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March 6, 2013 — Violin virtuoso Ara Harutyunyan of Yerevan, Armenia, was named the winner of the University of Wyoming’s Dorothy Jacoby Student Soloist Competition March 1, at the Fine Arts concert hall.
His performance of the first movement of the Brahms “Violin Concerto,” with the UW Symphony Orchestra, was selected by the judges as the best performance among six soloists and earned him a $2,500 cash prize. The six were selected from nearly 40 UW music students who auditioned in December in the competition’s first round.
The other finalists were percussionist Evan Bradley, a senior from Gillette; pianist Mei Lian, a graduate student from Shanghai, China; soprano Alison Rickard, a senior from Laramie; Elizabeth Szott, a senior from Cheyenne who plays euphonium; and saxophonist Tak Chiu Wong, a graduate student from Hong Kong.
Harutyunyan is pursuing a performer’s certificate in violin performance at UW, where he studies with Professor John Fadial. His parents are both musicians who influenced his career choice. He began to play violin when he was 8 and participated in recitals, concerts, master-classes, festivals and competitions, where he was awarded prizes as a young musician.
From 1994-2004, Harutyunyan studied at the Tchaikovsky Special Music School in Yerevan. He attended Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory for his undergraduate study with Professor Armen Harutyunyan, and in 2009, he completed his bachelor’s degree in music.
He also studied at Switzerland’s Zurich University of the Arts with Professor Rudolf Koelman; was a member of the Yerevan String Quartet as a first violinist; and, in 2009, he earned a first violin section position with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2011, Harutyunyan moved to the United States to study at UW, where he holds the Charles Moore M.D. Concertmaster Fellowship. He also teaches violin and viola with the UW String Project, and recently was named assistant concertmaster with the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra.
The Dorothy Jacoby Student Soloist Competition provides an opportunity for UW’s best music students to appear as soloists with the UW Symphony. It also offers a significant award to the musician judged to have given the best performance that evening.
Jacoby was a founding member of the Symphony Association for UW and a longtime supporter of classical music in Laramie. Her sons, Peter and Michael Jacoby, made a generous contribution in honor of their late mother. That gift, along with contributions from many of Dorothy's friends, created the endowment for the cash prize that is awarded at the performance.
The judges were Masakazu Ito, classical guitarist from Denver; James Margetts, professor of piano at Chadron State College; and Joseph Martin, conductor of the Wind Ensemble at the University of Denver. UW Department of Music Professor Michael Griffith conducted the concert.
Violinist Ara Harutyunyan of Yerevan, Armenia, won the University of Wyoming’s recent Dorothy Jacoby Student Soloist Competition. (Yulia Yarkhunova Photo)