Pianists, Saxophonists Share Top Honors in State Music Competition

Performances by Lawrence University student musicians earned four of the five first-place honors awarded at the 16th annual Neale-Silva Young Artists competition conducted March 20 in Madison.

Piano soloists Daniel Kuzuhara, a freshman from Madison, and James Maverick, a junior from Baton Rouge, La.; the piano duo of Dario LaPoma, a senior from Eugene, Ore., and Hazim Suhadi, a senior from Jakarta, Indonesia; and the saxophone quartet of David Davis, a senior from Sussex, Phillip Dobernig, Will Obst, a junior from St. Paul, Minn., and Sumner Truax shared top honors with violinist Daniel Kim of UW-Madison in the state competition sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio. Each musician received $400 for their winning performances.

Dobernig, a sophomore from Mukwonago, and Truax, a senior from Chicago, Ill., are both Neale-Silva repeat winners, having previously earned first-place honors as soloists in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Last fall, the LaPoma and Hazim piano duo and the saxophone quartet were named co-winners of the annual Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. The saxophone quartet will join the orchestra as guest performers at its May 21 concert.

This was the sixth consecutive year and 11th time in the past 13 years that Lawrence students have won or shared top honors in the Neale-Silva event.

The competition is open to instrumentalists and vocal performers 17-26 years of age who are either from Wisconsin or attend a Wisconsin college. Lawrence musicians accounted for six of the competition’s 15 finalists. Also representing Lawrence in the competition was saxophonist Jake Crowe and pianist Max Feldkamp.

All eight Lawrence musicians will reprise their winning performances Sunday, April 17 at 12:30 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater in Madison. The concert will be broadcast live statewide on the Classical Music Network of WPR and can be heard locally at 89.3 FM.

The Neale-Silva Young Artists’ Competition was established to recognize young Wisconsin performers of classical music who demonstrate an exceptionally high level of artistry. It is supported by a grant from the estate of the late University of Wisconsin Madison professor Eduardo Neale-Silva, a classical music enthusiast who was born in Talca, Chile and came to the United States in 1925.