Music nurtures creativity and scientific thinking
Donation helps FanFaire Foundation NURTURE CREATIVITY


BE DAZZLED by the MUSICIANSHIP of these prize-winning
young virtuosos who also excel in SCIENCE & MATH!


FEATURED VIDEOS: Alexis   Michael   Adrian & Jasmine   Kalvin 



They range in age from 8 to 17, and they are among San Diego’s most talented youngsters, each of them a parent’s dream child and a role model for their peers. And each a young personification of FanFaire Foundation’s equation: SCIENCE + MUSIC = FUN! They enjoy a kinship defined by a shared love of music and a passion for everything they have learned to do in their young lives. It would come as no surprise if in the future they turned out to be San Diego’s, if not the country’s, best and brightest as well.

FanFaire Foundation showcased their musical talents with the community at a FREE BENEFIT CONCERT held at the Carlsbad Senior Center Auditorium on Tuesday December 27, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. The program featured solo as well as ensemble performances of some of the beloved and challenging works in the classical music repertoire, including, among many others: Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor (1st Movement) with piano accompaniment, Liszt’s La Leggierezza for piano in F minor and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat major, JC Bach’s Concerto in C minor for viola, Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Violin in F Major, Op. 24 (“Spring”), Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody Nocturne in D-flat major, Op. 27, No. 2, and Prokofiev’s “The Montagues and the Capulets” from 10 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet.

To introduce FanFaire Foundation’s then upcoming Bring Kids to the Opera! program, a bonus number featured young San Diego tenor Alexis Alfaro, a winner of our Messiah Soloists’ Competition, who sang the popular aria “Una furtiva lagrima” from Gaetano Donizetti’s opera L’elisir d’amore , with piano accompaniment by Sheldon Rosenbaum.

The concert was a tribute to these talented youngsters’ parents as well – they obviously have done an excellent job of parenting and partnering with teachers in the education of their children. FanFaire Foundation thanks them for their generous help and cooperation in putting a wonderful program together and making this first benefit event a reality.

There were silent auctions and opportunity drawings for a variety of prizes, proceeds from which will support the continued development of FanFaire Foundation’s “FREE Family Concert Series“, KIDS Playing for KIDS“, “KIDS Teaching KIDS”, “Bring KIDS to the OPERA!” and other Music and Science Appreciation Programs designed to augment music and science education in underserved communities. These programs are borne from a conviction that music nurtures the creativity we as a country need today, enhancing the skills needed for learning science and math. Indeed as Nobel Prize laureate, Neurosciences Institute Director and violinist Dr. Gerald Edelman put it in an interview with the late artist Andy Warhol: “If you look at the artistic event and the scientific event in the beginning, they’re the same. They start with a hunch and a feeling and a pattern, and you begin to refine.” And as the great Albert Einstein (Nobel physicist and violinist) always believed: “The greatest scientists are always artists as well.” Need it be added that if there were more musicians and scientists on the planet and more people who appreciate both music and science, the world would be a much better place?

Refreshments were served courtesy of Jimbo’s Naturally, Point Loma Credit Union, and Souplantation.


Michael is a 10-year old 5th grader who became interested in piano at age 5. Currently a student of Inessa Litvin, he has participated in the annual San Diego piano sonata and concerto competitions sponsored by Music Teacher’s Association of California (MTAC), winning three first place and two second place prizes. In April, Michael won First Place in the Southern California MTAC piano concerto audition, and went on to win the State Title for the 10-12 year-old division at the state MTAC convention on July 2, 2011 in Oakland; he also won the convention’s singular Grand Prize for exceptional performance.

Also this year, Michael was a piano soloist with the Greater San Diego Community Orchestra. He was invited to play at the annual award ceremony of Class Room of the Future Foundation, and is booked for the 2012 event. In October, he played a Chopin piece for San Diego County’s annual “A Salute To Teachers” at the Balboa Theater. Michael’s favorite subjects are math and science. He enjoys playing golf and video games. Michael has been presented several times by FanFaire Foundation and is an active Team Member of its “KIDS Playing for KIDS” program.

