Maestro Jindong Cai Student Achievement Award

This annual award will be presented to the graduating student in the Senior Symphony who has exhibited exemplary music and leadership qualities throughout their time in Golden State Youth Orchestra. The following criteria are considered:

  • Musicality
  • Creativity
  • Artistry and performance excellence
  • Dedication
  • Discipline
  • Leadership

The student is selected by the Music Director and Executive Director and given a cash prize of $500. The award is presented to the recipient at the Season Finale concert held in May/June.

Created in the 2018-19 Season, the award is named in honor of Dr. Jindong Cai, former Music Director and Artistic Advisor for ECYS/GSYO and Conductor of the Senior Symphony from 2014-2020.

Dr. Cai received his early musical training in China, where he learned to play the violin and piano. He came to the United States in 1985 and did his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. In 1989, he was selected to study with famed conductor Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center, and won the Conducting Fellowship Award at the Aspen Music Festival in 1990 and 1992.

Over the 30 years of his career in the United States, Cai is recognized as a successful and dynamic conductor, devoted music educator, respected expert of Western classical music in China, and a leading advocate of music from across Asia. He is the founding director of the US-China Music Institute at Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Previous Winners

2020-21 Season: Laura Gong, flute

2019-20 Season: Theodore Makler, horn

2018-19 Season: Samuel Lai, violin

...I am honored that this award has been established under my name. I hope this award can serve to motivate our young musicians in their music making with the Golden State Youth Orchestra for years to come.

Dr. Jindong Cai

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