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IU Students in February showcase performance at the Kennedy Center

A group of students from the IU School of Music will reveal their amazing talents later this month at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater in Washington, D.C., as they introduce the 2005 Conservatory Project, a concert series dedicated to showcasing the remarkable vitality and virtuosity being cultivated by America's top music programs.

"The Conservatory Project creates an ongoing showcase for our nation's exceptional young musical artists," said Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser, "and is a wonderful opportunity for them to be heard on a national stage." Participating performers will have the opportunity to be critiqued by world-renowned musicians, including Leonard Slatkin and Plácido Domingo.

Students chosen to participate

Chih-Yi Chen is an active soloist, collaborative pianist, and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her collaborative experiences include performances with violinists Ilya Kaler, Jaako Kuusisto, Robin Sharp, violist Atar Arad, Yuval Gotlibovich, clarinetists David Bellman, Min-Ho Yeh, and singer Julie Nesrallah. She has also appeared as a soloist with orchestras, including the Taipei Symphony Orchestra under conductor Irwin Hoffman. Ms. Chen is the official pianist for the Indiana University Violin Virtuosi with whom she constantly travels and with whom she has just completed concert tours in France and Japan. She records on the RIAX Label and will be releasing a solo album in early 2005. She received her BM and MM with honors and is completing her DM in Piano Performance at the Indiana University School of Music, where she is also a member of the Pre- College String Program faculty.

Wen-Lei Gu won second prize in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in England at thirteen and was invited to perform the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto as a soloist with the Folkstone Symphony Orchestra with Lord Menuhin conducting. Since then, Ms. Gu has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East both as a guest soloist with orchestras and as a recitalist in numerous distinguished halls including the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Salle Verdi in Milan, the Smetana Hall in Prague, the Beijing Concert Hall, the Avery Fisher Hall, and the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Ms. Gu started to play the piano when she was three years old and the violin at age five. At age six, she won first prize in the first National Children's Piano Competition held in Canton, China. Ms. Gu won First Prize in China's Fourth National Violin Competition at age twelve, being the youngest ever to achieve this honor. Since her arrival in America at age thirteen, Ms. Gu. has won numerous awards and prizes. In 1999, Ms. Gu won top prize in the California International Young Artists Competition and First Place in the Bergen Philharmonic Violin and Piano Competition. In October of 2000, Ms. Gu won First Place in the Mannes Concerto Competition and performed as a soloist with the Mannes Orchestra at the Symphony Space in New York. Her most recent accomplishments include winning the Second Place in the Senior Bowed Instrument Concerto Competition at the Kingsville International Competition for Young Performers in April of 2003. In May of 2003, Ms. Gu won both the Second Place and the Audience Choice Award in the 28th Annual Houston Symphony Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition and performed with the Houston Symphony in June (the concert was broadcast live on KUHF 88.7 FM). In 2004, she was the recipient of the prestigious Presser Award. In November of 2004, Ms. Gu was a soloist with the China Beijing Philharmonic in its tour of Europe. Ms. Gu graduated with a Master Degree in Music from the Mannes College of Music and holds a Bachelor Degree in Music from the Juilliard School. Currently, Wen-Lei is pursuing a Doctor of Music Degree at the Indiana University School of Music where she studies with Miriam Fried.

John Manganaro began playing the French horn when he was 13 years old in his middle school band and made his first professional orchestra appearance at 18. His teachers have included John Lorge, Jerry Folsom, Myron Bloom, and John Zirbel. He has played with the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the San Diego Opera, and the Orquesta de Baja California. Currently, he holds the positions of 3rd horn with the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra and principal horn with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic. He was a finalist in the 2000 Paxman Young Horn Player of the Year competition and received 2nd place in the 2003 American Horn Competition. He is currently studying at the Indiana University School of Music pursuing an Artist's Diploma in Horn, where he studies both modern and natural horn with Richard Seraphinoff.

