The University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music has announced the winners of the 2023 Concerto Competition. These soloists are selected after advancing through a rigorous competition process judged by faculty within the School of Music.
This year’s winners are: Michael Chapa, saxophone; Bailey Hume, clarinet; Min-Chen Lee, piano; Sean Smith, violin; Aly Soriano, piano; and Xiaoqian Sun, piano.
The concert presenting five of the Concerto Competition winners with the UGA Symphony Orchestra will be Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center, 230 River Road in Athens. Hume, Lee, Smith, Soriano and Sun will perform. Tickets are $20 for adults or $3 with a valid UGA student ID. The UGA Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Mark Cedel.
The remaining soloist, Chapa, will perform with the UGA Wind Ensemble on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. Tickets for that performance are $15 for adults or $3 with a valid UGA student ID. The UGA Wind Ensemble is conducted by Nicholas Williams.
Tickets for both concerts can be purchased online at music.uga.edu or by calling 706-542-4400.
Chapa is an eclectic and passionate artist and educator who has been recognized for his expertise in chamber music and his conception of interdisciplinary programs. Chapa is the soprano saxophonist of the saxophone quartet Mixed Media, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2022 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. From October 2020 to August 2021, Chapa traveled to Paris, France, to study contemporary music and interdisciplinary collaboration at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Boulogne-Billancourt with saxophonist Jean-Michel Goury. Chapa will present “Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble” by Ingolf Dahl with the UGA Wind Ensemble on Feb. 20.
Hume is an Australian clarinetist and saxophonist. Trained in classical performance, his experience spans a diversity of genres, including classical, jazz, contemporary and commercial. Hume has performed in various settings, including orchestras, big bands, theatre pits and as studio musician, recording extensively for the University of Melbourne and for the Australian Army Band (Melbourne) as principal clarinet. Hume’s recordings are featured in the Percy Grainger Museum. Hume received his undergraduate degree from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, and he is currently working towards his master’s degree at the University of Georgia. Hume will present “Concerto Pour Clarinette et Orchestre” by Jean FranVaix with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 25.
Lee is a passionate and versatile pianist from Taiwan. As a soloist, she regularly gives recitals and has performed in Taiwan, Austria, Australia, Korea and the United States. She was recently invited to perform at Steinway Hall in New York City and at the opening concert of the Yilan International Art Festival. Lee made her concerto debut with the National Chinese Orchestra of Taiwan, performing “A River in Spring” by Xu Jinxin. She also won the Tainan National University of the Arts Concerto Competition and performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with the TNNUA orchestra. Lee will present “Piano Concerto No. 1, E minor, opus 11” by Frederic Chopin with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 25.
Smith is an undergraduate violin performance major studying with Michael Heald in the School of Music. As a fourth-year student, he will graduate in May 2024 and plans to pursue graduate music studies. Although he began his music degree during the pandemic, COVID-19 policies actually led him to participate in his first student chamber ensemble. Since attending the Aspen Music Festival in 2023, he is determined to find his place in the orchestral field. Smith will present “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, B minor, opus 61” by Edward Elgar with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 25.
Originally from Atlanta, Soriano is an experienced solo pianist, chamber musician and teacher. She has attended a variety of festivals, including the Texas State International Piano Festival and the Paris International Summer Sessions, as well as chamber programs such as SongFest and the Collaborative Piano Institute. As an active performer and advocate for new music, Soriano frequently premieres new works and has played in the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. She recently received the Contemporary Fellowship for the 2023 Atlantic Music Festival and is now a member of the newly founded Atlanta Contemporary Music Collective. Soriano earned her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Florida State University with David Kalhous and received her master’s degree at the University of Georgia with Liza Stepanova, with whom she is currently pursuing her doctorate. Soriano will present “Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, opus 14” by Nikolai Kapustin with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 25.
Sun began her musical journey at the age of 6 in her native China, Anhui Province. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and came to New York City in 2019 to pursue a master’s degree at the Mannes School of Music under the tutelage of Dr. JY Song. While at Mannes, she was invited to perform at the ELC Performance Workshop Recital at the Glass Theater and gave her first solo recital in the United States. Sun is currently in her second year of DMA studies at UGA working with Liza Stepanova. At UGA, she has performed in masterclasses for acclaimed pianists Mikhail Voskressensky and Isata Kanneh-Mason and enjoys teaching an international group of students through the UGA Community Music School. Sun will present “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, A minor, opus 7” by Clara Schumann with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 25.