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By Robert Gillespie
Ask a Colby music student the meaning of music score, and you might hear not about compositions but about victories. Kamini Bhargava '00 won the 1998 American Music Association National Youth Violin Concerto Competition a scant three weeks after her teacher tricked her into going to a regional competition in Minneapolis under the guise of playing a recital. Competitors usually need five months to prepare. "I was practicing twelve hours a day," said Bhargava, the last of nine regional winners to perform at the final competition in Austin, Texas.
The judges awarded her the $5,000 first prize, put up by the National Endowment for the Arts, for her performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major, "and that very night I was playing with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. It was a whirlwind. It was overwhelming," she said.
Pianist Sara Gross '01, accompanist for Bhargava's senior recital in April, won the Colby Symphony Orchestra's second annual concerto competition in 1998-99. Gross's performance of the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto in D Minor earned her the top spot in the fall 1998 auditions and the opportunity to perform with the Colby Symphony Orchestra during its March 1999 concert.
Both Gross and Jansen have been playing the piano since they were 6 or 7 years old. During high school, Jansen attended the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and the Music Horizonsprogram at Eastman School of Music and was a student at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. "The kids in the class were phenomenal. They were all going to conservatories," she said. She thought about a music conservatory, too, but ultimately chose a liberal arts program because she felt she could have the best of both schools. Colby, she says, doesn't stress performance at the expense of a broad educational foundation. "You still have your lab science. I think I made the right decision," said Jansen, who attended the Colby Piano Institute last summer and is considering graduate school in music.
Like Jansen, Gross ultimately chose a liberal arts program because "there's more opportunity." She planned to major in English at Colby but started taking piano lessons and switched to music. "I've been very happy here," she said. Gross attended the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival last year, an intense seven weeks of practice, lessons, coachings with her chamber group and nightly concerts. This summer she is participating in the seven-week Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina.
Violinist Bhargava, a music major, hopes to go to graduate school in music pedagogy. Like Bhargava, however, not everyone aims for a life in performance. Economics major Crimins says that he loves singing and wants to continue performing but is focused on a career as a pediatrician.
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