Harpist Wins MSO Competition

More than 300 classical music enthusiasts attending the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) Elizabeth Loker International Concerto Competition – Final Round – gave standing ovations Sunday afternoon to performances by three very talented young artists from around the world at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Maryland.  The finalists, selected from 155 applicants who entered the Competition from 12 countries and 24 states, performed with the full Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra – the only professional symphony orchestra performing a full season of concerts across the DelMarVa peninsula – a very rare opportunity for young classical musicians.

Rebekah Hou

Rebekah Hou of Cleveland, Ohio emerged as the $5,000 first prize winner, delivering a rendition of Ginastera’s Harp Concerto that left the audience in awe.  Alejandro Gomez Pareja of Madrid, Spain secured the $2,500 second prize in a performance of Shostakovitch’s Cello Concerto No. 1 that resonated deeply with listeners.  Sophia Geng of Andover, Massachusetts was awarded the $1,000 third prize with her masterful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, captivating the audience with her skillful execution.

Adding an extra level of excitement, the audience voted for their favorite soloist, giving the Audience Prize of $500 to Alejadro Gomez Pareja, a testimony to his compelling performance for the live audience.

The winner, Rebekah Hou, is pursuing a Master’s Degree in harp performances at the Cleveland Institute of Music,  She most recently was a prize winner of the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition and received the Anne Adams Award from the American Harp Society’s national competitions.  She has appeared as guest principal harpists with the Akron Symphony, Firelands Symphony and Mansfield Orchestra.

The re-imagined competition was the brainchild of MSO Music Director and Conductor Michael Repper, who is one of the most sought-after young conductors worldwide with a reputation for engaging and exciting audiences of all ages and spectrums, and for promoting new and diverse musical talents. In March of 2023 the MSO Board of Directors elected to fast track the re-imagined competition, immediately setting forth to attract a diverse and international group of applicants from around the world.

“The success of this year’s Elizabeth Loker International Concerto Competition (ELICC) has confirmed the MSO’s commitment to providing live performance opportunities and mentoring for young classical musicians in the early stages of their careers. With this weekend’s success, we are confident that the ELICC will quickly evolve into one of the important competitions for young classical musicians held annually anywhere in the world – right here on Maryland’s eastern shore” says MSO Board President Jeffrey Parker.

Rebekah Hou (center) emerged as the first prize winner, Alejandro Gomez Pareja (left) secured the $2,500 second prize and Sophia Geng (right) earned third place.

For additional information about the 2023-2024 season, or to order tickets, please visit www.midatlanticsymphony.org. Tickets may be ordered by telephone at 888-846-8600.


The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is the only professional symphony orchestra serving southern Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore with a full season of programs. The MSO is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council; the Talbot County Arts Council; the Worcester County Arts Council; the Sussex County, DE Council; and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc.

A complete schedule of the 2023-2024 season’s Masterworks and Ensembles programs, venues, times, and other information is available at www.midatlanticsymphony.org.

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