Six students from various departments within SMU’s Division of Music were honored Thursday night with the opportunity to showcase their talents at the annual Emerging Artists Spring Recital at the Caruth Auditorium in Owen Arts Center.
“Tonight is to be understood as a showcase for some of the most talented students in the music division, all performing in one recital,” said Stefan Engels, Professor of Organ and Chair of the Organ Department.
Studio teachers handpicked six students from the 300 that compose the university’s Division of Music to receive this esteemed opportunity. Engels emphasized that being well-advanced in the study of a composition is one of the most important criteria the professors consider in making this decision.
The distinguished students performed for an audience consisting of fifty of their friends and family members, other SMU students, and a handful of local senior citizens. Performances included masterworks from the piano, organ, voice, brass and woodwind repertory. One performer, senior Alyssa Barnes, sang both “The Jewel Song” from Faust and “Mi chiamano Mimi” from La Bohéme.
“I was very excited to get to perform because for the past three years I found out about it happening and I thought it was so cool,” Barnes said. “I wanted to be a part of young, very talented people doing something special.”
Davide Cava, another of the night’s spotlighted students, dedicated his piano performance to his deceased grandmother.
“Davide’s dedication added a sentimental element to his performance,” audience member Elyse Norman said. “It was my favorite part of the recital because it showed how personal each piece was and how much the entire event meant to them.”
The remaining four students showcased in the recital were Joshua Boyd, Julie Strauser, Zane Mallett and Nicholas Halbert. Joshua Boyd played a piece by composer Johann Sebastian Bach on the Organ. Soprano Julie Strauser accompanied harpist Zane Mallet in performing “Beau soir,” “Nuits d’étoiles” and “Fleur des Bless” by Claude Debussy. Nicholas Halbert closed the evening with a piece by composer Sigrid Karg-Elert that he played on the organ.
“Each performer has a distinct personality and has already earned a reputation as a performer,” Stefan Engels said. He advises emerging artists to continue to study, perform, research and engage in their community.
Barnes credits her SMU music professors for getting her out of her comfort zone and for the ability to express her personality during her performances. Her advice to other emerging artists at SMU is to remain diligent and trust in those who wish to see them succeed.
“Trust yourself that as much as you want to do well other people also want you to do well,” Barnes said.
“My hope is that the audience members leave with a good impression of high quality music making and a better understanding of the many different instruments and musical styles,” Engels said.