2016 Concerto Competition winners to perform with University orchestras

Three winners of the 2016 University of Chicago Concerto Competition, a biennial competition open to all registered students and performance ensemble members, will perform this year with the University Symphony Orchestra and University Chamber Orchestra.


Cellist Andrew Molina, the first-place winner, will perform with the University Symphony Orchestra on April 23 at 8 p.m. in Mandel Hall. Molina will present Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra, conducted by USO Music Director Barbara Schubert. The second- and third-place winners, pianists Sun Woo Park and Isaac Friend, will perform with the University Chamber Orchestra on May 14 and Nov. 19, respectively.

Molina is a second-year student majoring in chemistry. The recently named Beckman Scholar is an undergraduate researcher in the Lee Group, an experimental biophysics laboratory in the James Franck Institute. Molina is the principal cellist in the University Symphony Orchestra and performs in the Chamber Music Program. He has been playing cello for 10 years and currently studies with Nazar Dzhuryn, who trained and taught at the Moscow Conservatory. Molina has earned first chair in cello for two consecutive years in the ILMEA 2013 and 2014 All-State Honors Orchestras, among other honors. Molina is an alumnus of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, where he served as co-principal cellist in the Symphony Orchestra and performed in the CYSO’s Encore Chamber Orchestra and chamber music program.

Park is an undergraduate student majoring in mathematics. From 2006 to 2009, he was selected as one of the very few young pianists at the preliminary school of the Korean National University of Arts. After taking a brief hiatus from playing the piano, Park has given several performances as a solo pianist. He will present Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Emperor, with the University Chamber Orchestra on May 14 at 8 p.m. in the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

Friend is an undergraduate student majoring in mathematics. Before joining Svetlana Belsky's Piano Program at UChicago, he studied piano in Maryland with Simone Deering and Michael Adcock. He has performed at the Embassy of Hungary in Washington; Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Door County, Wis.; Pacifica's DC radio station WPFW; and WFMT’s Bach Keyboard Festival. Friend will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat Major with the University Chamber Orchestra on Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. in the Logan Center.

Sixteen musicians applied for the 2016 Concerto Competition. The panel of judges included Schubert, director of performance programs and conductor of the University Symphony; Matthew Sheppard, conductor of the University Chamber Orchestra; Chip De Stefano, conductor of the University Wind Ensemble; Steinway artist Amy Briggs, an internationally acclaimed concert pianist; and guest judge Ann Yi, concert pianist and new music specialist.

Admission to the USO Concerto Showcase is free, with donations accepted at the door. For more information, call 773.702.8069 or visit their site. A reception in Hutchinson Commons will follow the concert.