ROCHESTER, NY — The Eastman School of Music has plenty to crow about this spring, as a bumper crop of its talented students recently have won or are entering some of the world’s most prestigious instrumental music competitions.
Pianist Thomas Rosenkranz Wins American Pianists Association Award
Thomas Rosenkranz, a 26-year old doctoral student of Nelita True, was named one of the two winners of the Indianapolis-based American Pianists Association 2003 Classical Fellowship Awards last month. Each Fellow receives $15,000 and career assistance including an international tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Akin to an athletic marathon, this triennial competition demanded almost 15 months of numerous performances and activities. From October to February, 45 pianists were pared down to five finalists, each of whom played a solo recital and a concerto program with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. In April, the finalists returned to Indianapolis for a week of community educational outreach activities, daily chamber music performances with a string quartet, and a German lieder song recital. By the conclusion of the process, the finalists had been heard by 13 different jurors.
Rosenkranz, a native of Peachtree City, Georgia, sees the number of concerts offered through winning the competition as “an incredible opportunity for artistic growth.” In addition, he says “the award is particularly special to me because almost all the music I played in all the rounds was music from our time. It proves that perhaps audiences are finally ready to hear something more contemporary than Ravel or Bartok.” The versatile Rosenkranz regularly switches from performances of traditional classical music to experimental improvisation. He is currently living in Paris on a Presser Foundation grant to study Olivier Messaien’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus with the composer’s wife, Yvonne Loriod.
Grace Lee Accepted into Naumburg Violin Competition
Violinist Grace Lee, a freshman from Singapore and a student of Oleh Krysa, has been accepted to enter the renowned Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition from June 12-18 in New York City. One of the youngest entrants — the competition only accepts those ages 18-33 — Ms. Lee already has passed the rigorous initial screening process through a live CD of no less than 30 minutes of music. The solo competition disciplines rotate from year to year, encompassing piano, violin, and voice. Established in 1926, the Naumburg international competitions have been described by The New York Times as “in its quiet way, the most prestigious of them all.” First prize is a cash award of $10,000, two fully subsidized recitals at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, various recitals and concerto appearances, a recording with Musical Heritage Records, and the premiere of a new work for solo violin commissioned by composer Donald Martino. Second and third prizes are cash awards of $5000 and $2500, respectively. Ms. Lee is one of only a handful of college freshman to enter this competition, which includes nearly 60 competitors.
Violinist Ko Taniguchi Enters Prague Competition
Another outstanding freshman from the studio of Oleh Krysa, Ko Taniguchi, has been accepted to compete at the distinguished Prague International Competition later this month. The young Japanese student will compete against 47 other violinists in three rounds of solo and concerto performances with the Czech Philharmonic. Founded in 1946 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague International Competition will award three cash prizes. First prize is worth approximately $7000 and also includes concert engagements.
The Destino Winds Enters Coleman and Fischoff
Not to be outdone by its soloist counterparts, a young wind quintet comprised of five talented freshman — the Destino Winds — made its way into two prestigious national competitions: the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (May 9-11) and the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition (April 26-27). Although not placing in the competitions, the ensemble received highly encouraging comments by the judges. Founded in 1973, the Fischoff competition is the nation’s largest, whose purpose is to encourage emerging instrumental chamber music ensembles and to provide a forum for their talents. The nationally acclaimed Coleman competition, founded in 1942 in Pasadena, California, is geared toward recognizing young non-professionals.
Formed only this year as part of a required woodwind quintet seminar at Eastman, the Destino Winds features Hilary Abigana, flute; Jeffrey Stephenson, oboe; Amy Chung, clarinet; Rachel Young, bassoon; and Donna Yoo, French horn. The group is coached by flutist Anne Harrow, assistant professor of flute and woodwind chamber music at Eastman, and doctoral student Donna Shin.
Pianist So Yoon Lee Wins Kingsville International Competition
In April, 25-year old So Yoon Lee, a first year doctoral student of Barry Snyder who received her master’s degree and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from Eastman, received first prize and a $2000 cash award in the 22nd Kingsville (Texas) International Competition (solo piano category). In addition to the cash award, Ms. Lee also will be sponsored in a solo recital. Originally from South Korea, Ms. Lee competed against a field of 30 pianists from 18 countries in this competition sponsored by the Music Club of Kingsville, Inc. and the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.