“Some classical music competitions have a reputation for selecting winners who are good competitors but are rarely heard from again,” writes Edward Ortiz in Sunday’s (3/20) Sacramento Bee (California). “Others have a knack for identifying instrumentalists with the promise of bright careers. The Mondavi Center’s Young Artist Competition aspires to be in the latter group, said Lara Downes, competition director and pianist-in-residence at the Mondavi. … On Saturday, 16 musicians will compete at the Mondavi Center’s Studio Theatre for the grand prize. Two locals, Grass Valley harpist Sage Po and El Dorado Hills pianist Ann Deng, are among them. Eight winners will be chosen, and they will perform in a winners concert next Sunday. … Since 2005, the Davis [California] competition’s geographic focus has evolved. This year’s finalists include musicians from Plano, Texas, and Cincinnati, Ohio. ‘Over the last few years, we’ve seen a big increase in contestants from all over … so it didn’t make sense to limit it to a statewide competition,’ Downes said. Last year the festival also extended its upper age limit from 18 to 21, to accommodate more vocalists.”

Posted March 21, 2011