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Cellist's 'favorite piece' wins concerto competition

Sarah Rice '06 played the first movement of Edouard Lalo's Cello Concerto in D Minor to win the 2006 Cornell Concerto Competition, held Feb. 4 in Barnes Hall. She will perform the piece in concert with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra (CSO) on March 11.

The Lalo concerto incorporates folk music and dances of Spain and is his only original work for cello and orchestra.

"It's my favorite piece for cello," said Rice, 23, who majors in music and biology and society. "It's my favorite because it's very passionate, it's very romantic."

The three finalists, chosen from five semifinalists at the competition, also included Jian Liu, who played Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, and Soomin Shon, with Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 2. The other two semifinalists were Katie Skorvira and Ariel Lee. "All of them played at a very high level," said Chris Younghoon Kim, assistant professor of music and director of orchestras at Cornell, who initiated the concerto competition last year. He judged this year's competition with saxophonist Daniel Yu and violinist Daniel Kim, a former CSO concertmaster.

Rice is an Ithaca native; her other interests include snowboarding and her horse, Bacall. She also is a former hockey player.

"I always brought my cello with me to away games and tournaments and practiced in my hotel room," she said. "I played until my senior year of high school. I was studying with Elizabeth Simkin at Ithaca College at the time, and she told me to make a choice."

After graduation from Cornell, she plans to study to be a physician assistant and audition with professional orchestras.

The March 11 concert, at 8 p.m. in Ithaca College's Ford Hall, also will feature the Cornell University Wind Ensemble and a CSO performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony.

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