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Jack Gard Competition 2016

The Los Angeles Music and Art School’s (LAMusArt) annual Jack Gard Music Competition concluded May 31, 2016, awarding many talented students and finalists.

Named after esteemed LAMusArt Emeritus Board Member and Teaching Artist, Jack Gard, the competition is an opportunity for students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have learned in their lessons for the past year. Students who have shown dedication and promise in their lessons can merit a nomination by their individual Teaching Artists to enter the competition.

A guest panel of judges comprised of professional and practicing musicians jury student performances. Senior Division first-place winner also receives a full-year music scholarship to continue their tutelage at LAMusArt.

We congratulate all of our winners, finalists, and Teaching Artists for their accomplishments and dedication during the past year!


Stephanie O’Keefe

Sarah Gibson is a Los Angeles-based composer and pianist who has been called “a serious talent to watch” by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Her works have received recognition including the American Composer’s Orchestra Underwood New Music Readings, Victor Herbert ASCAP award, NFMC Marion Richter American Music Composition Award, and first place in the 2010 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest. Sarah is co-founder and pianist in HOCKET, a new music piano duo who has been lauded as “brilliant” by Mark Swed of the LA Times. Sarah received B.M. degrees in Composition and Piano from Indiana University and a M.M. and D.M.A. in Composition, both at the University of Southern California. Currently, she is a lecturer at USC and is the Teaching Artist for the esteemed Composer Fellowship Program and Associate Composer Program with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Artistic Director, Andrew Norman. For more information visit:

Sarah Gibson

Originally from Chicago, Stephanie O’Keefe has made her home in Los Angeles since 1987, where is the instructor of horn and chamber music at Occidental college. A busy freelance musician, Ms. O’Keefe enjoys a widely varied career, including performances and recordings with the St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, where she is the principal horn, the Grammy nominated Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra, and the American Jazz Institute, on whose board she also serves. Recent performances and recordings include Johnny Mathis, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga, Glen Frey, and the video games, World of Warcraft and Legends of Zelda. Additionally, Ms. O’Keefe contracts musicians for recordings with the UCLA Extension Film Scoring Program and the Los Angeles College of Music, as well as for film, television, recordings and live performance.

Cara Fesjian

Cara Fesjian is a recent graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music with degrees in Music Composition and Cognitive Science. She was a member of the USC Chamber Singers for 4 years, with whom she went on international tours and sang with the Rolling Stones. As a child she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus. Over the years, she has won multiple awards for music composition as well as music cognition research. She is currently working at the USC Brain & Creativity Institute studying music cognition and auditory development, while composing, arranging, and recording in her free time.

Teaching Artists: Austin Chanu & Brendan White

Jack Gard 2016 Winners:

Junior Division 1st Place Trophy – Crystal Castaneda Junior Division 2nd Place Trophy – Alina Diaz Junior Division 3rd Place Trophy – Leonardo Miranda Junior Division Finalist – Karina Barajas Junior Division Finalist – Julia Zayas Junior Division Finalist – Cadiz Salazar

Intermediate Division 1st Place Trophy – Alejandro Miranda Intermediate Division 2nd Place Trophy – Giovanna Ruiz Intermediate Division 3rd Place Trophy – Alex Luna Intermediate Division Finalist – Gianna Garcia Intermediate Division Finalist – Sofia Zavalza

Senior Division 1st Place Trophy – Nadia Aponte Senior Division 2nd Place Trophy – Laura Flores Senior Division 2nd Place Trophy – Karolina Vargas

VSCO Cam-4

Special thanks to our participants’ teachers: Gideon Rubin, John Rogers, Raphael Enriquez, Micaela Tobin, and Josiel Hernandez


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