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Double win - Mini-concert

Double-Win! Featuring MTNA competition winners Caroline Durham and Ezekiel Sokoloff

Gifted Music School, press release, Cathy Green, Salt Lake City, March 18, 2019


Gifted Music School students Ezekiel Sokoloff, 13, and Caroline Durham, 17, won the Junior and Senior String Performance divisions respectively at the National MTNA Music Competition in Spokane, Washington this past weekend. Both are violin students of GMS Co-Founder Eugene Watanabe, himself a two-time national winner in this prestigious competition.


The MTNA Competition is possibly the most competitive and distinguished student music competition in the USA . Out of hundreds of applicants, only 7 students in each division advance to the final round. Each student is required to perform 20-30 minutes of solo music at each of three competition rounds (local, regional, and national).


"Our students delivered," said Eugene Watanabe, Artistic Director and Co-founder of Gifted Music School. "It's great t0 have one student win, and unbelievable to have two students win– this is a big win for GMS!" Gifted Music School has had six GMS student or faculty wins since 1985, but have never won two divisions in the same year before.


Ezekiel, a resident of Holladay, UT, performed Paganini’s Violin Concerto in D Major , considered one of the hardest pieces ever written for violin. Zeke says, “ To get ready for a competition, I usually practice violin 6-7 hours a day,” and he knows all the other competitors have worked this hard, too. “I think that at the national level, all the kids who compete are well prepared and it just comes down to how relaxed and artistic you are when you perform for the judges. All of the kids work really hard and have an equal chance to win. I’m honored to have taken first!


Caroline, also a Holladay resident, says, “ Two years ago, I wasn't even winning state competitions. I felt like everyone else was better than I was. I think you always feel like so many other players are better than you are (I still do), but if you work hard and really decide to do something, anything is possible.”-


Ezekiel and Caroline will both play at the mini-conert in Holladay, June 6, 7-8 pm at City Hall.

Ezekiel Sokoloff and Caroline Durham Violin Concert

 Ezekiel and Caroline will both play at the mini-concert in Holladay, June 6, 7:00 - 8:00 pm at City Hall.