Schubert Club holds annual student competition

Hannah Peterson and MPR's Craig Thorson
MPR sound engineer Craig Thorson adjusts flutist Hannah Peterson's microphone. Hannah was the winner of the high school wind and brass division of the Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition.
MPR/Richard Rasch

The Schubert Club held its annual Student Scholarship Competition this spring, as they've done for the past 85 years.

Xavier Jara
Xavier Jara is 15 years old and has only played guitar three years, but hard work has paid off and he won his division at the Schubert Club Competition.
MPR/Richard Rasch

This year, 230 students competed at Macalester College. Fifty judges in fourteen divisions chose winners in junior high through graduate school in strings, voice, winds, guitar and piano divisions.

The winners receive scholarship money and performance opportunities, including a public winners' recital this coming Friday. To gear up for the event, we've invited a winner-a-day to play some music and talk a bit about their music.

On Monday fifteen-year-old Xavier Jara, a home-schooled student, will play guitar. He has only studied for three-and-a-half years. It was a fortuitous event that he visited a local Mexican restaurant and heard a Mariachi band. He knew right away the guitar was for him.

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David Kent Morgan singing
David Kent Morgan makes round vowels as he sings music from Mozart's "The Magic Flute." He'll begin college next fall at the Eastman School of Music.
MPR /Richard Rasch

An exceptional musician who was already studying violin, he picked up guitar and studied with Alan Johnston at MacPhail. He plays a beguiling Villa-Lobos choros and lute music by Bach.

Tuesday, we'll hear a young tenor, David Kent Morgan. At only eighteen, he competed against college students to take first prize in voice. His sweet, lightly vibrated high voice is quite a contrast from his first instrument, the tuba.

David joined choir when he was freshman, and his director, Beverly Solberg, accompanies him on two love songs, one Italian by Stefano Donaudy and another from Mozart's "Magic Flute."

Joshua Rohde told his parents when he was three that he wanted to learn an instrument, but not the one his brother was learning. Since his brother was learning Suzuki violin, Joshua's parents said it's either the cello or the bass for you. Joshua picked cello because he could play it sitting down.

Joshua Rohde
University of Minnesota student Joshua Rohde plays Elgar with intensity, losing himself in the music.
MPR/Richard Rasch

Wednesday, we'll hear this 21-year-old junior from the University of Minnesota play a dramatic Elgar Cello Concerto and a playful Paganini set of variations.

Thursday is Viking Day with a capricious piece by Carl Nielsen played by 17-year-old Hannah Peterson. Hannah's bubbly personality matches well with her bravura performance.

Hearing Tchaikovsky's ballets growing up, she always wanted to be a part of their beauty. Grandma had a flute in the attic and that's what Hannah learned. She hopes to be a professional musician and this fall heads to The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Anton Melnichenko
Russian pianist Anton Melnichenko followed another Russian, his teacher Alexander Braginsky to Saint Paul's Hamline University. He gives Shostakovich a special sizzle.
MPR/Richard Rasch

Anton Melnichenko studied in Moscow, met a teacher, Alexander Braginsky, and followed him from Moscow to Hamline University. He says he loves the friendliness of Americans. He plays music from the pianists' "bible" Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier" as well as some Russian music, preludes by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Another pianist, Maggie Yang, started this week-long set on Sunday with her second-prize winning performance of Chopin's Etude, Op. 10, no. 4 and a light and airy Rondo Capriccioso by Mendelssohn. Maggie loves Mendelssohn so much she actually gave herself an e-mail handle of "I love Mendelssohn." She is 14 and studies with Tania Spector.

The Competition Winners Concert is this Friday at 7:30 at Luther Seminary. Classical Minnesota Public Radio's Alison Young will host.