Columbia will host competitions for young musicians in Winter 2009

Sunday, November 2, 2008 | 12:00 p.m. CST; updated 1:13 p.m. CST, Monday, November 3, 2008

This story has been corrected to say the Concerto Competition is a collaboration of Ayako Tsuruta and the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra.

COLUMBIA — Winter 2009 will usher in a pair of new Columbia musical competitions with a common theme. Both will be open to young musicians and both will focus on the concerto, a piece written for an orchestra and one or more soloists.

 "It occurred to me that here in Columbia there is hardly any opportunity for high school, college students or graduates to perform a concerto with an orchestra," said Ayako Tsuruta, president of the Mid-Missouri Area Music Teachers Association.

Tsuruta arrived at this conclusion last May when preparing for the association's annual meeting. She contacted conductors Alex Innecco of the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra and Carrie Turner of the Missouri Youth Orchestra to pitch the idea of a concerto competition. Both conductors responded enthusiastically, and by June they had "a good solid plan," Tsuruta said.

The results of their efforts are the Concerto Competition and the Pre-Collegiate Concerto Competition.

The Concerto Competition is a collaboration between Tsuruta and the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra and is open to participants ages 18-32 from Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. Deadline for registration is Jan. 12, 2009. Participants will choose from a list of concertos compiled by Innecco and submit a CD recording of their audition. A panel of judges will select about 15 finalists to perform in Columbia on Feb. 14, 2009. The winner will receive $500 and be featured in a concert on April 4, 2009. For registration information, go to

"I love working with young soloists and to stimulate young talent," said Innecco, who regularly incorporates young musicians playing alongside adults in the philharmonic.

 Tsuruta will work with Carrie Turner, music director of the Missouri Youth Orchestra, for the Pre-Collegiate Concerto Competition on March 1, 2009, at MU's Whitmore Recital Hall. Students will perform one movement from a concerto with no audition CD necessary. Registration information is expected to be posted soon at

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