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Chamber Music Competition Winners to Perform in Concert


After a third successful year of the School of Music’s student-run Utah Chamber Music Competition, the high school and college student winners will perform in concert on Friday, April 5 at 7 p.m. in Thompson Chamber Music Hall. The Chamber Competition saw 14 groups from all over Utah compete in a two day competition, at David Gardner Hall, on March 18 and 19. Five faculty judges selected and coached five winning ensembles that will be featured at the upcoming concert.

The ensembles, listed in order from Grand Prize to High School Division Winner, are: 

University of Utah Percussion Ensemble
University of Utah String Quartet
The Tzigane String Quartet, from Utah State University
Las Sonadores String Quartet, from Weber State University
American Fork High School Marimba Quartet 

Three excellent string quartets and two exceptional percussion ensembles make up the winners circle and represent many of the best young chamber musicians in Utah. Groups of 2-8 musicians were invited to audition for the competition, which drew a diverse array of ensembles from several high schools, colleges and universities.

“The highlight of the competition was seeing a lot of diverse instrument groups competing,” said Ben Ordaz, graduate chair of the SoM’s student advisory committee (SAC). “We had two percussion ensembles place among the winners, which was a great hallmark this year, along with the participation that came from all across the state.”

The SAC is excited to see that this competition has become an annual event that brings the greatest student chamber ensembles to the U of U for the competition and Winners' Concert. Aside from the chance to perform for a panel of judges and potentially in front of an enthusiastic audience in a stunning concert hall, the competition also provides a way for students to be actively involved in their own education without the incentive of a grade. Through the hands-on experience of putting together an ensemble and preparing a 10-minute performance, students gain skills that are often hard to cultivate in a class setting.

“The tradition of this competition is important because chamber music is the most direct and communal form of music making. It's not as personal as performing by yourself, but not as chaotic as performing in a large band,” Ordaz explained. “You're working one-on-one with other musicians, and in the process you learn so much more about your own artistry. Because of that, we know it's important to give chamber musicians this opportunity to compete and perform.”

When the School of Music’s SAC decided they would like to see more extracurricular performance opportunities for students in 2011, they did just that. After applying for and receiving a grant funded by Fine Arts fees, the SAC hosted its first Utah Chamber Music Competitions and Concerts in spring 2011. This year’s competition featured more than 20 ensembles of students ranging from elementary to college from all over the state. Along with the incentives of scholarship money and professional mentorship, participating in the competition allows burgeoning musicians to play in front of a panel of distinguished judges, which is an opportunity that offers great room for growth and feedback. Winners of the competition were provided with a coaching session from a professional chamber musician before being featured in the April 5 Winner’s Concert.

Admission is free to the Winner’s Concert on Friday, April 5, in Thompson Chamber Music Hall (inside DGH) at 7 p.m. This event is sponsored by a generous grant from the College of Fine Arts. 

Last Updated: 3/22/23