CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to the winners of the Wesleyan University Concerto Competition—Josh Davidoff ’18, Harim Jung ’16, and Paula Tartell ’18—who will be performing a free concert with the Wesleyan University Orchestra on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall, in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog.
This Saturday, the Wesleyan University Orchestra, under the direction of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Nadya Potemkina, presents Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and the winners of the Wesleyan University Concerto Competition.
The concerto competition
is open to all undergraduate and graduate Wesleyan students. The three
winners have the opportunity to play a piece of their choosing, either a
published arrangement or an original composition, accompanied by the
Wesleyan Orchestra or Wind Ensemble. This year’s winners are Josh Davidoff ’18 (clarinet), Harim Jung ’16 (double bass), and Paula Tartell ’18 (piano).
Davidoff is a freshman from Evanston, Illinois. He picked up the
clarinet in fourth grade, but it was not until his sophomore year of
high school that he realized his intense passion for classical music. He
came to Wesleyan after a summer spent touring the country with the National Youth Orchestra, a 120-person orchestra of which he was Apprentice Orchestra Manager. He has continued to pursue music at Wesleyan and is currently studying with Private Lessons Instructor Charlie Suriyakham.
“Music has been very prevalent in my first year at Wesleyan,” he says. “It is related in some way to most everything I do.”
This Saturday, he will perform the Première Rhapsodie
for clarinet and orchestra by Claude Debussy, a piece originally
composed for the Paris Conservatory’s clarinet examinations in 1910. Mr.
Davidoff describes it as incredibly challenging but deeply satisfying
“This piece is particularly significant in music history
because it is one of the first to use blankets of harmony, instead of
more traditional progressions of chords,” Mr. Davidoff says. “It
explores a pallet of sound, rather than a trajectory.”
A New Jersey native, Mr. Jung is a junior pursuing a double major in Music and Psychology.
He played cello until middle school where he discovered his passion for
bass. He has rigorously studied classical double bass since the age of
thirteen, and also plays electric bass as a hobby. At Wesleyan he
studies with Private Lessons Teacher Roy Wiseman.
Saturday, Mr. Jung will perform the first two movements of Giovanni
Bottesini’s Bass Concerto No. 2 in b minor, a concerto he has been
practicing all year.
“I am particularly drawn to this bass
concerto,” Mr. Jung says. “Not only because of its virtuosity, but also
for its romantic and operatic compositional style.”
He describes this particular bass concerto as the Paganini of all bass concertos, heroic and strong.
imagine a baritone walking on stage and starting with this strong
note,” he says. “That’s the image that comes to mind when I play this
Ms. Tartell is a freshman from Great Neck, New York. She
started playing piano as a six-year-old, taking lessons locally until
high school when she began commuting to New York City for her music
schooling. After taking a break from music her first semester at
Wesleyan, she entered the concerto competition as a way to get back into
“I honestly didn’t feel like myself when I wasn’t practicing seriously,” she says.
This semester, in addition to preparing the concerto, she is studying with Private Lessons Teacher William Braun.
Tartell will perform Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in a minor in
this Saturday’s concert. Premiered in Leipzig in January of 1846, it is
the only piano concerto that Mr. Schumann ever completed.
Schumann really spoke to me,” she says. “It speaks not in a
conventional, flashy way but reminds me of the person who is soft spoken
yet says a lot.”