Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition receives many applications

January 6, 2017 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The application process for the prestigious 2017 George and Peggy Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition at Stephen F. Austin State University is underway, and a number of potential contestants have submitted performance videos.

Celebrating a milestone 10th 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. Dr. Gene Moon, director of orchestral studies at SFA and of the competition, hopes the Schmidbauer Competition will be the catalyst that brings them to SFA.

This year's strings and piano competition is slated for Jan. 28 in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus and is open to 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."

The 2017 distinguished panel of adjudicators for the final round of the Schmidbauer Competition will be violinist Chloe Trevor, conductor Carol Smith and pianist James Cho. On Friday evening, Jan. 27, violinist Chloe Trevor and pianist Jonathan Tsay will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Concert Hall to celebrate the festivities of the competition. The concert is free and open to the public.

Twenty-four musicians, including nine violinists, three violists, seven cellists and five pianists, have applied to the competition. Applicants are from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

"The weekend is shaping up to be a fantastic one with many guest musicians joining us on campus," Moon said.

Cash awards are $2,000 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 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 distinguished Orchestra of the Pines.

Several years ago, George and Peggy Schmidbauer, California residents who founded Cal-Tex Lumber Company in Nacogdoches 30 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 at SFA has been forever changed by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Schmidbauer," said Dr. Gary Wurtz, director of the School of Music. "Their gifts have allowed us to create and sustain this world class competition, to draw highly talented young musicians to our campus, and to place our name among the most respected music schools in the state and region.

"Their impact is felt daily within our walls, and we will be eternally grateful," Wurtz added. "I encourage anyone who loves and is inspired by beautiful music and the talent of young people to attend the competition concerts. They will be uplifted!"

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. A few years ago, 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.

For more information about the competition, contact Moon at (936) 468-3885 or moongh@sfasu.edu or visit http://www.schmidbauercompetition.org/.