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Young Tucson musicians get solo shots with Civic Orchetra

Two University High School student musicians will get solo shots with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson this spring after taking home top honors in the community orchestra’s annual young musicians competition.

The pair — pianist Jisue Choi and cellist Molly Urbon-Bonine — were among 27 students competing Jan. 23 in the orchestra’s 37th annual Young Artists Competition.

Cash prizes were awarded for winners in the junior and senior divisions and the contest was open to musicians from 10 to 18 years old.

Jisue, a senior at UHS, placed first in the senior piano division, earning her a shot to play Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the orchestra on April 30.

Jisue started studying piano when she was 5 with her father, a longtime Tucson piano teacher and accompanist with Desert Voices Chorus and Reveille Men’s Chorus.

Jisue adds her Civic Orchestra senior division win to a growing list of local contest prizes that include the 2020 Civic Orchestra Young Artist Competition and back-to-back wins in 2020 and 2021 of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra Scholarship Competition. In 2019, she took first place in the Tucson Music Teacher’s Association Merit Scholarship Auditions.

Molly, who is a sophomore at UHS, will perform Fauré’s Elegy for Cello and Orchestra with the Civic Orchestra of Tucson on May 1.

Molly, who placed first in the senior strings competition, has been studying cello for six years with retired Tucson Symphony Orchestra cellist Mary Beth Tyndall. She also plays in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra and the UHS Chamber Orchestra.

Jisue’s concert with the Civic Orchestra will be at Green Valley Presbyterian Church, 2800 Camino del Sol, Green Valley. Molly’s concert will be at DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park. Admission is free for both events. For details, visit or call 520-730-3371.

In addition to the solo artists competing, the Young Artists Competition also has a category for ensembles open to duos and trios or groups up to 10.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at On Twitter @Starburch

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