Symphony Orchestra

Announcing the 2020 winners!

Suzanne Polak

Suzanne Polak, Piano

Student of Dr. James Douglass

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Suzanne U. Polak is a versatile artist. She has worked as a substitute keyboardist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, appearing under the batons of Marvin Hamlisch and Manfred Honeck; as Acting Principal with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Symphony Orchestra; substitute with the North Carolina Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony; also with Charlotte Symphony Orchestra on keyboard, harpsichord, and dulcimer; and appeared with the PSO as a soloist on Carnival of the Animals, playing organ for a performance of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, and playing the theremin for their performance of David Del Tredici’s Final Alice. Suzanne is also a composer, she recently completely a commission for the North Carolina Saxophone Ensemble and had a work premiered by the new music ensemble F-plus. She has a love for musicals; she
collaborated on Homeless: the Musical, which received two fully-staged performance runs; her score is heard during the DVD-recorded performance of The Tragedy of Jane Shore; and the Beggar’s Opera was given mention for “Best Scores of 2001” in both the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the City Paper. She composed and played music for The Royal Family, which was performed at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and in addition, she has been recorded for other Public Theatre productions, including Private Lives and Amadeus. She is currently residing in North Carolina, where she is working on her Doctoral Degree at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Sydney Scherer

Sydney Scherer, Flute

Student of Dr. Erika Boysen

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Sydney Scherer is currently a graduate student pursuing the Master of Music degree at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she is a student of Dr. Erika Boysen and is an active member of the University Symphony Orchestra. Scherer completed her Bachelor of Music in 2019 at Wright State University, where she studied with Dr.
 Christopher Chaffee. During her undergraduate studies, Scherer was a principal player in the University’s Wind Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, she has been the recipient of two Delta Omnicron scholarships (2016-2018), a WSU Arts Gala scholarship (2015-2019), and was the winner of two of WSU’s honor recitals (2018 
and 2019). As a soloist, Scherer has performed the Reinecke Flute Concerto with the WSU University Symphony Orchestra, having been selected as the winner of the WSU Concerto Competition, and in 2018 she was featured as a finalist of the Central Ohio Flute Competition. As a performer in the Summer at Eastman Masterclass, she had the opportunity to work with esteemed flutists Bonita Boyd and Anne Harrow, and has performed orchestral repertoire with the Mostly Modern Music Festival in New York in 2018.


About the Competition

The UNCG School of Music Student Artist Competition provides an annual forum for exceptional student performers to audition for the opportunity to appear in concert with the University Symphony Orchestra. Auditions typically take place in December, awarding performances on concerts scheduled between the following spring and fall semesters. Three to four student winners are normally selected for this honor.

Auditioning

The competition will occur in two rounds:

  1. A Preliminary Round, scheduled and administered by performance area (keyboard, voice, woodwind, brass/percussion, and string). Students should talk to their studio teacher and/or area coordinator about specific area requirements.
  2. A Final Round, administered by the area of conducting and ensembles, on January 28, 2020 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Tew Recital Hall. Up to 15 total auditionees, selected during preliminaries, will advance to perform in the final round.  The finals are open to the public.


Guidelines

COMPETITION PHILOSOPHY AND FORMAT

The philosophy of the Student Artist Competition is:

  1. To offer students the opportunity to appear as soloists with orchestra in the performance of full or partial concerti, arias and other short works on regularly scheduled concerts of the University Symphony Orchestra.
  2. To present outstanding School of Music students to the public in a program in which diversity is desired, but excellence in performance is the basic requirement.

The competition will occur in two rounds:

  1. The Preliminary Round, scheduled and administered by each area within the Department of Music Performance. Students should talk to their studio teacher and/or area coordinator about specific area requirements.
  2. The Final Round, on January 28, 2020, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Up to 15 total auditionees, selected during the preliminary round, will advance to perform in the finals.

PRELIMINARY ROUND

  • Scheduled by individual areas (keyboard, voice, woodwind, brass/percussion, string), must be completed no later than December 6, 2019.
  • Memorization requirement is at the discretion of each individual area.
  • Performance proficiency requirement is at the discretion of each individual area (151-751).
  • No more that 3 students from any area will be advanced to the finals.

3 Keyboard                   3 Voice
3 Woodwind                 3 Brass & Percussion                3 Strings

  • The format for the preliminary round and criteria for advancing students to the final round is at the discretion of each individual area.
  • Each area will independently determine if they desire a balance between graduate and undergraduate representatives in the final round.

FINAL ROUND

  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Tew Recital Hall
  • Advertised and open to the public
  • Students will perform for up to 15 minutes in order to present complete works or movements, or samples of multiple movements.
  • Limited to a total of 15 participating students, representing their respective areas.

FINAL ROUND GUIDELINES, RULES, AND INFORMATION:

  1. The audition order will be determined at random, so finalists must be available for the entire block of time. Exceptions may be made due to extenuating circumstances. Special requests for times must be communicated to the conductor by the application deadline.
  2. One original copy of the solo part must be provided to the audition committee. If available in the UNCG music library, an orchestral score should also be provided.
  3. Each performer and accompanist should report to the audition site at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled audition time. Performers should dress appropriately.
  4. If a soloist or accompanist is late the audition will be cancelled and the next performer will be called. Rescheduling the audition is at the discretion of the audition committee.
  5. If the chosen work is longer than the audition time allows, the finalist may select to perform a portion of the work as a whole, or excerpts from the entire piece.
  6. Vocalists may choose repertoire from either literature designed for concert performance with orchestra, or operatic arias. Selection of repertoire should be done in consultation with the studio professor.
  7. A soloist may win a performing slot only once during his/her career at UNCG.
  8. An impartial committee of UNCG School of Music faculty members, plus one member from outside the School, will serve as adjudicators. The conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra will serve as an advisor to the committee.

