Local pianists to compete for spot in New Mexico Symphony Orchestra

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By Special to the Monitor

Kevin Gao and Ariel Chen were chosen by a juried audition to participate in the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra’s Jackie McGehee Piano Concerto Competition that will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Keller Hall in Albuquerque. Both are freshman at Los Alamos High School.


Six students from throughout the state were chosen to participate in the competition, which will award musicians with the chance to perform with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra during the annual Mother’s Day Concert.  The winners and the alternates also receive cash prizes. 

This will be Gao’s first time to compete in the Jackie McGehee Piano Competition. He will perform the third movement of Mendelssohn Concerto in G Major while Chen will perform the first movement of the Beethoven Concerto No. 1 in C Major.  This is Chen’s second time to compete in this competition. In 2008, she finished third place playing the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major.

Last year, Kathy Lin, a student of Lynn Lamb, won and was the featured soloist playing the first movement of the MacDowell Piano Concerto in D Minor with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. Performing the orchestral reductions on the second piano will be professional pianist, Ronald Grinage of Santa Fe. Chen and Gao study with Lamb.  The competition is open to the public.