PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 15, 2017—Astral is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 National Auditions. Selected from an initial pool of applicants from across the United States, and following a competitive audition and interview process, six exceptionally gifted rising-star artists have been invited to join Astral’s prestigious roster. They are:

Zlatomir Fung
Thomas Mesa

Rachel Lee Hall

Beomjae Kim

Brittany Lasch

Ronaldo Rolim

“Each year the bar rises for our National Auditions candidates”, says Executive Director Julia Rubio. “It is a testament to the extraordinary artistry and social conscientiousness that modern classical musicians bring to the field. Our six winners have excelled through a rigorous audition process and we look forward to introducing the world to the next generation of great performers and thinkers.”

Philadelphia audiences will be able to hear Astral’s newest roster artists at the 2017 Astral National Auditions Winners Concert, which takes place at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00pm.


Each year Astral auditions strings, small chamber ensembles, piano, woodwinds, and brass candidates for a spot on its esteemed roster of approximately 25 musicians. Applicants, if advanced, undergo a competitive three-round process. Following the application process, live auditions candidates are invited to Philadelphia, where an independent panel of industry-leading musicians, managers, and presenters from across the U.S. adjudicate each discipline. The panels then recommend candidates for the final, interview round of the National Auditions.

Once awarded a spot in Astral’s career development program, National Auditions Winners receive customized career development mentorship, a full complement of marketing materials, superior performance opportunities, community engagement experience, artistic exploration, and networking with top professionals in the field.



Zlatomir Fung, cello
18-year-old cellist Zlatomir Fung has already captured First Prize at numerous competitions, including the George Enescu, Johansen, Stulberg, and Irving Klein international competitions. He has been soloist with the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Santa Cruz Symphony, the Boston Pops, Lausanne Sinfonietta, Grand Rapids Symphony, and the New England Philharmonic.
 A 2016 Presidential Scholar in the Arts, he begins studies at The Juilliard School in the fall of 2017.

Rachel Lee Hall, harp
The 2015 Cleveland Institute of Music Presser Scholar, Rachel Lee Hall won the 2013 Lyon & Healy Award, and appeared in recital in Chicago’s Lyon & Healy Concert Hall. She has performed as principal harpist with the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and the New River Valley Orchestra. She holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Harp Performance with a minor in Dalcroze Eurhythmics from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Beomjae Kim, flute
The New York Times has singled out flutist Beomjae Kim’s playing for its “memorable eloquence.” As a recent fellow of Ensemble ACJW (now Ensemble Connect), a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and Weill Music Institute, he has appeared in Carnegie’s Zankel and Weill recital halls, Lincoln Center, SubCulture, National Sawdust, and Trinity Wall Street.
 He recently received an Artist Diploma from the Manhattan School of Music.

Brittany Lasch, trombone
From Park Ridge, Illinois, Brittany Lasch’s playing has been described as “masterful” (The Syracuse Post-Standard). Passionate about introducing audiences to solo trombone music, she has appeared as soloist with the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, the Queens Symphony, and the National Repertory Orchestra. A prizewinner at numerous competitions, she took the top prize at the Eisenberg-Fried Brass Concerto Competition. She earned degrees from Boston University, the Yale School of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music.

Thomas Mesa, cello
Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa was the winner of the 2016 Sphinx Competition. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said, “A listener with closed eyes would have been hard pressed to distinguish the 26-year-old’s shapely, expressive performance with that of another gifted artist two or three times his age.” He has been concerto soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl, among others.
 He holds degrees from The Juilliard School, Northwestern University, and currently pursues a doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music.

Ronaldo Rolim, piano
Praised for his “special capacity for moving the audience” (El Norte), pianist Ronaldo Rolim, from São Paulo, Brazil, has been soloist with the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Concerto Budapest, Phoenix Symphony, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has won prizes from numerous international competitions, including the James Mottram, Bösendorfer, San Marino, and Lyon competitions, as well as the Concours Géza Anda. He studied at Oakland University, the Peabody Conservatory, and the Yale School of Music, where he recently completed his doctoral thesis.

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