I have always heard about the Krannert Debut Artist competition, one of the most prestigious competitions in the UIUC School of Music. One artist is selected each year to give a debut performance as a young professional musician on the Foellinger Great Hall stage. They are a featured artist in the Krannert Season, and they even get to sign a brick in the production hallway of Krannert! Last Tuesday, I got an email from my professor, Jerold Siena, saying that he had nominated me for this competition.
When I discovered more details, I realized that I was selected as an alternate and that the final audition recordings were due Friday of that week. The next day, I learned that someone had withdrawn from the competition, so I was indeed a finalist! I had submitted my senior recital repertoire as a proposed recital. The next day, I received notification of the selections for my audition, and they included the most difficult repertoire from my program! I had less than a day to present these selections at a professional level with my pianist, Dr. Casey Robards, after never having rehearsed them in person. Luckily, we met at a local church at 7:30 pm for some last-minute rehearsal of the challenging repertoire by Bach, Brahms, Ives, and de Falla.
My audition was on Friday at 10:00 am, the only time slot available by the time I was notified of my status as a finalist. The audition, which took a lot of effort to prepare for, ended up being a very musically fulfilling experience. The stage and entire Foellinger Great Hall were left to Dr. Robards and I for our one shot at a memorable audition. We executed each selection with plenty of passion and musicianship, and feeling my voice ring throughout this hall was unforgettable. I am so grateful to have been nominated for this competition, and giving my best performance on such short notice was a valuable experience as a musician. Most of all, I am so lucky to have a collaborator like Dr. Robards, who made this such a lovely experience for my final semester.