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Concerto Concert features three student soloists

April 3, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's 49th annual Concerto Concert, featuring 250 musicians and three student soloists, begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13, in Miller Auditorium. Admission is open to the public free of charge.

The performance features this year's Concerto Competition winners--student soloists Evan Conroy, Cecilia Kozlowski and Renee Elise Pruiksma--in performance with the University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bruce Uchimura. Leading the program will be "Roman Carnival Overture," Opus 9, by Hector Berlioz. One of the composer's most recognized overtures, it is performed frequently by orchestras around the world.

The centerpiece of the concert's first half will be "The Fountains of Rome" by the Italian impressionist composer Ottorino Respighi. It is a symphonic poem with musical depictions of Rome's most famous fountains. The concert will conclude in grand fashion with nearly 250 musicians performing Francis Poulenc's magnificent "Gloria."

Joining the orchestra will be the University Grand Chorus and soprano soloist and WMU faculty member Monica Griffin. Dr. James K. Bass, director of choral activities at WMU, will conduct.

WMU Concerto Competition
2008 winners

Bass trombonist Evan Conroy, a junior from Walled Lake, Mich., will perform Thom Ritter George's "Bass Trombone Concerto." In addition to being named a WMU Concerto Competition winner, Evan recently won the Division II U.S. Army Band's National Trombone Solo Competition for bass trombone. He also was given the only bass trombone spot in the prestigious summer program of the International Festival Institute at Round Top. Evan is currently one of three finalists in the longest-standing and most prestigious competition for young bass trombonists, the International Trombone Association's Donald Yaxley Bass Trombone Competition. He's been playing bass trombone for just three years. Before coming to WMU, he played tenor trombone and studied with Kip Hickman, principal trombone of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.

Hornist Cecilia Kozlowski, a senior from Sterling Heights, Mich., will perform Reinhold Gliere's "Concerto for Horn in B-Flat Major," Opus 91. Prior to joining WMU, she studied with Dr. Randall Faust at the Interlochen Arts Camp and with Walter Lewis at Sterling Heights High School. Cecilia holds one of five Russell Brown Honors Brass Quintet scholarships for music study and is a freelance horn player and teacher. She has performed with Michigan's Elkhart, Battle Creek, Grosse Pointe and Lake St. Clair symphony orchestras and with the North American Brass Quintet. She is a member of the International Horn Society, Sigma Alpha Iota women's music fraternity, Collegiate Music Educators and Music Undergraduate Student Advisory Council.

Mezzo-soprano Renee Elise Pruiksma, a junior from Grand Rapids, Mich., will perform two vocal solos in the Concerto Concert--"Must the Winter Come so Soon" from Samuel Barber's Pulitzer Prize-winning opera "Vanessa" and "Una Voce Poco Fa" from Gioacchino Rossini's comic opera "The Barber of Seville." Renee is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and is the Sam B. and Ethel G. Adams Scholar in the WMU School of Music. She received first-place awards at the 2007 state and regional competitions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and recently performed the role of Dorabella in WMU's production of Mozart's comic opera "Cosi Fan Tutte."

Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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