Marion Harding Freshman Phil Nicol Wins CSO's 2014 Young Musicians Competition Senior Division

The Columbus Symphony today announced that 15-year-old percussionist Phil Nicol, a freshman at Marion Harding High School, is the winner of the Senior Concerto Division of the Columbus Symphony's 2014 Young Musicians Competition. Held at The Ohio State University School of Music, it is an annual competition for young musicians in grades 8-12. Nicol's outstanding performance of the first movement of the Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra by Ney Rosauro (accompanied by John Holsinger) on the marimba resulted in a $500 award generously provided by the Women's Association of the Columbus Symphony.

Other finalists include:

Paul Schubert, cello; Blake Giesting, string bass; Alexandra Traini, bassoon; Michael Chen, piano; and Abigail Bachelor, harp.

Judges for the finals were Betsy Sturdevant and Jack Jenny of the CSO; Mark Rudoff, professor of cello at The Ohio State University; and Dr. Caroline B. Salido-Barta of Otterbein University.

The Junior Division, which had to be postponed because of inclement weather, has been rescheduled for Saturday, February 22, at The Ohio State University.

Nicol began playing piano at age 6. When it came time to choose an instrument for the fifth grade school band, he chose percussion at the last minute. After a year of drumming, his band director introduced him to the marimba and xylophone. In grade 7, he began taking percussion lessons, learning the four mallet technique and having the opportunity to play a few solos. The following summer, Nicol took up piano lessons with John Holsinger, who then connected him with Ohio Wesleyan University's percussion professor, Kim Burdett. Dr. Burdett vastly expanded his marimba literature and helped him learn difficult pieces.

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by Peter Danish