Pianists, Saxophonist Share Top Honors in State Music Competition

Lawrence University student musicians accounted for three of the five winners at the 15th annual Neale-Silva Young Artists competition held March 27 in Madison.

Pianists Marshall Cuffe and David Keep and saxophonist Sumner Truax shared top honors with trumpet player Ansel Norris, a senior at Madison East High School and clarinetist Matthew Griffith, a senior at Sheboygan North High School, in the state competition sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio.   Each received $400 for their winning performances.

This was the fifth straight year and 10th time in the past 12 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 seven of the competition’s 13 finalists, who were selected from 15 entrants. In addition to the three winners, also advancing to the finals were pianists Laura Hauer, Dario LaPoma and Karly Stern, and oboist Cayden Milton.

Cuff, Keep and Truax will reprise their winning performances Sunday, April 11 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.

For the April 11 concert, Cuffe, a sophomore from Salem, Ore., will perform Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy” and “Fantasy on Themes from Wizard of Oz” by William Hirtz while Keep, a junior from Traverse City, Mich., will play three movements from Alberto Ginastera’s“Sonata No. 1.” Both are students in the studio of Anthony Padilla.

Truax, a junior from Chicago, Ill., will perform “Buku”by Jacob Ter Veldhuis and “Tableaux De Provence I, II & III”by Paule Maurice.  He studies with Steven Jordheim and Sara Kind, a 2004 and 2006 Neale-Silva Young Artist winner herself.

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.