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David Russell

Walgreen's. Wow! A bright future seen in Chicago.

January 1, 2008 at 3:20 PM

If ever you have the thought that classical music may be dying, all that need be done to have a reality check is a quick peek at the Midwest Young Artist program and the Walgreen's Concerto Competition in Chicago. Any such thought will be quickly be cut down to size and replaced with an overwhelming sense of hope for the future of our great art.

I had the pleasure of judging the Walgreen's competition this past weekend. I can attest that for two solid days, from 8:00-AM to 6:00 PM, my jury colleagues and I heard some of the very best talent this country has to offer. The level of playing was simply extraordinary in most cases. Plus, there was so much of it! Each person played for only 10 minutes and it filled two days! So many performances were of world-class quality that it almost boggled the mind that talent can be so focused like that in one geographic area!

The winner of the Junior division was a young (eighth grade, maybe?) 'cello student of Hans Jorgen-Jensen, who played a Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations which was tasteful and elegant, as well as completely techinically secure. It was brilliant.

The overall winner was a viola student of Roland Vamos, who played the Bartok Viola Concerto with such mastery that I felt Bartok was speaking! Truly wonderful artistry from someone not even out of high school!

There were MANY other performances which were truly unforgettable! The jury felt it neccessary to stop awarding honorable mentions after we reached a list of 10 performances in the string division! They were all of extraordinary, international calibre. Check out the Walgreen's competition website for the names and the rest of the results.

Bravo MYA! If your competition is any indication---the future is bright!

From Mara Gerety
Posted on January 2, 2008 at 3:26 AM
Ah, MYA--I remember a lot of groups from there at the Fischoff last year. Er, two years ago (can't get used to it being 2008.)

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