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2012 Competition

January 6-8, 2012
Co-Hosts Nicolasa Kuster and David A. Wells
University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music
Stockton, CA, USA

Winners/Finalists

Ananta Diaz
First Place
Ananta Karilun Díaz
Venezuela
Sarah Ruiz
Second Place
Sarah Ruiz
Costa Rica
Alex Zdanis
Third Place
Alex Zdanis
United States
Rachel Koeth
Finalist
Rachel Koeth
United States
Kelly Swensson
Finalist
Kelly Swensson
United States

Semi-Finalists

Julia Bair

Julia Bair — United States — 10/22/1988

Julia Bair is from Glencoe, Illinois, where she began her bassoon studies at age 14 with Ann Dufek and William Buchman. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with George Sakakeeny, alongside a degree in neuroscience from Oberlin College. In 2008 and 2010 she attended Sarasota Music Festival, and in 2011 she served as Principal Bassoon for the Oberlin Orchestra's tour of China and Singapore. She is a private bassoon teacher in Oberlin, Ohio as well as at the Avon School of Music. Julia plans to begin her Master of Music degree in the fall of 2012.

Ananta Diaz

Ananta Karilun Díaz — Venezuela — 10/01/1990

Ananta Karilun Díaz was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She was a member of the Sistema Nacional de Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela and studied with Geronis Bravo and Leonardo Dean. She has received additional instruction from Henning Trog, Stephan Schweigert, and George Sakakeeny. She has been a member of orchestras including the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Miranda, the Symphony Orchestra of Miranda, the Children's Symphony Orchestra of Caracas, Youth Orchestra of America (Principal Bassoon), and Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra (Principal Bassoon). With the last of these, she participated in a 2010 European tour of Germany, Austria, Holland, Spain and England. As a soloist, Ananta has performed Weber's Concerto in F Major,op. 75 and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Winds in E-flat Major K.297b. She won second place at the June 2011 International Double Reed Society Young Artist Bassoon Competition. Ananta currently studies with Matthias Racz at the Zücher Hochschule der Künste in Switzerland.

Carly Gomez

Carly Gomez — United States — 6/11/1991

Carly Gomez, from Satellite Beach, Florida, is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance at Florida State University, where she studies with Jeff Keesecker. She is Principal Bassoonist of Florida State University's University Symphony Orchestra and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and performs regularly with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. She was the winner of the Florida Music Teachers National Association competition in 2010, and won the concerto competition with the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2009. She has attended Brevard Music Center (three summers), National Orchestral Institute, and Banff Music Centre.

Rachel Koeth

Rachel Koeth — United States — 3/06/1988

Rachel Koeth is in her second year of a Master of Music degree at Stony Brook University where she is studying with Frank Morelli. From Portland, Oregon, she began playing bassoon at age 13 with Lyle Dockenforff. Rachel completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa in 2010, earning her Bachelor of Music degree under the instruction of Benjamin Coelho. While at Iowa she performed with the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony, Ottumwa Symphony, Iowa City Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Singers of Iowa City, and was a concerto winner with the Fort Dodge Area Young Artist Competition in 2007. Now living on Long Island, New York, she performs with the Stony Brook University Symphony Orchestra, the Baroque Ensemble, and various chamber ensembles.

Kara LaMoure

Kara LaMoure — United States — 3/3/1988

From Dallas, Texas, Kara received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied under John Hunt. She has performed with a number of ensembles, including the Northbrook Symphony (Illinois), Southern Tier Symphony (New York), and the Rochester Oratorio Society. Summer festival appearances include the Texas Music Festival and the International Festival-Institute at Round Top, where her teachers were Jeff Robinson, Eric Arbiter, Benjamin Kamins, and Kristin Wolfe Jensen. Kara is committed to advancements in chamber music. As a founder of the Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet, she has performed widely around the country and written numerous arrangements for the ensemble. She is a curator for the Breaking Winds' YouTube channel, which has garnered press from such varied sources as the Baltimore Sun, MTV, the Aspen Institute, and Perez Hilton. During the summer of 2011, she and her quartet colleagues were artists-in-residence and educators at the Bocal Majority Bassoon Camp in Texas. Kara currently attends Northwestern University, where she is studying toward a Master of Music degree in the studio of Christopher Millard.

Atao Liu

Atao Liu — China — 10/01/1990

Atao Liu is a student of Kim Laskowski and in her second year of a Bachelor of Music degree in Bassoon Performance at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2002, she entered the Pre-college division of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, and studied with professor Jun Zhu. In 2007, she was accepted into the Idyllwild Arts Academy with scholarship, where studied with Carolyn Beck. She has attended the Interlochen Summer Camp, the Hidden Valley Music Seminar, and the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop. Atao Liu is currently a member of the New York Youth Symphony and of the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra.

Danielle Osbun

Danielle Osbun — United States — 8/24/1988

Danielle Osbun, from Sandusky, Ohio, earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 2010 from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio where she studied with Cynthia Cioffari. She has participated in summer music festivals such as the Eastern Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Texas Music Festival. Awards include the Artistic Excellence Fellowship at Indiana University and Honorable Mention in the 2009 Women in Music Columbus Scholarship for Advanced Musical Study Competition. Danielle was also a two-time concerto competition winner at Capital University, performing with the Capital University Wind Ensemble in 2007 and 2009. Danielle is in her second year of graduate work at Indiana University and is a student of William Ludwig. She performs with university orchestras, opera, and chamber groups.

Sarah Ruiz

Sarah Ruiz — Costa Rica — 2/10/1988

Sarah Ruiz was born in San José, Costa Rica. She started her musical studies in 2001 at the National Institute of Music of Costa Rica with Marco Redondo. In 2004, she attended the Italian tour with the Youth Orchestra of Costa Rica and performed in the Santa Cecilia Hall in Rome. She won the "Jóvenes solistas" competition in 2007 and played as a soloist with the Costa Rica National Symphony Orchestra. Sarah has participated in summer festivals like Sewanee Summer Music Camp and Ball State University Bassoon Camp with Keith Sweger. In 2009, she began studies with Stefano Canuti at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragón, in Spain, and has performed in master classes with Andrea Zucco, Gustavo Nuñez and Sergio Azzolini.

Kelly Swensson

Kelly Swensson — United States — 4/13/1988

Kelly Swensson is a graduate student at Butler University where she studies with Douglas Spaniol. She has a Bachelor of Music degree in Bassoon Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory where she studied with George Sakakeeny, and has also studied at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music with Richard Beene and at Northwestern University with Dennis Michel. She was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition. Summer festivals she has attended include Round Top Festival Institute, Interlochen Advanced Bassoon Institute, and Interlochen Arts Camp. Kelly has performed with the Butler Symphony Orchestra, Colburn Symphony Orchestra, Oberlin Orchestra, Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. In high school she was chosen as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as winner of their Side-by-Side Concerto Competition and was twice named winner of the Indianapolis Prelude Award. Kelly currently lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Jordan.

Alex Zdanis

Alex Zdanis — United States — 4/14/1988

Alex Zdanis is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree with Benjamin Kamins at Rice University. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from The Colburn School Conservatory of Music where she studied with Richard Beene. Before her studies at Colburn, Alex studied with Valentin Martchev. She has participated in festivals such as New York String Seminars, Sarasota Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the International Institute at Round Top Texas. Alex has performed with San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, American Youth Symphony, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, Shepherd School Symphony, and The Colburn Orchestra. She was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition. Alex loves unusual ensembles; she was a founding member of the Colburn Böttleaires, and is a current member of the Rice Crumhorn Collective.

Final Round Judges

Semi-Final Round Judges

Preliminary Round Judges