Finalists selected in William C. Byrd contest



FLINT — The five finalists at the 44th annual William C. Byrd International Young Artist Competition for Piano performed before a full house in the MacArthur Recital Hall at the Flint Institute of Music, recently.

The winner of the 2015 competition was Baron Fenwick who swept the audience into his performance with his great technical skills and artistic flare during the 30 minute piece. He performed Concerto No. 1 in B flat, Op. 23 by Tchaikovsky in the competition. Fenwick is from Boone, NC and is an undergraduate student at the Mannes School of Music in New York, NY.

The second place was awarded to Mengjia Lu who performed Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor by Rachmaninoff. Lu began her studies in Shanghai and is an undergraduate student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Fenwick and Lu were accompanied by Ralph Votapek, the artist-in-residence emeritus at Michigan State University. A winner of many competitions in his own right, Votapek is best known for being the winner of the first Van Cliburn Competition more than 50 years ago.

The remaining three finalists who are not ranked were Man-Ling Bai who studies at Lee University in Cleveland, TN (Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini by Rachmaninoff); Sung-Soo Cho, a doctoral student at the Cleveland Institute of Music (Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26 by Prokofiev); and Siwon Kim who is studying for a master’s degree at Indiana University Toradze Piano Studio in South Bend, IN (Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 by Tchaikovsky).

The preliminary judge for the competition who was responsible for choosing 30 semi-finalists was Dr. Howard Watkins, collaborative pianist and the assistant conductor of the orchestra for the New York Metropolitan Opera Company.

The next Byrd Competition is for strings and will take place on March 5, 2016 at the Flint Institute of Music. — G.G.


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