Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, and Lalo: South Honors Concerto Competition Winners


Kendall Eddington, Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday, March 7, the Wheaton-Warrenville South Orchestras performed their spring concerto concert in the auditorium. The concert notably showcased the talent and hard work of the three concerto competition winners: Richard Lu, Elijah Berry, and Mila Vukonich. 

Each year, the music department hosts a concerto competition open to junior and senior musicians. The top three players win the opportunity to perform with a full orchestral accompaniment in the March orchestra concert. The competition is typically very competitive, with talented musicians from the highest-level ensembles entering. 

Richard Lu, Sinfonia member and first place winner, performed “Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor”. Elijah Berry, Wind Ensemble member and second place winner, played “Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2”. Mila Vukonich, Sinfonia member and third place winner, performed “Lalo Symphonie Espagnole in D minor”.

The orchestras and band started rehearsing the accompaniment music in early February. “It was really cool to play with the orchestra for the first time after I won,” Mila Vukonich said. “To hear all the parts coming together was really fun and exciting, especially with the full orchestra and Chamber 2.”

“I loved hearing Mila, Eli, and Richard play their pieces because I was able to hear their personalities shine in the music,” Allison Chang, Orchestra Director, noted. 

The concerto pieces selected by this year’s winners were advanced, requiring the orchestras and bands to follow confusing tempo changes. Chang, who conducted the Lalo symphony and Sibelius concerto, explained that the most difficult part of preparing the music was “conducting a pattern that is clear to the ensemble while still allowing the soloists to have expressive freedom in their performance,” 

The soloists received a standing ovation at the end of the concert. “I hope that audience members and younger students felt inspired by the artistry and professionalism of the soloists, Chang said. She encourages current sophomores and juniors to consider auditioning for the competition next year.