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Aaron Wexler '10 wins Cornell Concerto Competition

The 6th Annual Cornell Concerto Competition winner Aaron Wexler performs Sarasate Zigeunerweisen in Barnes Hall.

Aaron Wexler '10 is the winner of the sixth annual Cornell Concerto Competition, held Dec. 13 in Barnes Hall.

Wexler, a violinist, performed Pablo de Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen." He was accompanied by Chi-Chen Wu, a visiting scholar in the Department of Music.

"I chose to play 'Zigeunerweisen' because it is a true showpiece," Wexler said. "It has just about everything in it -- character, style, flash, beauty."

Wexler studies microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and does research in the plant pathology department. An active member of the Cornell Chamber Orchestra, he studies violin with assistant professor Joseph Lin.

As the winner, Wexler will perform the Sarasate piece March 7 with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of assistant professor Chris Younghoon Kim.

Eighteen participants performed in the first round of the competition, held earlier in the day in Barnes Hall.

"I unfortunately did not hear all of the performers in the first round, but those that I did hear made me a bit nervous," Wexler said. "There is so much musical talent here at Cornell."

Wexler was among five finalists chosen by a panel of judges that included emeritus professors Malcolm Bilson (music, performance) and David Rosen (musicology), violinist Nicholas DiEugenio and graduate student pianist Sezi Seskir.

The other finalists were:

  • Jennifer Huang '10, who performed Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major. Huang is a psychology major and law and society minor who studies piano with Xak Bjerken. She is planning to attend Harvard Law School.
  • Elaine Higashi '12, who performed Chen Gang and He Zanhao's "The Butterfly Lovers" violin concerto. Higashi is an engineering student and is in her second year as a violinist in the Cornell Chamber Orchestra.
  • Elizabeth Peters '10, who performed Claude Debussy's "Premiere Rhapsodie" on clarinet. She is pursuing an independent major combining operations research and the social sciences, with a minor in applied mathematics. Peters is co-captain of the Cornell figure skating team, has played in the Cornell Wind Ensemble for four years and has been treasurer of CU Winds for three years.
  • Miriam Nussbaum '11, who performed Jacques Ibert's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. A linguistics and music major, she studies flute with Liz Shuhan and plays in the Cornell Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

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Joe Schwartz