Published: Feb. 28, 2023 By

The College of Music’s annual Honors Competition for undergraduate and graduate students yielded two new winners this past weekend: Undergraduate pianist Jude Dow-Hygelund (BM ’26) and graduate soprano Dawna Rae Warren (AD ’23) were awarded first prizes in their respective divisions. They will perform with the CU Symphony Orchestra during the 2023-24 season.

Jude Dow-HygelundUndergraduate competition winner

Freshman Dow-Hygelund performed Franz Liszt’s Totentanz, S. 126, accompanied by Er-Hsuan Li. Dow-Hygelund studies with Professor of Piano Andrew Cooperstock.

“Preparing for and playing in the Honors Competition has been one of my favorite and most rewarding parts of this year,” says Dow-Hygelund. “One of my goals in coming here to CU Boulder was to be able to play a concerto with a full orchestra. I am incredibly grateful that I’ll have the opportunity to perform with the CU Symphony Orchestra, especially this early in my academic career.” 

He adds, “One of my favorite parts of this competition was being able to see my peers perform their concertos. I found the wide variety of musicians and high level of talent astonishing, and I commend all the other performers!”

Dawna Rae WarrenGraduate competition winner

Warren performed Richard Strauss’ “Brentano Lieder,” Op. 68, accompanied by Ya-Ting Yang. Warren studies with Associate Professor of Voice Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson.

“For me, winning the Honors Competition was a moment when I was able to see tangible proof that my hard work and dedication to my craft has created noticeable improvements in my performances,” shares Warren. 

“I learned three of the four pieces I performed as an undergraduate at Baldwin Wallace University for the concerto competition and I did not move past the preliminary auditions,” Warren adds. “Six years later, I not only made it to the finals at the Honors Competition here at CU Boulder, but I actually won. It’s absolutely a reinforcement that discipline and dedication are crucial to finding success as an artist and musician.

“My favorite part was coaching these pieces with various faculty members.” 

Well-earned honorable mentions go to undergraduate cellist Louis Saxton and graduate bassoonist J. T.  Holdbrooks.

Big thanks to our faculty judges—Nicholas Carthy, Gary Lewis and Don McKinney—and congratulations to all participating student competitors and collaborative pianists, and to those who advanced to the final round:

Undergraduate competition

  • Jude Dow-Hygelund, piano
  • Louis Saxton, cello
  • Melissa Burke-Manwaring, soprano
  • Anna Kallinikos, trumpet
  • Benjamin Kohav, piano
  • Ayla Lantz, flute
  • Lucy Rissman, violin
  • Noah Solomon, trumpet

Graduate competition

  • Dawna Rae Warren, soprano
  • J. T. Holdbrooks, bassoon
  • Logan Banister, saxophone
  • Thomas Leo Bocchi, tenor 
  • Michael Brotherton, trumpet
  • Victor Avila Luvsangenden, violin

To enjoy the winners’ performances this fall semester, visit for details.