Published: Nov. 16, 2023 By

Rinat ErlichmanOn Nov. 14 in Grusin Music Hall, violinist Rinat Erlichman (’25) won first prize in the 2023-2024 Bruce Ekstrand Memorial Graduate Student Performance Competition! Under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Violin and Artist in Residence Harumi Rhodes and Artist in Residence Edward Dusinberre, Erlichman prepared a program featuring works by Ernest Bloch, Paul Ben Haim and George Gershwin.

Erlichman was awarded $2,000—plus the audience favorite prize ($250). “Winning first prize and audience favorite for this year’s Ekstrand Competition is incredibly meaningful to me,” she shares. “Preparing for the competition has helped me expand my repertoire and develop my skills. I was honored to play the program in the final round with pianist Max Randal and all the wonderful finalists. 

“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the Ekstrand family. Your generosity means I can devote more of my time to develop my career and share my music.” 

Congratulations, Rinat, on this well-deserved achievement!

Cellist Chas Barnard—a student of Associate Professor of Cello David Requiro—won second prize ($1,000). Other finalists ($500 each) include Maggie Brady, violin (student of Harumi Rhodes); Jenna Clark, mezzo-soprano (student of Associate Professor of Voice Abigail Nims); and Allyson Kreider, flute (student of Professor of Flute Christina Jennings). 

We applaud all performers as well as their teachers and collaborative pianists, including Jude Markel, Barbara Noyes, Max Randal and Christine Teng!

Our gratitude goes to the college’s Ekstrand competition co-chairs: Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Margaret Berg and Postdoctoral Lecturer in Collaborative Piano Barbara Noyes. We’re also deeply appreciative of this year’s adjudicators: Philip Hembree, Assistant Principal Trumpet, Colorado Symphony and Instructor, University of Northern Colorado; Wilbur Lin, Assistant Conductor, Colorado Symphony and Music Director, Denver Young Artists Orchestra; and Seoyoen Min, Principal Cellist, Colorado Symphony.

Ekstrand Competition performers

Ekstrand Competition performers

This year’s semi-finalists who were chosen in their respective departmental preliminaries included:   

Percussion: Gavin Kitchen
Piano: Alice Hyoung 
Strings: Chas Barnard, cello; Maggie Brady, violin; Rinat Erlichman, violin 
Voice: Jenna Clark, mezzo soprano; Alice Del Simone, soprano; Samuel Wetzel, baritone 
Winds: Sophie Maeda, oboe; Allyson Kreider, flute; Joeli Schilling, flute

Faculty judges for this year’s semi-final round included Professor of Conducting and Director of Bands Don McKinney, Teaching Associate Professor and Chamber Music Coordinator Meta Weiss and Voice Lecturer Jennifer DeDominici.

The Bruce Ekstrand Memorial Graduate Student Performance Competition was established by then-Dean Robert Fink at the suggestion of Bruce Ekstrand—later renamed to pay tribute to the late vice chancellor for academic affairs and psychology professor. An ardent supporter of our College of Music, Ekstrand was also a member of the CU Boulder Golden Buffalo Men’s Chorus.

The competition grants cash prizes for professional development to outstanding graduate student performers. After preliminaries among individual departments and a semifinal round, five finalists are selected to compete before a panel of judges.

Partially funded by the Ekstrand Competition Endowment Fund, this annual event is the premier performance competition for the College of Music’s most outstanding graduate students.