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UNT students take top honor

May 17, 2013

Re-print from

In the 2012-13 academic year, University of North Texas students Heran Yang, Éva Polgár and others took top honors at national and international competitions.

  • Double bass player Heran Yang wins ASTA National Competition
Heran Yand

Heran Yand

A UNT College of Music master’s student recently became only the fourth double bass player in the history of the American String Teachers Association national competition to win the grand prize, capping a semester of competition wins.

“It’s hard for a bassist to compete against the other string instruments – and especially get a prize in this kind of big, national competition,” said Yang, who comes from a family of bass players and has been playing since he was 10. “Most people still have the misconception that the double bass cannot play well as a solo instrument.” He credits Professor of Double Bass Jeffrey Bradetich with helping to develop both his skills and his love of the instrument by teaching in a way that complements Yang’s style.

Bradetich notes that teaching Yang has also been a pleasure. “He is innately gifted as an expressive musician and is on the cutting edge of exploring the expressive capabilities of the double bass as a solo instrument,” Bradetich said of Yang. “He has a very personal voice and is a bit of a showman, as well!”

  • Éva Polgár wins Los Angeles International Liszt Competition

Éva Polgár (DMA student of Adam Wodnicki) won first prize in the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition in November 2012, garnering a cash prize and an engagement with the orchestra next year. She also won first prize in the most prestigious piano division there, The Budapest Concert. She received a cash award-Dr. Erno and Katinka Daniel Memorial Prize-and an all expense paid trip to Budapest in 2013 to present a recital at the Ferenc Liszt Museum and Research Center. Éva also received the American Liszt Society Prize for the most successful participant of the competition.

  • Jazz Studies students win 16 DownBeat music awards

For the second year in a row, University of North Texas students and ensembles from the College of Music’s Jazz Studies program took more honors in the DownBeat Student Music Awards this year than any other institution.

“For our students to be recognized 16 times in this year’s DownBeat Student Music Awards, after earning 15 recognitions last year, is really something special,” said John Murphy, chair of the Division of Jazz Studies. “The awards are among the most significant awards that students in our field can receive.” More information on the winners, including clips of their music can be found online.

Other notable awards:

  • Addison Frei, Aaron Hedenstrom, and Drew Zaremba won ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards (see video).
  • Melissa Hatheway (undergraduate music education student mentored by Dr. Kris Chesky) won the 2013 Alice G. Brandfonbrener Young Investigator Award given by the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) for her epidemiology research on the marching band members.
  • Aaron Hedenstrom (MM student of Rich DeRosa in jazz arranging) was grand prize winner of the JC Heard Arrangers Contest sponsored by the Detroit Jazz Festival.
  • Seula Lee (undergraduate violin student of Philip Lewis) won the Grand Prize in the Coeur d’Alene Young Artists’ Competition in Washington and performed Sibelius’s Concerto with the Spokane Symphony in March.
  • Kristyn Son (DMA flute student of Mary Karen Clardy) took 1st Prize in New York’s Protege Competition and performed in recital in Carnegie’s Weill Recital on March 3, 2013.
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