Every year, one of the great highlights of our performance season is the third Oakland Symphony Orchestra (OSO) Concert, the David Daniels Young Artists Concert, which features the winners of the Oakland Concerto Competition, which this year will be on Sunday, February 10, at 3 pm.
Final decisions about who will be given the honor of performing are made by a panel of judges presided over by OSO conductor Gregory Cunningham. He says, “The concerto competition is always fiercely contested and we have to make a brutal choice. This year all of the finalists demonstrated great maturity, poise and artistry.” Helping Greg make these very difficult decisions were Janice Hauxwell-Hammond, representing the voice faculty; Mary Siciliano, the piano faculty; and Miles Brown, the instrumental faculty.
The winners of this year’s completion were announced on Friday, January 11, 2013. Selected were one piano student, Joe Walters; two instrumental students, Emily Hudock and Luke Perzyk; and two voice students, Nicolette Book and Chynna Roose.
Joe Walters is a senior piano performance major who studies at OU with Rebecca Happel
. Joe attended Berkley High School where he played violin in the school orchestra. He took both piano and violin lessons with a private teacher from the age of 12, and considered the violin as his primary instrument for a time, but ultimately decided that his heart lay with the piano. Raymond Walters
, Joe’s paternal grandfather, gave him his very first piano lesson, and the piece Joe will play at the concert, the first movement of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto in G Major
, holds a special meaning for the Walters family. It is the music Raymond Walters was working on when, as a young man very close to the age Joe is today, he was drafted into the army to serve in World War II. Joe is even working from his grandfather’s score. Raymond Walters died three years ago and will not be there to see his grandson’s first recital with a symphony orchestra, but as Becky Happel says, “It seems a fitting tribute to the legacy of music his grandfather provided Joe that he should perform this great work.”
Emily Hudock is a freshman violin performance major who studies with teacher Elizabeth Rowin. "Emily has had an astonishing first semester," says Elizabeth. Emily attended four separate high schools but spent the most time – almost two full years – at Grand Blanc Community High School. She has been playing with the Oakland Symphony since the beginning of this academic year but this will be her first featured solo. She will play the first movement of Aram Khachaturian's Violin Concerto in D minor.
Luke Perzyk is a sophomore trombone performance major who studies with Associate Professor Kenneth Kroesche. Luke attended Lake Orion High School where he played in the band. He took lessons at several universities before choosing to attend OU and is forthright about what most influenced his decision. “Dr. Kroesche told me I was using the wrong mouthpiece. No one at the other schools mentioned it. That made a big impression.” Luke feels he has made very rapid progress already in his trombone studies, something we will all get to appreciate for ourselves when he performs the Trombone Concertino, Op. 45, No. 7, by Lars-Erik Larsson. He is “pretty excited” to have won the competition and to have the opportunity to play, and, of course, his family is very proud.
Nicolette Book recently graced the recital hall stage with her bravura performance of the lead role in OU Opera’s production of Suor Angelica. Anyone who heard her on that occasion must be looking forward to her performance of Marietta's Lied from Die tote Stadt, by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, which is what won her one of the two voice spots in the Young Artists Concert. Nicolette, who attended Troy High School, says her piece is “a bitter-sweet aria about lost love.” Nicolette is a senior but she intends to stay at OU for one more year to study with her teacher Edie Diggory as she prepares for graduate school.
Chynna Roose will also sing at the concert. Chynna, who attended several performance arts schools and conservatories before finding her vocal home at OU will sing "I'm Full of Happiness" from Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten. Chynna has what is known as a dramatic voice and is destined to spend many hours rehearsing and performing in full tragedy mode, but before she does she has a statement she wishes to make about her choice for the Young Artists Concert. “I love this piece because it is an opportunity to introduce the audience to modern opera through comedy. There are very few roles that I could personally sing that make an audience erupt in laughter, and those moments are precious. It is an opportunity to persuade the skeptical audience member that opera is not all about tragic maidens in their time of despair. It is also about that humorously overly zealous do-gooder who stares you down between the brim of her hat and the point of her upturned nose as you check your phone during a sermon on Sunday morning. Lady Billows is haughty to the point of hilarity in a town of everyday people. I love this piece because I love sharing her ridiculousness with the audience.”
All our Young Artists have chosen their performance pieces with care and thoughtfulness. They have prepared with their teachers for many months. They will play or sing with passion. We invite you to join us on February 10 for the 16th Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert to see and hear all they have achieved with their hard work and dedication. Find the details here.
Photo: Upper: OU Concerto Winners 2013 (l to r) Chynna Roose, Nicolette Book, Luke Perzyk, Emily Hudock and Joe Walters. Photo by Carly Uhrig.
Lower: Joe Walters with his grandfather's score. Photo by Gillian Ellis.