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May 16, 2011 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / photo attached (high-res available)
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu




WINSTON-SALEM –University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Music student Steven Banks won two significant N.C. music competitions on the same day, Saturday, April 30.

Banks, a 12th-grade alto saxophone student from Winston-Salem, was awarded first prize at the North Carolina Symphony’s Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition in Raleigh the morning of April 30. As a result, he will perform as a guest soloist with the North Carolina Symphony in its 2011-12 season under the direction of Grant Llewellyn, and will receive a $500 award.

Banks is the first saxophonist to win the North Carolina Symphony Youth Concerto Competition in its history and was the only woodwind to make the finals this year. The competition, which features junior and senior divisions, is open to instrumental musicians who are North Carolina residents ages 10 to 21 years old. Banks was in the Senior Division.

Steven Banks

In the afternoon of the same day, Banks competed in the finals of the Omega Psi Phi Competition in Concord, N.C.  He was awarded first prize in this competition as well, which includes a $2,000 award and a performance in Washington, D.C., this summer.

He was accompanied by Hsin-I Huang, a college sophomore piano student, on Paul Creston’s Concerto Op. 26, mvt. 3, at both competitions.

Saxophonist Steven Banks is a native of Winston-Salem. He is currently a high school senior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studies with faculty-artist Taimur Sullivan. While at UNCSA, Banks has performed with the Wind Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet, and Jazz Ensemble. He won the 2011 Durham Symphony Young Artists Competition, and his subsequent performance with the Durham Symphony on March 6 at the Carolina Theatre in Durham was recognized as “breath-taking” by Classical Voice of North Carolina. His studies have given him the opportunity to play in master classes with Christopher Creviston, Joseph Lulloff, the Zzyzx Saxophone Quartet, and the United States Marine Band Saxophone Quartet. Banks will be attending Indiana University as a Jacobs Scholar in the fall to study Saxophone Performance with Dr. Otis Murphy.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.