Student Feature: Maya Lawnicki

Freshman places second in MYSO Philharmonia Concerto Competition

(Olivia Loomis) Maya Lawnicki, freshman, played the first movement of “Concerto No. 1 in G Minor” by Max Bruch, placing second in the Philharmonia Concerto Competition.
(Olivia Loomis) Maya Lawnicki, freshman, played the first movement of “Concerto No. 1 in G Minor” by Max Bruch, placing second in the Philharmonia Concerto Competition.

Maya Lawnicki, freshman, was the runner up in the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) Philharmonia’s annual Concerto Competition. This is her second year playing in the competition, and she won last year as an 8th grader.

MYSO musicians from seven of its 10 orchestras participate in the Concerto Competition every January. Each competitor prepares a concerto from a list selected by the MYSO staff and performs it for a panel of judges from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. Each MYSO orchestra then recognizes winners, runner-ups and honorable mentions. The winner receives the honor of performing the concerto that they prepared as a soloist at one of their orchestra’s upcoming concerts.

“This competition is a great way for young musicians to be exposed to what real-life professional auditions are like,” said Marna Bestul, Production Associate for MYSO. “It’s a great learning experience for them in terms of learning how to get over nerves, how to behave in auditions, as well as to get feedback from the judges after the results are released.”

Last year, when Lawnicki was a member of MYSO’s Sinfonia, she won the competition and performed the first movement of J.S. Bach’s “Concerto in A Minor” as a soloist in a concert last February. She also performed at six schools in and around the Milwaukee area through MYSO’s Community Engagement Concert Program.

This year, Lawnicki finished as a runner-up for MYSO’s Philharmonia after performing the first movement of “Concerto No. 1 in G minor” by Max Bruch. Sigrid Gullickson, Lawnicki’s private violin teacher, aided her in her preparation for the competition. Diane Kachelmeier, pianist, accompanied her at recitals and the competition. This year’s winner was Abigail Hanna, cellist.

For Lawnicki, the competition was a great success.

“My favorite part of the competition was performing for the judges and really understanding the music and being able to share it with others. It is a very competitive environment and great experience for all participating in the event,” Lawnicki said.

“I loved hearing all the students get to play something they had been working on outside of MYSO rehearsals and repertoire. You normally only hear them practicing their parts for the orchestra. It was nice to hear what they can do outside of that,” Bestul said.

“It was an absolutely phenomenal experience and I intend to do the competition every year that I am in MYSO,” Lawnicki said.

by Annalise Lozier and Kelly Whittle

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