Lawrence students, alum rank high at Fischoff [DB]

Devin Burke

Lawrence students, alum rank high at Fischoff
Devin BurkeEvery year, one of the most contested chamber music competitions in the country remains the Fischoff competition.
Many ensembles that have won Fischoff have gone on to success, such as eighth blackbird, the performers who rocked the Chapel last Friday.
Lawrence students have often fared very well at Fischoff, and this year was no exception. The grand prize winning wind quintet included Lawrence alum Jeremiah Frederick, ’98, and the Lawrence Hobnob horn quartet, recently featured in *****The Lawrentian***, also performed well.
The winning quintet of hornist Frederick, Quintet Attacca, took first place in the senior division as well as the Grand Prize for the entire competition. Quintet Attacca bases itself in Chicago, where Frederick has been living, performing with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, and getting his master’s in horn performance from Northwestern.
The quintet has been together for about two and a half years, and this was their final year in which they could compete, because the competition requires the maximum average age of an ensemble’s performers to be 30 years old.
About the experience, Frederick says it was challenging because, “unlike a group formed at a university, like Lawrence, we don’t see each other all the time, which means each rehearsal is used to it’s fullest extent.
“We didn’t really expect to win, we just wanted to go and have fun. I think that is what actually put us over the top—we played well, musically, and above all had a great time! I think the audience really sensed that, and the judges too.”
The Lawrence Hobnob quartet, consisting of seniors Anna Skrupky, Alicia Waite, Kris Shaffer, and Colleen Perry, entered the competition as one of the youngest ensembles in the senior division, with an average age of 21.75 years old.
A total of 32 semifinalist groups, sixteen winds and sixteen strings, had been selected to compete out of around 150 applicants.
While the judges do not officially rank anyone except for the first three finishers, the quartet felt “pleased with our performance…that we represented ourselves well,” said senior Alicia Waite.
As far as the experience, senior Colleen Perry characterized the competition as “good-natured and tough at the same time.”
The quartet was able to hear their fellow ensembles, and senior Kris Shaffer found it “interesting to compare what we hear from players from other schools at these competitions with what we hear at Lawrence. It reaffirms my belief that Lawrence is one of the strongest undergraduate music schools in the country,”
Waite enjoyed hearing Quintet Attacca in particular, and thought that “it was great to see…one of the many alums who is succeeding in the performance world.”
The Fischoff competition was held May 10-12 at the University of Notre Dame campus in Notre Dame, Indiana. Grand prize winners are awarded $5,000 and a tour of Italy that includes appearances at the Emilia Romana Festival.