♪ ♪ - My name is Amelia Zitoun.
I am in 11th grade and I attend Shorewood High School.
My life is basically music.
♪ ♪ The thing I like about the cello is its tone: it's really warm.
I started playing when I was five and a half.
Both of my parents are musicians; they're both cellists.
And I also have a younger brother, Henry, who also plays the cello.
We play together as a family, and then every year we send out a Christmas card.
[laughs] ♪ ♪ I like jigsaw puzzles; those are a lot of fun.
It's nice when you find two pieces that are, you know, kind of similar.
"Ahh, you put them together!"
[laughs] Well, I like to paint.
I guess music is, like, the art of sound, and painting is visual, so I guess it's just shifting the senses.
And I love art, in general.
- Professor Jensen: Make it ring a little bit; like that.
- Amelia: My professor is Hans Jensen and he is an amazing teacher.
- Go, "Whoo!"
[laughs] - Amelia: He's super charismatic, but he knows what he wants, and he won't stop until it's perfect.
- Yeah, it's good.
- Amelia: I play with the Music Institute of Chicago, the Academy Orchestra, and it's an amazing environment.
So I carpool every week with Lucy Wu, who is another one of the finalists.
We were talking, "Oh, it would be so cool if we both got to the finals!"
And I'm like, "Oh, my goodness.
Yeah, it would."
But, I mean, when it actually, you know, came to life, it was so exciting!
♪ ♪ I'll be playing the first movement of the Barber Cello Concerto.
Barber was an army airman in 1945, when this piece was written.
And so I'm sure he was really uneasy and really anxious, and you can definitely hear that.
But then it develops into these really luscious melodies and sentimentality for childhood.
I think something that really led me to choose music as a career were other young musicians who were so passionate about music.
And these people are, you know, not only your peers, but they're your closest friends and they're your teachers, and it really inspired me to work harder.