Blair sends two ensembles to Fischoff competition
Two Blair School of Music chamber music groups, one collegiate and one pre-collegiate, were selected in May for the live rounds of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the nation’s largest chamber music competition. From a total of 130 entries, only 48 were selected for the live competitive rounds.
The pre-college Parthenon String Quartet, comprised of Annie Bender, violin; Jacob Schafer, violin; Will Bender, viola; and Alvin Kim, cello, made it through to the semifinal round of competition. Coached by Kirsten Cassel-Greer with assistance by the Blair String Quartet, their teachers are Carolyn Huebl, Chris Teal, Kathryn Plummer and Kirsten Cassel-Greer.
“The Fischoff competition was one of the greatest musical experiences of my life,” Annie Bender said. “I learned a lot about the competition atmosphere and talked to some incredible judges.”
“Attending the Fischoff and listening to some of the groups that performed really showed me what chamber music can be like on the national stage,” Schafer added.
The Troika Trio was selected in the collegiate division. Its members are: Valerie Hsu, piano; Lindsey Reymore, oboe; and Thomas Crespo, bassoon. Coached by Melissa Rose and Jared Hauser, their teachers are Craig Nies, Jared Hauser and Cynthia Estill.
The Fischoff competition has grown each year since its inception in 1973, with an average of 125 ensembles representing 22 nationalities now entering in either the wind or string categories.
Fischoff is the only national chamber music competition with both senior divisions (ages 18-35) and a junior division (age 18 and younger). Since its founding, more than 5,000 musicians have participated, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in music performance and education.
“It was an extraordinarily well-run and organized competition,” said Melissa Rose, assistant dean and chamber music coach. “I appreciated that they included an educational component as well as the competitive aspect. This was especially important at the junior level, because it helped them understand how to improve their performances, and it inspired them for a future career in professional chamber music.”