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Competition winners Caroline Kim, Luke Swanger, Elizabeth Kocses and Coreisa Lee

Hard work and persistence paid off this summer for pianist Luke Swanger.

Swanger, 25, of Oshkosh, who studied piano under the direction of Dr. Eli Kalman, professor of piano at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, learned many lessons about persistence and hard work at this summer’s Rocky Ridge Music Camp in Colorado, where he was named a co-winner of the annual Young Artist Seminar Concerto Competition. In 2010, Swanger received an honorable mention in the competition.

Swanger was one of four out of 19 selected as a 2011 winner. As a co-winner he will perform Rondo from Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 on July 16 in front of an audience in Colorado. Kalman calls the piece Swanger will perform “one of the most exquisite and complex works of the solo repertoire.” Kalman is filled with pride over Swanger’s accomplishment.

“It takes so much skill and strength as a musician to handle the complexity of the collaboration in addition to the honor to be featured as the winner of a competition,” said Kalman, who has been teaching at the camp since 2005. “It is a well-deserved result of his hard work and determination.”

The win for Swanger comes after five weeks at the camp in which the students focus on composition study and performance. Each student performed a concerto with piano accompaniment before a panel of judges and a live audience July 2. Unanimously, the judges voiced their appreciation of the musical potential and promise of each contender.

“We are privileged to have such a great group of students this summer, not just for their high level of musical skill and enthusiasm, but each are all such wonderful people – a joy to have in residence in this close-knit community,” said Dr. SoYoung Lee, director of Rocky Ridge.

Rebecca Ottman and Tanya Paulson, both UW Oshkosh students, also attended the camp from June 28 until July 31.

“I cannot tell you how proud I am of all three of them and their demonstrated musicianship and professionalism. Their level of preparation earned significant and general appreciation from the judging panel and public,” Kalman said. “This success makes me feel exquisitely about what we do at UW Oshkosh.”

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