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2010 Competition

January 15-17, 2010
Host George Sakakeeny
Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Oberlin, Ohio, USA

To read reviews about the MQVC semi-final and final rounds, and to read more about the Symposium, go to


Amanda Swain
First Place
Amanda Swain
Shuo Li
Second Place
Shuo Li
Briana Lehman
Third Place
Briana Lehman
Julie Link
Honorable Mention
Julie Ann Link
Laura Miller
Honorable Mention
Laura Miller


Alexandra Berndt Alexandra Berndt • USA
(b. 6/11/1986) is a native of Stevensville, Michigan, and began learning the bassoon at age 11. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Richard Ranti. In 2008 she graduated Summa cum Laude with Program Honors in Woodwinds from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Music. Alexandra spent the fall of 2006 studying in Vienna, Austria with David Seidel. Past summer festivals she has participated in include the Banff Music Centre, Brevard Music Center and Hidden Valley.
Micahla Cohen Micahla Cohen • USA
(b. 3/10/1986) is from Minneapolis, MN and currently studies with Frank Morelli at Yale University. She received her Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Richard Svoboda. Micahla has performed with groups around the New England area including Fifth House Ensemble and the Air Force Band of Liberty. She has attended the Sarasota Music Festival, Manchester Music Festival, Banff Music Center, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. She received the Sherman Walt Bassoon Merit Award after winning the Boston Woodwind Society Competition. Micahla has also worked with bassoonists J. Christopher Marshall, Donald MacCourt, Rick Ranti, Christopher Millard, William Winstead and John Miller.
Marian Graebert Marian Graebert • USA
(b. 8/21/1987) is a 2008 graduate from Oberlin Conservatory where she studied with George Sakakeeny. She has attended camps such as Interlochen Arts Camp, the Eastern Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Hidden Valley Music Seminars and worked with renowned artists such as Eric Stomberg, Kristen Wolfe Jenson, Steve Dibner and Judith LeClair. Abroad, she has been a chamber musician for Oberlin in Italy (Urbana, Italy), and she has served as a teaching assistant for the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina (Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil). Marian currently serves as the second bassoonist for the Canton Symphony Orchestra and is pursuing her M.M. at the University of Akron under the instruction of Barrick Stees.
Kelly Harrison Kelly Harrison • USA
(b. 4/13/1988) is a senior at Oberlin Conservatory where she studies with George Sakakeeny. She began her bassoon studies in Indianapolis, Indiana under the instruction of Douglas Spaniol and later studied with Dennis Michel at Northwestern University. Summer festivals include Round Top Festival Institute, Interlochen Advanced Bassoon Institute, and Interlochen Arts Camp. As principal player, Kelly has performed with the Oberlin Orchestra, Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra, and the New World Youth Symphony. She was chosen as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as winner of their Side-by-Side Concerto Competition and has twice been named winner of the Indianapolis Prelude Award. Kelly plans to pursue a graduate degree in bassoon performance.
Briana Lehman Briana Lehman • USA
(b. 8/21/1989) is a junior at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music studying with Benjamin Kamins. She is a native of Portland, Oregon where she studied with Mark Eubanks. Briana has performed with the Shepherd School Symphony, Chamber, and Opera Orchestras as well as a number of youth symphonies. She was a winner of the MetroArts Inc. Young Artists Concerto Competition, Mt. Hood Pops Concerto Competition, and Oregon Federation of Women's Clubs Music Competition.
Shuo Li Shuo Li • CHINA
(b. 6/10/1988) Shuo "Shelly" Li was born in 1988 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province in the People's Republic of China. At the age of 5 she began piano studies with both Jian Lin in her home town and with Professor Pingguo Zhao in Beijing at the Central Conservatory of Music. In 2002 at the age of 13 she entered the middle school attached to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and began playing and studying the bassoon under the tutelage of Zhaolu Liu, principal bassoonist of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. During her time there she was the principal bassoonist and toured Germany with the Shanghai Youth Orchestra. In the Fall 2008 Shelly entered the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and began undergraduate bassoon studies with Professor George Sakakeeny, where she is currently a sophomore bassoon performance major. She frequently performs as principal bassoonist in various ensembles at Oberlin and is a member of the renown "Oberlin Bassoon Quartet".
Julie Ann Link Julie Ann Link • USA
(b. 3/21/87) from Plano, Texas, is a graduate student at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studies with Barrick Stees. Julie received her B.M. from Arizona State University, where she studied with Albie Micklich and Jeffrey Lyman. Recent awards include Arizona State University Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition overall winner, Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition overall winner and double reed winner, and a 2007 International Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition. Summer festival participation consists of the Ameropa Solo and Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic and the Interlochen Advanced Bassoon Institute in Interlochen, Michigan. Special awards received are the Miles Dresskell Memorial Award and the ASU Special Talent Award. She most recently participated in masterclasses with Martin Gatt, Alan Goodman, and Frank Morelli.Julie is also an active member of Bassoon 4, the CIM bassoon quartet that strives to improve arts engagement through performances around Cleveland.
Laura Miller Laura Miller • USA
(b. 4/7/1987) hails from Jupiter, Florida. As a first-year Masters student in Music Performance at the University of Texas-Austin, Laura is in her fifth year of studies under Kristin Wolfe Jensen. She has also studied and been coached by other masters including Frank Morelli, John Clouser, Marc Goldberg, George Sakakeeny, William Winstead, Monica Ellis, Christopher Weait, and Michael Ellert.

