Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition

Date: January 28th and 29th (All Instruments)

More Information Coming about the 2017 Competition by October 15th.




Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D. Minor, Op. 47, I. Allegro moderato



Bartok, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Op. post.


#101 Violinist Melody Goeun Sim,age 16

Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D. Minor, Op. 47, I. Allegro moderato



Nielson, Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, I. Allegro moderato

Merit Award

#120 Violinist Katherine Woo, age 17

Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D. Minor, Op. 47, I. Allegro moderato

Merit Award

#236 Violinist Haeun Kim,age 15

Paganini, Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 6, I. Allegro maetoso

Merit Award

#243 Cellist Nathan Mo, age 16

Tchaikovsky, Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, Theme and Variations


January 30-31, 2016 • Huntingdon College • Montgomery, Alabama

A program of the Montgomery Symphony League

Sponsored by The Blount Foundation and The Guice Slawson Family 

The 2016 Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition is open to strings/winds/brass/percussion in the seventh through the twelfth grades residing in and attending school in the United States. Pianists are eligible to enter in next year's 2017 competition. Previous first place winners are not eligible to compete. The winner must be available for rehearsals on Sunday, April 24th and the scheduled April 25th, 2016 performance with the MSO.

Acceptable literature for the competition includes any one movement from any work in the standard concerto repertoire. Works associated with the student repertoire may be selected if they are original works. Transcriptions or arrangements are not acceptable unless transcribed by the original composer. Memorization is preferred but not required. All works must have orchestral parts available. Special permission is needed for complete concertos in a single movement. Please click the "Concerto Request Form" below and the MSO Administrative office will be in touch shortly. 

2016 Blount-Slawson Panel of Judges:

Yosuke Kawasaki currently serves as Concertmaster of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra.  He is also a member and co-Concertmaster of the Mito Chamber Orchestra and Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan both under the baton of Seiji Ozawa.  Prior to his position in Ottawa, he served as Concertmaster of the Japan Century Orchestra and Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Kawasaki is currently on faculty with the University of Ottawa School of Music, Affinis Summer Music Festival and Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy. Apart from his orchestral career, Mr. Kawasaki’s versatile musicianship allows him to pursue wide-ranging engagements as a soloist and a chamber musician.  He is a founding member of Trio Ink, a piano trio with Vadim Serebryany and Wolfram Koessel as well as a founding member of D’Amici String Quartet and Arkas String Quartet. Mr. Kawasaki began his violin studies at the age of six with his father Masao Kawasaki and continued with Setsu Goto.  At the age of ten he was accepted into The Juilliard School Pre-College Division and further continued his education and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1998 under the tutorship of Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Felix Galimir and Joel Smirnoff.

Erin Nolan has worked primarily as a chamber and orchestral musician in London, England; having performed and toured extensively as a violist in the English Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Erin trained with the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Cleveland String Quartets. In 2004, she performed in four Carnegie Hall performances with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project. In 2011, Ms. Nolan began working at From the Top, America's largest national platform celebrating the stories, talents, and character of classically-trained young musicians. In her role as Associate Music Producer, Erin shares the passion of the organization to celebrate classical music in the hands of young musicians, and to provide the young performers with the opportunity to reach their potential. 

Terry Everson is an Associate Professor of Music at Boston University (where he was recognized with the University’s 2014 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching), Director of the BU Tanglewood Institute Trumpet Workshop, Principal Trumpet of the Peninsula Music Festival, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Odyssey Opera. In addition to his work as a soloist and clinician, his extensive concert experience includes appearances in the Boston Symphony and Pops, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Brass Band of Battle Creek, and as conductor of the Costa Rica National Symphony Brass & Percussion. Mr. Everson is on the Executive Board of the National Trumpet Competition, is an Honorary Member of the New England Brass Band, and is a Life Member of the International Trumpet Guild.

Dr. Osiris J. Molina is Associate Professor of Clarinet at The University of Alabama. Dr. Molina is currently Principal Clarinet of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Second/Associate Principal Clarinet with the Huntsville Symphony and a member of the Capstone Wind Quintet and Cavell Trio. He has performed a multiple international conferences, including the International Double Reed Society Conference, International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest, National Flute Association, and College Music Society. In addition to his Alabama teaching duties, Dr. Molina is in his third season as Clarinet Mentor at the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs, Arkansas. Dr. Molina holds degrees from Michigan State University, Yale School of Music, and Rutgers University. 

