has been playing it for 5 years. She is also a percussionist, focusing on pitched percussion in the Colonia High School marching and concert bands. Aniah also enjoys collecting instruments and has amassed a collection of over 20. Aniah played viola in a chamber orchestra during middle school and joined the New Jersey State Youth Orchestra after moving to New Jersey. She participates in many smaller groups, however, such as the Westfield Music Club and the pit band for school musicals. In addition to playing music, Aniah enjoys composing and arranging and has written several original scores while also arranging her favorite songs. Aniah is currently pursuing her dream of becoming a commercial pilot and is working on her private pilot’s license at Tristate Aviation. In her free time, she engages with her other interests, such as creative writing, psychology, and ecology. Aniah would like to thank her past conductors, as well as her private teacher, Debra Biderman, for their guidance and mentorship in shaping her musical journey and aspirations.

2022: Rayan Jawa

Rayan Jawa is a 17-year-old incoming freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.   As a Benjamin Franklin scholar, he is pursuing integrated studies with a focus on bioethics, health and society. He is interested in biomedical research to support public health issues.  Rayan will also continue to play viola as part of the Penn Symphony Orchestra.

Rayan graduated from Holmdel High School inJune 2022. He has been a member of the New Jersey State Youth Orchestra (NJSYO) since 2016 and previously performed with Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra during his elementary school. Rayan performed the Viola Concerto in D Major by Stamitz as the Concerto winner.  During high school, Rayan also performed with the New Jersey Youth Symphony (Wharton Performing Arts Center) based in New Providence since 2019.  He has been playing Viola for 8 years and studied with Andy Lin New York city.  Rayan has performed with All Shore orchestra and also participated in Chamber Orchestra with NJSYO and NJYS and has won accolades with his Chamber group by winning Crescendo competitions and performing at Carnegie Hall, New York City.  Rayan also joined the highly competitive precollege Manhattan School of Music in New York City to further advance his skillsets in music. Outside of music Rayan enjoys reading books on cognitive sciences and philosophy, collect and listen to music from various genres and different cultures and visit art museums.  Rayan has a strong interest in scientific research.  His research on design of COVID vaccines using bioinformatics, immunology, and epidemiology has won multiple regional and state science fairs as well as the prestigious and highly competitive Regeneron International Science and Engineering award.  He was also inducted as a delegate to the American Junior Academy of Science and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  

2020: Madeline Fields

Madeline Fields (Violin) was chosen as the 2020 NJSYO Concerto Competition winner. At that time, Ms. Fields served as Associate Concertmaster for the Symphonic Youth Orchestra and had been a member of the NJSYO for 9 years. Madeline Fields has been an active member of multiple performance groups since she began playing violin at age 5. In addition to performing with the Symphonic Youth Orchestra, Fields also performs with the NJSYO’s Chamber Ensemble and with the Chamber Strings Quartet Ensemble at the Monmouth Conservatory, where she studies violin and flute. She would like to thank her teacher, Grace Lim for all of her help and support.








2019: Cole Calevano

2018: Lucia Tian