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Music Education Majors Win UWEC Concerto Competition

| Rachel Mueller, Theatre Arts & English, '22

Two music education majors, Emmeline Liske and Elizabeth Hainlen, won UWEC’s annual concerto competition. This year, students applied by sending in a video of themselves performing a solo, and the winners have the chance to perform their piece with either Wind Symphony or Symphony Band. 

Emmeline Liske

Emmeline Liske

Sophomore Emmeline Liske, a choral and instrumental music education major studying horn and voice, is grateful for the experience the competition afforded her.

“It has been great to spend the semester working on this piece individually in lessons and with the other great student performers who put in a lot of time to make this a quality performance.” Music professor and concerto competition facilitator Dr. John Stewart says, “[Emmeline] is, like, burning the candle all over, not even at both ends right now… she’s recording for choir, she’s doing opera rehearsals, she’s doing all of this stuff… really phenomenal person, phenomenal musician.” 

The second winner, Elizabeth Hainlen, whose primary instrument is the French horn, is a senior instrumental and general music education major with an adaptive music certificate. Dr. Stewart says that she “has been in wind symphony or orchestra every year since her freshman year. She and I were actually just reminiscing a little bit - she was doing some recordings last night and I was like ‘Wow, this is almost your last thing with us.’ She’s going to be a great elementary music educator.” Hainlen says, “Entering and winning the competition showed a lot of personal growth in my confidence and my playing ability since starting at UWEC four years ago. Seeing that growth means a lot to me especially as I head into my student teaching semester.”

Both of the winning pieces have been recorded and released as a part of the Wind Symphony and Symphony Band’s recent concerts. During the rehearsal process before the concerto’s performance, the winners get the chance to collaborate as a soloist with a conductor and prepare them to integrate with the rest of the ensemble. “It’s a good collaboration thing, and it’s something students get to put on their resumes for grad school applications or whatever that they’re doing next,” Dr. Stewart says.

Elizabeth Hainlen

Elizabeth Hainlen

Hainlen and Liske agree that UW-Eau Claire’s music program has prepared them for life beyond college. Hainlen describes how her involvement in many different ensembles and leadership roles has prepared her for her teaching career starting next semester. “The music program at UWEC has provided me with many opportunities to get involved as a musician and as a leader,” she says. “I’ve also had many leadership opportunities as president of the UWEC chapter of the National Band Association, principal horn and section leader in orchestra, and as a student conductor for the horn studio. These experiences have all helped me grow as a musician and as a leader which has helped prepare me to become a teacher.” Similarly, Liske adds, “It’s also great to have so many excellent performance opportunities because I’m able to improve my musicianship and learn how to apply my personal growth to a teaching setting where I can hopefully inspire a similar appreciation of music in others.”

To watch Emmeline Liske’s performance, click here.

To watch Elizabeth Hainlen’s performance, click here.