Freshman Justin DuRant recently took first place in the national Rodgers North America Classical Organ Competition. The judges gave their highest rating to DuRant, a freshman who is double majoring in organ performance and biology. DuRant is a student of Dr. Jared Johnson at USC.
The competition was juried by three distinguished panel members: Dr. Ina Slater Grapenthin, a member of faculty at Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA; Professor John Rose of Trinity College in Hartford, CT, a well-known artist who has toured the U.S. and internationally; and Dr. Robert Tall, a leading proponent of using digital technology to explore new orchestral and expressive performances of classical organ repertoire.
Rodgers Instruments Corporation established the organ performance competition three years ago to encourage the development of young organists in North America. The competition is a showcase for emerging young performers that supports the study of organ music and gives broader exposure to the modern classical organ. Public performance is an integral part of the Rodgers organ competition. Winners are eligible for opportunities to tour as part of Rodgers' "Emerging Artists" recital series, presented in cooperation with Rodgers representatives around the United States who are committed to expanding the audience for organ music and inspiring more young people to study the instrument.
Caroline Beard, senior Bachelor of Music in flute performance, has racked up numerous competition wins, including the 2013 Flute Society of Kentucky Collegiate Soloist Competition, 2012 and 2013 South Carolina Flute Society Master Class Competition, 2013 Carolina Flute Guild Master Class Competition and the 2013 Mid-South Flute Society College Master Class Competition. She studies with Dr. Jennifer Parker-Harley at USC.
This past summer Beard participated in the Marina Puccinini International Flute Master Class at the Peabody Institute, Aria International Summer Academy at Mount Holyoke College, and The Panoramic Flutist Master Class at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music.
She was accepted and studied flute performance at the music festival Saarburger Serenaden in Saarburg, Germany during the summer of 2012, and was accepted to perform and study at the Wildacres Flute Retreat in N.C. with world-renowned flute players, Göran Marcusson and Brad Garner from 2008–2011.
Beard recently published a research project on Jacques Ibert, published by the Caravel Undergraduate Research Journal, and said this about the project, “Researching Jacques Ibert and performing his work “Piéce for Solo Flute” has greatly enhanced my academic and scholarly pursuits…Going beyond performing the piece and deeply researching the composer in comparison to others of his time significantly shaped how I interpreted the piece. Learning about the research process taught me the valuable skills of how to research a composer and apply the knowledge I gained to my flute playing. I plan on performing flute and having my own studio of flute students in the future. Armed with this knowledge, I can better educate my students about any piece by Ibert or how to go about learning the background of a composer and discovering their compositional style.”