Annual competition showcases 10 exceptional musicians

(Santa Barbara, CA) The Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation (PASF) held its annual competition for music scholarships on Sunday, April 24th at Lehmann Hall at the Music Academy of the West. Outstanding performers ranging from age 16 to 29 competed for scholarships amounting to more than $ 27,000. Competition judges included esteemed musicians Paul Berkowitz, Armen Guzelimian and Emily Sommermann. Board President Deborah Bertling described this year’s candidates as some of the most impressive in the organization’s history.

Ten artists, competing in both Adult and Junior Instrumental Divisions, performed to an enthusiastic audience of music teachers, family and PASF followers. A reception followed the concert, and once the judges had made their decisions, Ms.Bertling announced the winners as follows:

First Place in the Adult Instrumental Division was awarded to two musicians: Buyun Li (piano) and Sarah Bortz (flute). Buyun is a student of Dr. Charles Asche at UCSB where she will finish her Doctor of Music Arts in Piano in June, and Sarah is working on her Master of Music degree at UCSB. Her teacher is Jill Felber. Sofia Malvinni (violin) was the second-place winner. She studies with her mother, Valerie Malvinni, and is a senior at Dos Pueblos High School.

Soprano Naomi Merer, who recently earned her Doctor of Music Degree from UCSB, received an award in the Adult Vocal category.

Honorable mention in the Adult Instrumental Division went to Nathanael Nims, who studies piano with Dr. Steve Hodson at Westmont College, and to Dillon Halpin who studies flute with Jill Felber at UCSB, where he is working on his Bachelor of Music degree.

Runners Up in the Junior Instrumental Division include: Aidan Woodruff (cello), who studies with Patrick Owen at Interlochen Arts Academy, and Zeyn Schweyk (piano), a senior at Dos Pueblos HS. His teacher is Lana Bodnar. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Rhyan Schweyk (piano) who also is a student of Lana Bodnar and a senior at Dos Pueblos HS. Honorable mention in the Junior Instrumental Division went to Zephan Bornfreund (violin), a senior at SMHS who studies with Joyce Osborn.

The Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation was formed in 1982 by the late Mrs. Lincoln Dellar to provide aid to deserving vocal and instrumental students with professional potential, who live and/or study in the Santa Barbara area. For more information about PASF and its annual awards program, please visit:

For Immediate Release:

For Information:
Deborah Bertling, Board President, PASF