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School of Music Students Win Prestigious Awards

by University Relations

Music major Shotaro Matsumoto ’14 won first place in the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition on October 15, 2011. Open to all instrument performances, the competition attracted applicants from around the world. Matsumoto competed in a group of approximately 40 musicians, selected from a large pool of applicants, with a piano performance of Frédéric Chopin’s Scherzo no. 2, coinciding with the competition’s focus on music from the Romantic era.

In November 2011, the winners performed at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. “I had no idea where this competition would lead me,” said Matsumoto. “But I believe it is by God’s grace that He gave me the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall.”

Fellow student Xian Zhuo ’12 won first prize and $10,000 in the Dr. Luis Sigall International Competition of Musical Performance in Chile for his cello performance in November 2011. He competed alongside 15 other cellists from 13 countries. Zhuo performed Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33 with an orchestra for his final-round performance. As a result of his win, he received an invitation to perform in two concerts with the Symphonic Orchestra of Chile in February 2012, and two subsequent concerts in Santiago and Rio de Janeiro.

“These events put APU’s School of Music in a highly visible and influential place among classical musicians,” said Joel Clifft, DMA, director of keyboard studies. “When students like Shotaro and Xian win major competitions, it not only elevates that student’s musical career and helps the School of Music continue to attract excellent musicians, but it also redefines what it means to be a Christian musician to the secular world.”

Originally published in the Spring '12 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).