Aug. 1, 2011 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE /
UNCSA ALUMNUS WINS INAUGURAL
A recent graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) has won first prize at the inaugural Rosen-Schaffel Young Artists Competition during Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone.
Benjamin Robinette, who received a master of music in saxophone performance on May 28, will be invited to perform a complete concerto with the Eastern Festival Orchestra next summer. He also received a $1500 cash prize.
“It is no surprise that Ben won the Rosen-Schaffel competition. He is one of our superstars,” said Wade Weast, dean of the School of Music at UNCSA. “Ben is another example of a UNCSA music student who is well on his way to an impressive career as a professional musician.”
Three 2011 graduates of UNCSA’s School of Music were among the eight finalists who competed July 24 at Broyhill Music Center on the campus of Appalachian State University. Along with Robinette, who is from Burke, Va., the finalists included Katherine Ardoin, of Jamestown, N.C., a vocalist who also received a master of music degree; and Louise Grevin, of Montbrun Lauragais, France, a cellist who received a Professional Artist Certificate.
Robinette studied at UNCSA with Taimur Sullivan, and also served as Sullivan’s teaching assistant. He began his studies in 1999 with Dr. Timothy Roberts, principal saxophonist of the United States Navy Band, and continued his studies at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville under Dr. Connie Frigo. He graduated from UT in 2009 with a bachelor of music in saxophone performance.
At The University of Tennessee, Robinette twice won the university’s concerto competition, received the award for woodwind performance excellence three times in a row, and was awarded several outside performance scholarships.
At UNCSA he established a strong chamber music presence, collaborating with his peers to form a saxophone quartet while also making use of a long-standing love of the music of English composer Sir Arnold Bax to start a regularly performing trio of saxophone, violin, and piano—the Bax Trio. During his first year at UNCSA, Robinette won the North Carolina state division of the Music Teachers National Association Young Artists’ solo competition as well as the UNCSA Concerto Competition.
Shortly before he became Dean of the School of Music at UNCSA, Weast judged its concerto competition, and it was the first time he heard Robinette play. Robinette’s win entitled him to perform the Tomasi Saxophone Concerto with the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra. “He played beautifully on that concert, and in fact, he used the recording of that performance -- which is a bear of a piece by the way -- for the preliminary round of the Rosen-Schaffel Young Artist Competition,” Weast said.
The Rosen-Schaffel Young Artist Competition is named in honor of Muriel Rosen and two of her family members, Nancy and Neil Schaffel. Rosen and her husband, Arnold Rosen, founded Appalachian Summer Festival in 1993.
The competition is open to students from North Carolina colleges and universities who are rising seniors, graduate students, or alumni who have graduated within the last two years, and are under the age of 30.
Jurors for the competition were Gerard Schwarz, music director of the Eastern Music Festival; Robert Moody, music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony; and Jacomo Rafael Bairos, associate conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.