By Christina Manuel
Alejandro Barajas, the winner of the 2018 CPP Concerto Scholarship Competition, will perform a solo piece for the CPP Philharmonic Orchestra and String Ensemble concert.
The third-year music education student will showcase “Concerto No. 1” by Chin Cheng Lin, the marimba piece that he performed in the competition, at the Nov. 8 event.
Barajas won a $600 scholarship in the competition, in which eight students performed in front on a panel of judges, including orchestra conductor Janine Riveire, music department chair Peter Yates, alumna and music lecturer Sarah Wallin-Huff, former-lecturer Audrey Lamprey and Jonah Haddad, a member of the orchestra.
“The marimba was the outstanding performance of the day,” Riveire said.
The judges announced the unanimous winner 15 minutes after the competition concluded.
Fourth-year food science student and music minor CeeCee Cade was the runner-up in the competition, performing Mozart’s “Concerto in G Major.”
“I’ve never heard a marimba concerto before so it was exciting to hear something so different to traditional concerto pieces,” Cade said of Barajas’ performance.
Barajas lauded his fellow contestants after the competition.
“It was one of the friendliest environments I’ve seen,” he said. “I was a little surprised I won because I thought CeeCee’s and Kevin’s [Truong] performances were cool.”
Barajas bought the concerto music as a challenge for himself after listening to a friend play it. After turning in an application for the scholarship, Barajas decided he would stick with the piece for his performance. It took him a month to familiarize himself with the music and another month to prepare with his piano accompanist Joshua Tessler, a fifth-year music performance student. Bill Schlitt, percussion ensemble director, took the time as well to give advice to Barajas to help him better his performance.
Barajas will now perform the piece with an orchestra to accompany him.
“Most music departments do a competition like this because not everyone gets to do a big solo performance with an orchestra behind them. It’s an important experience,” Riveire said.
The orchestra received the music for Barajas’ performance a few weeks into the semester and are now currently rehearsing with him to perfect their performance. Barajas encourages everyone to attend.
“You don’t really see marimba concertos very often,” he said.
Applications for this academic year’s concerto scholarship competition will open in January 2019, which gives students time to pick their audition pieces now. Applicants must be Cal Poly Pomona students majoring or minoring in music. The competition in April will be open to the public.
Tickets for the Nov. 8 Philharmonic Orchestra and Strings Concert are available online at csupomona.tix.com or at the music box office #24-188 daily noon to 1 p.m. and one hour prior to concert time. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/525325177929081/.