Donald Sinta Quartet Wins 2013 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition
The 2013 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition culminated last night, Wednesday evening, October 23, 2013 with the announcement of three winners of the annual international CAG Competition: the Donald Sinta Quartet, an American saxophone foursome; American violinist Alexi Kenney; and Korean pianist Ko-Eun Lee. All three join the CAG artist roster and receive two-year management contracts.
At the end of a concert at The Greene Space featuring the winners, Concert Artists Guild President Richard Weinert announced to a lively crowd of CAG supporters and industry professionals that the distinguished jury had awarded First Prize to the Donald Sinta Quartet, which carries with it The Victor and Sono Elmaleh Award of $5,000. The Donald Sinta Quartet also received a Chamber Music America Showcase Performance and the Victor Elmaleh Piano Prize went to pianist Ko-Eun Lee.
Since its formation in 2010, the Donald Sinta Quartet, comprised of Dan Graser, soprano saxophone; Zach Stern, alto saxophone; Joe Girard, tenor saxophone; and Danny Hawthorne-Foss, baritone saxophone, has achieved international renown for its recitals, concerto performances, and championing of cutting-edge new repertoire. DSQ was the featured soloist with The University of Michigan Symphony Band during its 2011 tour through China and Los Angeles. Active on the competition circuit, DSQ was awarded the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 2013 Coleman International Chamber Competition as well as the First Prize at the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition. Recent performances include recitals in Scotland and Greece, and at the Paris Conservatory, Versailles Conservatory, Selmer Paris Showroom, and Shanghai Conservatory.
Born in Palo Alto, California, 19-year-old violinist Alexi Kenney is already the recipient of several awards, including
Third Prize at the 2012 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition and the Manfred Grommek Prize at the 2013 Kronberg Academy Masterclasses. He has appeared as a soloist with the China Philharmonic Orchestra and in recital and quartet performances at Carnegie Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Jordan Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Mondavi Center. Alexi has performed at festivals including Caramoor's "Rising Stars," Music@Menlo and its Winter Residency, the Ravinia Festival's Steans Institute, and Yellow Barn. Alexi currently attends the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where he studies with Donald Weilerstein on the Richard Elias Scholarship, having previously studied with Wei He, Jenny Rudin, and Natasha Fong.
Pianist Ko-Eun Lee has performed as soloist with the Boston Symphony, Barcelona Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, and the Aspen Concert Orchestra. Ko-Eun was a Top Prize winner in the World Piano Competition, Widemann Competition, Kosciuzko Foundation Chopin Competition, and E-Competition, performing at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Phillips Gallery in Washington, DC. Born in Seoul, Korea, she graduated with Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where she studied with noted pianist and pedagogue Jerome Lowenthal. She completed her Professional Studies at the Manhattan School of Music and is pursuing her Doctoral of Musical Arts at Stony Brook University.
A distinguished panel of 12 judges heard each of the 12 finalists perform a twenty-minute recital program at Merkin Concert Hall on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 throughout the day. The members of the Jury included:
Jenny Bilfield, President and CEO, Washington Performing Arts Society
Amy Burton, soprano
Colin Carr, cellist
Demetrius Fuller, Music & Artistic Director, Sinfonia Gulf Coast
Jeremy Ganter, Associate Executive Director/Director of Programming, The Mondavi Center, UC Davis Sharon Isbin, guitarist
Ida Kavafian, violinist
Ursula Oppens, pianist
Bohuslav Rattay, Music Director, Midland, El Paso, and Lake Charles Symphonies David Shifrin, clarinetist
Todd Wetzel, Director, Purdue Convocations
Ed Yim, Vice President, Artistic Planning, New York Philharmonic
Founded in 1951 with a mission to discover, nurture & promote young musicians, Concert Artists Guild has helped several hundred young musicians start careers over the past sixty years. And the range of artistry has been great: from the heart of the tradition to the cutting edge. Notable alumni artists include violinist Jennifer Koh, clarinetists David Krakauer and David Shifrin, flutists Carol Wincenc and Marina Piccinini, Imani Winds, the Grammy-winning ensembles eighth blackbird, Pacifica and Parker String Quartets, and MacArthur Fellow flutist and arts entrepreneur Claire Chase.
CAG provides support to a roster of talented artists during the critical and formative time between completion of formal studies and the achievement of an established career. Artists are selected through a rigorous multi-round annual competition open to traditional and non-traditional instrumentalists, ensembles and singers. CAG offers comprehensive management services including concert bookings and tour management, commissioning and recording opportunities and marketing and publicity support. Competition winners are also presented on the Concerts in New York at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
The NewMusic/New Places initiative presents CAG artists in non-traditional venues such as bars, clubs, and galleries, introducing diverse audiences to concert music. The CAG Records label enables roster musicians to get their music onto disc and into the marketplace. The CAG Commissioning Program ensures that classical music continues to be a living art form by fostering collaborations between performers and composers.
Victor Elmaleh is chairman of World-Wide Group, a real estate development firm. He is a major contributor to a wide range of activities devoted to classical music, including sponsorship of Concert Artists Guild's annual Victor Elmaleh Competition. Mr. Elmaleh, an amateur classical pianist and aficionado, noted water colorist and painter, and former squash champion also supports The Victor Elmaleh Collection of recordings by rising stars of the piano world.