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Announcing the Winners of the 2012 Concerto Competition

Oct. 25, 2012

Concerto Competition_winners 2012
2012 Concerto Competition winners, from the left: Paul DeRonne, Rebekah Efthimiou, Zhi Qiao, and Wyatt Underhill. Photo by John Seyfried

Student Laureates Will Perform as Soloists with the Oberlin Orchestras this Season

OBERLIN, OHIO — The Oberlin Conservatory of Music is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Concerto Competition, held on October 13 in Finney Chapel. Those awarded with performances are harpist Rebekah Efthimiou ’13, from Delhi, NY; pianist Zhi Qiao ’13, from Anyang, China; clarinetist Paul DeRonne ’13, from Elmhurst, IL; and violinist Wyatt Underhill ’13, from Elm Grove, WI. These instrumentalists will perform their winning repertoire in free, public concerts with Oberlin’s orchestras this season, all of which are held in Finney Chapel, located at 90 North Professor Street in Oberlin, Ohio. An annual tradition, the Concerto Competition takes place every October and is open to conservatory seniors and Artist Diploma students.

Five distinguished guests judged this year’s concerto competition:  Charles Hamlen, Vice President for Artists and Programs at the Orchestra of St. Luke's and former chairmen of IMG Artists; pianist Jerome Lowenthal, from the Juilliard School; violinist Laurie Smukler, from Mannes College The New School of Music, Purchase College, Manhattan School of Music, and Bard College; soprano Edith Wiens (OC ’77 BM & MM, hon D MUS '97), from the Juilliard School; and flutist Ransom Wilson, from Yale School of Music.

The complete calendar of the winners’ performances is as follows:

Complete programs will be announced at a later date

Saturday, March 2, 2013, 8 p.m.
Oberlin Chamber Orchestra
Raphael Jiménez, conductor
Rebekah Efthimiou, Ginastera Harp Concerto

Saturday, April, 13, 2013, 8 p.m.
Oberlin Orchestra
Raphael Jiménez, conductor
Zhi Qiao, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3

Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 8 p.m.
Chamber Orchestra
Raphael Jiménez, conductor
Paul DeRonne, Copland Clarinet Concerto

Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 8 p.m.
Oberlin Orchestra
Raphael Jiménez, conductor
Wyatt Underhill, Berg Violin Concerto

About the winners

Paul DeRonne, clarinet
Paul DeRonne is a fifth year double-degree student studying clarinet performance and mathematics at Oberlin College and Conservatory. Paul began his adventures in clarinet at the age of eight with Denise Glynn. He studied briefly with Gail Crosson before coming to Oberlin to study under Richard Hawkins. In the summer of 2011 he attended the Brevard Music Center and worked with Steve Cohen.

At York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, DeRonne was awarded the John Philip Sousa Band Award after winning the senior concerto competition and serving as drum major for the marching band. He was a captain of York’s nationally known cross-country team and also discovered a love for oil painting and woodworking. He enjoyed performing as principal clarinet in the Elgin Youth Symphony. For two summers during college, DeRonne played with the Wheaton Municipal Band in Wheaton, Illinois.

Currently, DeRonne serves as president of the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, a multi-million dollar student run nonprofit organization responsible for feeding 640 students at Oberlin College. After graduation, Paul hopes to teach high school mathematics in Chicago while maintaining a private music studio.


Rebekah Efthimiou, harp
Harpist Rebekah Efthimiou is currently in her fourth year at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as a student of Yolanda Kondonassis. She has performed in solo, chamber, and orchestral settings at numerous summer festivals and programs including the Round Top Festival Institute, Saratoga Harp Colony, and Interlochen Summer Arts Program. At Oberlin, she performs regularly with the Oberlin Orchestra and Contemporary Music Ensemble and has joined both groups in recent premieres and recording projects. She collaborates frequently with her colleagues in chamber music settings and in 2011 appeared as a soloist with the Oberlin College Community Strings. Other honors include participation as a finalist in the Young Artist’s Harp Competition, second prize in the Anthony R. Stefan Scholarship Competition, and a featured performance on WSKG Television’s “Expressions” Classical Music Series.

An advocate of music education, Efthimiou has been involved in numerous music programs for young people in her hometown in New York, as well as in the 2011 and 2012 Music Education Children’s Concerts organized by the Oberlin Conservatory. In addition to her studies with Kondonassis, she has received instruction through master classes and lessons with Paula Page, Bridget Kibbey, Elizabeth Hainen, and Alice Giles. Efthimiou began her harp studies with Karlinda Caldicott and received her high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy where she was a student of Joan Holland.


Zhi Qiao, piano
Zhi Qiao was born in Anyang, Henan Province, China and showed exceptional musical talent since childhood. He began formal piano studies with his father at age seven.. From 2000 to 2003, Zhi studied at the Primary Music School of Wuhan Conservatory of Music with Lianping Zhu and Liping Jiang. He was then accepted in to the prestigious Music School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing from 2003 to 2009, where he was an avid chamber musician and a student of Xinning Zhang.

In 2002 Zhi won the third class award of his junior group in the Tchaikovsky Piano Contest in Hong Kong, China, as well as the Excellence Award in the Ninth China New Talent Competition. Zhi’s summer and festival participation includes the 2006 Beijing International Music Ambassador Summer Camp and the 2007 Manners International Keyboard Festival.

Since enrolling at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2009, Zhi has been selected to represent the school at the Kennedy Center as a winner of the 2001 Danenberg Honors Recital Competition, and was chosen as one of the winners of the Serkin Award given annually to an outstanding sophomore. He has also been selected to perform as a guest pianist at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Currently, Zhi is a piano performance major at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, studying with Peter Takács.


Wyatt Underhill, violin
A native of Elm Grove, Wisconsin, violinist Wyatt Underhill began his musical studies at the age of six. He is now in his final year at Oberlin and is a student of Gregory Fulkerson.,

Underhill has appeared as a soloist with orchestras including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado College Summer Music Festival Orchestra. He has performed in master classes for James Ehnes, Stefan Jackiw and Jaap Schröder, among others. In the summer of 2012 he served as concertmaster of the Colorado College Summer Music Festival Orchestra. At Oberlin, he has frequently performed in the role of concertmaster, most notably for the Oberlin Orchestra's tour of China and Singapore (2010-2011), the world premiere performance of by Lorenzo Palomo’s Sneetches and recording of a piece by Kip Winger.

As a chamber musician, Underhill has collaborated with artists such as David Ying, Mark Fewer, and Toby Appel. He has appeared on chamber music honors recitals at Oberlin, and his piano trio was selected last winter to represent Oberlin at a performance in New York City.

In addition to his study of modern violin performance, Underhill is pursuing a minor in historical performance working on the baroque violin with Marilyn McDonald. In addition to participating in various baroque ensembles at Oberlin, Underhill has performed with Apollo's Fire (Cleveland’s Baroque Orchestra).. He has also been selected as an apprentice performer for their 2012 production of Mozart's Magic Flute

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