Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition seeks participants

December 2, 2014 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The application process for the prestigious George and Peggy Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition at Stephen F. Austin State University has begun, and among the first contestants accepted for the 2015 event is a talented cellist from New York studying in the pre-college division at Juilliard.

Celebrating its eighth year, the Schmidbauer Competition holds the highest standards in artistry and performance. It is designed to attract young high school musicians ages 15 to 18 who are beginning to plan their future careers and are looking at schools that may be best suited toward helping them reach their goals. It is SFA's goal to be that institution, according to Dr. Gene Moon, director of orchestral studies at SFA and of the competition.

This year's strings and piano competition is slated for Jan. 31 in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus and is open to any high school violinists, violists, cellists, double bassists and pianists. Applications are accepted worldwide. Past competitions have brought young musicians from South Korea, Russia, Finland and locations across the United States to Nacogdoches to compete.

A valuable recruiting tool for SFA, the Schmidbauer Competition offers a unique performance opportunity for young musicians, offering prizes that include cash awards, scholarship incentives from the SFA School of Music and performance opportunities with orchestras.

"Concerto performances with orchestras are very rare for a musician at any stage of their professional career, let alone a budding high school student," Moon said. "Our hope is that eager young students will be attracted to such lucrative opportunities."

Cash awards are $750 for first, $500 for second and $250 for third. The remaining prize money will be awarded in the form of scholarships contingent upon successful admission to SFA's School of Music. First prize also includes an appearance as a guest soloist with SFA's prestigious Orchestra of the Pines.

Several years ago, George and Peggy Schmidbauer, California residents who founded Cal-Tex Lumber Company in Nacogdoches more than 25 years ago, wanted to give a donation to SFA to foster and promote classical music. As a result, Moon was asked to formulate a competition.

"The School of Music is forever indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Schmidbauer for their generosity and artistic leadership offered through our Schmidbauer Competition," said Dr. Manny Brand, director of the School of Music. "Our music faculty is devoted to identifying and cultivating musically talented students, and the Schmidbauer Competition extends SFA's role as one of the premier schools of music in Texas and the nation."

The Schmidbauer Competition continues to serve as one of the highest benchmarks in the competition circuit and is a catalyst for launching successful careers. Past winners have continued their careers to perform with professional artists and orchestras all over the world. As evidence to the caliber of musician the Schmidbauer Competition attracts, the 2011 winner, Ying Fu, won a position in the first violin section with the Cleveland Orchestra while studying at Rice University. Last year, Ying took a new position as associate concertmaster with the Philadelphia Orchestra, an orchestra regarded as one of the top five in the world, according to Moon.

"Ying's accomplishments are reflective of his personal hard work as well as the time he spent with master teachers throughout his career thus far," Moon said. "Competitions such as the Schmidbauer have served as a catalyst to help further his career. Past winners of the Schmidbauer Competition have made similar strides and thus show a proven track record that those involved with it move on to greater career changes.

"The Schmidbauer Competition attracts hard-working, charismatic musicians who remain on the forefront of the classical music industry, and it serves as a stimulus for continued growth in the field," he said.

Deadline for application is Jan. 2. For more information or to apply to the competition, contact Moon at (936) 468-3885 or moongh@sfasu.edu or visit www.schmidbauercompetition.org.