Suren Bagratuni is the Professor of Cello and Co-Chair of the String Area at Michigan State University College of Music. - Winner of the silver medal at the 1986 International Tchaikovsky Competition while still a student at the Moscow Conservatory, Bagratuni has gone on to a distinguished international career as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. In addition to performing throughout the former Soviet Union, he has toured worldwide, earning enthusiastic praise in both traditional and contemporary repertoire. He has performed with all the major orchestras in the former Soviet Union, including the Moscow Philharmonic (under the direction of Valery Gergiev) and has also appeared with numerous orchestras in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. His solo appearances include recitals in the major concert halls of the world. Chamber music appearances have included guest invitations with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Newport Music Festival, the “Russian Winter” Festival in Moscow, the El Paso Pro Musica International Festival, Bargemusic, and international festivals in Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Korea, China, and Taiwan. In addition to his solo activities, he performs as a member of Trio Nobilis, serves as artistic director of the Cello Plus music festival, and conducts master classes worldwide. A former faculty member of the New England Conservatory and the University of Illinois, Bagratuni is currently Artist-Teacher and Professor of Cello at the Michigan State University College of Music.

Maestro Thomas Hinds has served for 33 years on the MSO's podium as its music director and conductor. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Maestro Hinds was a professional musician with the Alabama Symphony for ten years prior to taking up the baton. His past podiums, as both a resident and guest conductor, include the Ft. Worth Civic Orchestra, Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra, Johnson City Symphony, Gadsden Symphony, the Southern Regional Opera Company, the Birmingham Metropolitan Orchestra, and the Brisbane (Australia) Conservatory Orchestra. Maestro Hinds has also served as the music director for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's productions of Man of La Mancha, Beauty and the Beast, and, most recently, West Side Story. In 2007, he received the Governor's Arts Award from the Alabama State Council on the Arts - the first conductor in its history to be so honored. Maestro Hinds received his training at the Aspen Festival in Colorado, the Goldofsky Opera Institute in Massachusetts, the Pierre Monteux Domain School in Maine, Munich Philharmonic's Conductors' Course, and at the American Conductors’ Guild Institute.

Competition Format:
The competition will be held on Saturday and Sunday, January 30 - January 31, 2016 at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. Entrants will be notified by mail two-three weeks prior to the competition of their approximate performance time.

The top entrants from Saturday's preliminary round of competition will compete on Sunday at 1:00 PM in a final round of competition which will be open to the public. The judges’ decision will be announced at the end of the competition.

All entrants must perform with live accompaniment. Accompanists are the responsibility of each entrant. Entrants are strongly encouraged to bring their own accompanists. A very limited number of assigned accompanists are available and practice time is limited before the competition. Specific accompanists may not be requested by name and will be assigned by the discretion of the MSO administrative office. The fee for an assigned accompanist is $150 for the preliminary round and $50 should be paid directly to the accompanist for the final round. The $150 non-refundable preliminary round accompanist check must be mailed by December 4th, 2015 to process the need for an accompanist.  We do not take credit cards. Checks for accompanist fee should be mailed to the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra Att: Blount-Slawson Competition, P.O. Box 1864-Montgomery, Alabama 36102

All entrants using an assigned accompanist will have a 30-minute rehearsal on Friday, January 29th, and a brief warm-up on Saturday. Those with early Friday afternoon rehearsals may need to travel to Montgomery on Thursday, January 28th.

Scheduling Conflicts:
Entrants must note on the application form any expected conflicts in scheduling their rehearsal or audition time. Once the rehearsal and audition times are set, it is nearly impossible to re-arrange them because of the number of competitors, venues, arranged accompanists, etc. Please make an effort to let us know on the application form if your schedule is not completely free.

Travel and Accommodations:
Home Towne Suites Montgomery (334-396-5505)

A listing of other hotel and motel accommodations and local rental car companies will be mailed to all competitors. Because Montgomery’s public transit is very limited and taxi cabs are not always available in a timely fashion, competitors’ parents are urged to rent a car or to carpool with another entrant. There are no hotels within walking distance of the competition.

