Southeast Student Pianist Wins Symphony Orchestra Concerto and Aria Competition

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 21, 2015 –- Evan Watkins, a Southeast Missouri State University music major from Paducah, Kentucky, was named the winner of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto and Aria Competition Dec. 9. He will showcase his talents in April as he joins the orchestra during its final subscription concert of the 2015-2016 season.

Watkins will perform the first movement of the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Southeast Missouri Symphony April 26 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus. He is pursuing a music performance degree on the piano at Southeast, with a minor in cello performance.

Each year, the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra sponsors a Concerto and Aria Competition, open to all music majors and minors at Southeast.  The competition is held in two rounds: a preliminary competition, which took place in November, followed by the final competition held earlier this month. Twenty-two student performers competed in the preliminary round; eight of the performers were chosen to advance to the final round of the competition.

Finalists included two flutists, two pianists, as well as a vocalist, percussionist, French horn player and saxophonist.  The runner-up of the competition was Tessa Long, a flutist from Benton, Missouri, who is pursuing a music performance degree on the flute, and a Bachelor of Science in biology, wildlife/conservation option. Receiving Honorable Mention was Madeline Flieg, a soprano from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Music with a major in performance, vocal option, and Bachelor of Music Education with a major in music (vocal).  Judges for the 2015—2016 Competition Finals were Drs. Lisa Blackmore and Jennifer Judd, music faculty members at East Central College in Union, Missouri.