Aster Trio is coached by Desiree Ruhstrat at the New Music School in Chicago, Illinois, and is comprised of: Ella Saputra, 17, violin; William Tan, cello, 17; and Zarin Mehta, piano, 14. The name “Aster” is derived from the Ancient Greek word for “star”, and aster flower is a symbol of wisdom, hope, and love. Aster Trio was named the 2022 Rembrandt Young Artists for winning first place in the 2022 Rembrandt Chamber Musicians Annual High School Chamber Music Competition. The trio is also the overall winner of the 2022 Chicago National Chamber Music Competition.
Ella Saputra, seventeen, is a junior at James B. Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, IL. She is also a fellow of Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a program dedicated to the development of young musicians of under-represented ethnic groups in classical music. Ella has received prizes and awards from Sejong Music Competition, Music Festival in Honor of Confucius, Society of American Musicians, Walgreens Concerto Competition, DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, DuPage Symphony Orchestra, and Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared twice as a concerto soloist with ensembles of Midwest Young Artist Conservatory, having won the Grand Prize of the Junior and Senior division of the MYAC Walgreens Concerto Competition, twice with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, and also with the Chicago Arts Orchestra. Ella has been featured multiple times on WFMT 98.7 FM’s Introductions, both as a chamber instrumentalist as well as a solo recitalist. A student of Desiree Ruhstrat, Ella has performed in masterclasses with Adele Anthony, Gerardo Ribeiro, Nathan Cole, Dylana Jensen, Jan Mark Sloman, and Kurt Nikkanen. She has also worked with Paul Kantor, Melissa White, Giora Schmidt, Janet Sung, I Hao Lee, Ann Setzer, and Kimberly Fisher during her summer studies.
Ella is the editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, The Crier. She is also a mentor for Ping! Pals, a community nonprofit organization providing equitable access to the instrumental music programs in Oak Park and River Forest School Districts.
Seventeen-year-old Cellist William Tan began playing at the age of 4 with Sally Gross of the Western Springs School of Talent and Education. He has been a student of Hans Jorgen Jensen, Professor of Cello at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music since the age of 9. Additional influential teachers and collaborative artists include Sihao He, Sooka Wang, and Liang-yu Wang. William has been a featured soloist with numerous orchestras including performances of the Dvorak Cello Concerto in B Minor with the Camerata Orchestra of New Jersey and the Lakeview Orchestra of Chicago and Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago and the Kishwaukee Symphony. He has earned top prizes in numerous international competitions. Recently, William received Third Prize at the 2021 Klein International String Competition in San Francisco and was also awarded the Weiss Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work. Other recent competition wins include Gold Prize at the 2021 Camerata Artists International Competition in New York and First Place at the 2020 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National String Competition. William has also been a featured guest on From the Top, an NPR distributed national program which showcases the nation’s best young classical musicians. During summers, he has attended the Orford Music Academy, Music@Menlo, and the Meadowmount School of Music.
A junior at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, William is an assistant editor of the U-High Midway, a varsity debater, competitive chess player, and an avid skier.
Zarin Mehta is a 9th grader at the Francis Parker School in Chicago, IL. He has been studying piano for 10 years and currently is coached by Winston Choi and Jeff Panko. He also performs in a piano trio coached by Desiree Ruhstrat and David Cunliffe of the Lincoln Trio, and studies composition under Matthew Hagle. Zarin has performed with the Chicago Arts Orchestra twice under conductors Vladimir Kulenovic and Conner Gray Covington. He also has appeared in performances with WFMT Classical Radio, the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, and in Grant Park in Chicago. In California, he has performed at Schoenberg Hall, Steinway Hall and the Roy O. Disney Concert Hall. Zarin has attended master classes at the Curtis Institute of Music, and worked with Antonio Pompa-Baldi of the Cleveland Music Institute and Steven Osborne of the Royal Academy of Music. He has been a prize winner and honoree at various competitions, including the 2019 Steinway Regional Competition and DePaul Concerto Festival, 2020 Seattle International Bach Festival and Walgreens National Concerto Competition, 2020 and 2021 MTNA Competitions for both piano and composition and American Protégé Competition, and 2022 International Young Artist Concerto Competition.
In addition to piano, Zarin participates on the school robotics team, and is captain of his ice hockey team.
Incendio Saxophone Trio is made up of Alexander Procajlo, Zachary Solomon and Emma Phillips. The group is coached by Bryan Polacek. They placed first in the 2022 Chicago Chamber Music Competition and won second prize at the 2022 Rembrandt Chamber Competition. The ensemble is a semi-finalist in the 2022 Coltman Chamber Music Competition.
Alexander Procajlo is a junior at Victor J Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois. He has been playing the saxophone since 2015 and has been a student of Bryan Polacek for six years. In 2022 he was named principal saxophone of the Illinois All-State Honor band and selected as a top 12 finalist for the North American Saxophone Alliance High School Solo Competition. Last year his trio was a semi-finalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Alex is first chair in his school’s Wind Symphony and performs in the Jazz band. Alex is a member of the National Honor Society and the Drum Major for his school’s marching band. He also plays high school volleyball and travel baseball. This summer he is attending the Interlochen saxophone intensive summer camp.
Zachary Solomon has been involved in chamber music for two years. He is a member of his high school Wind Symphony and Jazz band. Zachary was first alto in ILMEA’s 2021 district festival, a semi-finalist in the 2021 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and received honorable mention at the 2021 MYA National Chamber Music Competition. He has taken masterclasses with Dr. Otis Murphy, Mr. Chris Evan Hass, Dr. Michael Holmes and the Colere Sax Quartet. Zachary is a member of the National Honor Society, is a three-sport athlete, and enjoys traveling to new and interesting places with his family. He is a junior at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois.
Emma Phillips is a junior at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois, where she is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Spanish Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She is also a peer tutor, and serves on several leadership teams. She regularly spends part of her summer vacations as a Band Camp Assistant for her local elementary schools. She is first chair in her school’s Wind Symphony, and also performs in the Jazz Band and Pit Orchestra. In January 2022, she performed with the ILMEA All-State Honors Band in Peoria, Illinois. She has been honing her playing skills as a student of Bryan Polacek since 2018, and looks forward to expanding her musical knowledge and performance skills.