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Professor Eli Kalman (left) and student Jason Kutz enjoy a round of applause at the April 2012 Musica Viva! showcase in UW Oshkosh's Arts and Communications Hall.

Just because you might see Jason Kutz behind the board in a recording studio someday, don’t think for a second he is not just as comfortable with an instrument.

Kutz, a pianist and May graduate of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s music industry recording technology program, is co-winner of the 2012 Rocky Ridge Music Center (RRMC) Concerto Competition in Colorado.

Kutz and three other students joined UW Oshkosh piano Professor Eli Kalman at the June event. The prestigious competition pits young artists from around the country in a challenge of skill and artistry. They are required to perform complex musical pieces in front of a panel of judges and a live audience. The RRMC teaches students between ages 15 and 24 from various schools and institutions throughout the country.

The Young Artist Session lasts for five weeks and features intense music instruction.

For his co-win, Kutz earns the right to perform the Grieg concerto on July 14 with the student orchestra at RRMC.

“UW Oshkosh students have shown an increasing presence in the last several years following my advice to continue their training and experience,” Kalman said. “Our yearly concerto competition is for all instrumentalists and vocalists enrolled in the session at the end of the first week of camp.”

Kutz advances a bit of a winning streak for UW Oshkosh at the national showcase and competition.

In 2011, Luke Swanger, 26, of Oshkosh, was named a co-winner of the Young Artist Seminar Concerto Competition. In 2010, Swanger received an honorable mention in the competition.

Jason Kutz (at right) poses with other winners of the RRMC 2012 competition.

“This is the second time a UW Oshkosh graduate has co-won this competition, earning a wonderful opportunity to play a concerto with the RRMC student orchestra,” Kalman said. “It is also a wonderful opportunity to represent what we are so proud of at our University.”

UW Oshkosh students Tanya Paulson and Erin Peyer also performed at this year’s RRMC.

Kalman also noted UW Oshkosh graduate Rebecca Ottman is now employed at RRMC as an event coordinator and fundraising specialist who continues to play piano, involved in the summer event’s chamber music activities.

“UW Oshkosh students are at this point a very clear presence at RRMC with serious musical strength over a few consecutive years,” Kalman said. “They make us proud.”

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