Unescorted Competitors:
Competitors must be escorted by an adult. The competition is unable to provide accommodations, transportation, or chaperone services.


First Prize: Performance with the Montgomery Symphony at the Davis Theater on April 25, 2016; $10,000 consisting of a Cash Award of $2,500 and a separate Educational Award of $7,500 with designation towards the study of music.

Second Prize: Cash award of $3,000

Third Prize: Cash award of $2,000

Fourth Prize: Cash award of $1,000

*The Montgomery Symphony League reserves the right to amend the structure of the competition and prizes based on the number of registered competitors and the judges’ recommendations.

Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) Auditions:
Representatives from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) will again be present at this year’s competition. BUTI is the high school division of the internationally famous Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, MA, which draws young performers from around the world each summer.

Your Blount-Slawson Competition audition can count as your BUTI audition! For more information about how to audition for BUTI while you are at the Blount-Slawson Competition, you may call 617-353-3386 or visit their website at Also, see details outlined below. Please also mark the appropriate box on the Blount-Slawson application form to indicate that you would like your Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition audition to count as your BU Tanglewood Institute audition for the 2016 Summer Season.

BU Tanglewood Institute Scholarships: The Montgomery Symphony will award a full tuition scholarship to a young Alabama musician who has been accepted and attends a six-week session for the Boston University Tanglewood Institute 2016 summer season.

 BU Tanglewood Institute Audition Information: Representatives from BUTI will be in residence at the 2016 Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition on January 30, 2016 in Montgomery, Alabama to answer questions about summer program offerings and hold regional auditions.

 All Blount-Slawson competitors interested in being considered for BUTI programs should submit the BUTI 2016 Online Application. As a competitor, your Blount-Slawson competition audition on January 30, 2016 will be automatically recorded by BUTI, but you MUST contact the BUTI office at 617-353-3386 or and indicate that you would like to use your competition audition to count as your BUTI audition. Additional audition material may be required for competitors and is outlined below by instrument group:

WINDS AND BRASS: All wind and brass players auditioning for BUTI are required to prepare and submit audition excerpts (in addition to their Blount Slawson Competition audition) as part of their BUTI application. A BUTI representative will be on-site on Saturday, January 30th, during the competition to record audition excerpts OR you may record your excerpts and upload directly to your BUTI 2016 Online Application. The deadline for submitting your BUTI application with additional recordings is January 31, 2016. To record your excerpts on-site at the Blount-Slawson Competition, you must select that you will be completing a Live Audition in the BUTI application and then proceed to sign up for a Montgomery, AL Regional Audition time that does not conflict with your Blount-Slawson competition audition. On the audition day, it will be clear where to meet with a BUTI Representative to record your excerpts. To record and upload the required excerpts yourself by the January 31 deadline, you will select Recorded Audition and proceed to complete and submit the BUTI application. You MUST contact the BUTI office at 617-353-3386 or to inform them you will be using your Blount-Slawson Competition audition to count as your BUTI audition. From there, your competition audition will be submitted to BUTI Admissions to be reviewed alongside your completed BUTI application with required excerpts (deadline January 31, 2016).

Click here to access the on-line audition excerpts for your instrument.

STRINGS: String players do not need to provide any additional audition materials.  Your Blount-Slawson Competition audition counts entirely as your BUTI audition. You MUST contact the BUTI office at 617-353-3386 or to inform them you will be using your Blount-Slawson Competition audition to count as your BUTI audition. From there, your competition audition will be submitted to BUTI Admissions to be reviewed alongside your completed BUTI application (deadline January 31, 2016).

BUTI applicants NOT competing in the Blount-Slawson Competition may also elect to perform a live audition in Montgomery, AL as a part of the 2016 BUTI Audition Tour. Sign up for a live audition as a part of the BUTI 2016 Online Application.


Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is there an entry fee for the competition?
A. No entry fee is charged.

Q. Can I compete in the preliminary round on Saturday at a certain time of the day?
A. Yes. If you let us know on your application form that you will only be available, as an example, after noon and if you bring your own accompanist, we will schedule you accordingly.  If you have asked the competition to provide you with an accompanist, we will make every effort to accommodate your scheduling request.

