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Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition Winners

Abilene Philharmonic announces the winners for the Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition after hosting the final round concert on April 2, 2022, at Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall on the Hardin-Simmons campus.

After hosting an incredibly talented group of young musicians with promising musical futures, it is with great excitement the Abilene Philharmonic announces the winners of the 14th annual Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition.

First place goes to Khang Ma of Lubbock, TX with the grand prize of $1,500. Khang is a classical pianist seeking to pursue higher education in music at Texas Tech University. His accomplishments include winning Outstanding Performer at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest and placing in several prestigious competitions.

Second place goes to Owen Bailey of Abilene, TX with a prize of $1,000. Owen currently serves as principal oboist for the Abilene Youth Orchestra and Cooper High School band. Owen is also a three-time area finalist in the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Band Auditions.

Third place goes to Sarah Ellyce Chen of Lubbock, TX with a prize of $750. Sarah is a seven time All-State winner of the Texas Federation of Music Clubs State Festival and Competition and has placed first in multiple competitions.

The Abilene Philharmonic is honored for the opportunity to host events that encourage young people to pursue musical excellence and this could not have been possible without the strong support of the Hodges Family.

The Abilene Philharmonic’s Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition was established in 2008 to further support outstanding young musicians. The competition is open to woodwind, brass, percussion, string, and piano students between the ages of 12-18 that live in Texas School Regions 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and have not yet graduated high school.

Nelda and Eddie Hodges were generous donors, active volunteers, and innovative leaders of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Foundation, and Guild for almost sixty years. Eddie Hodges honored his wife with the establishment of the Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition Endowment to inspire and reward young people’s love for music.


About Abilene Philharmonic

One of the most prestigious performing arts organizations in West Texas, Abilene Philharmonic unleashes the power of music to entertain, educate, and inspire through live symphonic music and community engagement. Founded in 1950, the organization has grown from a volunteer community orchestra to a regionally recognized professional symphony orchestra. 

For more information, please visit www.abilenephilharmonic.org

photo by Nellie Doneva 325-665-0574 nellie.doneva@gmail..com
Left to right: Owen Bailey, Khang Ma, Sarah Ellyce Chen