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OCU Music Students to Compete in Regional Contest

WICHITA, Kan. — Students from Oklahoma City University will compete in the 73rd Naftzger Young Artists Auditions & Music Awards April 27 on the campus of Wichita State University. 

Graduate violin student Angelica Pereira Espitia and undergraduate euphonium student Samuel Winters will compete in the instrumental division; undergraduate tenor Tevyn Hill and undergraduate mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Nelson will compete in the voice division.

The competition, which is administered by the Wichita Symphony, will host 53 young musicians who will compete for $11,000 in prizes. Contestants will compete for a single $5,000 prize, plus $2,000 prizes in each of the three divisions – piano, instrumental and voice. A new category has been added this year, the Naftzger Fund for Fine Arts Musical Comedy Special Prize, and the winner will receive $2,000. 

The competition is open to residents of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma who are enrolled in any college, university or conservatory; and non-resident students attending college in Kansas, Oklahoma or Missouri.

At least two contestants from each division will be selected to perform in that evening’s finals in Wiedemann Hall at Wichita State University. The Finals Recital is free to the public. Results and presentation of awards will immediately follow the final round of auditions.

Adjudicating the division auditions are three professional musicians from around the country.  Piano judge Brian Connelly has performed a broad range of historical and modern repertoires and is widely respected as a scholar and performer of historical instruments. Connelly teaches piano performance and chamber music at the Shepherd School of Rice University.

The vocal division judge will be Linda Mabbs, who is on the faculty at the University of Maryland where she was named a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in 2000 and awarded the prestigious Landmark Award in 2011. Mabbs has sung with many of the world’s leading orchestras across the United States and Europe, and participates in chamber music performances and opera.

Instrumental judge Thomas Loewenheim enjoys an international career combining cello performance, conducting and teaching at the highest levels. Loewenheim is currently director of orchestras and professor of cello at California State University, Fresno, and the conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Youth Orchestras of Fresno.

The Naftzger Young Artists & Awards are made possible by the Naftzger Fund for Fine Arts, Inc., created by Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Naftzger in memory of L.S. Naftzger, Ida L. Naftzger and Lee Southwell Naftzger II.