Ridgeway Garner, an 11th-grader at Lake Highlands High School, won first place in the winds division at the 19th Annual Juanita Miller Concerto Competition held on January 10 at the Owens Art Center at Southern Methodist University. Ridgeway’s father is a teacher at SMU and is also his music teacher.
Earlier in the daylong competition, Fiona Shea, a 10th grader from Lubbock, won first place in the strings division. Shung-June (David) Danjul, a Plano 11th-grader, took first place in the piano division. A panel of three judges selected violinist Fiona Shea as the grand-prize winner for the 2015 Juanita Miller Concerto Competition.
Juanita Miller, the founding president of TASO, began the first concerto competition in 1997. She and her husband, Henry S. Miller, both of Dallas, provided the initial underwriting and subsequent gifts to fund these youth competitions, which now bear her name. Patsy Donosky, daughter of Juanita and Henry S. Miller, represented her late mother at this year’s competition.
The judges for the competition are always highly acclaimed musicians and esteemed educators. This year, the judge in the strings competition was Renee' Jolles from the Eastman School of Music; the judge for the winds-brass division was Ronald Romm, University of Illinois School of Music; and the piano judge was David Cartledge, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
The young musicians competing in this event are as outstanding as their judges. From all over Texas, musicians in grades nine through 12 apply for this competition and are carefully prescreened before they can compete.
Not only dos the high quality of the judges and contestants make the Juanita Miller Concerto Competition one of the most respected and sought after competitions available to young musicians, but the prizes awarded to winners are also very attractive. The first-, second- and third-place winners in all three divisions are awarded substantial cash prizes.
The first-place winner in each division will play his concerto at the Texas Association for Symphony orchestras (TASO) Conference in San Antonio in April. The grand prize is also awarded the opportunity to perform with the Waco and Mesquite Symphony Orchestras.
Now in its 19th year, the Juanita Miller Concerto Competition has always been hosted by members of TASO, a volunteer organization consisting of delegates representing over 30 symphony leagues from cities throughout Texas.
For further information: www.tasovolunteers.com.
Photo by Deborah Brown