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Gao Recognized as UW’s Top Student Musician

March 7, 2017
man playing a piano
Rui Gao

Rui Gao was recognized as the University of Wyoming’s top student musician during the Dorothy Jacoby Student Soloist Competition last week.

Eight finalists were selected during auditions last fall, and each of the finalists then performed with the UW Symphony Orchestra (UWSO) in front of a panel of judges.

Gao, a pianist from Shenyang, China, performed Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the UWSO.

At age 12, Gao was admitted to the Shenyang Conservatory of Music and studied with Zhang Fang, a famous Chinese professor. Gao has received multiple awards, including second place for Chinese compositions at the Hong Kong Asia Piano Open Competition; second place for Bach compositions at the Hong Kong Asia Piano Open Competition; second place at the First Brahms International Music Festival in Germany; and multiple other international awards for outstanding performances.

After graduating from the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in 2015, Gao was admitted to UW’s Performer’s Certificate program and now studies under Theresa Bogard, UW Department of Music chair.

Rafael Ferreira, a graduate flute player from Goiânia, Brazil, received honorable mention for his performance of the “Flute Concerto” by Carl Reinecke.

man playing a flute
Rafael Ferreira

The other finalists at last week’s competition were Aaron Boyer, an undergraduate trombone player from Roselle, Ill.; Sean McKay, an undergraduate trumpeter from Parker, Colo.; Heath Richards, an undergraduate viola player from Fremont, Neb.; Zane Romanek, an undergraduate saxophonist from Douglas; Drew Syring, an undergraduate soprano from Cody; and Tyler Treacy, an undergraduate French hornist from Loveland, Colo.

The 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.

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