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OCU Pianists Dominate Tulsa-Based Israeli Competition
A pianist from Oklahoma City University earned first place for the third consecutive year in the Oklahoma Israel Exchange Young Artists Competition. Bass School of Music graduate student Marcin Parys was named the winner, while Hsin-I Lin was awarded second. Both are students of Professor Amy I-Lin Cheng. The victory marked the third consecutive year that Chengís students from OCUís Bass School of Music have won the statewide competition, open to pianists aged 21-28. The competition and May 9 concert were sponsored by OKIE, the Oklahoma Israel Exchange. Its mission is to develop joint projects between Oklahoma and Israel. The concert featured OCU alumna Ewa Plonka, winner of the 2008 Young Artists Competition, performing Beethoven's Sonata in E Major, Op. 109, Shostakovich's Prelude and Fugue No. 24 in D-minor, Ailon Heitner's Prelude on Hassidic Tunes, and Brahms' Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. Plonka, a native of Poland, is a graduate of OCUís Bass School of Music and of the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music. Plonka also won the 2007 Oklahoma Music Teachers Association Piano Competition and the Oklahoma City University Concerto Competition. She has performed in Poland, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Germany, Norway and the United States. Following her May 9 performance, Plonka will be featured in a concert tour of Israel as winner of the 2008 Young Artists Competition. She will begin doctoral studies at the University of Utah in the fall. 2007 winner Anna Starzec, also of OCU, previously performed in Italy, Germany, Norway, Poland and the United States. In May 2008, she performed a recital at the Felicja Blumental Music Center in Tel Aviv and was a featured soloist in an orchestral concert at the Blumental Music Festival, as well as other programs including a concert in Tiberias, Tulsa's sister city in Israel. The 2009 Young Artists Competition was presented by OKIE in collaboration with the University of Tulsa, the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, and the Blumental Music Center of Tel Aviv. Additional support is from the Kerr Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.