Emily Adelle Rowland, a sophomore piano performance major at Oklahoma Baptist University from Bartlett, Tenn., placed first at Oklahoma Community Orchestra's fourth Young Artist Competition in the piano division. The contest was conducted at Oklahoma Christian University on Saturday, Feb. 14. As a reward for her success, Rowland will receive both a $750 prize check and the opportunity to perform with the Oklahoma Community Orchestra at Oklahoma Christian University on April 21.
Rowland performed the first movement of Edward MacDowell's Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor.
"I prepared for [the competition] through performances in my private teacher's studio class," Rowland said "We meet every week and perform for each other. It was a great way to find the memory slips and to become more confident in the music. Performing is really a mind game. I will not let myself even acknowledge the end of the piece until I play the last note."
Dr. Michael Dean, OBU assistant professor of music and Rowland's piano professor, said few students are selected to play with the Oklahoma Community Orchestra.
"It is very exciting that Emily was chosen for this opportunity," he said. "This type of performance experience allows us to grow musically in ways we can't while in a small practice room. It also allows many people to hear us who might not otherwise have the opportunity."
Rowland competed in a division open to college students ages 17 to 25 which consisted of both undergraduate and graduate students.
"I never expected to win," she said. "I just viewed the competition as a learning experience and as a warm up performance before [OBU's] Concerto/Aria. When I found out I had won, I couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it until one of the orchestra members, during one of the Concerto/Aria rehearsals, recognized me as the winner. What I understood about the competition was that graduate students usually won."
The orchestra's Young Artist Competition Winners Showcase will be April 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Judd Theatre at Oklahoma Christian University. The event will include selections by the winners and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2 (The Little Russian). Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.okorchestra.org/.
"Emily has worked very hard and plays beautifully, so I know her performance with the Oklahoma Community Orchestra will be great fun for her, the orchestra and the audience," Dean said.