Published: Feb. 29, 2024 By

A highly anticipated event at the College of Music, our annual Concerto Competition showcases the talents and hard work of our undergraduate and graduate students. On Feb. 25, two students were awarded first prize in their respective divisions: Undergraduate cellist Louis Saxton (BM ’24) and graduate violinist Rinat Erlichman (AD ’25). As competition winners, they’ve earned the opportunity to perform with the CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra next season.

Louis SaxtonUndergraduate competition winner
Senior cellist Louis Saxton performed Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra accompanied by Teaching Assistant Professor Hsiao-Ling Lin. Saxton studies with Associate Professor of Cello David Requiro. 

“Making the finals last year was so thrilling and winning this year’s competition is an absolute honor and privilege,” shares Saxton. “I’m so excited to get to perform with such amazing conductors and performers next season! 

“I have felt enormously supported by the College of Music, my cello professor and the entire string department,” he adds. “I am so grateful to have experienced many classroom performances and incredibly constructive and positive feedback on my performances over my years at CU Boulder. 

“I am very much looking forward to taking a gap year post-graduation this May. I have loved every bit of my time at CU Boulder and am excited to take a year off to re-invigor my love of all things academia and furthering my education. I aspire to participate in a top tier string quartet fellowship in the next few years and to pursue at least a master’s degree in cello performance.”

Rinat ErlichmanGraduate competition winner
Rinat Erlichman performed Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, accompanied by Postdoctoral Lecturer Barbara Noyes. Erlichman studies with Takács Quartet violinists Harumi Rhodes and Edward Dusinberre.

“I am incredibly thankful to my teachers for their support, guidance and artistry,” says Erlichman. “I am grateful and excited to play the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra and looking forward to many more concerts here in Boulder.”

Erlichman’s success in the Concerto Competition follows her first-prize triumph in the 2023-2024 Bruce Ekstrand Memorial Graduate Student Performance Competition

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

Undergraduate competition
  • Louis Saxton, cello
  • Corvina Graham, flute (honorable mention)
  • Anna Kallinikos, trumpet
  • Luke Lozano, piano
  • Joshua Vance, saxophone
Graduate competition 
  • Rinat Erlichman, violin
  • Maggie Brady, violin
  • Michael Brotherton, trumpet
  • Kristina Butler, soprano
  • Allyson Kreider, flute
  • Rebecca Ortiz, trumpet

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