Concerto Competition Winners Virtual Performance
The Concerto Competition was founded in 2018 by Dr. Philip Rudd, Director of Orchestras at Denison. It is the only competitive opportunity that showcases individual performers, rather than groups, and serves as an important experience for some of our most accomplished music students, many of whom go on to pursue professional music careers.
Eligible singers and instrumentalists apply for the competition with the sponsorship of their private lesson professors. They perform their pieces with piano accompaniment in a live public competition with one or more expert judges where one to three winners are then selected each year. Student competition performances are ranked by an outside expert adjudicator. The 2019-20 competition was judged by Dr. Chelsea Gallo, Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony.
Denison’s 2020 concerto competition winners, Nicole Harris, Shengbo Shi, and Bebe Blumenthal were scheduled to perform as soloists with the Denison orchestra in spring of 2020. Due to the pandemic and the move to remote learning, these performances were unfortunately postponed. However, the Denison music department still wished to highlight and share the wonderful work of these students. Thus began a project to produce a collection of remote concerto soloists videos.
Denison faculty, and guest artists, including members of ETHEL, one of our Ensembles-in-Residence, came together to form the remote ensemble, playing the orchestral parts which accompany the student soloists. The process began with the students who recorded their solo parts at home. Then the parts for piano and conductor were recorded and layered to align with the soloists’ recordings. With that foundation, the rest of the instrumentalists recorded their parts, while listening to and aligning with the solo, piano, and conducting videos. Patrick Smith, Denison’s Multimedia Producer, mixed and mastered all of the parts together to create the final videos.
This video project has become a silver lining to the unfortunate need to cancel the in-person concert, and has become so much more. It has turned out to be a wonderful platform to connect with our community, Denison and virtual, and it is a beautiful gift to our three concerto winners and all those who will enjoy watching it.
These works will be performed in full, in person, with Nicole Harris, Shengbo Shi, Bebe Blumenthal and the Denison orchestra when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, please enjoy these videos!