The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO) held its 2023 Elizabeth Loker Concerto Competition on Thursday, January 12th at the Avalon Theater in Easton, Maryland. This year’s annual competition included applicants from throughout the United States ranging from ages 12 to 25. The seven finalists competed in a final live round of the competition in front of a panel of three judges which included, Grammy-nominated MSO Music Director, Michael Repper, MSO Concertmaster, Kimberly McCollum, and MSO Principal Bassoonist, Terry Ewell.
The contestants in the final round were Ethan Nylander of Townsend, DE on flute, Philina Zhang of New York, NY on piano, Elizabeth Song of Haworth, NJ on the violin, James Kang of Newark, DE on the viola, Valerie Wellington of Kansas City, MO on the piano, Haozhou Wang of Philadelphia, PA, on the piano, and Emma Taggart of Brooklyn, NY on the piano. Each of the contestants performed a concerto of their choice in front of the panel of judges and a live audience at the theater. The judges convened and deliberated at the end of the performances before reaching their final decisions.
Prior to announcing the winners, Michael Repper expressed the panel’s delight at the high caliber of each of the contestants’ performances – noting that the judges had a very difficult time selecting the final winners. Ultimately, the panel came to a unanimous decision for the three award recipients.
Pictured: Front row left to right- 1st place winner, Elizabeth Song, honorable mention, Emma Taggart, 2nd Place winner, Ethan Nylander. Back row left to right- MSO Concertmaster, Kimberly McCollum, MSO Principal Bassoonist, Terry Ewell, MSO Music Director, Michael Repper.
The winners were announced as follows: 1st prize, Elizabeth Song performing Henri Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, 2nd prize, Ethan Nylander performing Jacques Ibert’sConcerto for flute and orchestra, and honorable mention, Emma Taggart performing Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in one movement.
MSO Board President Jeffrey Parker noted that “The Board of Directors was thrilled with the 2023 competition results, as well as the audience’s obvious enthusiasm throughout the evening. This year’s competition drew 41 applicants from across the country. The success of the competition has encouraged the MSO Board to reach further to expand next year’s event, where they hope to have the final round of three contestants compete playing live with the MSO full orchestra.”
This year’s 1st prize winner, Elizabeth Song, along with a cash prize of $2,000, will perform with the MSO at their March concerts, while 2nd prize winner, Ethan Nylander, will perform at the MSO’s Ensemble Series concerts next season.
…CONCERT DETAILS FOLLOW…
WHEN and WHERE: This concert will be performed at three venues on three days on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Thursday, March 9th – 7:30 PM – Easton Church of God, Easton, Maryland
Friday, March 10th- 7:30 PM- Community Church, Ocean Pines, Maryland
Saturday, March 11th- 3 PM –Epworth United Methodist Church, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Individual tickets for this concert are $50 per person at each venue and are available at midatlanticsymphony.org/tickets.
The Mid-Atlantic Symphony offers a group discount for the purchase of 10 or more tickets to a single concert. The Orchestra also makes a limited number of free tickets available for students 18 years and under; tickets for accompanying parents are $10 each. Reservations are required for the free tickets and may be made by calling 888-846-8600.
Podcasts for the season preview, previews of each concert, and for special MSO events are available on the MSO Website at midatlanticsymphony.org. Podcasts are posted on the site approximately 7 to 10 days before a concert or event.
For additional information about the 2022-2023 season, or to order tickets, please visit www.midatlanticsymphony.org. Tickets may be ordered by telephone at 888-846-8600.
ABOUT THE MID-ATLANTIC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is the only professional symphony orchestra serving southern Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore with a full season of programs. The MSO is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council; the Talbot County Arts Council; the Worcester County Arts Council; the Sussex County, Delaware Council; and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc.
A complete schedule of the 2022-2023 season’s Masterworks and Ensembles programs, venues, times, and other information is available at www.midatlanticsymphony.org