CSU Schwob School of Music Students to Compete Nationally

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Six students at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music turned in impressive performances at a recent regional competition, with three advancing to national finals in March.

 The trio won top honors in their categories at the Music Teachers National Association competition for nine Southern states at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro on Jan. 18-21. They will represent Columbus State at the national MTNA competition at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., on March 9-13.

The winners, their categories and faculty artist professors are:
  • Anna Vertypolokh, Senior Piano, student of Alexander Kobrin, CSU’s L. Rexford Whiddon Distinguished Chair in Piano.
  • Mark Spradley, Young Artist Brass, student of Bradley Palmer, professor of trombone.
  • Branson Yeast, Young Artist Strings, student of Wendy Warner, assistant professor of cello.

Also representing CSU’s Schwob School of Music at the national MTNA competition will be Earl Coleman, CSU’s William and Isabelle Curry Eminent Scholar Chair in Voice. He will judge the MTNA National Senior Voice and Young Artist Voice categories. Coleman, who joined CSU in 2001, has seen former students go on to sing in Broadway musicals and in the opera houses of the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera.

Three violin students of Sergiu Schwartz, CSU’s William B. and Sue Marie Turner Distinguished Faculty Chair in Music, also won recognition for their performances at the South Division MTNA competition:

  • Likai He, alternate, Senior Strings.
  • Sophie Wang, honorable mention, Senior Strings.
  • Eric Tsai, winner, Senior Strings.

Those six CSU students competed at regionals after winning top honors at the state MTNA competition in October at Young Harris, Ga. Other Schwob School of Music students recognized at the state MTNA competition were:

  • Esther Holliday, alternate, Senior Strings, also a cello student of Warner.
  • Sylvia Wehrs, alternate, Senior Strings,  also a violin student of Schwartz.
  • Jing Yang, alternate, Young Artist Strings, also a violin student of Schwartz.
  • Ksenia Kurenysheva , alternate, Young Artist Piano, also a student of Kobrin.
  • Wenqing Ouyang, honorable mention, Young Artist Piano, student of Yien Wang, collaborative pianist for the Schwob school.
  • Leslie Thomas, alternate, Senior Woodwind, student of Amy Griffiths, lecturer (saxophone).
  • Manuel Ramos, alternate, Young Artist Woodwind, student of Lisa Oberlander, assistant director of the Schwob school (clarinet).
  • Trey English, alternate, Young Artist Brass, also a student of Palmer.
  • Andrew Smith, winner, Young Artist Composition, student of Fred Cohen, professor of music (composition, conducting).

Students participating in the national MTNA competition in California have a chance to win cash prizes for top performances in each category.

“It’s exciting to go and represent the music school," said Yeast, the cellist. "If I get the cash prize of $3,000, I will use it to pay off my undergraduate student loan. If anything, I will have breakfast with Mickey. We (competitors) will be staying at the Disneyland Hotel.”

CSU's Schwob School of Music is located in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, part of CSU's RiverPark campus on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in downtown Columbus, anchored by incomparable performing arts facilities. The school attracts students from around the world to a college experience that is deeply personal and relevant. A unique partnership between the public and private sectors provides generous scholarship support for talented and deserving students.

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