NCE Musicians

Present and Past

Valerie LaiValerie Lai (cello)

NCE Outstanding Young Artist Competition Third Prize Winner Valerie Lai, age 13, started playing the cello when she was nine. She is a freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She currently studies with Ms. Danielle Cho, the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.

Valerie is the Principal Cellist of the American Youth Symphonic Orchestra and a member of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras – Chamber Ensemble Program. Her chamber group recently won second place in the Junior Division of the 2022 Misbin Family Memorial Chamber Music Competition and third place in the string chamber junior division of the 2022 YMIC International Competition. In addition, Valerie was the second alternate winner of the 2021 American Youth Concert Orchestra Solo Competition and a junior cello winner of the 2020 National Philharmonic Virtual Solo Bach Competition.

Besides playing cello, Valerie enjoys figure skating, baking and making handmade cards.