What's New: June Edition

News from NEC alumni, students, and faculty members including the Balourdet Quartet, Trio Gaia, Keila Wakao, Sarah Matsushima, Jenni Rudolph, Zhanbo Zheng, Jingsi Lu, Zhiqiao Zhang, Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, Nellie Brown Mitchell, and others.

Balourdet Quartet

The Balourdet String Quartet, currently in residence in NEC's Professional String Quartet Program, have been awarded joint 2nd Prize at the 2021 Premio Paolo Borciani.

They were also awarded first prize at the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, as well as the Audience Favorite Prize, which allowed listeners to vote for their favorite ensemble. 

Trio Gaia, the incoming piano trio in NEC's Professional Piano Trio Program, was awarded the second prize.

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Keila Wakao

NEC Prep student Keila Wakao has won first place in the junior division of the Menuhin Competition, where she was also awarded the Junior Composer Prize for her performance of Mason Bates' "Bound Away" in the finals. She will receive USD $10,000 and the loan of a fine Italian violin, sponsored by Florian Leonhard Violins. 

Keila also recently won the gold medal at the Stulberg International String Competition.

Keila is a student of Donald Weilerstein and Soovin Kim at NEC's Preparatory School, and a member of the Chamber Music Intensive Performance Seminar (CHIPS), working closely with Merry Peckham and Laura Blustein.

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Nova Fellows May Mixtape

The NEC Nova Fellows, sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Musicianship (EM) department, promote diversity and inclusion by providing a virtual platform for the cultural and artistic community at NEC. The Fellows recently released their May Mixtape honoring AAPI heritage month.

The mixtape features works by Asian and Pacific Islander musicians at NEC, including Trio GaiaSarah Matsushima '21 MM, Jenni Rudolph '20, Zhanbo Zheng '20, Jingsi Lu ’15, ’17 MM, ’19 GD, ’22 DMA, and Zhiqiao Zhang '21. Some of the performances were also featured on the Asian Student Association's 2021 Lunar New Year virtual concert. Proceeds from the mixtape go to Feeding India.

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An Elegant Ritual

NEC faculty member Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol was featured in JAZZIZ, speaking about his upcoming album, An Elegant Ritual, his recording debut of piano trio works. Neil Tesser of JAZZIZ reports:

An Elegant Ritual extends the piano-trio format, with Sanlikol’s voice and use of the ney (end-blown flute). He’s had plenty of practice leading trios in pre-pandemic Boston and overseas; he also handled keyboard parts on his big-band albums. But this is the first piano-trio recording of his career, and long overdue.

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Nellie Brown Mitchell

19th century alumna Nellie Brown Mitchell will be honored in a "Joyful Juneteenth" concert given by Broadway vocalist N’Kenge in New Hampshire, where Mitchell was born in 1845.

Mitchell was a prominent soprano who graduated from NEC in 1879 and enjoyed a robust career throughout New England and beyond in the mid-to-late 1800s.

“(Mitchell) was a phenomenal singer, an entrepreneur, a music director and an inventor at a time when Black women were only expected to be servants,” N’Kenge said in an announcement of her Seacoast tour stop.

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