Two Westside high school students have been awarded the prestigious Music Center Spotlight Award.
Alpin Seung-Hi Hong of the Crossroads School in Santa Monica won first place in the classical instrumental division and received a $5,000 scholarship. Ryan Smith, a student in Los Angeles' Hamilton High School music magnet program, was a runner-up in the opera competition, receiving a $2,500 scholarship.
The competition began in October when 650 aspirants from Santa Barbara to San Diego auditioned in modern and classical dance, voice and instrumental categories.
Hong, 17, is a senior and has played piano since age 3. He won the international Stravinsky Awards Competition in 1989, and attended the Soviet-American Piano Institute in Moscow. He has performed with the Brentwood Symphony and symphonies in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, Mich. Hong hopes to attend Brown University to study science and music.
Smith, 17, a senior, recently won first prize in the classical voice category of KCET's Emerging African American awards. He was one of two high school singers selected to perform at this year's Grammy Awards in New York. Last Summer, Smith toured Europe with the Sound of America Honor Choir.