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For immediate release
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014

Young Artists Concert features talented OU students performing with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra

     Rochester, Mich. – Some of Oakland University's most talented music students will perform with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra (OSO) during the 17th annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16 in Varner Hall.

As winners of OU's 2014 Concerto Competition, the students -- Eric Essler, Alex Kopitz, Ann Toomey and Samantha Wood -- were selected to reprise their performances with the OSO, Oakland University's Orchestra in Residence.

Essler has played saxophone for 11 years, specializing in classical and jazz. The junior music education major currently studies with Dr. Jeffrey Heisler. After graduation, he plans to teach and direct middle school and high school band. Essler graduated from Jefferson High School in Monroe, Mich. and is currently the director of choir at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in West Bloomfield.

Kopitz has played piano since he was five years old. Having graduated high school two years early, he is a 19-year-old junior at OU studying with Mary Siciliano. He plans to pursue a master's in piano performance, with the goal of making a career in performance.


Toomey is a vocal performance major who studies with Dr. Alta Dantzler. She will graduate in the spring and plans to pursue a graduate degree. She is currently auditioning at schools around the country.   


A native of Pennsylvania, Wood completed her undergraduate work at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is working towards her master's in music, with a concentration in vocal performance. She studies with Dr. Edith Diggory, whom she first heard about during a summer program at The Bel Canto Institute in Florence. She plans to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts when she is finished at Oakland.   

In addition to playing with the young artists, the OSO will perform Overture to Oberon by Carl Maria von Weber; The Black Swan (after Brahms' 6 Piano Pieces, Op. 118: No. 2, Intermezzo in A) by Bright Sheng; and All Things Majestic by Jennifer Higdon.

Varner Recital Hall is on the Oakland University campus. Maps of the campus are available at or by searching for "Varner Hall" on a smartphone. Ample free parking will be available.

Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased without service fees at or by phone at (800) 585-3737. They can also be purchased at the Center for Student Activities Service Window in the Oakland Center or at the Varner Hall Box Office. For more information, visit the website or call (248) 370-2030.

Young Artists include from left: Samantha Wood, Alex Kopitz, Ann Toomey, Eric Essler.


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University Communications and Marketing
Oakland University, 100 Anibal House, 2200 North Squirrel Road, Rochester, MI 48309-4401
Oakland University is a doctoral, research-intensive university located in Oakland County, Michigan. The university has 139 bachelor's degree programs and 127 graduate degree and certificate programs. dedicated to delivering a distinctive undergraduate experience that is complemented by the strength of its graduate offerings and research accomplishments, Oakland University is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences, the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and the Schools of Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Engineering and Computer Science, Health Sciences, Nursing, and The Honors College. Visit Oakland University on the web at