In May 2009, Laura earned a Bachelors of Music with Honors from the University of Texas-Austin. As a graduate student, she continues to perform with the UT Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Chamber Winds. For the past two summers, Laura has been one of the principal bassoonists at the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific. Other previous summer experiences include the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival; the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro; the Bassoon Extravaganza at Emory University; Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Washington; and the Advanced Bassoon Institute and eight-week summer camp at Interlochen Center for the Arts. In the summer of 2008, Laura performed in the UT Wind Ensemble at music festivals in England, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, and Spain.

Amanda Swain Amanda Swain • USA
(b. 10/13/1986) from Houston, TX completed her BM in performance in 2009 at the University of Texas where she studied with Kristin Wolfe Jensen. Currently, Amanda is pursuing her MM at Northwestern University, where she studies with Christopher Millard and Lewis Kirk. In addition to performing with university orchestras and wind ensembles, Amanda was the second bassoonist for the Round Rock Symphony. She has also won the Clear Lake Symphony Concerto Competition, the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, and was a finalist in the Houston Symphony Concerto Competition in 2005. In 2006, she attended the Texas Music Festival, where she placed third in the concerto competition. She has been a finalist in the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra concerto competition, a finalist in the UT Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition, and a semi-finalist in the Heida Hermanns International Woodwind Competition. Amanda is passionate about music education and enjoys teaching lessons to young, aspiring bassoonists.
Alex Zdanis Alex Zdanis • USA
(b. 04/14/88) from San Diego, CA, began to study bassoon at the age of 13. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at the Colburn School in Los Angeles where she studies with Richard Beene. Before her studies at Colburn, Alex studied with Valentin Martchev. This summer, she was the recipient of the 2009 Colburn Foundation Full Scholarship in Bassoon which enabled her to attend the Music Academy of the West. In previous summers, she attended the Aspen Music Festival and the International Festival Institute at Round Top. Upon graduating, Alex plans to pursue a Masters of Music.


  1. Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto in C Major, RV 479 (performed from memory in the final round)
  2. Libby Larsen: Concert Piece for Bassoon and Piano
  3. Francisco Mignone: "Valsa Da Outra Esquina" from 16 Waltzes (with repeats)
  4. One additional piece for final round (chosen from the MQVC Repertoire List)

Final Round Judges

Leonardo Dean
Leonardo Dean
Catherina Meintz
Catherina Meintz

Semi-final Round Judges

Preliminary Round Judges

Isabel Jeremias
Isabel Jeremias