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The annual Sid and Mary Foulger International Music Festival & Competition is currently underway at the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts on Weber State University’s Ogden campus.
The festival began July 1, 2014 and will conclude July 12. During it’s nearly two-week run there are seven free and open to the public concerts and one paid concert that features the Utah Symphony and Noah Bendix-Balgley, concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic.
The concerts are the first component of the three-part festival with the other two pieces being the competition and the master classes for young musicians.
WSU Professor of violin Shi-Hwa Wang is helping to organize the event and further elaborated on the nature of the master classes.
“(The students) take private lessons, attend classes, learn tension and releasing breathing exercises and watch the Utah Symphony rehearse at Abravanel Hall,” said Wang in an email.
The festival this year has 70 students participating in the master classes that come from all over the country and the world.
“We have people from China, Taiwain, California, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah . . .” said Kaitie Swainston, assistant manager of the Foulger Festival.
Swainston says that the students participating in the festival will, “grow a lot (musically) and make new friends,” throughout the course of the two weeks.
The competition segment of the festival has four stages that competitors must move through: the pre-screening starts with 36 competitors, the semi-finals has 12, the finals have six and then three winners are selected to perform with the Utah Symphony.
WSU Piano Performance student Ling-Yu Lee just minutes after she had finished performing “Chopin Piano Concerto no. 1 in E Minor” during the semi-final round of the competition said she felt like she would move on to the finals round.
“I really don’t know. I just play… It really depends on how well the others do, but I just try my best,” Lee said.
Win or lose, Lee said she enjoys the opportunity to perform.
“I personally love Chopin. I love the melody . . . and it’s really exciting,” Lee said.
Lee was later named one of the three winners who will perform in the July 9, 2014 concert with the Utah Symphony.
The competitors are judged by faculty at WSU and the judges make their decisions based on the competitor’s technique, phrasing, rhythm, overall presence on the stage and if they capture the audience. “Basically the essentials of performing,” said event volunteer Emily Boynton. Boynton in addition to helping run and organize the event will also be performing in some of the chamber group concerts on the viola.
The performances will all take place in the Val A. Browning Center for the Perfroming Arts. The performance with the Utah Symphony will occur on Wednesday, July 9 and will feature winners Ling-Yu Lee on piano, Misha Galant on piano and Jeremy Tai on cello.
WSU graduate Fan-Ya Lin, who is currently studying piano performance at The Juilliard School in New York, will perform the closing number for the concert on the ninth. She will perform “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 43” composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff.