Amador freshman wins international music competition | March 10, 2023 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 10, 2023

Amador freshman wins international music competition

Young multi-instrumentalist dedicated to classical music

by Nicole Gonzales

After qualifying for one of the most prestigious international music competitions in the country, a young Pleasanton native secured the top prize -- winning her a unique scholarship opportunity and national exposure.

Celicia Thendean was recently announced as the Winter 2022 Philadelphia International Music Festival grand-prize winner. The competition provides thousands in scholarship funds to the Top 10 finalists ages 6 to 19 in the festival's semiannual Online Concerto Competition. The 14-year-old from Pleasanton not only qualified to participate, but earned first place.

"A lot of things in my life revolve around music. From practicing to lessons to listening to music to band to playing pieces in my head, music is constantly present in my life," Thendean said in a Feb. 23 press release announcing her win.

"I feel like my biggest goal is to reach as many people as I can through my music. Whether it will be performing at venues or senior centers or posting online, I feel that there is a great value in sharing what I feel through music," she continued.

Prior to taking home the grand prize, she has dedicated much of her life to classical music and has performed in venues across the Tri-Valley. Thendean is a multi-instrumentalist, meaning she is able to play several instruments at a proficient level. She began with piano at age 4, cello at 8, oboe at 11 and clarinet at 14.

She has studied and performed with the Anna Poklewski Academy of Music in Fremont and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music pre-college program.

Closer to home, Thendean plays oboe in the marching band at Amador Valley High School, where she is a freshman.

For her submission, Thendean performed Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26 I. "Andante - Allegro" by Prokofiev.

"I chose the piece because of its energy and brilliance. It's so fun to learn and to play and I hope others can also feel the excitement evident in the piece," Thendean said.

Thendean won a full scholarship to the festival's summer classical music training program. She will also be performing in the organization's yearly Winners' Circle Concert alongside members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

To view her performance submission online, visit


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