Student musicians wow at annual Aria and Concerto Competition

Students, faculty and guests gathered in the Von der Mehden Recital Hall on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 for the University of Connecticut Music Department’s annual Aria and Concerto Competition. (Bailey Wright/The Daily Campus)

Students, faculty and guests gathered in the Von der Mehden Recital Hall on Saturday afternoon for the University of Connecticut Music Department’s annual Aria and Concerto Competition.

A variety of both graduate and undergraduate musicians, including clarinetists, vocalists and trombonists performed pieces by a wide range of composers, from Henri Tomasi to Max Bruch to Frédéric Chopin.

The graduate winner of the competition was flutist Hyejin Bae, who performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Flute Concerto in D Major.” The undergraduate winners were Myles Mocarski, a violinist who played Pablo de Sarasate’s “Carmen Fantasy,” and Samantha Lake, who performed Concerto for Tuba by Bruce Broughton.

Laura Reyes opened the competition with Mozart’s “Bassoon Concerto in B Flat Major.” The piece started off slowly and calmly, before growing more lively and showcasing an impressive series of runs.

Jose Sosa performed Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s “Flute Concerto in D Minor,” a dynamic yet delicate piece featuring impressively fast finger work.

Clarinetist Jonathan Schmieding played Gioacchino Rossini’s “Introduction, Theme and Variations,” which ranged from slow and flowing to spirited and staccato with powerful high notes.

Andrew Kohanski’s performance of Jacques Ibert’s “Concertino da Camera” on the saxophone started off loud and lively before transitioning to a quieter, more haunting section, then returning to the energetic pace of the beginning.

The competition closed with Ruth Nieh’s rendition of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor.” Alternating between beautifully pensive and highly animated, Nieh’s dexterous playing mesmerized many in the audience.

The judges of the Aria and Concerto competition were Dr. Irina Muresanu a member of the chamber music and violin faculty at the Boston Conservatory and assistant professor of violin at the University of Maryland, professional operatic soprano Patricia Schuman and Lt. Commander Adam Williamson, Director of the United States Coast Guard Band.

The competition’s winners, Bae, Morcarski and Lake, will perform with the UConn Symphony in the Aria/Concerto Competition Concert on Thursday, Dec. 10.


Helen Stec is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at helen.stec@uconn.edu.