Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA orchestra concert features student winners

February 21, 2012 - Sylvia Bierschenk
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - Winners of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music's annual Concerto/Aria and Composition Contest will be featured during SFA's Orchestra of the Pines' "The Best Has Yet to Come" concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

Pianist Martha De Luna Mateo (graduate student from the Dominican Republic), tenor PJ Lopez (Dallas senior), saxophonist Elena Pederson (Lake Mary, Fla., senior) and flutist Kenna Schoppe (Arlington senior) will perform as soloists with the orchestra, directed by Gene H. Moon. The orchestra will also perform an original composition by Athens graduate student Kenn McSperitt entitled "Imprint."

De Luna Mateo, who will perform the third movement from Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor," has won numerous prizes in Latin America and has performed in Orlando, Fla.; Puerto Rico; Chicago; Cuba and at both the National Theater and the U.S. Embassy in Dominican Republic. She has also recorded and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra from the Dominican Republic. At SFA, she studies with Dr. Andrew Parr, SFA professor of piano.

Lopez will sing "Come un bel di di maggio" from Umberto Giordano's opera "Andrea Chénier." He was a national finalist and Texas winner of the National Federation of Music Club's Biennial Collegiate Competition and has performed with Opera in the Ozarks and Opera East Texas. He has had roles in the past four operas produced by SFA, and in April, he will sing the role of Alfredo Germont in the university's production of "La Traviata." Lopez studies with Nita Hudson, SFA lecturer of voice.

Pederson will perform the first movement from Lars-Erik Larsson's "Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra." As a soloist, she has been a national finalist in the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist competition as well as a winner in the Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition. In March, she will compete as one of 25 soloists and as a member of one of the 20 quartets selected for the national competition of the North American Saxophone Alliance. Pederson studies with Dr. Nathan Nabb, associate professor of saxophone at SFA.

Schoppe, who is pursuing a music education degree, will perform the first movement from Carl Nielsen's "Concerto for Flute and Orchestra." As a young musician, she was an annual participant in the Texas Flute Society's Flute Festival and events conducted by the University Interscholastic League and Texas Music Educators Association. At SFA, Schoppe has performed with the Wind Ensemble, Orchestra of the Pines and various chamber ensembles. She studies with Dr. Christina Guenther, SFA associate professor of flute.

McSperitt, who currently serves as the music director of the Cross Roads Independent School District (Malakoff) and Harbor Baptist Church (Payne Springs), received his degrees in music business and music education from Oklahoma State University. As a professional trumpeter, he has toured extensively throughout the United States. His compositions have been featured in performances at the University of Ohio (Toledo), Oklahoma State University and at Texas and Oklahoma high schools. McSperrit studies with Dr. Stephen Lias, SFA professor of composition.

The concert, which is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts, School of Music and Orchestra Series, is sponsored in part by Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital and the Wedgeworth-Wright Endowment for the Arts. Cole Concert Hall is located in the Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Drive.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $5 for students. For tickets or more information, please go to www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.