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UW Students Chosen to Perform in Feb. 26 Jacoby Competition

February 18, 2015
Head portraits of three men and three women
Ariana Spring Hahl, Sarah Kim, Michael Peterson, Mary Sanderson, Stephen Wadsack and Cheng Wang

The worlds of competition and classical music meet head-on Thursday, Feb. 26, as the University of Wyoming’s finest student musician will be chosen at this year’s Jacoby Competition.

Six finalists were selected during auditions in the fall. Now, these young performers each will perform as a soloist with the UW Symphony Orchestra. A panel of judges then will choose the winner of the Jacoby prize -- a significant cash award.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall on the UW campus.

“This year, we have an incredibly varied program: one each from the string, woodwind and brass areas, a singer and two pianists,” says Michael Griffith, UW’s director of orchestral activities. “Interestingly, three were born in Texas but raised elsewhere. Three are Wyoming high school graduates. Four are undergraduates, with one Performer’s Certificate student and one pursuing the Master of Music degree.”

This year’s soloists are:

-- Ariana Spring Hahl is originally from Texas but graduated from high school in Casper. She will sing the "Italian Street Song" from the operetta “Naughty Marietta” by Victor Herbert.

-- Sarah Kim, piano, will perform a true virtuoso masterwork, Franz Liszt’s “Totentanz,” paraphrase on the “Dies Irae.” Kim is a graduate student who was born in Texas and grew up in Seoul, South Korea.

-- Michael Peterson, soprano saxophone, is a senior from Reliance. He graduated from Rock Springs High School and is splitting his interest between jazz and classical saxophone. He will perform the “Fantasia” by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

-- Mary Sanderson, violin, will play the first movement of a true audience favorite, the violin concerto by Felix Mendelssohn. She is a freshman from Morgantown, Ind.

-- Stephen Wadsack, trumpet, is another Texan who moved to Wyoming, where he graduated from Campbell County High School in Gillette. He is the head drum major of the UW Western Thunder Marching Band. Wadsack will play the last movement of a new concerto by Edward Gregson.

-- Cheng Wang will play a first movement of another favorite, the “Third Piano Concerto” by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Cheng is a Performer’s Certificate student from Shenyang, China.

While the judges deliberate, senior Tyler Treacy of Loveland, Colo., will conduct the orchestra in the overture to Grieg’s music for the Ibsen drama, “Peer Gynt.”

This concert is named after Dorothy Jacoby, a founding member of the UW Symphony Association 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 Jacoby’s friends, created the endowment for the prize that is awarded at the performance.

Call (307) 766-6666 to order tickets. Tickets also are available at, or in person at the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts and Wyoming Union box offices.

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