By Ella Prieto ’26, Contributing Writer
Friday, Sept. 16, saw the 14th Annual Concerto Competition hosted by the Sunderman Conservatory. The Concerto Competition is open to all music majors and minors, and students can compete as single soloists or multiple soloists. They can audition, not just with concertos, but also arias, concert songs, and song cycles. There can be one, several, or no winners of the competition. Winners of the competition receive $250 dollars and a chance to perform during next year’s concert season.
The competition was held at Paul Music Hall in the Sunderman Conservatory. It was also streamed through YouTube so that family members could watch from home. The competition began with remarks by James Day, the Director of the Sunderman Conservatory. He mentioned that there were 17 acts competing this year, which is the most there has ever been. Additionally, this year had the greatest variety of instruments and pieces played. Day also introduced the adjudicators, who were watching via the YouTube live stream: Michael Gamon, Ryan Kozak, Kayoko Dan, and Enrique Vilaseco. All have very impressive backgrounds and accomplishments under their belts such as being chairs of music departments, music directors, and orchestra directors. A special shoutout was given to Ryan Kozak, as he was a previous student at the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree with a Minor in Political Science. Another shoutout was given to Dr. Scott Crowne, who accompanied nearly all the acts on piano.
The competition saw a great variety in this year’s acts. It featured many composers, such as Mozart, Debussy, Cimarosa, and Vivaldi. There were many different instruments as well, including violins, a tuba, an oboe, an euphonium, clarinets, flutes, and vocal chords. All of the acts were about 8 minutes long, making the overall competition about three hours. Students also varied in how they performed. Some, such as violinist Minato Hasegawa ’23, performed with no music in front of them, doing the entire 8-minute performance from memory. Others, such as Marissa Duggan ’25, were very expressive in their performance, letting the audience really capture the meaning of the piece she performed. The pieces all had different energies; some were light and happy while others were dark and haunting. They all struck emotion in the audience. It was evident that all of the performers worked hard on their acts, and they shone on stage as a result of that hard work.
While all the performers were wonderful, there did have to be a final decision about a winner. This year the adjudicators chose two winners. They were Owen McGowan ’23 and Colin Presser ’23. McGowan performed Concertino for Euphonium composed by Richard Wilhelm with a euphonium. Presser performed Tableaux de Provence for Saxophone and Orchestra composed by Paule Maurice with an alto saxophone. Both did an outstanding job and were recognized for their efforts by the adjudicators and the audience alike.