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Winners perform music that earned prize

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DOWNS: Winner of young artists contest

DOWNS: Winner of young artists contest

The first-place winners of the 2014 Jackie McGehee Young Artists Competition will get a chance to shine on March 16.

That’s the date they’ll solo in concert with the New Mexico Philharmonic.

The winners – pianist Ken Lien and violinist Ryan Downs – will perform the music that earned them the top prizes in their competition categories.

Lien will play the first movement of Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Downs will perform the first movement of Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra.

“I’ve been studying the whole concerto but I haven’t performed any of it but the first movement,” said Downs, a 17-year-old home-schooled senior.

“It’s challenging to make it musical because it’s a really short movement, about 7 minutes, and really a prelude to the rest of the concerto.”

LIEN: Pianist will perform with NM Philharmonic

LIEN: Pianist will perform with NM Philharmonic

A member of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony, Downs said she’s been studying violin since age 6.

Downs’ violin teacher, Kathie Jarrett, said Downs has been studying with her for just over a year “and she’s made tremendous strides. She’s very talented, has wonderful intonation and a beautiful sound.”

Lien, who is 15, said the first movement of the Chopin has very beautiful melodies.

“It starts out with an attention grabber. … The ending is very technical … You have to play it at the quick speed that it’s supposed to be played at,” he said.

Last year, Lien, a 10th-grader at Southwest Learning Center, came in second place in the same competition.

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