2018 Woodwinds Competition

The hallmark of NSAL is its National Annual Awards Competition, which is held each year. Participants compete at the local chapter level for a series of monetary awards.

First-place winners of the local chapter competitions are sent at the chapter’s expense to the National Competition, which is held each spring during the Society’s annual meeting.

The National Society of Arts and Letters announced its 2018 Music Competition for young woodwinds musicians, and our chapter held a stellar competition on March 3,  2018  at Lynn University.


We had an esteemed panel of judges including Francesca Arnone, Matt Corey, Michael Finn and Marco Antonio Navarette. 

Also present was Honorary Chair and famed musician Marshall Turkin.
We were delighted to award scholarships to the top three participants. Event photos and video below.
The three outstanding young winners in the Woodwinds Competion are:



1st place: Cameron Vincent Hewes, clarinet, was last year's NSAL Woodwind scholarship winner for the Lynn Conservatory of Music. He is a graduate of Lynn, presently studying in Chicago. NSAL Florida East Coast Chapter will be paying all of Cameron's expenses to participate in the National Competition being held in Chautaugua, New York at the end of May. The First Prize at the National level is $12,000

2nd place: James Tsi Wai Abrahamson, clarinet, is studying at the Lynn Conservatory of Music. This month he will be performing in Budapest as part of a student exchange program. 

3rd place:  Timothy Mark Fernando, flute, is studying at the Lynn Conservatory of Music

Competition Judges

Judge Marco Navarrete is a graduate of the Harid Conservatory and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was a student of John Dee, former Principal Oboe of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. While at the University of Illinois he received the Dr. Edmund Williams Award for Excellence in Oboe Performance following the University of Illinois Wind Symphony’s Carnegie Hall debut. He was also the Honorable Mention in the 2007 Krannert Center Debut Artist Recital Competition. Navarrete has performed throughout the United States, Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, and China under the batons of James Judd, Joseph Silverstein, Alfred Reed, James Keene, Xu Zhong and Ian Hobson. Other artists Mr. Navarrete has performed with include Mariah Carey, Lynn Roberts, Frank Sinatra Jr., Dennis DeYoung and STYX, The Indigo Girls, Nelly, and Bernadette Peters. Along with being active in the recording studios of South Florida, Navarrete performed with the National Symphony of Panama as a guest soloist in 2014. An advocate of international musical relations, Navarrete has given masterclasses in Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, and China. Navarrete also is a recurring adjudicator for the Florida Youth Orchestra and the National Society of Arts and Letters Woodwind Competition. Currently, Mr. Navarrete is the Principal Oboe of the Symphony of the Americas and the oboe professor at the Boca Academy of Music.

Judge Michael Finn is the newly appointed Executive and Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach. He comes to Palm Beach from New York where he worked at Lincoln Center as the Director of Performance Activities and Associate Dean at The Juilliard School. Prior to that appointment, he enjoyed a rich and varied career as performer and orchestral personnel manager.

 He has produced orchestral and operatic performances at festivals around the world including the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, the BBC Proms in London and in major concert halls in the USA, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Chicago, and Disney Hall in Los Angeles. 

 Finn, a performer himself and a graduate of The Juilliard School, has appeared in nearly every major concert hall of North, Central and South America, Europe and Asia in prestigious ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Metropolitan Opera, Musicians from Marlboro, the award-winning chamber ensemble Hexagon, and the Salzburg Bach Orchestra. A particular highlight was his participation in the farewell concerts of Luciano Pavarotti at Madison Square Garden in New York. Additionally, he has performed with many of the world’s leading performers, including Joshua Bell, Peter Serkin and the Tokyo String Quartet. In his student years, he was a member of the Miami Philharmonic and Miami Opera.

 He is a recording artist and his repertoire ranges from commercials, television and radio, to major motion pictures as well as Grammy-nominated classical recordings. He has recorded for the BMC Classics, Bridge, Deutsche Grammophon, Dorian Recordings, Nonesuch and Sony Classics Labels.

Judge Matt Corey earned both his Bachelor's and Master's degree in bassoon performance at the University of Miami and currently performs in the Boca Raton Symphonia. Like our honorary Chairperson, Marshall Turkin, his first instrument was clarinet before taking up the bassoon. He is the resident sound designer at GableStage, and a member of Mad Cat Theatre Company. He has earned Carbonell Awards for his designs of The PillowmanTalk RadioBroadsword, and BlastedThe Birds, The Mountaintop, and most recently The Night of the Iguana, at Palm Beach Dramaworks. By day, Matt is the CEO of Insight for the Blind in Fort Lauderdale, a 42-year-old charity devoted to recording books and magazines for the blind and physically handicapped.

For more information:  National Society of Arts and Letters national website at www.arts-nsal.org