Alan Gao Wins the Turiel, the top prize in 2008 Competition

Alan GaoAlan Gao, a high school senior who attends The Community School, won both the Turiel Award, the Naples Music Club’s top prize given to a 12th grader each year, and the Senior Strings Division, in the Naples Music Club’s Scholarship Competition held April 19, 2008.

The prestigious Turiel award is given each year to a 12th grader who demonstrates musical achievement, scholastic accomplishments, community service and who has either a career or strong avocation to music in their future plans.

Born into a family of musicians, Alan began his musical training at the age of 3. Besides excelling on his chosen instrument, the violin, he also achieved high grades in academic courses throughout his school years, competing in state level math competitions as well as in music competitions. His plans are to attend the University of Michigan, where he has been accepted in the University’s Honor College. He hopes to form a string quartet there under the guidance of their faculty and looks forward to taking violin lessons from their renowned teachers.

Alan has won many honors and awards. In the Naples Music Club Competition, he has won 1st place in the strings category every years since 2001. He has performed as soloist and won 1st place for many years in the strings division of the Southwest Florida Young Artist Competition and has won the Naples Philharmonic Concerto Competition many times, performing major violin concertos 8 times with the orchestra. Alan also has served as organizer, host, founder and performer for a benefit concert for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Below are excerpts from a letter he wrote to express his thanks to the Club.

“Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane, the path of our history together. I remember my first audition as a 11-year-old 6th grader. The mysterious judges sat at a table ready with their pencils to log any kind of error or flaw that their professional ears picked up. It was a nerve wracking experience, but as the years moved on, and as I started becoming more involved with the Music Club, whether it was the Scholarship Audition or the Winners’ Recital or even a fund raiser concert with my family, I realized that the Music Club was, in fact, a magnificent group dedicated to helping kids like me. The appreciation I have for the Naples Music Club is indescribable. They have funded my future, as well as that of many others, and the example they set for the community is one of honor, dedication and nobility.”

Read Alan’s list of honors and awards.
Read the essay Alan wrote to apply for the Turiel.

View Alan playing Sibelius in the Scholarship Winners’ Recital on YouTube.

2008 Winners in all categories


Junior Strings:
• Jared Blajian, cello, Oak Ridge Middle School
• McClaran Hayes, violin, Pine Ridge Middle School
• Joseph Peliska, guitar, home schooled
• Nathaniel Cornell, violin, Pine Ridge Middle School

Junior Woodwinds:
• Katie Nunner, flute, North Naples Middle School
• Cobby Brzeski, flute, Gulf View Middle School

Junior Piano:
• Hannah Feng, North Naples Middle School
• Jennifer Wu, Oak Ridge Middle School
• Shirlynn Chu, East Naples Middle School
• Kevin Boyd, Oak Ridge Middle School

Senior Strings:
• Alan Gao, violin, Clifford L. Saby Award, Community School
• Natasha Marsalli, violin, home schooled
• Brandis Godwin, violin, Naples High School
• Name withheld upon request
• Simone Nageon DeLestang, Naples High School

Senior Woodwinds:
• Nicole Pavlisin, flute, Clifford L. Saby Award, Gulf Coast High School
• Kelsey Owens, flute, Gulf Coast High School
• Kelsey Condon, flute, Barron Collier High School
• Kimberlyn Eubanks, flute, Gulf Coast High School

Senior Piano:
• Yvonne Jiang, Clifford L. Saby Award, Barron Collier High School
• Kevin Hung, Barron Collier High School
• Christian Stahlman, Barron Collier High School

Senior Voice:
• Nancy Flewelling, Mary Liz Auburn Award, Naples High School
• Laura Chami, Barron Collier High School

Senior Brass and Percussion:
• Alexander Hayes, euphonium, Barron Collier High School
• Ronald Frederick, marimba, Immokalee High School
• Christian Ostolaza, percussion, Barron Collier High School
• Joseph Coleman, trumpet, Barron Collier High School
• Jon Coulter, French Horn, Barron Collier High School

Turiel Award Winner: Alan Gao, violin