By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City — Jayon Felizarta, the twelve-year-old genius violinist from North Carolina, won second in the Erich Bergel & Dorothy Kitchen International Violin Competition held in Heltau, Romania on March 26-29,2015.
He was the youngest to compete, having been handpicked by one of the organizers for his ‘raw talent’ and not his age. He played Bach, Tzardas, and Mozart Concerto in G Major.
Click here for Jayon’s performance in Romania. WP_20150329_002.mp4
His mother Gayle, who accompanied him to the competition, said he cried when he got the second place, because “he really wanted to win”. But later, Jayon gained his composure and felt happy landing second. He promised he will give more time to practice.
The winner, 16-year-old Malina Ciobanu, has trained herself to perfection as a violinist since she was a young child and has won awards in Belgium and Italy. Gayle said Jayon can emulate her dedication to her craft and discipline. Interestingly, Gayle and the parents of Malina have become good friends during the course of the competition.
The competition was a closed door audition and only the first two winners were given the chance to perform at the Fortified Evangelical Church Heltau.
Jayon rehearsed Bach and Tzardas for two weeks, due to the contest’s short notice, while Mozart for two years. He now is training on the more complicated Mendelsohhn and Rachmaninoff. Since the competition, he has received invitations for solo performances. “We just love this kid,” says one Romanian fan.
Jayon Christopher Abellana Felizarta was born on September 25, 2002 to Cebuano-Tagalog parents who are both nurses, Mary Gayle Abellana and Jason Felizarta. He trained for violin since he was six years old under Robert Rempher and Dorothy Kitchen of the Duke University String School in Durham. Jayon studies in Davis Drive Middle School.
The boy whom medical experts confidently suggested to be clinically aborted because he had less number of chromosomes turned out to be a gifted child.
Jayon was discovered by one of the concert organizers, Mircea Scurtu, when he saw on Facebook Jayon’s rehearsal with the Triangle Philharmonia. (Mrs. Dorothy Kitchen founded her school at the Duke University in 1969 and still going strong with chamber music ensembles and three youth orchestras performing four times each year.)
Mr. Scurtu, a native Romanian, now a distinguished American émigré, and Mr. Remus Henning, grandmaster for the Romanian royal family, were the organizers for the event. He experienced first-hand how his two sons had access to top-notch educational opportunities – Vanderbilt University for elder son and violin scholarship and Appalachian State University for second son here in America. He wanted to give back to budding artists by helping them to realize their fullest musical potential.
Jayon’s parents at first declined to join the competition because he was still in middle school and the competition was for high school, to which the organizer said “talent is the main criteria for the competition.”
Before he flew to Romania, Jayon did a rousing performance at the Pillow Pops Concert of the Philharmonia of Greensboro, in North Carolina where he impressively did Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G. (Photos by Gayle Abellana Felizarta)