Sentinel Tribune: Standing tall among BGSU’s small ensembles


By DAVID DUPONT, Sentinel News Editor
The Max Trio broke the mold at the Douglas Wayland Chamber Music Competition at Bowling Green State University this weekend. Since the competition for groups of three to six student musicians was started in 2007, contemporary music has ruled the roost. The Max Trio – Kyle Kostenko, clarinet, Caleb Georges, viola, and Xiaohui Ma, piano – went with more traditional fare a trio in E-flat Major by W.A. Mozart and two movements from Eight Pieces by German Romantic composer Max Bruch. The repertoire worked.  The Max Trio won first in the competition’s undergraduate division.Top in the graduate division was the JAMKOZ Sextet playing more typical fare for the competition, music by living composers Brooke Joyce and BGSU graduate Jennifer Higdon.Members of the sextet are: Octavian Moldovean, flute, Kostenko, clarinet, Yi Chieh Anita Chiu, violin, Josh Williams, cello, Michael Keller, percussion, and Zachary Nyce, piano.Moldovean said bringing all the players together to rehearse proved a challenge. His original idea for an ensemble, a traditional wind quintet, fell apart when the musicians he wanted to collaborate with had already committed to another ensemble.He set about picking other top musicians in the college, which means they tend to be the busiest.The two compositions made full use of the ensemble’s kaleidoscopic palette, especially the Higdon piece, which had the clarinetist tapping the open barrel of his horn or the violinist and cellist playing lightly drumming on their strings with batons. Getting a rich tone colors, Kostenko said, was important for the Max Trio playing the more traditional pieces as well.He and George had competed in the same format last year, coming in third. The new pianist Ma helped the group to victory, he said. The two ensembles will perform March 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Manor House in Toledo’s Wildwood Metropark and April 12 at 3 p.m. at the  Toledo Museum of Art. Placing second in the undergraduate division was Blues 151, Julia Kuhlman, soprano saxophone, Chi-Him Chik, alto saxophone, Cody Greenwell, tenor saxophone, and Hiroki Kato, baritone saxophone.Second place in the graduate division was the BGSU Graduate Flute Quartet, Eun Hae Oh, Jory King,  Chappy Gibb and Jayde Weide.Sponsored by Pro Musica, the first round was held Saturday with the finalists performing Sunday. In all seven undergraduate ensembles and 11 graduate ensembles competed.