‘Toppers attend MTNA division competition

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By Special to the Monitor

Two Los Alamos students, Catherine Chen, pianist and Jennifer Kwon, violinist will represent New Mexico in the senior division at the Southwest Divisional Competition of the Music Teachers National Association.

The contest will be held in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday and Sunday. The Los Alamos students competed for first place on their specific instrument and the honor of representing the state at the Professional Music Teachers Conference, which was held Nov. 14-15 in Los Alamos.

This divisional area is comprised of Hawaii, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Each of these states sends one representative in each area of performance to the competition and the winner of that audition travels to the MTNA National Competition, which will be held in Atlanta in March. He or she then competes for first place against the other five divisions in the United States.

The winner of this competition performs on the winner’s recital at the MTNA National Conference, receives a cash prize and earns other honors.

Kwon first began playing the violin when she was 8 years old and studied with Alice Mutschlecner, Cheryl Smith-Ecke, and is currently studying with Marion Pack.

Kwon also studied the piano with Lynn Lamb for 6 years. She has participated in the New Mexico All-State Music Festival for the past three years and was concertmaster of the All-State Concert Orchestra last year.

She will also participate in All-State later this week. Kwon has performed in school orchestras since the fourth grade and loves playing in full orchestras.

She has played in the Los Alamos High School Symphonic Orchestra for four years and was it’s concertmaster this year.

Her MTNA program will consist of the following literature: “Partita No. 3 in E Major, S. 1007- Gavotte en Rondeau” by J.S. Bach, “Concerto in A Major- Allegro aperto” by W.A. Mozart, “Meditation from Thais” by Massenet and “The Seasons, Concerto II (Summer)” by A. Vivaldi.

Chen began studying piano with Lynn Lamb at the age of 8. She is a four-time first place state winner in the Professional Music of New Mexico Honors Competition.

Twice she has been runner up in the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra’s Jackie McGehee Concerto Competition. In 2008, she was named winner of the Los Alamos Community Winds Concerto Competition and in the same year won first prize in the Deborah Beene Scholarship competition.

Chen has been accompanist for the White Rock Methodist Church Choir since 2005, a student teacher, and has accompanied for Solo and Ensemble Competitions, played at weddings and the Missoula Theater.

Chen will perform the following for her competition: Mozart’s “Sonata in F, K. 332–First Movement,” Liszt Sposalizio’s “Fountains of Acqua Paola,” Griffes’ “The Ginastera Sonata Movement I” and the “Ravel Concerto.” Professional accompanist, Ronald Grinage of Santa Fe will travel to Tucson to play the orchestral reduction for the “Ravel Concerto” for Chen and to accompany Kwon on her violin repertoire.