Last weekend, Pre-Conservatory Center of Excellence violinist Catherine (Cate) Carson ’20 won the 63rd Annual Young People’s Concerto Competition, one of the major programs that the Young People’s Symphony Concert Association (YPSCA) puts on every year. She performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto, which was written in 1904.
Only twenty-six students were eligible to enter this year’s competition, as competitors must be 7th through 12th grade students in the Upper Midwest who play orchestral instruments or piano at a high skill level. Each contestant prepares a selection from a major concerto movement or similar work to perform from memory. From there, professional musicians judge the performances and select ten finalists. One finalist is then selected the winner and awarded the opportunity to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra at a Young People’s Concert the following season. They also win the top monetary prize of $1,500 from the Edwin and Edith Norberg Fund.
Prior to her achievement this year, Cate has been a finalist for the last two years. In 2019, she won the Karen Lundmark Holmes Award, given in honor of one of the directors of the Minnesota Orchestra. In 2018, she won the Judith and David Ranheim Award.
In addition to her success this year, Cate won the Claire Givens Award, which is given every year to whomever receives the highest score among the string players. Claire Givens is the founder and proprietor of Claire Givens Violins, the premiere string instrument sales and repair shop in the region.
Cate’s success also marks the first time a violinist has won the top prize since 2012, when SSM alum Sedra Bistodeau ’13 won. Another notable SSM alum to win this competition was Magdalena Mullerperth ’10 for piano.
Earlier this year, Cate was also named a Featured Artist in MPR’s Minnesota Varsity competition, which readers can learn more about here. Audience members can listen and vote for their favorite Featured Artist online to help move them forward to the final Showcase round from March 23 to April 5, 2020.
In an interview with Classical MPR, Cate said, “Although I will always love Brahms and Beethoven and all the solo music for my instrument, Wagner and opera will hold a special place in my heart and I’d love to be a part of the forces which produce it. My time in MYS and GTCYS has also taught me how much fun it is to be part of an ensemble. I hope to attend school at Juilliard, Colburn, Oberlin, or Rice which all feature fantastic orchestra programs.”