Lawrence University Saxophonist Jesse Dochnahl Wins National Music Competition

Lawrence University saxophonist Jesse Dochnahl proved to be a musical gem in the Emerald City Monday (4/4), earning first-prize honors in the national finals of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Woodwind Young Artists competition held in Seattle, Wash.

A senior music education and performance major from Ennis, Mont., Dochnahl topped the seven-person field of regional winners in the woodwind division, earning a first-place prize of $3,000. The national title culminates a musical sweep for Dochnahl, 21, who won the MTNA Wisconsin state title last November and qualified for the national competition by winning the five-state regional title in January.

A student in the saxophone studio of Lawrence professor of music Steven Jordheim, Dochnahl and the other competition division winners are invited to perform in a special “winners concert” at the end of the event.

“Jesse’s success in the MTNA Young Artist Competition is an affirmation of his fine talent, dedication and hard work,” said Jordheim. “The finalists in the MTNA competition often are graduate students, so winning this competition as an undergraduate is certainly an impressive achievement for Jesse. His performance also represents the excellence in undergraduate education at the Lawrence Conservatory.”

An alto saxophonist, Dochnahl performed four works at the national competition: Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “In Friendship”; “Flute Sonata in A minor” by C.P.E. Bach; “Scaramouche” by Darius Milhaud; and “The Nature of this Whirling Wheel,” a 1997 composition by former Lawrence music professor Rodney Rogers.

The MTNA Young Artist competition is open to students 19-26 years of age. Participants in both the regional and national competition are required to play 40 minutes of music featuring contrasting pieces from two different time periods.