Jessica Xylina Osborne, pianist, has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. She has won numerous prizes in both national and international competitions, including first prizes in the 2004 Rice University Concerto Competition, the 2000 International Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev Competition, the 1999 Indiana University Concerto Competition, the 1998 National Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists' Competition, and the 1997 MTNA Yamaha Competition, National Division. In 1998, she appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center under the baton of guest conductor Anthony Aibel. In addition to her solo performances, Ms. Osborne has maintained numerous chamber groups, including her own trio, Trio Dumka, with whom she toured Europe in 2001. She has collaborated with such rising stars as Yura Lee and Caitlin Tully, and with students of Lynn Harrell, Itzhak Perlman, Janos Starker, and Miriam Fried, among others. Ms. Osborne is currently pursuing the Artist Diploma at the Indiana University School of Music under the tutelage of Professor Emile Naoumoff. She received her Master of Music degree in 2004 at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music studying with Jon Kimura Parker. She received undergraduate degrees from Indiana University and the Juilliard School. Her former teachers include Seymour Lipkin, Martin Canin, Marjorie Lee, and Patricia Osborne.

Twenty-three-year-old Daxun Zhang, double bassist, worked with Yo-Yo Ma to record the soundtrack to a 10-part documentary series on the Silk Road; the CD is to be released on Sony Classical. This season, Mr. Zhang participates in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project at Carnegie Hall. His schedule of recitals includes performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, the University of Georgia, and the Buffalo Chamber Music Society. The first double bass player to win the Young Concert Artists Auditions, Mr. Zhang was also awarded the Claire Tow Prize, which sponsored his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series; the Washington Performing Arts Society Prize to present his Washington debut at the Kennedy Center in 2005; The La Jolla Music Society Prize; the Orchestra New England Soloist Prize; and The Fergus Prize. Mr. Zhang was the first double bassist ever to win First Prize in the 2003 Women's Auxiliary of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra competition. In 2001, he was the youngest artist ever to win the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He has also received the Grand Prize of the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition. Mr. Zhang has appeared as soloist with the Pacific Symphony in California during their Chinese-American Composers' Festival, with Orchestra New England, and with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle in Durham, North Carolina. He has given recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Western Michigan University, The Artist Series in Tallahassee, Florida, the La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, and the Linton Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati. From a family of bassists in Harbin, China, Mr. Zhang has been playing the instrument since the age of nine and studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing beginning at the age of eleven. He continued his studies in the U.S. at the Interlochen Arts Academy, and is currently working towards his Bachelor of Music degree at the Indiana University School of Music where he studies with Lawrence Hurst.

The Program

  • Pablo de Sarasate: Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25, performed by Wen-Lei Gu, violin and Chih-Yi Chen, piano
  • Frederick Chopin: Nocturne No. 6 in B Major, Op. 62, No. 1, performed by Jessica Xylina Osborne, piano
  • Alexander Scriabin: Sonata No. 4 in F-sharp Major, performed by Jessica Xylina Osborne, piano
  • Denis Gougeon: Six Themes Solaires (Cor-Jupiter), performed by John Manganaro, horn and Chih-Yi Chen, piano
  • Reinhold Gličre: Valse Triste, Op. 35, No. 7, performed by John Manganaro, horn and Chih-Yi Chen, piano
  • Vaclav Nelhybel: Scherzo Concertante, performed by John Manganaro, horn and Chih-Yi Chen, piano
  • Pablo de Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen, Op.20, performed by DaXun Zhang, double bass and Chih-Yi Chen, piano

The Project

Presenting performances in classical music, jazz and opera, the project presents twice each year (in late winter and late spring.) The 2005 spring series includes performances from the following institutions:

  • Feb. 23 - The School of Music at Indiana University
  • Feb. 24 - Manhattan School of Music
  • Feb. 25 - Oberlin Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College
  • Feb. 26 - Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Feb. 27 - University of Michigan School of Music
  • Feb. 28 - New England Conservatory of Music