Kalvin has been playing the violin since he was 6. He has been with his current teacher Michael Tseitlin since 2009 under whose tutelage he has been building a repertoire as a solo violinist as well as part of an ensemble directed by Irina Tseitlin. In 2011 Kalvin won First Place in the MTAC Concerto competition Junior Strings division which he played with the New City Sinfonia, First Place in the MTAC VOCE Regional Junior Solo Division, and Honorable Mention in the MTAC State Intermediate Ensemble (with Clara Truong and Ryan Park).

Taylin, a 17-year old pianist, began playing the piano at the age of four. She studied with Inessa Litvin for 11 years. Since her debut with the San Diego Symphony at age 11 and the New City Sinfonia at 15, she has played in venues throughout the United States, Canada, and Guam. She has also won many competitions locally, nationally, and internationally, including 1st place in the Senior Division of the Goodlin Scholarship Competition, U.S. Open Music Competition, 2nd place in the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, and 1st place alternate in the Aloha International Piano Festival. In addition, she was also awarded the Fine Arts Award in Piano at the world-renowned Interlochen Arts Camp in 2009. Last summer, Taylin participated in the Young Artists Piano Program of Boston University-Tanglewood Institute and went on a medical mission trip to Haiti after raising over $20,000 in January at a concert she spearheaded for the benefit of the Haiti earthquake victims.

Taylin is president of San Diego Music Ministry, which she founded in 2009. She was Student of the Month for January 2011 at Great Oak High School where as a senior she was a member of the International Baccalaureate Program and was active in the National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation. Her sights set on a career in medicine, Taylin is now a freshman at Brown University in Rhode Island.

Lauren is a freshman in high school. Her love for music started when she began to take piano lessons at the age of four. She currently studies with Inessa Litvin who has made such an impact on her accomplishments as a young pianist: she won the MTAC Sonata competitions in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 as well as the Junior Bach and MTAC Concerto Competition in 2010.

Lauren has been playing the violin as well since she was six years old, winning the VOCE competition in 2010. She studies with Rebekah Yoon both as a soloist and as a member of the Crescendo Trio. Lauren cherishes the friendships with her fellow musicians in the San Diego Music Ministry, which gives her many opportunities to share her God-given talents. Lauren is a member of the Chamber Orchestra at her school and looks forward to attending classes daily. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Born in Palo Alto in 1998, Adrian began banging on a purple mahogany piano when he was 4 years old. His almost non-stop playing eventually became melodious and pleasing to the ear. Adrian enjoys the process of gaining deeper understanding of a piece while perfecting it, and performing as a way of sharing this understanding with an audience. He is especially challenged by Mozart’s music which requires a lightness of touch and intense but controlled emotion. He has been a Bach Festival regional finalist, a Sonata Festival finalist as well as 1st and 2nd place winner and 1st Prize winner of the 2011 MTAC Concerto Competition (13-year and above division).

Currently a student of Inessa Litvine, Adrian is an active active Team Member of FanFaire Foundation’s “KIDS Playing for KIDS” program, Adrian is the pianist of a chamber ensemble. He is home-schooled, loves math and literature, and enjoys recreational soccer and logic.

Eight-year old Alexis plays piano and cello as a member of the San Diego Music Ministry and for the FanFaire Foundation. She was a winner at age 7 in her very first music competition, the 2011 Southern California Junior Bach Festival. She studies piano with Inessa Litvin and most recently, she won 3rd Place in the 2011 MTAC-Sonata Competition.

Alexis is also involved in various charities, and performs regularly for the Ronald McDonald House and at benefit concerts, including a recent concert to raise funds to open medical clinics in developing coutries. In addition, she is the sole fundraiser for the upcoming 2011 FanFaire Foundation-Logan Heights Library Sing-Along Concert, partly designed to introduce classical music to children and families in underserved communities. In school, Alexis’ favorite subjects are ancient history and religion. She studies both Latin and Mandarin as well, but considers music her true second language.

