Saxophonist Keaton Garrett, a senior in high school from Arlington, Texas, won the grand prize in Monday night’s Conservatory Concerto Competition. Garrett performed the allegro movement from a contemporary work by composer David Ott.
Keaton also won the Director’s Award, singled out by Conservatory Artistic Director Matt Albert for special recognition.
Six finalists from a field of 17, who competed in the semifinal round last Friday, performed in Roshong Recital Hall on Monday. A panel of five judges from the Conservatory faculty awarded Keaton the top honor.
First prize, as distinguished from the grand prize, went to oboist Peter Davies, 15, from Dallas. He played the opening movement from Mozart’s Concerto in C Major. Like most wind and brass players who come to Durango from a lower altitude, Davies navigated long, complex passages with some effort. His near perfect, highly musical performance also won him the Audience Favorite Award.
The judges selected Amanda Hofheins, 17, for the second place prize. She played the adagio from Edward Elgar’s Concerto in E minor, a dark and distinctly mature work. Hofheins’ serious concert demeanor matched the nature of the music she played.
The two top winners will perform again next week. Keaton will reprise the Ott selection with the Festival Orchestra on July 29. The program is titled “Epic Grandeur,” and Karina Canellakis will conduct, opening with Sibelius’ En Saga, Op.9, and ending with Brahms’ Symphony No.4 in E minor, Op. 98. Keaton and company will be the center of the concert.
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theater Critics Association.