Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony to feature concerto competition winners


The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will perform its final concert of the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $10. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current I.D.

Dr. Douglas Bakenhus is music director of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. Juan Pablo Paternina Paez is the graduate assistant conductor. The concert will feature winners of the 2019 Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Concerto Contest, Ramon Barralaga and Shihaun Wang on piano and Emily Owens on violin.

As part of the concert, James Ford, Richard Jennings and Shirley Jennings will be formally inducted into the School of Creative and Performing Arts Hall of Fame.

The program will include “On Top of the World” by Brian Balmages, the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” featuring Owens, the first movement of C. Saint-Saens’ “Piano Concerto No. 2” featuring Wang, the third movement of “Piano Concerto No. 1” by Tchaikovsky featuring Barralaga and “Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber” by Paul Hindemith.

Barralaga began his musical studies in 2008 at the School of Music Victoriano Lopez in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. He enrolled at NSU in 2016. That year, he won the NSU Concerto Competition and performed the Grieg “Piano Concerto” with the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony. Last year, Barralaga received an honorable mention at the MTNA Louisiana State Competition. He serves as a piano teacher at the NSU Music Academy. Barralaga is a student of Associate Professor of Piano Dr. Francis Yang.

Owens received a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Baylor University, performing in the Baylor Symphony and Waco Symphony. She is assistant concertmaster in the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony. Owens won the state division of the MTNA Young Artists Solo Competition. She won the Rapides Young Artists Competition earlier this year and performed with the Rapides Symphony playing the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto.” Owens is a student of Professor of Violin and Viola Andrej Kurti and is working toward a Master of Music Performance degree at NSU.

Wang, a native of China, earned her bachelor’s degree at Guangxi Normal University. She won second prize in the Chinese Works category in the Macau-Asian Pacific Youth Piano Competition and first prize in the Yamaha Music Scholarship Competition in China. She is working toward a master’s degree at Northwestern State and is a student of Yang.