The Ezinma Trio, a student chamber trio in the School of Music, were finalists last year in the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition.
The Trio competed at the competition, sponsored by the Treetops Chamber Music Society, on April 10 at the Allegro Pianos Recital Hall in Stamford, Ct.
The Ezinma Trio includes Michael Glur-Zoucha, piano, a Bachelor of Music junior from Columbus, Neb.; Meredith Ramsay, violin, a Bachelor of Music junior from Omaha, Neb.; and Timothy Paek, cello, a Bachelor of Music junior from Lebanon, New Jersey. Their faculty mentors are the members of the Chiara String Quartet.
"We did not win, but it was a great experience to compete with the level of some of the more well-known music schools that the other contestants came from," Paek said. "It is just simply a stepping block for a great future."
Research Assistant Professor Julie Yoon, a member of the Chiara String Quartet in residence at UNL, said the experience of competing in this competition would help the Ezinma Trio.
"The Ezinma Trio competed at an international chamber music competition where the jury consists of two former and current members of the American String Quartet, a quartet in residence at the famed Manhattan School of Music, and Charles Neidich, a faculty member and renowned clarinetist at the Juilliard School," Yoon said. "To be playing for musicians of this caliber and to compete alongside professional and student chamber groups from around the world is a pretty big deal. The Chiara Quartet is absolutely thrilled."
The Ezinma Trio has been together for two and a half years and played for the Chancellor's State of the University address last Fall.
Last spring, they embarked on a Tour Across Nebraska Concert Series, in which they performed and met with school children in 14 communities across the state, including Gothenburg, Chadron, Scottsbluff, Wayne, Columbus, David City, McCook and Peru. The series was supported with a grant from the Hixson-Lied Endowment.
"Just to have the School financially support us and show that the really encourage what we're doing is really exciting for us," Ramsay said. "It really gives us a glimpse into professional life, which we all want in the future."
One of their favorite locations to play was Dunning at Sandhills Public School.
"We played in a gymnasium on an older upright piano," Paek said. "And we still reached out. As a student musician, it doesn't matter what we have. It matters what we do with itâ??in everything, really."
The entire experience gave them a taste of the life of a professional musician.
"We all learned a lot about being a better musician, learning music so fast," Paek said.
"You have to be that much more mentally focused and ready to perform at that level," Ramsay said. "People see us as professionals in a lot of these communities, so we have to not only represent ourselves well, but our school and make it that much better, so it's a lot of pressure. But it's an honor."
Yoon said their varying personalities help make the Ezinma Trio successful.
"Their personalities are very different from one another, and I think this has allowed a wonderful working relationship to develop," Yoon said. "It often works well to have varying personalities in a chamber group so that its members can bounce distinct ideas off of each other. We are extremely proud of the hard work they have put into developing the group's musical voice and look forward, with utmost hope, to their future success."