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Students shine in Meadows Symphony Orchestra auditions

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The Concerto Competition Finals were held in Caruth Auditorium, located in the Owen Fine Arts Center. Photo credit: Joey Hayden

For some SMU musicians, weeks of practice and meticulous attention to detail all came down to one afternoon.

On Jan. 25, SMU held the finals of their annual Concerto Competition of the Division of Music. Featured in the competition were some of SMU’s brightest student musicians and artists, who all auditioned for spots in the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra.

“I’ve made Region, I’ve done All-State, but getting this would mean quite a bit,” said Daniel Wolfe, an auditioning violinist.

A distinguished panel of judges was brought in to give their opinions on the Meadows Symphony Orchestra hopefuls. Scott Cantrell, SMU alum and music critic of the Dallas Morning News; Jonathan Pell, artistic director of the Dallas Opera; and John Owings, distinguished pianist from TCU, all took part in evaluating the competition.

“The program at SMU is remarkable, the talent is frequently amazing, and we expect to hear the best of the best,” Pell said.

Students performed in Caruth Auditorium inside the Owen Arts Center in front of a scattered audience compiled of mostly other auditioning musicians and their families along with the three judges.

Accepted students will become part of one of the best university orchestras in the country. While the Meadows Symphony Orchestra usually performs in Caruth Auditorium, the orchestra has also been able to play in the Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown Dallas.

The Meadows Symphony Orchestra is full of students from around the world, and is led by the accomplished conductor, Paul Phillips.Before coming to SMU in 1996, Phillips directed the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra for 12 years, and was only their third conductor in the orchestra’s 50-year history. Now, while conducting the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Phillips also appears as a guest conductor with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra to critical acclaim.

“I’ve judged this for at least 10 years, and every year I’m always impressed with the quality of the best musicians,” Cantrell said. “Obviously, there is some great work going on in this school.”

The other judges agreed, after another year of strong performances from the auditioning musicians and vocalists, it appears the Meadows Symphony Orchestra has plenty of new members to choose from.

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