Last week we held the final round of the 2015 Student Artist Competition, in which we heard 15 strong performances by very talented students. Congratulations to all of their studio teachers and coaches, who helped in their preparation, and to those who participated in screening the preliminary rounds.

We have three winners to announce:

  • Kelsey Paquin, clarinet – GRAND PRIZE WINNER (student of Anthony Taylor and Kelly Burke)
  • Lydia Pion, soprano (student of Clara O’Brien)
  • Mengfei Xu, piano (student of Andrew Willis)

For more information on the Student Artist Competition, please visit the Student Artist Competition webpage.

Kelsey Paquin is a second year master’s student at UNC Greensboro. A native of New Jersey, she began playing clarinet at the age of eight, and went on to attend the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Program, where she studied with Miriam Lockhart and Pascal Archer. During her undergraduate studies, Kelsey briefly lived in Milan, Italy, where she studied at Il Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi under the tutelage of Luigi Magistrelli and performed at Casa Verdi. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College, where she studied under Michael Galván. She currently studies with Dr. Anthony Taylor and is a former student of Dr. Kelly Burke. Kelsey performs as Co-Principal of the UNCG Wind Ensemble, and as a member of the UNCG Symphony Orchestra and Gate City Winds.

Lydia Pion, soprano, most recently received the Recognition Award at the North Carolina District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This spring she will appear as Sagredo/Marie de’Medici/Eos in Phillip Glass’ Galileo Galilei with UNCG Opera Theatre. Her other operatic credits include Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), The Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Nancy (Albert Herring). The National Opera Association selected Ms. Pion to sing in a master class with internationally renowned mezzo-soprano, Stephanie Blythe at their annual Convention. She also recently appeared in Greensboro Opera’s production of La fille du Régiment and was a featured artist for their Fall 2014 Opera Gala “GO to the Movies.” While attending the voice program at The Chautauqua Institution under the direction of Marlena Malas, she sang Micaëla in scenes from Carmen and First Ladyin scenes from Die Zauberflöte. She has also performed in scenes with the Crittenden Summer Opera Workshop, and participated in Greensboro Light Opera and Song. Last spring she competed as a finalist at the Orpheus National Competition for Vocalists where she received the Strauss Award. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro under the tutelage of Professor Clara O’Brien.

Mengfei Xu, a student of Dr. Andrew Willis, is currently pursuing the DMA degree in piano performance at the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance, simultaneously earning a cognate in organ performance with Dr. André Lash. She received the M.M. in Piano Performance from Ithaca College in 2013 and Organ Performance in 2014, studying piano with Dr. Charis Dimaras and organ with Jean Radice. As winner of the concerto competition at IC, she performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto #3 with the IC Symphony Orchestra in March 2013. In February of 2012 she was awarded the first prize in the Bach Performance category at the United States Open Music Competition (USOMC) in San Francisco. She received the B.A. from the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Canton, China in 2011. Throughout her studies, she has presented numerous solo and collaborative recitals and chamber music performances both on and off campus. She has been cultivating her passion for playing the piano since the age of eight.