Matinée Musicale (virtually) awards $51K in scholarships

Pandemic can’t stop the music

The coronavirus epidemic has put an enormous dent in all sort of plans this spring, from live concerts to exhibits to … well, pretty much everything, including in-person auditions.

Facing the possibility of not being able to hold live auditions for its annual Nancy F. Walker Memorial Scholarship Competition, the leaders of Matinée Musicale, the 107-year-old Cincinnati professional recital series, investigated how to make these auditions happen. After much discussion – with legal consultation and agreement from its judges – Matinée Musicale got creative and adjusted its regular procedures in order to hold the competition online. Each applicant submitted a YouTube video presenting up to 10 minutes of music.

Eight surrounding counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana were represented with a total of 65 applicants from four colleges, 21 high schools and several homeschools. Among the surprises was a set of siblings, who each won second place, one at the college level, the other at the high school level.

High School Instrumental

Kasey Shao, piano

1st Place

Kasey Shao, piano (junior, Walnut Hills High School – Ran Dank, teacher)

2nd Place

Simon Bakos, bass clarinet (senior, Mason High School – Diana Gipson, teacher)

3rd Place (TIE)

  • Daniel Dorsey, cello (junior, St. Xavier High School – Sarah Kim, teacher)
  • Meagan Hipsky, cello (senior, homeschool – Sarah Kim, teacher)

Honorable Mention

  • Jennifer Armor, violin (senior, homeschool – Kurt Sassmannshaus, teacher)
  • Nolan Meister, piano (junior, Lakota West High School – Jackson Leung, teacher)
  • Arun Kamath, piano (junior, Sycamore High School – Richard Van Dyke, teacher)
  • Andrew Lu, piano (senior, St. Xavier High School – Nozomi Yamaguchi, teacher)

High School Vocal

Jadyn Riggs, mezzo-soprano

1st Place

Jadyn Riggs, mezzo-soprano (senior, School for Creative and Performing Arts – Karl Resnik, teacher)

2nd Place

Mary Wilkens, soprano (junior, Ursuline Academy – Melody Wallace, teacher)

3rd Place

Eric Riedel, tenor (senior, West Clermont High School – Alison Acord, teacher)

Honorable Mention

Claire Northcut, soprano (junior, Mason High School – Bill Seale, teacher)

College Instrumental

Yang Gao, piano

1st Place

Yang Gao, piano (junior, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music – Awadagin Pratt, teacher)

2nd Place

Janna Young, harp (senior, CCM – Gillian Sella, teacher)

3rd Place

Phillip Palmore, French horn (senior, CCM – Denise Tryon, teacher)

Honorable Mention

  • Kasey Stokes, piano (junior, CCM – Dror Biran, teacher)
  • Charlie Gately, trumpet (senior, Miami University – Steven Pride, teacher)
  • Natalie Orth, violin (CCM – Timothy Lees, teacher)
  • Stephen Freeman, piano (senior, Xavier University – Sonya Szabo-Reynolds, teacher)

College Vocal

Sara (“Storm”) Hargrave, soprano

1st Place

Sara “Storm” Hargrave, soprano (junior, CCM – Amy Johnson, teacher)

2nd Place

Nathanial Wilkens, baritone (junior, Miami University – Alison Acord, teacher)

3rd Place

Kayla Kramer, soprano (senior, Miami University – Alison Acord, teacher)

Honorable Mention

  • Logan Wagner, tenor (senior, CCM – Quinn Patrick Ankrum, teacher)
  • Hayden Smith, baritone (senior, CCM – Kenneth Shaw, teacher)

Instrumental Judges

  • Dan Culnan – associate principal cellist, Cincinnati Symphony; pianist
  • Karen Schneider – well known for teaching and embouchure problem solving skills; faculty of the Kendall Betts Horn Camp and Barry Tuckwell Institute
  • Manami White – concertmaster, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, concertmaster and associate director, Collegium Cincinnati; principal second violin and personnel manager, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; concertmaster, South Florida Symphony Orchestra; concertmaster, Ohio Valley Symphony

Vocal Judges

  • Mark Calkins, associate professor of music, voice; Berea College; past president of Kentucky chapter of National Association of Teachers of Singing; teacher of master classes in classical operatic and musical theatre performance internationally
  • Evans Mirageas, artistic director of Cincinnati Opera
  • Morgan Smith, baritone, local resident and prolific global performer of modern operatic repertoire

Nancy Fuldner Walker was a musician, music teacher and strong advocate for all music and arts organizations. She provided able leadership to Matinée Musicale for more than four decades before her death in October 2017. 

Matinée Musicale Cincinnati has presented classical music recitals by rising professional musicians since 1912.

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