Student guitarist Harry Ngo wins annual concerto competition

Harry Ngo, a third-year guitar student in the School of Music, has won the annual concerto competition, performing “Concerto de Aranjuez” by Joaquín Rodrigo. The runner-up of the concerto competition is first-year oboist Robbie Burleson.

Performances by 11 finalists, selected from across the School of Music, were streamed from Watson Chamber Music Hall on Sunday, May 2, and judged virtually by renowned musicians Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Demarre McGill, principal flute of the Seattle Symphony; and Violaine Melançon, founding violinist of the Peabody Trio.

Harry Ngo is the winner of the UNCSA Concerto Competition.

Harry Ngo

As the winner, Ngo will perform “Concerto de Aranjuez” with the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2021-22 performance season. Finalist performances can be viewed on demand.

“I think I speak for everyone when I say it was a really difficult choice to make, and we see bright futures for both Harry and Robbie,” said Marin Alsop in a congratulatory video from all the judges.

Interim Dean Saxton Rose of the School of Music announced the winners in a video message after the final performances on Sunday.

“I am so proud of all of our students for their excellent performances as part of this year’s competition,” said Rose. “It takes a tremendous amount of work on the part of the students and their teachers to get to this level, and it certainly showed today. A special thanks to Marin Alsop, Demarre McGill and Violaine Melançon for their time and expertise throughout the competition.”

Robbie Burleson is the runner-up in the UNCSA Concerto Competition.

Robbie Burleson

Ngo, a 2018 UNCSA high school alumnus from Hanoi, Vietnam, is a student of Joseph Pecoraro, chair of the guitar department at UNCSA, and Burleson, who is from Goose Creek, South Carolina, is a student of Jaren Atherholt. Pianists Annah Oh and Allison Gagnon, chair of the collaborative piano department, accompanied Ngo and Burleson, respectively.

The School of Music continued providing in person instruction to students this past academic year by establishing industry standard protocols for safety, and offered a myriad of performance opportunities to students through streaming from its performance venues. Performances from 2020-21 can be viewed on demand.

The School of Music at UNCSA offers a transformative conservatory experience that combines intensive individual study under artist-mentors with a rich variety of performance opportunities — more than 300 recitals, concerts and operas each year, including collaborations with other UNCSA arts schools. In addition to offering undergraduate and graduate degrees and a professional artist certificate, the School of Music has the nation’s only four-year residential high school program, and is home to the renowned A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, a tuition-free, graduate-level professional training ground for exceptional young vocalists.

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May 03, 2021