Past Finalists

2012
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Kaitlin Moreno

KAITLIN MORENO is a junior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under Professor Kevin Lawrence pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance. Previous teachers include Carolyn Stuart and Sally Thomas. Kaitlin has held many leadership positions at UNC School of the Arts, including concertmaster for the Fletcher Opera performance of Cosi Fan Tutte, associate concertmaster for Nutcracker and Oklahoma!, as well as concertmaster for the School of Drama production of 1776. In 2010, she premiered Appalachian Concerto with the Kruger Brothers and School of the Arts faculty, a work written for string quartet and folk trio. Kaitlin has performed with the NOVUS Chamber Orchestra, Mostly Pops Orchestra of Tampa Bay, and... [read more]
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Scott O'Toole

After happily hopping around between the piano, flute, guitar, saxophone, and trumpet, Scott O'Toole finally settled on playing percussion age 15. Without having been formally taught, he was accepted with a full scholarship into the high school music program at the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, North Carolina. In 2olo, he was awarded a Semans Arts Grant and a UNCSA Career Development Grant to attend masterclasses and percussion festivals in Europe. Scott attended the Zeltsman Marimba Festival, Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic's International Seminar for Percussion and Marimba, the International Percussion Academy at the Anton-Bruckner Privat Universitat, the Slovenian Percussion Festival, and the International... [read more]
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Julian Rose

Praised for his “wide palette of colors” and “brilliant technique,” Julian Rose is an award-winning flutist currently working in New York City as a Kenan Fellow at the Lincoln Center Institute. Julian has performed professionally with the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, “The Tidewater Winds” Wind Ensemble, and the Master Musicians Chamber Orchestra, where he served as principal flute from 2008 to 2010. He was the first prize winner at the Flute Society of Kentucky Young Artist Competition (2012), the Richmond Flute Festival Young Artist Competition (2011), the Hampton Roads Flute Faire Collegiate Soloist Competition (2006, 2008), and is currently a quarter-finalist - for the second consecutive year - in the 2012 National Flute... [read more]
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Ben Russell

Ben Russell is currently a candidate for the degree of Masters in Music Performance at Appalachian State University, studying under Dr. Rob Falvo. Ben holds a B.M. in Music Education from East Carolina University, where he studied percussion with Dr. Jon Wacker and Mr. Chris Nappi. Ben began playing drumset in 7th grade, and this experience gradually led to private lessons with Todd Proctor. In high school, Ben was active in the jazz band, wind ensemble, pep band, as well as various student led groups. He was the recipient of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award as well as the John Philip Sousa Band Award. During his undergraduate career, Ben was fortunate enough to perform with such artists as Arthur Lipner, Greg Bissonete, Marvin Hamlish, and... [read more]
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Kristin Schwecke

Kristin Schwecke is a Fellow with the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute, studying with Dr. Marilyn Taylor. Most recently, Kristin made her mainstage debut at Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible, with Peidmont Opera. This year she also performed the role of Alice Ford in Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Originally from Wisconsin, Kristin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her Master’s in Music, where she studied under Mimmi Fulmer. While attending UW-Madison, she performed the title role in Massenet’s Thaïs.In 2010 Kristin was named District winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Councils Auditions in Wisconsin and went on to receive an Encouragement Award at the Regional level. She also placed first with the Elgin... [read more]
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Audrey Sutton

Audrey Sutton, 20, has been playing viola for over nine years. She is a native of Greenville, South Carolina and studied with Kathryn Dey of the South Carolina Governer’s School of Art and Humanities. She attended high school at the Fine Arts Center and studied with violist and chamber music coach John Ravnan. In 2009 she performed as a soloist with the Carolina Youth Symphony, in which she was principle violist of for four years. She also performed in Carnegie Hall with the Carolina Youth Symphony in 2007. She attended summer festivals at the Eastman School of Music in 2008 and 2010 where she studied with George Taylor. Audrey is currently a junior at Appalachian State University, and studies Music Education and Viola Performance.... [read more]
2011
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Katherine Ardoin

Katherine Ardoin is a native to both Greensboro, North Carolina, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ms. Ardoin received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, Magna Cum Laude, from Lee University. She is currently a pursuing her Masters of Music at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, where she is studying with Dr Marilyn Taylor. This past summer Ms. Ardoin was the Mezzo-Soprano soloist for the Magnolia Baroque Festival, including works of Friedrich Peter that were featured on NPR’s Performance Today. In the summer of 2009 she was a young artist at Chautauqua Opera. Operatic highlights include Dorabella in Cosí fan Tutte, Nancy in Albert Herring, Hannah Kennedy in Maria Stuarda, Lisetta in Il Mondo della Luna, Prince Orlofsky in... [read more]
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Cynthia Burton

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Cynthia Burton 21, grew up in Banner Elk, North Carolina and began studying the violin at the age of 3. In high school, she studied with Dr. Nancy Bargerstock of Appalachian State University and played both violin and viola in the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra. Cynthia also performed with the Appalachian Chamber Orchestra in Austria and the Czech Republic in the summer of 2006.In 2007, she was awarded one of four Kenan Music Scholarships, a four-year full scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported by the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust. She was appointed principal second violin as a freshman and has served as concertmaster of the UNC Symphony Orchestra since 2008. She also participates in UNC's... [read more]
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Julia Byrd

Lenoir-Rhyne University - Julia Byrd began receiving piano lessons at the age of 10 and has studied with pianists Kathryn Starnes, Jonathan Beal, and Amy Smith. Julia received a superior rating from the Piano Guild at the age of 15 and began receiving lessons from Dr. John Cheek at 16. She is currently a senior at Lenoir Rhyne University and is pursuing a degree in piano performance under the instruc@on of Dr. Cheek. In the summer of ’08 Julia received a summer music study scholarship from Lenoir Rhyne, and this scholarship enabled her to spend a week at Orford Academy in Quebec studying under performer Maneli Pirzadeh.Julia has been the recipient of several other scholarships while at Lenoir Rhyne, including the Charles and Marie Rast Music Scholarship and the... [read more]
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Katherine Edahl

Ms. Katherine Edahl, 22 of Charlotte, began studying voice under the direction of Dr. Joseph Amaya of Appalachian State University in 2006. She has received her bachelors degree from Appalachian, and is continuing to seek her masters at the same institution. She has performed an array of roles, including Anna Maurrant from Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Despina from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Fiordiligi from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, the Mother from Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Adina from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, and Suor Angelica from Puccini’s Suor Angelica. In 2009 and 2010 she was asked to attend American Singers’ Opera Project (ASOP) under the direction of Ms.... [read more]