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Oberlin sweeps viola category at 2013 ASTA solo competition

May 13, 2013
Logan Buckley

Oberlin violists Aaron Mossburg ‘13 and Daniel Orsen ‘16 both won their divisions in the 2013 American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition, sweeping the viola category. The final round was held from April 6 to 8 at the Kaufman Center’s Merkin Hall in New York City. Oberlin was the only conservatory to have finalists in two divisions. Mossburg (in the senior division) and Orsen (in the junior division) were each among three viola finalists. The senior division winner receives a $1000 prize and the junior division winner a $500 prize.

Mossburg, described as having a “fine, warm sound” (Cleveland Classical), has performed as a soloist in Carnegie Hall, sponsored by the Netherlands American Community Trust, as well as with the Indianapolis Symphony and the Fort Wayne Symphony. Last year, he won first prize in the senior division of the Ohio Viola Society Competition. He is currently a senior in the conservatory and will be graduating this May.

Orsen, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, has been studying viola since age eight. He has won several Pittsburgh-area prizes for his playing, including the Pittsburg Civic Orchestra Concerto Competition, and has appeared on NPR’s “From the Top.” He is a first-year student at the conservatory.

Of his participation in the event, Mossburg said it was “an honor getting to represent Oberlin at this high-level competition in New York,” while Orsen expressed excitement at Oberlin’s win in both the junior and senior viola divisions.

Orsen and Mossburg are both students of Professor of Viola Peter Slowik, who described them as “compelling performers who combine compelling emotional communications with technical mastery of the instrument,” as well as “consummate team players [who] contribute mightily to the large and small ensemble programs of the conservatory.” Slowik called the awards to each student “a significant recognition of their talent and achievement.”

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