Symphony Orchestra

Announcing the 2022 winners!

Lucas Gianini

Lucas Gianini


Student of Dr. Anthony Taylor and Dr. Andy Hudson

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Lucas Gianini has performed with the Greensboro, Charlotte, and Lima Symphony Orchestras, Greensboro Opera, Bel Canto Opera Company, Carolina’s Wind Orchestra and with ensembles across Ohio and North Carolina. An avid performer of contemporary music, he has taken part in the premiere and commissioning of several pieces for solo clarinet and chamber ensemble. In 2016-2017, Lucas was a founding member and toured with the Noise to Signal Ensemble, which premiered works for Reed Quintet and Piano. Lucas was recently a winner of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s 2022 Student Artist Competition with John Corigliano’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. He has received multiple performance invitations from conferences of the International Clarinet Association and the College Music Society. The most recent invitation to the ICA conference (Reno, NV in 2022) involves the commission and premiere of a piece for solo clarinet that features the rare “fluting” technique by Erin Cameron. In addition, Lucas was a performer for the ICA’s “New Music Weekend” in 2021 and has regularly performed at the Charlotte New Music Festival as part of their “open mic” concerts. Lucas performed at the 2020 Clarinet Maestro Festival and was invited to be the Bass Clarinet Fellow at the (subsequently-cancelled due to COVID) 2020 Brevard Music Center.

In addition to his teaching duties as a Doctoral TA for UNC Greensboro’s clarinet studio, Lucas currently teaches clarinet, saxophone, and flute lessons in the Charlotte, NC area. He has also taught online lessons to students as far as Texas. He has served as band director for multiple middle school programs in Charlotte, NC and regularly works with various local schools as a woodwind instructor. For several years Lucas has worked at the UNCG Summer Music Camp as both a counselor and private clarinet lessons instructor.

Lucas is currently working on his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UNC Greensboro, where he is a Minerva Scholar and also earned his Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Performance. Lucas earned his Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University.  His primary teachers have included Anthony Taylor, Kelly Burke, Kevin Schempf, and Andy Hudson.

Claire Griffin


Student of Dr. Carla LeFevre

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Claire Griffin is a soprano from Brevard, North Carolina in her senior year at UNCG. She is pursuing a BM in Vocal Performance and is a student of Dr. Carla LeFevre. Her operatic credits include Eurydice (Orpheus in the Underworld) with the Utah Vocal Arts Academy and Lucy (The Telephone), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Sister Genevieve (Suor Angelica), and Jenny Slade (Roman Fever) with the UNCG Opera Theatre. In March of 2022, she will sing Marie in Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride at UNCG. For Greensboro Opera’s Opera at the Carolina, Ms. Griffin has sung Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel). In 2015, Ms. Griffin originated the role of Deanna Durbin in the world premiere of Chasing Rainbows: A New Musical at the Flat Rock Playhouse. Continuing with this project in the same role, she participated in numerous NYC readings and a four-month run at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, where she also understudied the role of Judy Garland. Ms. Griffin was accepted into the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center for the summer of 2020, which was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19, where she would have sung Marzelline in Fidelio: In Concert and covered the role of Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She was one of 10 finalists in the Opera Grand Rapids Collegiate Vocal Competition in the spring of 2021 and was awarded First Place (Lower Collegiate Women) in the National NATS competition of 2020. Ms. Griffin was a 2018 YoungArts Winner in Voice and a Semi-Finalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholar for the Arts that same year. She will spend her 2022 summer at the Aspen Music Festival as a Studio Artist in the Opera Theatre and VocalARTS program under the co-artistic direction of Patrick Summers and Renée Fleming.

Kyrese Washington

Kyrese Washington


Student of Dr. Erika Boysen and Dr. Tim Hagen

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Kyrese Washington is a senior student majoring in Flute Performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where they are a student of Dr. Erika Boysen and Dr. Tim Hagen. As a soloist, Kyrese has appeared on many stages, such as the SECU Auditorium at the Museum of Art with the Community Music School, and the Meymandi Concert Hall with Pink Martini and the North Carolina Symphony. As an active student at UNCG, Kyrese has participated in the UNCG Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, University Symphony Orchestra, Opera, and Casella Sinfonietta. Additionally, Kyrese has been a winner of the Raleigh Area Flute Association Review and Contest consecutively for the past three years. Recently, Kyrese has been selected as a participant of the National Flute Association Young Artist Mentorship Program. As a result of all of Kyrese’s hard work and dedicating numerous hours into developing their craft, they have been selected by the UNCG School of Music faculty as the Presser Scholar of the 2021-2022 school year. Currently, Kyrese is the principal flutist of the Appalachia Wind Symphony and teaches private lessons at Music & Arts stores in Greensboro and Burlington.

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. Preliminary rounds typically take place in December, with a final round in January that awards performances on concerts scheduled between the following spring and fall semesters. Two students are normally selected for this honor.


The competition will occur in two rounds:

  1. 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. Final Round, administered by the area of conducting and ensembles, on January 17, 2023 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.



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.

The competition will occur in two rounds:

  1. The Preliminary Round, scheduled and administered by the keyboard, woodwind, voice, brass and percussion, and strings areas. Students should talk to their studio teacher and/or area coordinator about specific area requirements.
  2. The Final Round, on January 17, 2023, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Up to 15 total auditionees, selected during the preliminary round, will advance to perform in the finals.


  • Scheduled by individual areas (keyboard, voice, woodwind, brass/percussion, string), must be completed no later than December 9, 2022.
  • Memorization is at the discretion of each individual area.
  • Performance proficiency requirement is at the discretion of each individual area.
  • No more that 3 students from any area will be advanced to the finals.

3 Keyboard                   3 Voice
3 Woodwind                 3 Brass and 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.


  • Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 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.


  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. If available in the UNCG music library, an orchestral score should 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 will serve as adjudicators. The conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra will serve as an advisor to the committee.


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.   


A total of two winners will be selected from the Final Round. In an effort to maximize the educational experience for students enrolled in the Orchestra and competition winners, one performance will be scheduled for April 2022 and the other during Fall 2022. Graduating students will be given scheduling preference for the April concert.


Monday/Wednesday: 2:00–3:40 p.m., Room 111


Dress rehearsal: April 24, 2:00–3:40 p.m.
Concert: April 24, 7:30 p.m., UNCG Auditorium

Recent Student Artist Competition Winners


Suzanne Polak, piano
Shostakovich – Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, op. 102
Student of Dr. James Douglass

Sydney Scherer, flute
Daugherty – Trail of Tears
Student of Dr. Erika Boysen


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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