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ASU School of Music announces 2019 ASU Concerto Competition winners

concerto winner with symphony

2018 Concerto Competition winner Michelle Nam.

April 26, 2019

The Arizona State University School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has announced five winners in the 2019 Concerto Competition. Eleven students performed as finalists in the competition with five students selected to perform concertos with four different School of Music ensembles in the upcoming concert season.

The competition winners are (listed in alphabetical order): Katrina Clements, clarinet; Aoshuang Li, piano; Nathan Salazar, saxophone; Jennifer Son, cello; and Tingshuo Tang, piano.

“I hope it will be a very formative performance experience for our top performers,” said Jeffery Meyer, director of ASU orchestras and concerto competition chair. “It is an important part of their education because playing with an orchestra is a completely different experience than playing with a piano or smaller group accompaniment.”

When Meyer joined the School of Music in 2016, he changed the format of the competition to allow for more of the top performing students to have the ability to perform entire concertos and for the school to program musical selections around those concertos.

Each performance area in the school — strings, keyboard, voice, winds, brass and percussion/guitar/harp — provides a different judge every year. The only criteria is that the judge not have a student in the competition.

“There are a lot of amazing students in our school and the competition is intense, so to be selected amongst their peers is a huge moment in most of their young careers,” said Jason Caslor, director of the ASU Wind Ensembles. “To perform as a soloist with a 100-piece orchestra or 70-piece band requires a steep learning curve and a distinct skill set we teach our students.”

The ASU faculty jury for this year’s competition consisted of Jeffery Meyer, chair; Nancy Buck, strings; Caio Pagano, keyboard; Carole FitzPatrick, voice; Charles Lynch, percussion/guitar/harp; Martin Schuring, winds; and Deanna Swoboda, brass.

“Performing a concerto is a rare opportunity as there are very few of these opportunities around,” Meyer said. “It is a distinction and an honor, and I hope the experience will ignite their performing career.”

The competition winners will perform their concerto with the listed ensemble in the 2019–20 season as follows:

Katrina Clements, clarinet
Oscar Navarro (b. 1981), Concerto No. 2 for Clarinet, performance with the ASU Wind Ensemble

Aoshuang Li, piano
Franz Liszt (1811–1886), Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S. 124, performance with the ASU Symphony Orchestra

Nathan Salazar, saxophone
John Mackey (b. 1973), Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Wind Ensemble, performance with the ASU Wind Orchestra

Jennifer Son, cello
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957), Concerto in C, op. 37, performance with the ASU Symphony Orchestra

Tingshuo Tang, piano
Franz Liszt (1811–1886), Totentanz, performance with the ASU Philharmonia