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On Deck with Young Musicians

On Deck with Young Musicians – showcasing the incredibly talented young musicians who live and perform in the Pacific Northwest. This weekly interview segment highlights their many accomplishments. Hosted by Christa Wessel, Adam Eccleston, and Raúl Gómez-Rojas, the program reveals a deep appreciation for the value of youthful energy in the world of classical music.

If you know of a young musician who should be profiled On Deck, please email Christa Wessel at

Follow On Deck with Young Musicians on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

Support for On Deck comes from individual donors. Additional support comes from Metropolitan Youth Symphony.


Keean Balsiger

June 3, 2023

On Deck with Keean Balsiger

Keean Balsiger is an 18-year-old senior at Tualatin HS who plays viola, violin and guitar in classical, jazz and rock ensembles. In this episode of On Deck, Keean chats with Raúl Gómez-Rojas about the similarities and differences between his different instruments and the genres that he enjoys exploring. Over the course of his musical career,… More

Sam Decker

May 27, 2023

On Deck with Sam Decker

Amy Faust chats with singer Sam Decker, a senior at Rex Putnam High School and a member of the Pacific Youth Choir.  Sam is a section leader at PYC and tells us about his approach to mentoring, which largely focuses on bonding and having fun.  Sam will be attending University of Oregon next year as… More

Ryan Jun

May 20, 2023

On Deck with Ryan Jun

In this episode of On Deck, Raul Gomez-Rojas speaks with violinist Ryan Jun, a junior at Mountainside High School. He has been playing the violin for eight years, and currently studies with Carol Sindell. He won the Young Artists Competition and soloed with the Jewish Community Orchestra in 2022, and was chosen as a 2023… More

Luke D'Silva

May 13, 2023

On Deck with Luke D’Silva

Luke D’Silva is a sophomore at Westview High School. His musical journey began at 6 years old with the violin. Three years later, he decided to play the viola with Andrea Hawkins as his teacher. Luke joined the Young String Ensemble of PYP (Portland Youth Philharmonic) as the Assistant Principal Violist and became the Principal… More

Sarah Lee

May 6, 2023

On Deck with Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee, age 16, is a sophomore at Westview High School and an award-winning cellist. In this episode of On Deck, Sarah chats with Raúl Gómez-Rojas about her journey and accomplishments, including being one of the winners of Cognizart’s 2023 Young Artists Debut! Competition. Sarah is also a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, and… More

April 29, 2023

On Deck with Andy Shin

Amy Faust chats with Andy Shin, the youngest of this year’s Metro Arts Cognizart Young Artists Debut winners. He’s an 8th grader at Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering. Andy has played the cello for 4 years after making the switch from piano. (It was a live performance of a Saint-Saens cello concerto that got… More

Minntah Haefker

April 22, 2023

On Deck with Minntah Haefker

Raúl Gómez-Rojas chats with Minntah Haefker, a 16 year old Junior enrolled at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. Minntah often sings as a guest vocalist with the band “3 Leg Torso,” studies Opera with her voice coach Angela Niederloh, and competes in state/regional competitions singing in multiple languages. She also loves to perform gigs… More

April 15, 2023

On Deck with Sophia Folawn

Sophia Folawn is a junior at St. Mary’s Academy. She’s been playing flute with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony for 3 years and enjoys it very much; she first started out in the Flute Ensemble led by Adam Eccleston and has recently joined one of the top orchestras in the organization. A proud student of Liberty… More

April 8, 2023

On Deck with Aria Morgan

18-year old saxophonist Aria Morgan spent her first three years of high school at Portland’s Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School, then her senior year at the Interlochen Arts Academy.  Now a freshman at USC’s Thornton School of Music, she speaks with Raul Gomez-Rojas about her love of music as well as the importance of activism… More

Chloe Zhang

April 1, 2023

On Deck with Chloe Zhang

17-year old pianist Chloe Zhang (“zang”) was a finalist in Portland Piano International’s Concerto Competition, and also was one of the winners in the Beaverton Symphony’s Young Artist Competition.   She deeply adores music, but interestingly -given her successes- it’s not going to be the focus of her life. She engages in music purely for the… More

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