August 2005 Convention
San Diego, CA

Young Artist Competition

August 11-14
Julietta Curenton

Julietta Curenton

I was honored to serve as a judge for the 2005 NFA Young Artist Competition, as part of a distinguished panel of judges including Wissam Boustany, Jonathan Keeble, Fenwick Smith, and Mark Thomas. The semifinal round consisted of six flutists performing a set program of Handel’s Sonata in G Major(first two movements), Doppler’s Airs Valaques, and the NFA’s newly commissioned work, Bun-Ching Lam’s Loin d’ici. Our task was to select three finalists. I was impressed by the solidly prepared and thoughtful performances. In addition to technical considerations, musicality, interpretation, and communication with the audience were important elements on which the performers were evaluated.

In the final round, the three performers played 25-minute programs of their own choosing, enabling us to get a deeper sense of their range as musicians and creating a different set of considerations than the required program format in the semifinals. NFA policy states that the competitor’s choice of repertoire must be taken into consideration in addition to her execution of it (all the seminfinalists were women). While I agreed that each person should be evaluated on the basis of how effective her performance of each piece was, the musical depth of her choices was important, too. All three flutists had great command of their music and gave polished performances. The results were: Julietta Curenton, first prize; Gloria Huh, second prize; Mercedes Smith, third prize and prize for best performance of the commissioned work.

Judging the competition was a valuable experience. I relished the opportunity to hear wonderful and passionate flute playing from the contestants, and found the discussions with my fellow judges stimulating. We debated respectfully. My philosophy of adjudication is always to listen for the positive elements in a contestant’s playing. I want everyone to play well, and confess to feeling a bit empathetically nervous for every performer. I know from my own experiences competing how stressful it can be. I thank the six flutists for sharing their music with me. Congratulations on their impressive achievement and spirit of musicianship. Karen Evans Moratz did a great job coordinating the competition and the pianists, Clinton Adams, Dianne Cross, and Brian Pezzone, were excellent collaborative partners.

Convention photographs were taken by: Paula Gudmundson (Mathieu Dufour workshop), Marilyn Arey (Mimi Stillman), Kim Goodman (Bringing the Arts Together panel), Lisa Fahlstrom (Sheridan Stokes), and Phyllis Louke (the Portland Flute Quartet). Photographs of Ian Clarke and Hubert Laws were provided by the artists.

I was honored to serve as a judge for the 2005 NFA Young Artist Competition, as part of a distinguished panel of judges including Wissam Boustany, Jonathan Keeble, Fenwick Smith, and Mark Thomas. The semifinal round consisted of six flutists performing a set program of Handel’s Sonata in G Major(first two movements), Doppler’s Airs Valaques, and the NFA’s newly commissioned work, Bun-Ching Lam’s Loin d’ici. Our task was to select three finalists. I was impressed by the solidly prepared and thoughtful performances. In addition to technical considerations, musicality, interpretation, and communication with the audience were important elements on which the performers were evaluated.

—Mimi Stillman