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Heifetz Alums Awarded Avery Fisher Career Grants

Rachell Ellen Wong
Zlatomir Fung

We are thrilled to share the news that two of our most accomplished young alums – Rachell Ellen Wong and Zlatomir Fung – have been awarded Avery Fisher Career Grants, administered by New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Previous winners include such classical-music household names as violinists Hilary Hahn and Joshua Bell, pianist Yuja Wang, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

In many respects, this is the most prestigious award a young musician can receive; beyond the $25,000 cash prize, it is the highest seal of approval imaginable from a selection committee that reads like a veritable who’s who of performing-arts professionals in the US – including the leaders of the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, pianist Emanuel Ax, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. 

Rachell and Zlatomir’s honors now brings the number of Heifetz Institute alums to win Avery Fisher grants to five, joining previous winners Itamar Zorman (2013), Alexi Kenney (2016), and Chad Hoopes (2017). Not to mention Nicholas Kitchen and the Borromeo Quartet, who were named Fisher Grant winners in 2007!

Many of you have had the chance to get to know Rachell and Zlatomir, onstage and backstage through their performances, public and private, here in Staunton or as part of Heifetz on Tour. You’ll agree that these awards could not be given to two finer people or more inspiring artists. They are also exemplary representatives of the mission and values we are dedicated to teaching at the Heifetz Institute, a mission that has not wavered since founder Daniel Heifetz launched it in 1996 with the express – and somewhat audacious – notion that the individual expressive potential of every performer could be developed, not only through technically accomplished music making, but also through emotional and even physical engagement with the music they play.

We have the opportunity to work with young musicians at the critical point in their development, where they are challenged to find their own, unique musical personality, and in the process discover their own self-confidence, personal style, and leadership capacity, both on and off stage. As we watch them embark on already-notable careers, Rachell and Zlatomir also serve as inspirational role models for Heifetz students of the future. 

At this vital moment in time, please consider renewing your support of the Heifetz Institute, and its unique values and vision.

Though the challenges presented by the global pandemic cannot be understated, with your help we are dedicated and determined to continue the Institute’s vital role in shaping the lives and future careers of young musicians like Rachell and Zlatomir, who have the the power to Communicate – Engage – Inspire even in these trying times.

Enjoy some great performances on the Heifetz stage from Rachell and Zlatomir over the years: