Nashville Symphony Names Youth Competition Winners and Scholarship Recipients

April 25, 2014

Nashville, Tenn. (April 25, 2014) – The Nashville Symphony has announced the winners of its Curb Young Artists Concerto Competition and Thor Johnson Scholarship, two highly competitive annual award programs that showcase aspiring and gifted youth musicians.

Viola player Olivia Palazzolo earned top honors in the 2014 Curb Competition, held at Schermerhorn Symphony Center March 1-2. In addition to winning a $3,000 scholarship and an Aegis Sciences Classical Series ticket package for four, Palazzolo will also perform at the Nashville Symphony’s Side-by-Side Concert on May 22 at the Schermerhorn, where she will be the featured soloist in Bartók’s Viola Concerto.

Palazzolo is a multi-instrumentalist currently in her second year of viola study at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music with Kathryn Plummer. A co-principal violinist with the Curb Youth Symphony at Blair, she also studies chamber music with Kirsten Cassel Greer and was a Blount Slawson National Competition finalist earlier this year.

Taking second place in the Curb Competition and earning a $1,500 scholarship was violinist Allison Pao, currently a 9th grader at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet High School. An accomplished trombone player in the All-State Band, Pao also made Midstate 9th/10th Orchestra as concertmaster. Third place was awarded to violinist Jenna Mangum, a student of Cornelia Heard at the Blair School of Music, where she has been a Myra Jackson pre-college full scholarship recipient since 2010. Mangum, who received a $500 scholarship, also serves as assistant concertmaster of the Curb Youth Symphony.

The Curb Young Artists Concerto Competition attracts high school students from across Tennessee. This year, applicants between the ages of 14 and 18 prepared, practiced and then performed in a day-long audition on Saturday, March 1. Semi-finalists returned the following day for the final round, which was judged by Nashville Symphony Assistant Conductor Vinay Parameswaran, Nashville Symphony Director of Artistic Administration Laurence Tucker and Blair School of Music Associate Dean for Precollege and Adult Studies Pam Schneller.

The Nashville Symphony is excited to announce that the 2015 Curb Young Artists Concerto Competition Final Round will be open to the public for the very first time next year. Registration for the 2015 competition will begin September 1, 2014.

Thor Johnson Scholarship Awarded

Dedicated music students in grades five through 12 living in Middle Tennessee are eligible to apply for the Thor Johnson Scholarship each year. Open to a wide range of students, the award covers all genres of music and includes musicians on all instruments, as well as vocalists.

Named for the Nashville Symphony’s music director from 1967-1975 and presented by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra League, the scholarship was developed to support and motivate young musicians through cash awards that can be used to further their music education. Awards are presented in two divisions: pre-college (for high school seniors) and grades 5-11.

Auditions for pre-college participants took place on Saturday, March 8, at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, while students in grades 5-11 submitted their auditions via compact disc. All submissions and auditions were judged by a host of Nashville Symphony musicians.

The full list of 2014 Thor Johnson Scholarship winners is as follows:

First Place – Mary Grace Bender, Cello ($1,500 Scholarship)
First Runner-Up – Emily Stewart, Harp ($1,000 Scholarship)
Second Runner-Up – Kayla Thiemann, Violin ($500 Scholarship)

Grades 9-11
Winds/Brass First Place – Sarah Besand ($600 Scholarship)
Winds/Brass Second Place – Marilin Kelley ($400 Scholarship)
Strings First Place – Chloe Harvel ($600 Scholarship)
Strings Second Place – Kristina Jolly ($400 Scholarship)
Percussion/Piano/Harp First Place – Dennis Poythress and Jonathan Tyree ($600 Scholarship)
Percussion/Piano/Harp Second Place – Emily Stone ($400 Scholarship)
Wild Card First Place – Marcus Wanner ($600 Scholarship)
Wild Card Second Place – Farzin Manshadi ($400 Scholarship)

Grades 5-8
Winds/Brass First Place – Daniel Leighton ($300 Scholarship)
Winds/Brass Second Place – Elisabeth Jackson ($200 Scholarship)
Strings First Place – Sarah Rogers ($300 Scholarship)
Strings Second Place – Noah Rogers ($200 Scholarship)
Percussion/Piano/Harp First Place – Noah Forbes and Nathan Springman ($300 Scholarship)
Percussion/Piano/Harp Second Place – Samantha Jo Schrecker ($200 Scholarship)
Wild Card First Place – Nolan Harvel ($300 Scholarship)
Wild Card Second Place – Tate Welch ($200 Scholarship)