Over $15,000 in prize money will be awarded to winners of the2011 George and Peggy Schmidbauer Young Artist String Competition presented by the SFA School of Music Saturday, Jan. 22, and Sunday, Jan. 23. The annual contest alternates between piano and strings. Pictured with the 2009 senior division winners are Gene H. Moon, SFA director of orchestral studies, and Susie Patterson, daughter of George and Peggy Schmidbauer. The winners, from left, are Benjamin Beilman, first place; Eric Han, third place; and Jing Wang, second place.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - Ten of the world's most talented young string players will be competing for the $7,500 grand prize during the 2011 George and Peggy Schmidbauer International Young Artist String Competition to be held Saturday, Jan.22, and Sunday, Jan. 23, on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

"The contestants have studied at prestigious music schools, performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and won numerous international and national competitions," explained Dr. John Noel Roberts, director of the SFA School of Music. "We invite the community to hear these accomplished musicians who are on their way to exciting performance careers."

Now in its fourth year, the annual competition that alternates between piano and strings is underwritten by the Schmidbauers of California whose daughter, Susie Patterson, lives in Nacogdoches.

"Through the Schmidbauers' generosity, we are able to host a major international competition that brings notoriety to SFA and to Nacogdoches," said Roberts. "We are sincerely grateful for their continued support."

From all of the applications received, jurors chose 10 junior division semifinalists (ages 15 to 18) and 10 senior division semifinalists (ages 19 to 27) to participate in the weekend competition.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, junior division contestants will each present a 30-minute recital in Cole Concert Hall. Senior division contestants will perform in W.M. Turner Auditorium. Admission to the semifinal rounds is free.

Judges, all of whom are renowned musicians and adjudicators, will name three finalists from each division. The junior finalists will then compete in the final round beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Cole Concert Hall. The first place winner will receive $1,500; second place, $1,000; and third place, $750.

The final round for the senior division will begin at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Cole Concert Hall. The first place winner will receive $5,000 and a $2,500 concert engagement with SFA's Orchestra of the Pines. Second place will receive $3,000, and third place, $2,000. Tickets for both final rounds are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students.

The SFA Friends of Music will host a public reception in Cole Lobby immediately following Sunday's competition.

Cole Concert Hall is located in the Wright Music Building, 2210 Alumni Dr. W.M. Turner Auditorium is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Dr.

For tickets or more information, please visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.