Four Northwestern University School of Music students -- including one from Evanston and another from Lake Bluff -- will perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on May 23, as part of the John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts year-old Conservatory Project for developing and presenting young talent.

Twice a year, the nation’s leading music schools are invited to send students to the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theatre to introduce top new talent to the public. Project participants have the opportunity to be critiqued by world-renown musicians, such as conductor Leonard Slatkin and tenor and opera administrator Plácido Domingo.

"The Conservatory Project creates an ongoing showcase for our nation's exceptional young musical artists and is a wonderful opportunity for them to be heard on a national stage," said Michael M. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center.

During the May 2005 cycle of performances students from the Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Curtis Institute, San Francisco Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, Shepherd School of Music and Peabody Conservatory will be featured, in addition to the students from Northwestern.

The Conservatory Project is part of the Kennedy Center's "Performing Arts for Everyone" initiative, which provides free daily performances at 6 p.m.

The following Northwestern music students will perform at the Kennedy Center May 23:

  • Cellist Anna Burden, 20, a junior who studies with Professor Hans Jorgen Jensen, will perform Gregor Piatigorsky’s "Variations on a Theme of Paganini." The winner of more than 15 prizes, Burden has served as principal cellist for the Midwest Young Artists Orchestra, the Viva Vivaldi Orchestra, and is principal cellist of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. She is a resident of Lake Bluff, Ill.
  • Trumpeter Ethan Bensdorf, 20, a sophomore who studies with Northwestern Professors Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer, will perform Oskar Böhme's Concerto for Trumpet in F Minor, Op. 18. Bensdorf is a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and an active freelancer in the area, performing with such groups as the Lira Ensemble and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra. Bensdorf is a resident of Evanston, Ill.

Pianist Yoko Yamada-Selvaggio will accompany Burden and Bensdorf.

  • Marimbist Owen Clayton Condon, 27, is pursing a doctor of music degree at Northwestern where he studies with Professor Michael Burritt Condon will perform Northwestern alumnus Joseph Schwantner’s 1990 work "Velocities." Condon has performed with the Tucson Symphony and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and as a guest artist with the contemporary ensemble eighth blackbird. Condon is a resident of Louisville, Ky.
  • Canadian-born pianist Winston Choi, 27, is a doctoral student at Northwestern studying with Professor Ursula Oppens. Choi will perform Olivier Messiaen’s Prelude No. 5 ("Les sons impalpables du rêve") and Alexander Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53. Choi has been the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including First Prize in the 2002 Orléans Concours International in France for Twentieth Century Music and Second Laureate in the 2003 Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary, Canada. He has been a featured guest artist in orchestras around the world, including France's l'Orchestre Symphonique d'Orleans, Canada's Calgary Symphony Orchestra, Colombia's La Orquesta Sinfonica, and the Boston-based Kalistos Chamber Orchestra. Highlights of his 2004-05 season include appearances at the Festival Agora and Festival de Messiaen in France, the Warsaw Autumn Festival in Poland, and the Samtida Music Festival in Sweden. Choi is a resident of Toronto.

"I am very pleased that the School of Music has been selected for this prestigious program," said Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery. "The Conservatory Project will introduce new audiences to the wonderful talent here at Northwestern."

  • Hans Jensen
  • Toni-Marie Montgomery