August 2006 Convention
Pittsburgh, PA


Young Artist: August 10, 13, 2006, Piccolo Artist: August 10, 12, 2006

Two students from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music took first prize in this year’s top NFA competitions. Leah Arsenault won the Young Artist Competition and Pethrus Garbon was the winner of the Piccolo Artist Competition. Both are working on their undergraduate degrees at CCM.

Leah Arsenault

Leah Arsenault

Arsenault, who has also won first prize at the Frank Bowen and Myrna Brown Flute Competitions, chose a varied program for her final round repertoire. She began with Donizetti’s Sonata in C major and then completely switched gears with Robert Dick’s
Fish are Jumping. Georges Guiraud’s beautiful Reverie Tendre followed, and the program closed with two movements of the difficult Carl Vine Sonata. Arsenault’s quiet confidence was evident as she presented these diverse pieces with a crystal clear sound, solid technique, spot-on pitch, and a style that was suitable for each work. Boston flutists Sarah Brady and Alicia DiDonato were the other finalists. They took second and third prizes, respectively. Brady also received the prize for the best performance of the commissioned work, Waterfall, by Paul Dresher, which was required of everyone for the semi-final round.

The 2006 Piccolo Artist Competition proved that the piccolo is no poor relative, for the level was very high, and new repertoire was performed. First prize went to Pethrus Garborn, a former prizewinner in the NFA’s High School Soloist Competition, who sailed through his program, barely missing a beat. He, too, chose a variety of repertoire, though equally difficult, which highlighted his rich, projecting tone and fast moving fingers. Gardborn began his program with the flourishing first movement of Daniel Dorff’s Sonatine de Giverny for piccolo and piano. Next were the Three Sketches by Katherine Hoover, which was required repertoire for all three finalists, followed by the Largo and Allegro molto from Vivaldi’s Concerto in C major F.VI, no. 5. (This is known to us piccoloists as the other C major). For his final piece he performed the fast-paced first movement, “Lively,” of Mike Mower’s Sonata for piccolo and piano. Throughout his program his demeanor was cool, yet confident, and this is not the last we will hear from this fine young talent. Jenny Robinson, the 2005 winner of the NFA’s orchestral competition, took second prize. Laura Rakel, a student from the University of North Texas, took third. All finalists should be commended for yet again raising the bar for this competition, and for furthering the advancement of piccolo practice and performance.

—Nicole Esposito