CAA Announces 2023 Overture Award Winners

CAA_Overture Awards$38,000 Awarded for Excellence in the Arts
Arts Educator Award Winners Also Announced   

[CINCINNATI, OH] – The Cincinnati Arts Association is pleased to announce the winners of its Overture Awards Competition, held on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater, and the winner of its Arts Educator Award for Excellence in Arts Instruction. The competition awarded $3,000 to six area students for education and training and $1,000 each to the eighteen runners-up. The winner of the 2023 Arts Educator Award received $1,000 and two finalists received $500 each.

The Overture Awards recognizes, encourages, and rewards excellence in the arts among Tri-state students in grades 9-12 and is the area’s largest solo arts competition. Students are nominated by their schools and/or private studios to compete in one of six disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. There are three levels of competition: Regional, Semi-Final, and Final.

The Arts Educator Award promotes and rewards excellence in arts instruction throughout Greater Cincinnati. An educator who teaches any of the following arts disciplines may be nominated: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. A nominee may be a high school arts specialist, teaching artist working with high school students, or an arts professional or educator providing private lessons or instruction. Students between the ages of 14-19 who are currently enrolled in high school submit nominations for their favorite educators. A panel of arts professionals select the Arts Educator Award finalists and winner from the nominations.


CAA_Anna MatuCREATIVE WRITING: Anna Matu, grade 11, William Mason High School
HOMETOWN: Kings’ Mills, OH – Anna is co-editor-in-chief of her school’s literary magazine and a varsity member of its academic team. Her poetry has won three Scholastic Art and Writing silver keys, and Anna’s second love, painting, has most recently been recognized with a gold key. In her writing, she marries her love for art and art history with a vivid passion for language.

CAA_Ying Lei PhamDANCE: Ying Lei Pham, grade 11, Ursuline Academy / Movement Emporium
HOMETOWN: Batavia, OH – Ying Lei trains at Movement Emporium in many genres of dance. She also enjoys learning and being exposed to other styles of choreography at conventions. She has won numerous awards, scholarships, and titles, both regionally and nationally. As a dedicated student, she intends to pursue a double major to focus on both dance and academics in college.

CAA_Ari WebbINSTRUMENTAL MUSIC: Ari Peraza-Webb, grade 12, Wyoming High School
HOMETOWN: Wyoming, OH – Ari is a seventeen-year-old cellist and has practiced the instrument for the past fourteen years. At age six, he debuted at Carnegie Hall as winner of the AFA String Competition. He has journeyed to Germany, Switzerland, and numerous states to advance his proficiency on the cello. Ari has performed on NPR’s From The Top radio show with hosts Tessa Lark and Peter Dugan. He will perform the first movement of Samuel Barber’s Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony in the annual “Side by Side” concert in April.

CAA_Chanduni HerathTHEATER: Chanduni Herath, grade 10, Notre Dame Academy / Slater Music Academy
HOMETOWN: Traemore/Union, KY – Chanduni has had a passion for singing since she was very young. She decided to try out taking part in musicals at summer camps and schools, and soon learned that people seemed to enjoy her acting skills as well. Now, she is taking every opportunity she can to bring her closer to her Broadway dreams.

CAA_Michelle ChenVISUAL ART: Michelle Chen, grade 12, William Mason High School
HOMETOWN: Forest Park, OH – Michelle is a senior at Mason High School and loves creating art in all forms and mediums, including colored pencil, posca pens, and acrylic. In college, she hopes to combine her interests in STEM and the arts through engineering and studying an interdisciplinary field such as product design. One of her favorite pastimes is sleeping, although she also is known for painting in her bathroom at 2:00 AM.

CAA_Sophia TroyerVOCAL MUSIC: Sophia Troyer, grade 12, School for Creative and Performing Arts
HOMETOWN: Mount Lookout, OH – Sophia began studying the upright bass in seventh grade. She performs in her high school’s Jazz and Symphony Orchestras. Her Jazz director encouraged her to study voice. Sophia is the principal bassist for CSO’s Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the bassist and vocalist for CCM Prep’s Youth Jazz Orchestra. She was awarded Outstanding Vocal Soloist at the Essentially Ellington competition in 2022. Sophia is pursuing a Jazz Studies Degree in college.


