Awards Earn Praise and Elevate Students’ Experiences

MSU saxophone students shine at prestigious competitions

Saxophone students at Michigan State University have been defining the scale of their talent through recent competitions recognized by professional saxophone organizations.

“Competitions not only provide a mechanism to perform at the highest level, but they also expose students to a sense of entrepreneurship and what the real business world of making music is like,” says Joseph Lulloff, professor of saxophone and chair of the woodwinds area. “In developing a competition program with students, they learn about concert programming and production and what audiences are looking for. If they win, they receive either a performance with a professional orchestra or other music group, as well as a monetary reward.”

In the past few months, close to a half-dozen students from MSU's Saxophone Studio reaped rewards and recognition through state and regional competitions, with some progressing to national rounds this March.

Four saxophone students in classical performance and jazz studies also took top spots in various divisions of the solo competition of the Music Teachers National Association. Julian Velasco and Casey Grev earned high honors, placing first in their respective divisions on both the state and regional levels, and will be moving on to national rounds in March. Joseph Herbst received honorable mention in the state competition, while Eric Troiano was recognized as the first alternate in the MTNA senior division.

The Echo Quartet also won the state and regional rounds of the MTNA Chamber Music Division, and moved on to the national round in Chicago. Members of the saxophone quartet include MSU students Matt Tracy, Kyle Landry, Casey Grev, and Eric Troiano.

In October, MSU doctoral student Joe Girard, a member of the “Donald Sinta Quartet” (a chamber group outside of MSU), took first prize in the prestigious Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition in New York City. Girard’s quartet will receive a three-year management contract from the Concert Artists Guild and will be presented with opportunities to perform in several venues that include Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in November 2014.

“These are all huge accomplishments,” says Lulloff, adding that about 18 to 22 students each year hone their abilities through the MSU Saxophone Studio. “Music students and chamber music groups travel from all over the country to compete in these national and international competitions. Experiences that students receive from these competitions assist them in their professional growth and musical development as they pursue various professional careers in music.”

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