Alexander Hersh announced among winners of the 2019 Astral Artists National Auditions

Astral is pleased to announce the winners of its 2019 National Auditions. Selected from an initial pool of applicants from across the United States, and following a competitive audition and interview process, six exceptionally gifted rising-star artists have been invited to join Astral’s prestigious program. They are:

Christopher Goodpasture, piano
Alexander Hersh, cello
Saetbyeol Kim, piano
Mitchell Kuhn, oboe
Alexandra Nowakowski, soprano
Ekaterina Skliar, domra/mandolin

“Each year the bar rises for our National Auditions candidates,” says Executive Director Julia Rubio. “It is a testament to the extraordinary artistry and social conscientiousness that modern classical musicians bring to the field. Our six winners have excelled through a rigorous audition process, and we look forward to introducing the world to the next generation of great performers and thinkers.”

Philadelphia audiences will be able to hear Astral’s newest artists at the 2019 Astral National Auditions Winners Concert, which takes place at Stotesbury Mansion in Philadelphia on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 7:00pm.


This year, Astral auditioned voice, strings, small chamber ensembles, piano, woodwinds, and brass candidates for placement in its esteemed program of approximately 25 musicians. Applicants, if advanced, undergo a competitive three-round process. Following the application round, live auditions candidates are invited to Philadelphia, where an independent panel of industry-leading musicians, managers, conductors, and presenters from across the U.S. adjudicate each discipline. The panels then recommend candidates for the final, interview round of the National Auditions.

Once awarded a place in Astral’s career development program, National Auditions Winners receive customized career development mentorship, a full complement of marketing materials, superior performance opportunities, community engagement experience, artistic exploration, and networking with top professionals in the field.