The Carmel Symphony Orchestra (CSO) proudly announces the winner of its 2015 and 35th Young Artists Competition. 16-year-old Lydia Rhea, a homeschooled junior, who has played the cello and danced since age four, took first place honors in this year’s competition. She also was last year’s CSO Young Artists Competition runner-up.

“We are pleased to present first-place winner, Lydia Rhea, at our Family Fun! Concert on January 31. Talented players such as Lydia are an inspiration to children who attend this concert each year.  In addition to seeing Lydia perform, children are invited on stage by age groups to experience great classical music and then try various instruments in the lobby following the concert,” says Dr. David Bowden, artistic director of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra.

Rhea made her debut at the age of nine with the New World Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fishers Indiana Chamber Players. She is a scholarship recipient fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy and studies with artist faculty member Hans Jorgen Jensen. Her previous teachers include Dr. Kurt Fowler and Susan Moses.
Rhea has received numerous awards competing across Indiana. She is a first prize winner in the Indiana University David Popper Competition and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Young Artist Competition. Additionally she placed second in the Carmel and New World Symphonies Young Artist Competitions during the 2014/2015 season.

She has served as principal cellist in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Side-by-Side program, and principal cellist of the Indianapolis-based New World Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Susan Kitterman. During her summers, Rhea has studied at the Meadowmount School of Music, Sewanee Summer Music Festival and the Indiana University String Academy. She has participated in master classes with and played for Sharon Robinson, Daniel Morgenstern, Peter Stumpf, Paul York, Anthony Kitai, Peter Opie, Amir Eldan, Richard Hirschl, Jonathan Koh, Merry Peckham and Richard Aaron.

As the first place winner, Rhea will perform January 31, 2016 with CSO at the Family Fun! Concert sponsored by the CSO League at the Palladium. She also receives a scholarship award of $1000, made possible by the generous sponsorship from the Steinway Piano Gallery.

Family Fun! Concert tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling the Center’s Box Office at 317.843.3800. Discounts for students are also available: the $5 YouthPASS for High School and younger, and the $10 CollegePASS for College students. Additionally adult tickets for the Family Fun! Concert are only $20. For more information, visit

About Young Artist Competition:

The CSO Young Artist Competition encourages and affords student musicians from Central Indiana the opportunity to compete with their peers at the highest level of artistic excellence. This year’s event marks the competition’s 35th year.