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Incoming freshman wins international solo competition

June 13, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Trombone player Hana Beloglavec will step into her first-ever Western Michigan University music class this September with a sparkling new instrument beside her and a significant accomplishment behind her.

A recent graduate of Kalamazoo's Loy Norrix High School, a member of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra and an incoming freshman at WMU, Beloglavec claimed first place in this year's Gilberto Gagliardi/Weril Trombone Competition. The competition, which is sponsored by the International Trombone Association, held its finals last month in Las Vegas. Included in Beloglavec's grand-prize award was a new Weril trombone.

Dr. Stephen Wolfinbarger, associate professor of music at WMU and Beloglavec's private instructor for the last year and a half, says the Gagliardi is the most respected student solo competition for trombonists.

"It is for those students of the highest caliber and includes the toughest international competition," he says. "The list of alternates who didn't make the finals includes names from the most prestigious music schools in the world."

In addition to winning the 2007 Gagliardi Competition, Beloglavec finished second in this year's National Trombone Solo Competition, held in Washington, D.C., and was runner-up in last year's Gagliardi Competition, held in Birmingham, England. Locally, she won the 2006 Kalamazoo Concert Band Youth Solo Competition, the 2006 Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the 2007 Grand Rapids Symphonic Band Youth Soloist Competition.

"Some students have talent but no determination. Some have a great work ethic and drive, but less natural ability," Wolfinbarger says. "Hana really has it all together. Rarely have I taught a student who loves a challenge more than she does."

Beloglavec has been playing trombone for seven years. She has been seated principal trombone for the last three of the four years that she's been with the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra. She took part in Seminar, WMU's two-week summer music camp for high school students, and also participated in the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp's Symphonic Orchestra, the University of Michigan's All-State Band at Interlochen, and the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association's All-State Orchestra.

Formerly known as the International Trombone Association Solo Competition, the Gilberto Gagliardi/Weril Trombone Competition is open to tenor trombonists 18 years of age and younger, and has been naming winners since 1973. Twenty-one entries were received for the 2007 competition.

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, (269) 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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