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May 3, 2013
Earlier this semester, Colorado State hosted its annual Concerto Competition. During a rigorous audition process, three soloists were selected as finalists to perform in concert with the CSU Sinfonia Orchestra on March 9 under the baton of Orchestra Director Wes Kenney.
Along with prestige of winning this contest, the competition awards cash prizes to the finalists, with first place awarded $1,000, second place $750, and third place $500.
This year’s Concerto Competition winner is junior music performance major, André T. Short.
Short's fellow finalists are Yolanda Tapia and Hannah Barnes.
“For many, it is their first time playing a solo with the orchestra,” said Kenney. “In any case, there is the prestige of being recognized as one of the top players in the department, not to mention receiving a cash prize.”
Along with fellow finalists Yolanda Tapia and Hannah Barnes, André auditioned for the competition in December 2012 and was promptly notified of his finalist spot.
Feverous preparation, however, began in July of that year for his selection of the ‘Piano Concerto No. 1’ by Dmitri Shostakovich – fine-tuning his performance through countless hours of practice, listening, and even writing out the score under the direction of his piano instructor, Janet Landreth, Ph.D.
“I was nervous,” said André. “But I relied on my training and what I’ve learned from Dr. Landreth. I had to practice objectively and critically in a way that engaged both my hands and my brain.”
Concerto Competition finalists each selected a piece (up to 16 minutes in length) to play with the Sinfonia (chamber-sized orchestra), which was showcased during the competition performance.
“Andre’s performance with the orchestra in the finals was spectacular,” noted Landreth. “He is such a naturally gifted and spontaneous performer – able to capture the extraordinary range of character in the concerto, from intense lyricism to biting sarcasm and brilliant, rollicking good humor.”
When starting his career in the CSU music program, however, André Short would never have guessed he would end up being this year’s Concerto Competition winner. Entering CSU as a music therapy major, André eventually began to be drawn more and more toward performance and eventually ended up changing his focus.
André cites winning the competition as a huge boost of encouragement and affirmation that he made the right decision in changing to piano performance.
“Winning the competition was actually very surreal,” he noted. “Starting in music therapy, I was friends with many upper classmen and graduate performance students – listening to them in classes and concerts – but I never imagined myself on that same level until now. It is truly an honor to be recognized with them.”
Hailing from Lancaster, California, just north of Los Angeles, André started to play the piano at age 6. With the strains of a military family constantly on the move, he was able to begin taking lessons consistently at age 11, and by age 16 he was convinced that music was his lifelong pursuit and joy.
André was recently selected as a finalist in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony’s Young Artist Competition and was awarded a silver medal in the collegiate group of the International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival in August 2012.
Studying with Janet Landreth at CSU, André notes that her instruction has had a dynamic effect on his experience and his performance technique.
“She has taught me to be more objective and constructively critical of my sound,” he notes. “It’s about being connected with my instrument and getting my ear into the audience to hear myself in that way.”
André will study abroad in the spring 2014 semester at the Conservatory of Music of Perugia in Italy, where he will continue to study piano performance. His aspirations after graduating from CSU in 2014 include earning his Ph.D. in piano performance and to become a professor at an institution of higher learning.
“My music education has had such an immense impact in my life, both personally and professionally,” said André. “I want to pass that on to others.”
The University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society. For more information, visit www.UniversityCenterfortheArts.com.
Contact: Carrie Care
Phone: (970) 491-5891