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New England String Ensemble

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String & Flute Competition Winners Announced

Best & Brightest Young Artists Shine in New England String Ensemble’s Spring Concert

Wakefield, MA, April 03, 2007 --( Conductor Federico Cortese and the New England String Ensemble are pleased to announce the winners of the 2007 String and Flute Competition. For the past 11 years, NESE has given string and flute musicians 18 and younger a place to showcase their skills by preparing and competing to perform as soloist with a professional orchestra. The First Place winners receive $500 and a solo performance with the orchestra in its spring concerts on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 at the Rogers Center in North Andover and 3pm Sunday, April 15 at NEC’s Jordan Hall.

This year’s Competitions drew entrants from four of the New England states. From the string applicants a panel of judges selected 14 finalists for the Open Division and four finalists for the Under-12 Division. Peter Stickel, New England String Ensemble Executive Director remarked that “this year’s Competition drew the strongest field of up-and-coming musicians in its eleven year history. Each year it pretty much breaks me up seeing the level of commitment and caring from the students, teachers and families alike.”

The First Place Winner in the String Competition is 17-year-old cellist Tony Rymer, who will perform the Haydn Concerto in C major with the orchestra. Tony began playing piano at age three and cello at five and has been a winner in the Longy School of Music and New England Conservatory preparatory concerto competitions. Most recently he took Third Place in the 2007 Sphinx Competition. A resident of Dorchester and a student at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Tony is also a musician with Project Step, a program support by the Boston Symphony, Boston University and New England Conservatory. Tony studies cello privately with Laura Blustein and Paul Katz. Ms. Blustein is extremely excited about Tony’s success and commented that “Tony has enormous integrity and intelligence and is a very thoughtful musician. He loves to perform and is a great person.”

The flute competition is growing in popularity and drew the largest pool of applicants this year. Judges selected 11 finalists for the Open Division and 3 finalists for the Under-14 Division. The final live auditions for the Competition were held March 7 at New England Conservatory judged by renowned flutists, Doriot Anthony Dwyer and Fenwick Smith, both retired from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Peter Stickel remarked that “this area is a world center of flute activity, with many of the flute manufacturers located here, and arguably the two most accomplished flutists in New England history gracing the Competition, perennial judges Fenwick Smith and Doriot Anthony Dwyer. We’re told over and over that the chance to play for Ms. Dwyer and Mr. Smith is a chance of a lifetime for these young artists.”

The First Place winner in the Open Division is 17-year-old Brendan Ryan, who will perform Bach’s Suite No.2 in B Minor with the orchestra. Brendan has been studying flute for 9-years. His teacher, Judy Grant, faculty member at Boston College, Brookline Music School and the All Newton Music School, commented on his success: “Brendan is a dedicated and capable student. A versatile player, he is equally accomplished performing music from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. Brendan develops his flute talent with a strong work ethic and a mature musicianship well beyond his years. He's got it all!” Currently, Brendan is Principal Flute for the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Senior Orchestra (GBYSO) and is also a member of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at New England Conservatory Preparatory School. He has participated in summer music programs at Kinhaven and Encore Coda. In addition to his regular orchestra performances, Brendan has also had solo appearances, performing movements from Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto and Telemann’s Concerto in A minor at Jordan Hall in Boston.

The Competition prizes will be awarded at the upcoming spring concert on April 15th at Jordan Hall in Boston. The concert, showcasing this year’s String and Flute Competitions winners, begins with the romantic Lyric Suite of Alban Berg, and follows with the exquisite harmonies of J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 2 in B minor performed by flutist Brendan Ryan. The first half continues with Tony Rymer performing the virtuosic Haydn Concerto in C. After intermission the critically acclaimed Ensemble presents the lyrical and spirited Serenade in E by Antonin Dvorak.

In addition to the Youth Competitions for flute and strings, the orchestra also supports music programs in the schools with String Fever at the elementary level, Kids to Concerts for middle-schoolers and the New England Musical Heritage Initiative at the high school level.

Immediately following the April 15th concert is NESE’s gala benefit reception “Jazz Pizzicato” at Symphony Hall. Each year the orchestra presents a “Muses and Mentors” award to a great artist shaping the next generation. This year’s recipient is violin virtuoso Roman Totenberg. Contributions from this event will support the orchestra’s innovative educational program, encouraging a lifetime of artistic satisfaction, and creating the audiences, performers, and arts advocates of the future.

For more information regarding the New England String Ensemble’s educational programs, or concert series please call 781-224-1117 or visit

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New England String Ensemble
Amy Kench

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