Symphony selects youth winners

Every spring, the Nashville Symphony recognizes gifted young musicians through two highly competitive award programs, the Curb Records Young Musicians Concerto Competition and the Thor Johnson Scholarship.

Violinist Mary Grace Johnson.

Mary Grace Johnson.

     Taking top honors at the 2013 Curb Concerto Competition was violinist Mary Grace Johnson, who was presented with a $3,000 scholarship, a SunTrust Classical Series ticket package for four, and the opportunity to perform as a soloist at the Nashville Symphony’s Side-by-Side Concert, which took place recently at the Schermerhorn.

     As featured soloist, Johnson took the spotlight for the first movement of Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Violin. Currently, she serves as concertmaster for the Curb Youth Symphony. She has performed solos at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts and studies under Christian Teal, the Joseph Joachim Professor of Violin at the Blair School of Music.    

John Paul Powers.

John Paul Powers.

     Taking Second place, Tuba player John Paul Powers of Clinton, Tennessee has performed with the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the United States, sponsored by Carnegie Hall. A student of Dr. Sean Greene in Knoxville, Powers is also a member of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra and the 2013 All-State Band.

     Third place winner Mary Grace Bender, a cello player from Franklin, Tennessee is a Myra Jackson Blair scholarship recipient and a student of Dr. Felix Wang at Blair School of Music. She has studied cello for 11 years and was the principal cellist for the Transylvania Symphony Orchestra in 2012.

Mary Grace Bender.

Mary Grace Bender.

     In the Thor Johnson Scholarship competition, high school seniors auditioned this year and for the first time in the history of the scholarship, a tie was declared for first place. Traditionally the $1,500 scholarship goes to a single winner, but when the numbers were tallied, both Kevin Wang and Mary Grace Johnson won first place, both receiving a $1,500 scholarship. Second place went to Jonathan Hearn, while Elly Fell, Kasey Hammond and Kaitlyn Edwards were awarded honorable mentions.

     For more information the Nashville Symphony’s music education programs, see      


Published by on May 2013. Filed under Art-to-Art Palette NewsWire/AAPNW, Bugle Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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