We're delighted to announce the 2012 Showcase Artists for Minnesota Varsity:
- Simon Blaine-Sauer, piano, Minneapolis
- Bryan Duerfeldt, alto recorder, Bloomington
- Osip Nikiforov, piano, Faribault
- Aria Stiles, violin, Apple Valley (Audience Vote pick)
- Sarah Tako, bassoon, Stillwater
- Honorable mention: Aaron Fagerstrom, piano, Thief River Falls
Classical MPR staff received more than 100 submissions from across the state. From them, 15 were chosen as Featured Artists. These students received a professional recording session at MPR's studios and their music was broadcast on Classical MPR in March.
A panel of celebrity judges including Stephen Copes, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concertmaster; Beverly Everett, Bemidji Symphony Orchestra music director; Aaron Humble, tenor with Cantus; Judy Sagen, adjunct faculty, University of Minnesota School of Music; and Suzanna Schlesinger Altman, American Composers Forum chose four performers to be Showcase Artists. The public was also invited to participate in the online Audience Vote at classicalmpr.org and choose a student to also become a Showcase Artist.
All five Showcase Artists will perform at MPR's Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul on April 29, 2012, for a live theater and radio broadcast — where the audience members have the opportunity to participate in the "Encore Vote" with the winner performing an encore at the end of the show. All five Showcase Artists will receive a $1,000 prize, thanks to an anonymous gift from a generous MPR donor.