Gabriella DiPietro | Staff Writer
Duquesne University musicians graced the audience with their talents Tuesday night, though this time, there were added pressures to the usual pre-performance jitters.
Seven students competed for a $5,000 scholarship award at the annual undergraduate music scholarship competition, which took place on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the PNC Recital Hall of the Mary Pappert School of Music.
The competition is sponsored by The Duquesne University Women’s Advisory Board (DUWAB), a university fundraising organization that has been awarding scholarships to deserving students for nearly 40 years.
The contestants consisted of juniors recommended by faculty, who displayed their various musical talents, including classical guitar, saxophone, clarinet, piano, trumpet, violin and trombone, to a panel of judges made up of two professional musicians.
After the performances had come to an end and the judges deliberated, it was announced that clarinetist Alicia Gutierrez was the winner of the competition and recipient of the scholarship award.
Gutierrez, originally from Costa Rica, played a movement from three different musical works, her body moving along to the music’s rises and falls. Upon hearing that she was selected as the winner, she expressed that she was both surprised and relieved.
Executive Director of Chamber Music Pittsburgh Kristen Linfante, one of the musicians judging the competition, described what she was looking for in the musicians and their performances.
“When I judge competitions, I look not only for excellent technical ability, but also superb musicianship,” Linfante said. “I want to see how the musician interacts on the stage with the audience and if they are able to communicate through the music. I look for expressive performing that goes beyond playing the notes on the page.”
According to Craig Johnson, the executive director of Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and the other judge, contestants were judged upon their accuracy, musicality, phrasing, stage presence and overall performance.
Terry Tatrai, the president of DUWAB, explained why she values the competition, noting its benefits on multiple levels.
“The Duquesne University Women’s Advisory Board sponsors the competition to support the educational goals of young musicians as well as to provide an opportunity for students to perform for an appreciative audience and enhance their presentation skills,” said Tatrai.
Tatrai’s belief was echoed by Linfante, who expressed her thoughts regarding the competition.
“This competition, like all competitions, is important because it provides an opportunity to musicians to push themselves and challenge themselves which will help in their studies and their careers,” said Linfante. “Any opportunity to perform is extremely valuable. And, of course, the monetary reward to the winner is nice too.”
Alexander Brady, one of the other students performing in the competition, shared his opinion that regardless of the outcome, the event was a great experience for all of the competing musicians.
“Doing competitions like these are great. It allows people to share music with their peers and a great audience,” Brady said. “It may be a competition, but no matter what, great music is played. Any time music can be shared with one another makes for a great time.”