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Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra Conductor Dr. Laura Schumann chosen to compete in international competition

AUGUST 6, 2003 - The Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra (SEOSO) has just gone global.

Dr. Laura Schumann, SEOSO's music director and conductor, is one of only 24 conductors in the world chosen to compete in the Third Annual Yakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition in Kharkov, Ukraine.

Dr. Schumann, who also is associate professor of music at Muskingum College, applied to participate in the Jordania competition earlier this summer and was notified that she had been chosen to participate in early July.

The competition will be held August 31 through September 7 in the historic city of Kharkov, the first capital of Ukraine. In each round of competition, Dr. Schumann and her fellow participants will be given strictly limited time to prepare and present one jury designated selection from pairs of required pieces of music that include Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, Prokofiev, Dvorak, Wagner and Stravinsky. In each of the three rounds, the contestant field will be narrowed by half, leading to the final concert round of just three contestants.

The three finalists will conduct the Kharkov Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in concert at Kharkov's Philharmonic Hall.

"The complexity of this competition doesn't just lie in the music," Dr. Schumann said. "In fact, in some ways, that's the least of it. The predominant language is Russian, which I do not speak, and there will be very little time to prepare. So, in a very real sense, the music is going to have to act as the language I share with the orchestra."

The grand prize is a series of concert engagements during the 2004-2005 concert season with the Kharkov Philharmonic, The Saratov Symphony Orchestra of Saratov, Russia; the Bolivian National Symphony of La Paz, Bolivia; the Arpeggione Chamber Orchestra of Vienna, Austria; and the Daegu City Symphony Orchestra of Daegu, South Korea.

Dr. Schumann said that even if she is eliminated from the competition early, there will still be great learning opportunities for her. Participants can be asked to teach master classes and can meet with competition jurors.

Muskingum College has been very supportive of this opportunity, Dr. Schumann explained. "The college has been fantastic," she said. "They've given me the support I needed to help me get there and they've been very enthusiastic about this. That helps a great deal."

Dr. Schumann received her doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from Texas Tech University, her master's degree in violin performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and a bachelor of music in violin performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Prior to joining SEOSO and Muskingum College, she was director of orchestral activities at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado; Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky; and held positions at Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.