Q. Will there be a place for me to practice while I am in Montgomery?
A. Generally speaking, the practice room demands of the competition fill many of the available practice rooms on Friday night and during the day on Saturday. 

On Friday night, any practice rooms not already assigned to a competition accompanist can be used by competitors on a first come, first served basis. Please share. During the day on Saturday, each competitor will be assigned a practice room for the 40 minutes prior to his or her performance in the preliminary round. Anyone may use the remaining available practice rooms.

On Sunday, the finalists will have the first option on practice rooms. Otherwise, they are open to other competitors.

Q. May I request a specific competition supplied pianist to accompany me?
A. No. We cannot guarantee you that we can make that particular assignment. Our assignment process is geared to providing the best collaboration for all competitors who have requested that we provide them with an accompanist.  

Q. Can I have my first rehearsal with my assigned pianist on Saturday as opposed to Friday?
A. No. Your assigned pianist will be busy playing for the other competitors assigned to him or her.

Q. What time will the competition conclude on Sunday?  I want to make my return airline reservation but don't know when to schedule my flight home?
A. The short answer is that we really won't know when the competition will end until the judges tell us they are ready to announce the prize winners.  We do not know the lengths of the movements the nine finalists will perform and we do not know how long the judges will deliberate.  However, based on past years, we expect everything to be over by 5:00 pm.  The college is approximately 20 minutes by car from the Montgomery Airport.

Representatives from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) will again be present at this year’s competition. The Tanglewood Institute is the high school division of the internationally famous Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, MA, which draws young performers from around the world each summer.

All wind and brass players auditioning for BUTI are required to prepare and submit audition excerpts as part of their BUTI application.  A BUTI representative will be on-site on Saturday, January 30th, during the competition to record audition excerpts OR you are welcome to record your excerpts on CD and send to the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.  The application deadline for 2016 has not yet been announced.  Please contact the BUTI office to set-up a recording time or to learn more about this specific requirement by calling 617-353-3386.  You can also email BUTI at

Click here to access the on-line audition excerpts for your instrument: 

String players and pianists do not need to provide audition excerpts.  Your audition for the competition is all that is required for your application to BUTI.

If you would like your Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition audition to also serve as a Tanglewood audition for the 2016 Summer Season, please mark the appropriate box on the application form. For more information on BUTI, you may call 617-353-3386 or visit their website at

Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition Goals:
The goals of the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition are threefold:

• To promote a professional standard of performance among young musicians through the experience of a competitive forum

• To afford young musicians the opportunity to be judged by artists of recognized standing

• To select a talented young musician to perform with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra

The Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition and Concert are made possible by the generosity of The Blount Foundation and The Guice Slawson Family in cooperation with the Montgomery Symphony League and Huntingdon College.

The Blount Foundation
The Blount Foundation was the creation of the late Montgomery businessman and philanthropist Wynton M. (Red) Blount. As Founder and Chairman of Blount International Inc., Mr. Blount established the Foundation in the 1970s to support activities in the communities in which his company had a presence.

Foundation President D. Joseph McInnes continued to nurture the arts in Montgomery and created an environment where they thrived until the Foundation's closure in 2007.

The Blount Foundation’s 31-year partnership with the Montgomery Symphony League and its endowment of the competition has resulted in a nationally respected event for young musicians that will continue in perpetuity.

The Guice Slawson Family
The Montgomery Symphony League extends its thanks to Guice and Caroline Slawson for their generous support of this competition. Mr. Slawson is the President of Southeast Wood Treating, Ltd., with corporate offices in Montgomery, Alabama.

Mr. and Mrs. Slawson support a variety of educational, religious, and arts organizations in the community.

Huntingdon College
Huntingdon College has served as the host of the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition for over 20 years.  From the beginning of each competition's three day schedule, until the last note has been played, Blount-Slawson judges, competitors, their accompanists, and families fill the Smith Music Building to overflowing.  Ligon Chapel in Flowers Hall provides an exciting venue for the competition's final round.

Our thanks go to Dr. Cameron West, President of Huntingdon College, and the entire music faculty for their generosity of spirit in supporting the efforts of pre-college musicians and their willingness to provide such a fitting home for the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition.