Austin College Group Earns Second Place
When the music world paused to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven on December 17, 2020, young people around the world were also celebrating their own musical accomplishments. They were the winners of the international Best Beethoven Performance Competition in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday. All entries were virtual, and when results were announced in December, the Austin College Generations String Quartet placed second in its age group.
The musicians began last summer to make music together, forming a multi-generational string quartet and seeking out Ricky Duhaime, professor of music, to serve as their coach. Andrew Kim ’22, violin; Andres Hernandez ’22, violin; Rizwan Jagani ’15, viola; and 2017-2018 attendee Jacob Martin, cello, make up the instrumental ensemble.
“I am especially pleased whenever current and former students meet and work to combine abilities across generations,” Duhaime said. “The members of the AC Generations String Quartet did not attend Austin College at the same time, but have collaborated to create an ensemble and musical achievements that transcend generational boundaries. The success in their first competition has encouraged them to continue working as a unit, exploring additional quartet literature throughout the academic year and planning for another recording session, or two, this spring and summer. Beyond the study and performance of significant pieces of music by acknowledged composers, the members of the quartet have also acquired chamber music techniques and skills to apply in all their future endeavors, regardless of where time and careers take them.”
Continuing their Austin College educations, Andrew Kim of Denton is completing a major in biochemistry and a minor in music and Andres Hernandez of Hurst is completing a major in biology.
Rizwan Jagani completed a master’s degree in performance at Carnegie-Mellon University and has been building a career in viola performance in the U.S. and abroad while completing an Artist Diploma at the University of Nevada Las Vegas this year. Jacob Martin is finishing a bachelor’s degree in cello performance at Scarborough College in Fort Worth. Martin and Jagani have performed in the Austrian Summer Festival with Duhaime and plan to return this summer as well.
The Beethoven competition is part of the Great Composers Competition. Musicians are eligible for the competitions up to 25 years of age and may begin competition as early as five years old. For an ensemble, the ages of all musicians are averaged. An unedited video recording is used in both the qualifying and final rounds.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.