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2016 YAC Winners!
Winners of the LSO Young Artists Competition Announced
The Board of Directors of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra has announced the winners of the twentieth annual Young Artists Competition, held Saturday, February 6, 2016 at Callaway Auditorium on the campus of LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia.
The Dorothy Allen Turner Award for first place went to bassoonist Traian Sturza. The freshman and winner of the Woodruff Award, is currently studying under the guidance of Dr. Ronald Wirt at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. He has won numerous prizes in national competitions in his native Romania where he has performed with the Maldova National Philharmonic.
As first place winner, Mr. Sturza will receive $1,500 and perform Mozart’s B-Flat Major Concerto as the featured soloist with the LaGrange Symphony during the final concert of the season on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
The Max Kaplan Award for second place was won by flautist Alyssa Baranski from Middle Tennessee State University where she is studying flute performance and Music Industry. She performed Goerges Hue’s Fantasie for Flute. Ms. Baranski was the winner of the Collegiate Flute Choir Competition in Chicago in 2014 and a semi-finalist in the Raleigh, North Carolina Area Flute Competition in 2015. A member of Trevor Wye’s “The Flute Studio” in Kent, England in 2014-2015, she performed in Hastingleigh, England in December of 2014. She has received multiple scholarships as a result of her musical talents and has shared these talents throughout Tennessee over the past several years. This prize carries a $1,000 cash award.
Winner of the NOTE Award for third place and a $500 cash award is tubist Conrad Shaw, from Brentwood, Tennessee, who is completing his Bachelor of Music in Performance in 2016 from Samford University in Birmingham, Al. He has won first place in numerous competitions throughout Alabama, including the Birmingham Music Club Guild Scholarship Competition’s 2015 Instrumental and Overall winner. Mr. Shaw played Concerto for Bass Tuba by R. Vaughan Williams.
Judges of the 2016 Young Artists Competition were Dr. Richard Prior, Music Director and Conductor of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra and Director of Orchestra Studies at Emory University; Derreck Montgomery, Academic Services Coordinator at Emory University who holds a Master’s Degree in Music Performance from Florida State University; and Joshua Roberts, Director of Bands at LaGrange College who holds a Master’s degree in Music Education from Columbus State University and is completing his doctoral studies in music education at the University of Georgia.
The competition this year was open to participants in keyboard instruments under age 26 from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina or Tennessee.
More about past concerts…
If you would like to read about past performances in the 2015/16 LSO Concert Series PASSION – POWER – PRESENCE – PRIOR please CLICK HERE.
“A truly Grand Finale!”
The LSO April concert, PASSION & POWER, was appropriately named. Performed with intense feeling and strength, this concert was indeed a GRAND finale for the 2015-16 season entitled PASSION – POWER – PRESENCE – PRIOR. The 2016/17 season marked the inaugural year for conductor Dr. Richard Prior.
Once again, the pre-concert lecture presented by Dr. Beth Everett, which is a free perk with your ticket, was both informative and enlightening. Since our guest artist is a bassoonist, Dr. Everett highlighted the bassoon and told us how the instrument has mechanically evolved through the ages. Chandler Stuart, LaGrange Symphony Orchestra bassoon principle, gave a very informative impromptu presentation of the instrument. His first-hand knowledge and up-close demonstration really enhanced the lecture and promoted a greater appreciation for the instrument.
The concert began with Brahms: Academic Festival Overture. This piece celebrates knowledge as a passionate pursuit. In contrast to what you might expect, Brahms, in 1881, called it a “rollicking potpourri of student songs.” Now, in 2016, it requires a slightly different description. The overture was very dynamic and a joy to hear. It was uplifting, strong and done as a splendid tribute to LaGrange College and academia.
Next was Mozart: Bassoon Concerto in B-flat major. This piece featured bassoonist Traian Sturza, winner of the Dorothy Allen Turner award. Played with fluid and expressive talent, this piece mesmerized the audience. The extreme breath control and stamina required to perform this piece with three movements was phenomenal.
After an intermission, Dr. Prior took the opportunity to thank the board of the LSO and President Gary Mayer for an exceptionally smooth transition into his first year as Maestro here in LaGrange. He also expressed his appreciation to the wonderful musicians with whom he said there is a mutual trust and investment.
The final piece was Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in f minor. It began slowly and introduced a central, rather somber theme of “fate.” From there the piece transformed through four movements to reveal that happiness can be found and new energy can emerge from even the darkest times. The ending was delightfully bold with what Dr. Everett had described as, far from bashful timpani. Like a spectacular firework finale, this Tchaikovsky piece summed up the entire season and provided the splendid final cadence it deserved. Spirited and continued applause with numerous Bravo’s and shouts of approval endorsed that this has been a monumental year.
The festivities continued with a terrific reception at the Chamber of Commerce. Smiles, laughter and great food were plentiful. There was a large turnout and Traian Sturza was presented with his first place award by Callie Hammond, LSO Assistant Concertmaster.
Callie is the granddaughter of Dorothy Allen Turner, for whom the award is named. The family has sponsored the Young Artists Competition’s first place prize in memory of Mrs. Turner for 20 years. Here are a few photos.
Lots of questions about next season were asked. The dates of the 2016/17 concerts were published in the program, but no other information is being announced. You can be sure that something of great significance is slated of which you will want to be a part. Remember, Season Ticket Holders will be the first to hear the news!
Thank you for supporting the arts in LaGrange, and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.