REPERTOIRE SELECTION

Questions about the viability of repertoire choices must be brought to the conductor in advance of the preliminary round. If a student wins a performance slot with a piece that is impractical for the orchestra to perform, or that has been performed by the orchestra within the past 3 years, he/she may be asked to perform an alternate work. Due to programming considerations, winners may be asked to perform more or less of a given work (i.e. one movement of a multi-movement work). Pieces may not be more than 20 minutes in duration. The conductor of the work may or may not be the faculty conductor of the orchestra. The conductor, in consultation with the student and studio teacher, will make final programming decisions.  

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULING

A total of two winners will be selected from the Final Round. In an effort to diversify and improve the educational experience for students enrolled in the Orchestra and competition winners, one performance will be scheduled for April 2020 and the other during Fall 2020. Graduating students will be given scheduling preference for the April 2020 concert.

FINAL ROUND

Tuesday, January 28, 2020, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Tew Recital Hall

ORCHESTRA REHEARSALS

Monday/Wednesday: 2:00-3:15 p.m., Room 111
Friday: 2:00-2:50 p.m., Room 111

APRIL 2020 CONCERT

Dress rehearsal: April 26, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Concert: April 27, 7:30 p.m., UNCG Auditorium


Application Form

Recent Student Artist Competition Winners

2019

Lilla Keith, sropano
Debussy – “Azaël! Azaël! Pourquoi m’as-tu quitte” from L’enfant prodigue
Student of Dr. Carla LeFevre

Akiko Yamazaki, piano
Saint-Saëns – Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
Student of Dr. John Salmon

2018

Alex Whitehead, clarinet
Debussy – Premiere Rhapsodie
Student of Dr. Anthony Taylor

Jacob Warren, saxophone
Creston – Concerto for Alto Saxophone
Student of Dr. Steven Stusek

2017

Ekin Ustunel, piano (MM)
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, mvt. 1
Student of Dr. Andrew Willis

Isaac Pyatt, marimba (junior)
Abe – Prism Rhapsody
Student of Dr. Eric Willie

2016

Elena Flores, soprano (MM)
Grand Prize Winner
Donizetti – “O Luce di Quest’anima” from Linda di Chamoanix
Student of Prof. Clara O’Brien

Emily Loboda, saxophone (DMA)
Creston – Concerto for Alto Saxophone
Student of Dr. Steven Stusek

Colin McDearman, piano (MM)
Mendelssohn – Capriccio Brillant
Student of Dr. Andrew Willis

2015

Kelsey Paquin, clarinet (MM)
Grand Prize Winner
McAllister – Black Dog
Student of Dr. Anthony Taylor and Dr. Kelly Burke

Lydia Pion, soprano (senior) 
Dvorák – “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka
Student of Clara O’Brien

Mengfei Xu, piano (DMA)
Rachmaninoff – Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini
Student of Dr. Andrew Willis

2014

William Hueholt, piano (sophomore)
Grand Prize Winner
Prokofiev – Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 16
Student of Dr. Joseph DiPiazza

Justin Worley, tuba (DMA)
Strauss – Concerto No. 1 in E-flat, op. 11
Student of Dr. Dennis AsKew

Jessica Johnson, mezzo-soprano (MM)
Ravel – “Asie” from Shéhérazade
Student of Dr. Robert Bracey

2013

Mark Cramer, clarinet (DMA)
Grand Prize Winner
Debussy Premiere Rhapsodie
student of Dr. Anthony Taylor

Jeremy Harris, piano (senior)
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Mvt. I
Student of Dr. John Salmon

Jourdan Laine Howell, soprano (MM)
Weber – “Eist traumte menier sel’gen Base” from Der Freischutz
student of Dr. Robert Wells

2012

Anna Darnell, clarinet (junior)
Grand Prize Winner

Ticheli Clarinet Concerto
Student of Dr. Anthony Taylor

Xin Gao, saxophone (DMA)
Peck The Upward Stream
Student of Dr. Steven Stusek

Ryan Silvestri, violin (MM)
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Student of Prof. Marjorie Bagley

2011

Jason Wallace, saxophone (DMA)
Grand Prize Winner

Williams Escapades for Saxophone and Orchestra
Student of Dr. Steven Stusek

Michelle Ayres, soprano (DMA)
Beethoven – “Ah! Perfido”
Student of Prof. Clara O’Brien

Stephanie Greco, violin (MM)
Shostakovich Violin Concerto
Student of Prof. Marjorie Bagley

2010

Wei Jiao, piano – (DMA)
Grand Prize Winner
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
Student of Dr. Andrew Willis

Joann Martinson, soprano (MM)
Bernstein “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide
Student of Dr. Robert Bracey

Julie Smith, flute (MM)
Nielsen Flute Concerto
Student of Dr. Deborah Egekvist

Cicilia Yudha, piano (DMA)
Ravel – Piano Concerto in G
Student of Dr. John Salmon

University Orchestras