The Oakland Symphony Orchestra will present its 22nd Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10 in Varner Recital Hall on OU’s campus.
“Named after Professor Emeritus David Daniel in recognition of his distinguished career at Oakland University and sustained commitment to teaching Oakland University’s aspiring student musicians, the concert is always an annual highlight of the OSO season,” said Gregory Cunningham, music director of the OSO and professor of orchestral and wind conducting at OU.
The Young Artists Concert program will feature four solo student performances by the winners of the 2018-2019 Oakland University Concerto Competition who were selected to reprise their performance with the OSO. They include:
• Sarmad Ashkuri (piano) – Piano Concerto in G major, iii by Maurice Ravel
• Lily Belle Czartorski (mezzo soprano) – Ah! que J’aime les militaries from La Grande Duchesse Du Gerolstein by Jacques Offenbach
• John Hallman (alto saxophone) – Légende, op. 66 by Florent Schmitt
• Brandon Thibault (tuba) – Tuba Concerto, I. Andante ma non troppo and II. Allegro con brio by Martin Ellerby.
Other works to be performed by the Oakland Symphony Orchestra include a lavish orchestral transcription of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passaaglia and Fugue in c minor, and the evocative orchestral tone poem, Fountains of Rome, both by Ottorino Respighi.
Tickets for the performance are $12 for students and $22 for general admission, and can be purchased at the Varner Box Office and the Office of Student Involvement Service Window in the Oakland Center, by phone at (800) 585-3737 or at startickets.com with no service fee.
For more information about Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance programs and performances, call (248) 370-2030 or visit www.oakland.edu/smtd.
About the Artists
Sarmad Ashkuri is in his first year of his master’s degree in piano pedagogy. Ashkuri was born in Iraq and immigrated to the US in 2008, where he began taking lessons at age 12. He recently graduated from Oakland University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology but decided to follow his passion and pursue a career in music instead.
During his undergraduate years at Oakland, Sarmad has been active in the university’s music department having competed in the Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition and being a finalist in the 2014/2015 OSO Concerto Competition. He has also participated in several fundraiser and chamber music concerts. In the past, he has studied with Mary George, Mary Siciliano, Dr. Tian Tian, and is currently studying with Dr. I-Chen Yeh. Looking forward, Sarmad intends to explore careers in teaching and collaborative piano.
“Working on this concerto has been a journey for me, and to finally be able to share this masterpiece with others is truly a dream come true,” Ashkuri said.
Lily Belle Czartorski is in her senior year of undergrad pursuing both vocal performance and music education. Czartorski has participated in several operas at OU. Her roles include: First Lady in Die zauberflöte, Nancy in Martha, and Anna Maurrant in Street Scene. Czartorski also serves as the music director for Gold vibrations, Oakland University’s national award winning A cappella group.
In addition, Czartorski works at Marygrove College in Detroit teaching music and theater through a youth outreach program. She is very passionate about music education and plans to teach while doing as much performing as possible.
“The faculty and students at OU are exceedingly supportive and I could not have done it without their guidance,” Czartorski said. “I am so thankful for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what life has in store musically after graduation.”
John Hallman is a Music Education major studying under Dr. Jeffrey Heisler. During his time at OU, Hallman has had opportunities to perform at conferences and venues such as the U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium, North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, the Tuesday Musicale of Detroit, and Detroit Jazz Festival.
In addition to his undergraduate studies, Hallman has participated in masterclasses hosted by saxophonists such as Jean-Michel Goury, Hans de Jong, Timothy McAllister, Otis Murphy, John Sampen, Joseph Lulloff, and the Assembly Saxophone Quartet. Most recently, Hallman has been a member of the Oakland University Wind Symphony, Oakland University Saxophone Ensemble, and the VASH Saxophone Quartet. As a member of these groups John has won a number of awards and honors such as being invited to perform at the U.S. Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, being a three-time winner of the Oakland University Chamber Music Competition (2015, 2016, 2018), performing at the Michigan Music Conference, and being named a finalist in the David Daniels Young Artist Competition in 2016 and 2017.
“I am thrilled to perform one of my favorite pieces of music with such a wonderful orchestra,” Hallman said. “My heart is full, and I cannot be more grateful for this opportunity.”
Brandon Thibault is a student of Dr. Kenneth Kroesche going into his final semester at Oakland University. While at Oakland, he has served as principal tubist in the Wind Symphony, Brass Band, Oakland Symphony Orchestra, and Symphonic Band.
As a soloist, Thibault was named the winner of the state and divisional level of the Music Teachers National Associations Young Artist Performance Competition: Brass. As a result, he will be traveling to Spokane Washington to compete in the national level competition this March.
He has placed in multiple chamber music competitions, the most recent award being honorable mention at the Midwest Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference’s Chamber Music Competition. This past summer, Thibault was named a tuba fellow of the Spectrum Brass Seminar, a part of the Bayview music festival.
Outside of the university, Thibault is a member of the Dodworth Saxhorn Band, a 19th century Brass Band, based out of Ann Arbor. After graduation, Brandon plans to continue his education to pursue a master’s degree in Tuba Performance.
“Having the opportunity to perform this concerto with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra means a great deal to me,” Thibault said. “As a regular member of this orchestra, this is no ordinary performance. Now I get to perform alongside the orchestra who has helped shape my musicality into what it is today. Without the help of my friends and colleagues within the orchestra, I would have never been able to reach such an achievement. I am thankful for this opportunity, and look forward to playing with these fine musicians.”
About the Oakland Symphony Orchestra
Now in its fifth decade of providing the OU community with outstanding live performances and symphonic repertoire, the OSO is comprised of professional musicians from throughout Southeastern Michigan and Northern Ohio, OU students, and OU faculty. The OSO performs most of its concerts on the OU campus in Varner Hall, with its final annual performance held in Orchestra Hall in Detroit in collaboration with the Oakland University Symphony Chorus.