2015 I.C.A. High School Solo Competition Report

by John Warren, coordinator

Thirty clarinetists from eight countries submitted digital entries for the 2015 I.C.A. High School Solo Competition. Applicants were required to play Adagio and Tarantella by Ernesto Cavallini and Arlequin by Louis Cahuzac. A panel of three preliminary judges – John Sadak of Wake Forest University, Timothy Phillips of Troy University, and Randall Cunningham of William Jewel College – narrowed the field to six finalists, representing five countries. The finalists performing in Madrid were Alise Gavare (Latvia), Guilherme Batahla (Portugal), Minkyung Chu (South Korea), Ferran Arbona (Spain), Hector Norriega (Mexico) and Antonio Lopez (Portugal).

Finalists and judges (l to r): Ferran Arbona, Alise Gavare, Patricia Kostek, Minkyung Chu, Javier Llopis, Guilherme Batahla, Antonio Lopez, David Odom, Yvonne Fisher, Hector Noriega, Lauren Jacobson
Finalists and judges (l to r): Ferran Arbona, Alise Gavare, Patricia Kostek, Minkyung Chu, Javier Llopis, Guilherme Batahla, Antonio Lopez, David Odom, Yvonne Fisher, Hector Noriega, Lauren Jacobson

The final, live round was held on Friday, July 24th in the auditorium of the Conservatorio de Amaniel before a panel of five judges. These judges included Lauren Jacobson of Northern Colorado University, David Odom of Auburn University, Javier Llopis of the Tenerife Conservatory, Patricia Kostek of Victoria University, and Yvonne Fisher of the Ambrit Rome International School. Our excellent pianist was Monica Marquez, who included the competition in the middle of a very busy week of eight other ICA recitals!

2015 High School Solo Competition winners: (l to r) Ferran Arbona (1st), Guilherme Batahla (2nd), Minkyung Chu (3rd)
2015 High School Solo Competition winners: (l to r) Ferran Arbona (1st), Guilherme Batahla (2nd), Minkyung Chu (3rd)

The level of performance was uniformly high, and after spirited deliberations, the judges awarded first prize and $1000 to Ferran Arbona; second prize and $750 to Guilherme Batalha; and third prize and $500 to Minkyung Chu, the youngest of all thirty entries. At the award ceremony on Saturday, July 23rd, the audience was privileged to hear Arbona perform the Cavallini Adagio and Tarantella. His interpretation, played from memory, featured a beautiful sound, solid technique, and mature music making.

Details will be posted online soon regarding the 2016 High School Competition, to be held at ClarinetFest® 2016 at the University of Kansas.

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