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Feb. 19, 2009
Contact: Erin Curtis-Dierks, School of Fine Arts, (785) 864-9742.

KU clarinetist wins top prize in symphony contest; pianist places third

LAWRENCE — A clarinet student at the University of Kansas won the top prize at the fifth annual Hays Symphony Orchestra Young Artist’s Competition at Fort Hays State University.

Christopher Nichols, a doctoral student studying with Stephanie Zelnick, assistant professor of clarinet, was awarded the $500 top prize Feb. 14 for his performance of “Concerto for Clarinet in A Major” (K. 622) by Mozart.

Additionally, undergraduate piano student Alec Tauscher, who studies with Jack Winerock, professor of piano, won third place and a cash prize of $200 for his performance of the first movement of the Rachmaninoff’s “Second Piano Concerto in C Minor.”

“It was a joy and privilege to perform with Maestro Morris-Cline and the Hays Symphony Orchestra in the beautiful Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center,” said Nichols.

More information about the students is below.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Overland Park 66209
Alec Tauscher is a sophomore pursuing degrees in piano and music education. He is the son of David Tauscher. Tauscher was the first-place winner of the 2007 Crescendo Music Awards Pre-College Piano Competition and in 2008 was a semifinalist in the Crescendo Music Awards Young Artist Competition. In 2006, he was honored as one of seven national finalists in the 2006 Music Teachers National Association Yamaha Senior Piano National Competition, representing the west central division. Tauscher was the winner of the Kansas City Symphony Young Artist Competition in 2006 and performed in two concerts under the direction of the Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern and former resident conductor Timothy Hankewich. Tauscher was also declared the piano division winner in the Topeka Symphony Young Artist Competition that year and was one of six finalists in the International Institute for Young Musicians International Piano Competition in 2006. He was a finalist in the 2007 Schimmel International Piano Competition.

PENNSYLVANIA
From Allentown 18102
Christopher R. Nichols is a graduate teaching assistant at KU. He received a master’s degree in clarinet performance from Kansas State University and graduated with highest honors from the Boston Conservatory. Nichols is the principal clarinetist of the 312th Army Band of Lawrence and has been the principal clarinet and concertmaster of the 1st Infantry Division Band at Fort Riley. He has performed with the United States Army Europe Band, the Salina Symphony and the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston. He was a soloist with the University Park Symphony Orchestra. He has served on the faculties of the Ottley Music School, the Boston Arts Academy and the Berkeley College of Music Preparatory School and is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, the International Clarinet Association, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

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