Concerto Competition Winners and UGA Symphony Orchestra to Perform for Thursday Scholarship Series

Printer-friendly version

Audience members are in for a treat as six of Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s most talented students perform solos with the UGA Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, February 1st at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Hall for the next installment of the Thursday Scholarship Series.


These soloists are all winners of the annual Concerto Competition, which is a longstanding tradition of the Hodgson School. Music students from all areas can compete; to be chosen is an honor. Students must choose and learn a concerto, then perform it for a faculty judges panel. This year the Concerto Competition returns as part of the much-anticipated Thursday Scholarship Series.


“What makes [the program] a challenge is you never know what the winning selections are going to be. It can make for some very challenging programming,” says Mark Cedel, Director of Symphony Orchestra and one of the conductors of the Concerto Competition Program. Two of the pieces will be conducted by conducting assistant, Jean Gomez. 


The winners of the Concerto Competition this year are Sahada Buckley, violin; Megan Elks, saxophone; Mateus Falkemback, clarinet; Alexandre Tchaykov, piano; Laura Cotney, voice; and Elena Lyalina, piano.


Sahada Buckley, who is studying violin performance and music theory, will be performing her violin solo during Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra, Op. 21. Buckley has studied with the likes of Steve Weiss, Michael Heald, Paul Sonner, Linda Wang, Enen Yu, and Walter Schwede. She has performed in masterclasses for Arnaud Sussman, Espen Lilleslåten, and Oliver Yatsugafu.


From performing in a featured recital at the 2017 U.S. Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium to master classes with the Masato Kumoi Quartet of Japan, Megan Elks is no stranger to performance. She will be soloing in Henri Tomasi’s Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra. She is also a recipient of UGA’s Kenneth Fischer Scholarship and Outstanding Sophomore Award.


Mateus Falkemback, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be soloing during Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A Major, K. 622. An accomplished musician, Falkemback has participated in many music festivals, winning prizes in Brazil and abroad. He is a member of the Omega Clarinet Quartet and the Banda Filarmônica do Rio de Janeiro since its founding in 2010, among others.


Béla Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 was chosen by Alexandre Tchaykov, winner of the Georgia Music Teachers Association State Competition, Lower College Division, resulting in performances at the 2016 and 2017 state conferences. Originally from Varna, Bulgaria, Tchaykov has made his presence known here at the Hodgson School.


Vier letze Lieder (Four Last Songs) by Richard Strauss features Laura Ann Cotney, who was praised for her “mastery of the demanding vocal lines” of Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, which she performed with the Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Theater. Cotney has performed in many opera performances throughout the country with groups such as Atlanta Opera, Capitol City Opera, Great Lakes Light Op-era, Piedmont Opera, and Utah Lyric Opera.


For the final piece of the evening, Elena Lyalina will feature in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, op. 21. Lyalina, a native of Russia, received musical training from Irina Bogdanova and Valery Starynin at the College of Music in Togliatti and the Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod. She is now she pursuing her D.M.A. degree at the UGA in the studio of Evgeny Rivkin.


The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances every year and continues the legacy started by its namesake, Hugh Leslie Hodgson. From 1941-1950, Hodgson directed the University of Georgia Little Symphony Orchestra, a forerunner of today’s UGA Symphony. The Thursday Scholarship Series began in 1980 and continues the tradition of “Music Appreciation Programs” Hodgson started. Proceeds from these concerts are the primary source of funds for School of Music general student scholarships.


Tickets for the event are $20 for adults and $6 for students, and can be found online at For more information, please visit For more up to date information about concerts and other events at the School of Music, please subscribe to the weekly email list. Those unable to make it to the concert can watch the live stream at