KALAMAZOO--The University Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Bruce Uchimura, will present the 53rd Annual Concerto Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22, in Miller Auditorium at Western Michigan University. Admission is free.
Winners of the 2012 School of Music's Concerto Competition are the featured soloists for the concert—violinist Ishtar Hernandez, pianist Sowon Kim and soprano Kirsten Schaffert.
In addition to the works performed by the soloists, the orchestra will perform the attractive tone poem "Huapango" by Mexican composer Jose Pablo Moncayo and the "Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber" by German composer Paul Hindemith.
Violinist Ishtar Hernandez will perform the first movement of the Violin Concerto in D Minor, Opus 47, by Jean Sibelius. Ishtar is a graduate student majoring in music performance, where he studies with Professor Renata Artman Knific.
He is one of four recipients of the KSO/WMU Artist Scholarship, awarding him a seat as a section violinist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. He has served as concertmaster for the WMU Symphony Orchestra. Hernandez received his Bachelor of Music degree in 2008, graduating cum laude from Stetson University in Florida at the age of 20. At Stetson, he was the William E. Buckwitz Orchestral Scholar, and served as Concertmaster of the University Orchestra for two years. Born in Florida and raised in Puerto Rico, Hernandez graduated from Miami's premiere arts magnet high school, Coral Reef Senior High School, at age 16.
Hernandez has toured and performed in Germany, Austria, Italy, England and Wales, and has performed with the New World Symphony Orchestra, Texas Music Festival Orchestra, Florida Rock Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, and Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. He is a prolific chamber music performer and has attended the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy and the Calvin String Summit in Grand Rapids.
Pianist Sowon Kim will perform the first movement of Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto Number 1 in E Minor, Opus 11. Sowon is a graduate student majoring in performance and studying with Professor Lori Sims.
Kim received a Master of Arts degree in instrumental music in 2011 and a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance 2008 from Yeungnam University in Kyungsan, Korea, where she studied with Seung-og Chu. She also earned a Professional Performance Certificate from the Pennsylvania State University after studying with Enrico Elisi. She graduated from Kyeungnam Art High School in Junju, Korea, in 2002, where she majored in piano and minored in cello.
Kim participated in the 2008 Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, and also performed with the Daegu City Symphony Orchestra in Daegu, Korea, after winning a Concerto Competition in 2007. She has been awarded numerous medals from the Korea National Music Competition, accompanied a student production of "The Marriage of Figaro" while at Penn State, and has collaborated with numerous musicians for competitions and recitals. She is the daughter of Siyeek Kim and Okhee Jung of South Korea.
Soprano Kirsten Schaffert will sing Lucia's "Mad Scene" from the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor" by Gaetano Donizetti. Schaffert is a senior majoring in vocal performance, choral education, and instrumental education. Her voice instructor is Dr. Ken Prewitt.
She is a Russell Brown Scholar, the Marcella and Philip Faustman Scholar, and the William and Fiona Denny Scholar. She graduated from Midland (Mich.) High School. Schaffert recently played the role of Laurie Moss in WMU's production of Aaron Copland's opera "The Tender Land." She was a division winner at the 2012 National Association of Teachers Singing regional competition, and a division winner at the 2010 NATS state competition.
Schaffert has sung in the Western Michigan University Chorale, Collegiate Singers and Cantus Femina. Also an accomplished trombonist, she is a finalist in the International Trombone Association Festival and will be competing in Paris this summer. She is the daughter of Lee and Nancy Schaffert of Sanford, Mich.