Winston-Salem Symphony Names 
2014-2015 Peter Perret Youth Talent Search Winners

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (FEBRUARY 27, 2015) – The Winston-Salem Symphony has announced the winners of the 2014-2015 Peter Perret Youth Talent Search competition. The first place winner of the senior division for ages 13 through senior year of high school is Kiffen Loomis, a pianist from Asheville, North Carolina. Loomis attends Christ School in Asheville and studies piano with Suzan Fehr. The winner of the junior division, for students ages eight to 12, is violinist Brian Lin of Greenville, North Carolina. Lin is in the eighth grade at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston and studies violin with Chris Gawlik.


Loomis and Lin will perform with the Winston-Salem Symphony at the Concert for Community on March 14, 2015, at 3 p.m. in Wait Chapel on the Wake Forest University campus. The concert is free and open to the public. Loomis will play Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Lin will play the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor.


Other contestants recognized for their outstanding performances were as follows:

Senior Division:

  • Second Place: Jane Zhao, piano, from Cary, North Carolina
  • Third Place: Nathalie Schmalhofer, violin, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Junior Division:

  • Second Place: Caroline Smoak, violin, from Fort Mill, South Carolina
  • Third Place: Gabriel Crist, piano, from Durham, North Carolina

The finals for the 2014-2015 competition were held on Saturday, January 31 in Winston-Salem at Crawford Hall, University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Judges for the Talent Search were Peter Perret, Conductor Emeritus of the Winston-Salem Symphony; Stephen Mulligan, Assistant Conductor of the Winston-Salem Symphony; and Dimitri Shteinberg, a member of the UNC School of the Arts Piano Faculty.

The annual Youth Talent Search, named in honor of former Winston-Salem Symphony Music Director Peter Perret, was developed to identify the region’s most gifted and talented young musicians, to develop young talent, and to recognize and support the teachers and families of musically-gifted children. Participation in the competition also provides students with experience and motivation to continue their musical studies. Many have gone on to become professional musicians, including the winner of the very first Peter Perret Youth Talent Search, who is now a member of the New York Philharmonic.

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This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

The Winston-Salem Symphony receives operational funding from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

Educational initiatives made possible with funding by Wells Fargo, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and The Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Schools.