RELATED STORY: 2020 Shuler Awards presented online
The S4zanda ensemble won Grand Prize in the Collegiate Division, and included Aria Posner of Avondale Estates, Annabelle Spoto of Dacula, Emma Lin of Atlanta, and Passacaglia Mason of Columbus.
All student finalists throughout Georgia undertook the monumental task of rehearsing and recording chamber music, all while staying miles apart in their own homes.
The competition began with the Finalists Showcase broadcast live May 24 on YouTube Live. Viewers saw full performances and interviews by each of the eight finalist ensembles.
The Competition Awards Show aired later the same day and featured pianist Alpin Hong as master of ceremonies. The internationally distinguished panel of judges -- including Carlos Izcaray, Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Richard Roberts, Concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Elizabeth Pridgen, concert pianist and Artistic Director of Atlanta Chamber Players --discussed music in the time of the coronavirus. The Franklin Pond faculty, all members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, presented their own socially distanced performance.
“It’s a little bit like the Met Gala meets The Voice, with incredibly talented young artists headlining the event,” said Competition Manager Ginny Fairchild. “Although the coronavirus deprived our young finalists of a live performance at Spivey Hall, this socially distanced platform has actually provided new opportunities and positive learning experiences that we can all take with us into the future — students and professionals alike.”
The effort received accolades and support from an international lineup of distinguished judges and renowned musicians.
“The process of recording a chamber ensemble from multiple locations is incredibly musically challenging and technologically demanding. Even though the resulting recording may look effortless and fun, it took hours upon hours of work to achieve that objective,” said Ronda Respess, ASO violinist and founder of Franklin Pond. “Seeing these young musicians accomplish what is hard for even the most seasoned professional to do is powerful and inspiring.”