Nashville Symphony announces winners of Curb Concerto Competition

March 15, 2011

Franklin high-school student Annie Bender took top honors at the Nashville Symphony's Curb Records Young Musicians Concerto Competition, held March 12-13 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Bender, a junior at The Comenius School, an umbrella of Franklin Classical School, studies violin with Carolyn Huebel at Blair School of Music. As grand prize winner, she was presented with a $3,000 scholarship, a SunTrust Classical Series ticket package for four, and the opportunity to perform in concert at the Nashville Symphony's Side-by-Side Concert on May 19 at the Schermerhorn.

The Curb Concerto Competition, which takes place at the Schermerhorn each March, attracts students from across the state. This year, 24 applicants between the ages of 14 and 18 prepared, practiced and then performed in a daylong audition on Saturday, March 12, with the semi-finalists called back for the final round the following day. The first round was judged by a panel of three musicians in the categories of strings, woodwinds, piano and percussion. The final round was judged by Jonah Rabinowitz, CEO of W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School; Mitchell Korn, Vice President of Education & Community Engagement for the Nashville Symphony; and Kelly Corcoran, Associate Conductor of the Nashville Symphony.

In addition to Bender, two other winners were announced. First runner-up was pianist Kevin Wang, a sophomore at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville and a student of Roland Schneller at the Blair School of Music; he won a $1,500 scholarship and a partial SunTrust Classical Series ticket package. Finalist Collin Lewis, a senior at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro who studies with Nashville Symphony clarinetist and Blair instructor Cassie Lee, took home a $300 award.

In addition to providing opportunities for talented music students through the Curb Concerto Competition, the Nashville Symphony also annually awards scholarships through the Thor Johnson Scholarship Fund. Administered by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra League, these scholarships were recently presented this year to Jesse Kasinger of Springfield, Tennessee, who will use her $1,500 award to continue her violin training, and to Mandy Wilk of Nashville, who will use her $1,000 award to pursue her flute studies. Committed music students in fifth through 12th grades living in Davidson and surrounding Middle Tennessee counties are eligible to apply for the Thor Johnson Scholarship each year.

To learn more information about the Nashville Symphony's commitment to music education, visit