Hong Cheng, Hong Cheng Violin Studio
Discipline: Instrumental Music
Nominated by Vivian Chang 

The Overture Awards Regional Competitions were held in January 2023. The top twenty-five percent of competitors in each discipline advanced to the Semi-Finals, which were held in February 2023.

Now in its twenty-seventh year, The Overture Awards was launched in 1996 by the Cinergy Foundation (now Duke Energy) and Leadership Cincinnati (a program of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber). The Overture Awards is funded and administered by the Cincinnati Arts Association and relies on hundreds of volunteers from the community who help raise funds, adjudicate and manage the competitions, and nurture the program.


Overture Awards Presenting Sponsors: The Eleanora C.U. Alms Trust, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee; Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.; Otto M. Budig Family Foundation; Summerfair Cincinnati; TriHealth

Scholarship Sponsors: Arthur Murray – Cincinnati, Douglas Beal, Doreen Beatrice, Bonita Brockert, Maura Garuccio, Jozsef Parragh, Punky’s Pixels, Summerfair Cincinnati, Josh Tilford, Western & Southern Financial Fund

Printing Sponsor: Harlan Graphics 

Winners listed in bold.


  • Edward Li, grade 11, The Seven Hills School
  • Yujia Li, grade 12, William Mason High School
  • Anna Matu, grade 11, William Mason High School
  • Yoshie Vinton, grade 11, Sycamore High School


  • Hannah Herbert, grade 9, Turpin High School / Just Off Broadway
  • Ying Lei Pham, grade 11, Ursuline Academy / Movement Emporium
  • Erin Stethem, grade 9, Mount Notre Dame High School / McGing Irish Dancers
  • Alexandria Yetter, grade 10, Sycamore High School / Otto M. Budig Academy – Cincinnati Ballet


  • Vivian Chang, grade 10, William Mason High School / Hong Cheng Violin Studio
  • Christy Kim, grade 11, William Mason High School
  • Erica Nam, grade 10, Walnut Hills High School
  • Ari Peraza-Webb, grade 12, Wyoming High School


  • Franny Bell, grade 11, Indian Hill High School / Kate Brauer-Bell Acting Studio
  • Brooke Chamberlin, grade 12, Milford High School / CCM Prep
  • Chanduni Herath, grade 10, Notre Dame Academy / Slater Music Academy
  • Morgan Robbins, grade 12, Sycamore High School / Cincinnati Music Academy


  • Megan Bauer, grade 12, Oldenburg Academy
  • Michelle Chen, grade 12, William Mason High School
  • Karen Kiganda, grade 12, Fairfield High School
  • Caitlyn Tuttle, grade 12, Lakota West High School


  • Ella Clark, grade 11, Dixie Heights High School / Talia Zoll’s Studio of Music
  • Sela Foster, grade 12, Homeschool / Keen Voice Studio and Kelly MacKenzie Thurley Vocal Studio
  • Sabine Huhn, grade 11, Sycamore High School / Musical Arts Center
  • Sophia Troyer, grade 12, School for Creative and Performing Arts 


Winner listed in bold.

Kathy Cammett, The Golden Voice Studio
Discipline: Vocal Music
Nominated by Luis Vega-Torres

Hong Cheng, Hong Cheng Violin Studio
Discipline: Instrumental Music
Nominated by Vivian Chang

John Ingram, Private Instructor
Discipline: Instrumental Music
Nominated by John Paul Shannon

Founded in 1992, the Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) is a not-for-profit organization that oversees the programming and management of two of the Tri-state’s finest performing arts venues – the Aronoff Center for the Arts and Music Hall – and is dedicated to supporting performing and visual arts. Each year, CAA presents a diverse schedule of events; serves upwards of 700,000 people in its venues; features the work of talented local, regional, and national artists in the Weston Art Gallery (located in the Aronoff Center); and supports the work of more than one dozen resident companies. Since the inception of its acclaimed arts education programs in 1995, CAA has reached more than two million students and adults. 

CAA is proud to be a member of Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Greater Cincinnati Alliance for Arts Education, Visit Cincinnati (formerly Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau), Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, and Performing Arts Center Consortium. 

# # #


Leave a comment

Filed under Press Releases

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.