Ansel Norris (16), a trumpet alumnus of the Bienen School of Music, won fifth prize in the brass division of the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition and was the highest ranked trumpet musician in the competition. Bienen School trombone alumni Kelton Koch (14) and Nick Platoff (14) also advanced among the 48 performers invited to the inaugural brass competition.

The International Tchaikovsky Competition, held every four years since 1958, is open to young musicians from around the world. The 2019 edition marked the arrival of two new instrument families – woodwinds and brass – joining piano, violin, cello, and voice. A total of 228 performers across all instruments representing 38 nationalities were selected to compete in the 2019 event in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Ansel Norris

In his final round performance, Norris performed Lensky's Aria from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Rodion Shchedrin’s Concerto for trumpet and orchestra.

Norris was twice a first prize winner at the National Trumpet Competition's solo division and he is also a YoungARTS Gold Award recipient. He has performed with the Chicago and Boston symphonies. In 2018 he became the assistant principal/second trumpet of the Naples Philharmonic in Florida. As a founding member of the Lincoln Chamber Brass ensemble, he competed in the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition and won third prize in 2014.

Kelton Koch

Koch advanced to the semi-final round of competition among the top 16 brass musicians. He performed Leopold Mozart’s Concerto for alto trombone, Folke Rabe’s "Basta" for solo trombone, and Tchaikovsky’s Suite from The Queen of Spades.

Koch currently studies at the Hochschule der Künste Bern with Ian Bousfield. He previously worked at the Zurich Opera and performed solo, chamber, and orchestral music as a trombone fellow of the New World Symphony. He has performed with such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and London Philharmonia. Beginning in the 2019-2020 season, he will become the first academist of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Nick Platoff

Platoff performed Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Sinfonia and Launy Grøndahl’s Concerto for trombone and orchestra in the first round of competition.

Platoff joined the San Francisco Symphony as associate principal trombone in 2016. He previously worked with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. He teaches in the pre-college division at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and as the low brass coach for the SFS Youth Orchestra. He has been guest faculty at the Juilliard School and National Orchestral Institute.

In 2015, cellist Brannon Cho (17), then a student of Hans Jensen, participated in the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition. Learn more


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