Born in Santa Clara, CA, Ryan showed interest in the violin at age 4. He studied with Davis Law at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for three years until he was 8 years old. Now in the 6th grade, Ryan is a member of San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory and has been studying violin with Michael Tseitlin for three years.

Born on April 4, 1994 Ian has been playing the piano for 12 years, the first 8 under the Suzuki Method and the next four years under the Russian Method. As his interest in classical music grew through his high school years, Ian began to participate in numerous competitions as well as perform for charity organizations, at hospital lobbies and a local church to share his love of music. Ian’s devotion to the piano is matched by an active enthusiasm for chamber music and other activities such as table tennis, DNA Forensics, and regularly helping patients at the Scripps Memorial Hospital Cardiac Floor.

Clara was introduced to the piano at the tender age of 3. For 5 years she studied under the musical guidance of Constance Almond, who is well known for her successfully nurturing piano students through the Suzuki method.

Clara currently studies with Inessa Litvin. Like her teacher who has been touching hearts and souls throughout her illustrious musical career with her passion for music, Clara’s dream is to spread the love of classical music to everyone she meets.

Jasmine is a high shool sophomore who began her music education at the age of four as a student of Ping Hu with whom she studies to this day. At the age of ten, Jasmine joined her elementary school orchestra and discovered a love for violin. She has studied violin with Michael and Irina Tseitlin at the California Institute of Music since 2007. Jasmine has appeared as a soloist, a chamber musician, and an orchestra member. Last summer, she attended the Summit Music Festival in New York where she performed in a master class for Mrs. Tseitlin.

Jasmine is a two-time recipient of a Goodlin Scholarship. Her recent awards include: MTAC San Diego Branch Concerto Competition, 1st place (Junior String) in 2010; 1st place (Senior String) in 2011; VOCE San Diego Branch 1st place (Intermediate String) in 2011; VOCE State 3rd place (Intermediate String) in 2011; MTAC Sonata Contest: 3rd place (Piano Level 9) in 2010. She performed as a violin soloist with the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra Symphony in 2010 at the California Center for Arts, Escondido and in 2011 at Copley Hall, San Diego.

In addition to music, she enjoys drawing, reading, and biking. She also likes learning science and math, winning a 1st place award in the Junior Division of the 56th Annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair in 2010. She tutors other students and volunteers at her school’s environmental program.

Christopher is a viola student of Michael Tseitlin. Christopher won first place in the 2011 San Diego ASTA competition in viola and was awarded the first prize in the 5th Annual San Diego Chinese Piano Competition. In 2007, he won first place in the Granquist Memorial Music Competition in Chicago.

In addition to music, Christopher camps, plays tennis, and swims regularly. A black belter in Tai Kwon Do, he is an active boy scout with BSA Troop 713 in Del Mar.

Stephen studies cello with Ruslan Biryukov as well as chamber music with Michael and Irina Tseitlin. Stephen has completed MTAC Level 8 test in both cello and piano and is taking the MTAC Level 10 test in February 2012.

Stephen won first prize in MTAC-San Diego Branch VOCE Junior Strings competition in 2011 and was a finalist in the statewide Competition. Stephen was awarded five first prizes in Satori Cello Competition in 2010, won first place in the 6th Annual San Diego Chinese Piano Competition and an honorable mention in the 2011 MTAC-San Diego Branch Piano Concerto Competition. In 2006 and 2007, Stephen was awarded the outstanding awards in piano at the Granquist Memorial Music Competition in Chicago. In addition to music, Stephen camps, plays tennis, and swims regularly. Stephen is a black belter in Tai Kwon Do and is an active boy scout with BSA Troop 713 in Del Mar. Stephen has also twice won the San Diego Youth Chinese Essay Awards.


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