Behind the Scenes: Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition

The Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition is a prestigious annual competition open to students of strings, winds, brass, percussion, and piano, who are in seventh through twelfth grades. This year it took place January 29-30, and at the invitation of Helen Steineker, Executive Director of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, From the Top Music Producer Tom Vignieri traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to participate in the judging.

Tom sat on the piano jury with fellow judges Amanda Penick, head of the piano department at the University of Alabama and distinguished recipient of the 2008 MTNA National Teacher of the Year award, and Andrew Mays, winner of the most recent Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs.

This year’s competition included 75 talented young musicians, 10 of whom moved on to the final round to compete for the $10,000 first prize and a performance with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. The winner also receives an invitation to appear on a future From the Top radio broadcast.

Competition results:

1st place – Kelly Talim, violin, age 15 from Buffalo Grove, IL. (Kelly will appear on an upcoming From the Top radio show!)
2nd place – Angela Wee, violin, age 13 from Woodbury, NY.
3rd place – Alexandra Switala, violin, age 17 from Grapevine, TX. (Ali is a From the Top alum!)
4th place – Baron Fenwick, piano, age 16 from Todd, NC.

Attending a national competition is always fun as we invariably see many From the Top friends, family and alums as we did in Montgomery. Congratulations to everyone who competed and we look forward to featuring Kelly on an upcoming episode!